Peace is the highest aspiration of mankind; it is, to paraphrase Menachem Begin, “the beauty of life… the smile of a child, the love of a mother, the joy of a father, the togetherness of family.” Yet, peace should not be so vaunted as to be bought at the price of appeasement and surrender.
As in every generation since the time of Jacob, the Jewish people are faced with an implacable enemy intent to annihilate us. The international community continues to demand that Israel withdraw from Judea & Samaria and grant statehood to a people resolved to defeat us.
I recognize that a two-state solution is the only way to ensure that future generations of Jews will be blessed with a state of their own. Peace is untenable, however, when confronted with an adversary unwilling to even recognize your existence. Currently, the Gaza Strip is beleaguered by the Hamas regime, elected by a people corrupted with Jew-hatred and upheld by the regime in Tehran. Given the instablity of the current situation, and the Palestinian Authority’s unwillingness to negotiate a meaningful, practical peace, a partial annexation of Area C of the West Bank would provide Israel leverage to secure a lasting deal in the future.
The Trump administration’s “Peace to Prosperity” plan, despite its flaws, calls for just that. It calls for, along with renewed peace talks and massive economic investment into Palestinian communities, the application of Israeli sovereignty over settlements. However, there are many in the media, in academia, and in the foreign policy establishment that insist that annexation would spell the end of “Israeli democracy” and would render Israel an “apartheid state.”
Such claims are frivolous and ignore the natural and historical right of the Jewish people to settle in their indigenous homeland. In the long term, the only alternative to Israeli sovereignty over parts of the West Bank is the ethnic cleansing of half a million Jews from their homeland.
However, they are legitimate concerns about annexation that must be confronted. If the State of Israel commits to these three principles, I believe that extending Israeli sovereignty will prove to be a historic success:
- Offer Israeli citizenship to all Palestinians living in Area C of the Jordan Valley and in areas behind the Separation Barrier, contingent on acceptance of Israel as the Jewish State.
- Limit annexation to the Jordan Valley, Jewish sections of Hebron, settlement blocs (Gush Etzion, Efrat, Ma’aleh Adumim, Modi’in Illit, Givat Ze’ev, Ariel, along with official “annexation” of all of Jerusalem), and areas behind the security barrier.
- Invest in Arab-Israeli communities.
Netanyahu recently suggested that Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley would not be annexed, and Arab residents would not be granted citizenship. This would not be, as some claim, an “apartheid,” because Israel would not be claiming sovereignty over the Arab villages and towns. It would, however, be a strategic blunder that would threaten Israeli control over the Jordan Valley.
The Israel Defense Forces would be forced to regularly confront Palestinain authorities governing these isolated enclaves. The State of Israel must extend sovereignty over the entirety of the Jordan Valley, excluding Jericho, to establish permanent control of the region. Furthermore, Palestinians currently living near the “Green Line,” behind the Israeli security barrier, are, in all reality, blocked from freedom of movement into both Israel and the Palestinian terrioties. If Israel were to offer citizenship to both aforementioned groups of Arabs, totaling roughly 90,000, it would hardly alter Israel’s demographics while giving more legitimacy to Israeli claims of sovereignty.
Peace for peace, war for war.
It must be understood that the Jewish people will defend ourselves with an iron fist, in the spirit of our martyred ancestors of Warsaw, Yodefet, and Masada. In his essay “The Iron Wall,” Ze’ev Jabotinsky, of blessed memory, argued that “there is no likelihood of any voluntary agreement being reached…[T]he only way to obtain such an agreement, is the iron wall, which is to say a strong power in Palestine that is not amenable to any Arab pressure.” The past century of Arab-Jewish violence has vindicated Jabotinsky’s ideas. Jews and supporters of Israel mustn’t be fooled: no amount of money or aid will force the Palestinians to abandon their hopes of a Judenrein Palestine. We will never succeed in bribing the Palestinians to sell their dignity and pride, for Zionism, at least at a nationalistic level, is diametrically opposed to the interests of the Arabs of Eretz Yisrael. As such, a two-state solution without genuine Arab recognition and support of a Jewish State in Eretz Yisrael would not be peace.
The time has come to apply sovereignty in a way that leaves room for a viable future Palestinian state. I do hold out hope that one day, soon enough, the reality of Israeli ever-lasting presence will become so entrenched that the Arab and Muslim world will come to terms with the Jewish State. Until that day, an iron wall in Judea & Samaria, built not with barbed wire but with Jewish civilization, must be defended and secured.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.