A View From The Hills: Mainstreaming annexation

While just several years ago annexing Judea and Samaria seemed liked an implausible, unrealistic, or even taboo suggestion, today the concept of establishing Jewish sovereignty over all of the land from the River to the Sea has grown into an entire movement.

January 14, 2013 21:55
4 minute read.
E1 hilltop taken from Hebrew U on Mt. Scopus

E1 hilltop taken from Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus 370. (photo credit: TOVAH LAZAORFF)


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In 2011, Women in Green, a grassroots organization dedicated to safeguarding the Land of Israel for the Jewish people, hosted a conference to discuss applying full Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria. The inaugural event was held in a small banquet hall in Hebron, adjacent to the Cave of the Patriarchs.

A few busloads of attendees, apparently mostly retirees, arrived for the conference from Jerusalem, Gush Etzion, Samaria and several other places throughout the country. In total there were just over 200 participants in attendance to hear various MKs and academics discuss what seemed at the time a far-fetched delusion at best.

However, on January 1 of this year, the third annual Women in Green conference on the “Application of Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria,” drew over 1,000 diverse attendees, from college students, journalists and bloggers to veteran activists and pensioners, and was held in a jam-packed, standing room-only Jerusalem hall, featuring some of most influential government leaders and policy makers in Israel today.

To put it simply, while just several years ago annexing Judea and Samaria seemed liked an implausible, unrealistic, or even taboo suggestion, today the concept of establishing Jewish sovereignty over all of the land from the River to the Sea has grown into an entire movement.

While perhaps not yet embraced by all in this country, and certainly not by many of those in the international community, there is no doubt that the notion of sovereignty has become intellectually mainstreamed.

According to Women in Green co-chairwoman Nadia Matar, who along with fellow chairwoman Yehudit Katsover organized the event, the large turnout proves that “after 20 years of our minds being poisoned by ‘Oslo’ and land giveaways, we are now at the beginning of a new stage in the history of Judea and Samaria, where people are willing to openly say, ‘this is ours’ and we want to apply sovereignty over it.”

In addition, Matar says that over time, the fact that “more and more politicians are willing to speak at the event and are not afraid to tell the truth” shows that while it might not be easy, we are confident that it [annexing Judea and Samaria] is possible.”

Featured speakers at the conference included Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein, coalition chairman MK Ze’ev Elkin, Knesset House Committee chairman MK Yariv Levin, MK Prof. Aryeh Eldad, Arab affairs expert Dr. Mordechai Kedar, international law expert and Levy Committee member Alan Baker and Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick, among others.

While a variety of opinions were expressed as to the strategies and methodologies Israel should utilize and implement toward annexation, an analogous theme presented by many of the speakers was that the path toward overall sovereignty would have to be accomplished gradually over time and through numerous stages.

Another concern tackled from many perspectives was the issue of the future status of the Arabs living under Israeli rule in Judea and Samaria. Some suggested providing them with full Israeli citizenship, while others favored offering them citizenship in next-door Jordan.

In addition, several speakers, including Likud Knesset candidate Moshe Feiglin as well as Israeli Institute for Strategic Studies director Dr. Martin Sherman, suggested offering the Arabs in Judea and Samaria some form of incentive- based compensation plan encouraging emigration.

Without divulging which plan she feels would be most effective or most realistic, Matar admits that no suggestion is perfect.

“There will be problems with annexation,” she says. “But all of the problems are nothing compared to the tragedies we’ve been suffering as a result of the Oslo agreement.”

While Knesset elections are looming, Matar says her organization is nonpartisan and thus she refuses to endorse one candidate over another. But she is willing to share her thoughts on current Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, whose Likud-Beytenu party is predicted to garner enough seats to be tasked with forming the next government.

“I’m sure in his heart he [Netanyahu] is against the creation of a Palestinian State, as he ‘wrote the book’ explaining the dangers of a PA state... but he doesn’t have the strength to come out and express that publically.” She adds, “We know Bibi will be the next prime minister, but in the upcoming election we have to ‘pull him to the right’ so that he can’t implement his policy, which he continues to discuss – namely establishing some form of ‘demilitarized’ PA state.”

Matar continues, “We have been riding on a ship, for the past 20 years – a ship that has been going in one direction – toward capitulation and weakness, but we are now forcing the captain of the ship to swerve in another direction – toward Zionism, love of the land, Jewish pride, and declaring that this land is ours. It won’t happen overnight, but we’re on our way.”

The writer is a media expert, freelance journalist and the host of Reality Bytes Radio on www.israelnationalradio.com.

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