This land is mine

My party of choice must subscribe to a simple proposition: The Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people.

Settlers march in a rally near Tekoa in the West Bank (photo credit: NIR ELIAS / REUTERS)
Settlers march in a rally near Tekoa in the West Bank
(photo credit: NIR ELIAS / REUTERS)
AS ISRAEL gears up for early elections next March, my main priority is to vote for a party that defends Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. If that puts me on the right so be it, although I find the term confining and misleading.
My party of choice must subscribe to a simple proposition: The Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people. In 1960, Jews and others empathized with the lyrics to Ernest Gold’s Oscar-winning score for the film “Exodus”: “This land is mine/God gave this land to me.”
These lyrics sound simplistic and archaic in a secularized post-modern world of competing “narratives.” However, unless we are fortified by this sense of legitimacy we are not going to survive in a region which treats Israel as a transient “Zionist entity” and a latter-day Crusader kingdom. Even the most cogent security arguments will not avail because right always trumps might, unless you are in a power relationship equivalent to Stalin’s Soviet Union vis a vis Finland.
Those who continue to believe in one-sided territorial compromise still require legitimacy because otherwise the term compromise is meaningless. If you do not believe that the land is yours, or, worse, demean it as a cancerous limb that must be amputated, you are not compromising over anything. I believe that only Israel’s nationalist parties are sufficiently solid on this issue, and do not believe in empathizing with the opposing side’s narrative.
A two-state solution based on the 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as “Palestine’s” capital is a suicide pact for Israel. We will have Hamas or some variant of Islamic State holding commanding positions over our cities. Think back to the second intifada, when apartment dwellers in southern Jerusalem’s Gilo neighborhood had to sandbag windows facing Bethlehem and Beit Jala to ward off gunfire into their homes.
This will be the fate of all Israel’s major population centers, making life untenable and air traffic impossible. Therefore, the best we can offer the Palestinians is autonomy or sizable Israeli annexations of Judea and Samaria to create defensible boundaries with a Jordanian-Palestinian state. Salami tactic unilateral withdrawals advocated by some parties on the center-left merely invite another Gaza-style entity on the West Bank and will not reduce outside pressure on Israel.
In the recently failed American mediation effort, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apparently repeated the mistake of his predecessors, Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, and agreed to a solution based on the 1967 borders. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reciprocated by reasserting the right of return of six million refugees, including himself, and steadfastly refusing to recognize Israel as a Jewish state alongside a Jew-free Palestine. Therefore, even if Israel agreed to the maximalist Palestinian demands, it would not be getting closure, but at best a reprieve.
Instead of holding the Palestinians to a minimum of abandoning the right of return and recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, the EU countries are falling over themselves in unilaterally recognizing Palestine. A second prerequisite for my vote, therefore, is firm opposition to the two-state solution. And, for this reason, I prefer Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett’s candor to Netanyahu’s policy of lobbing the ball into Abbas’s court by further concessions.
This tactic merely encounters a European tennis ball machine that constantly lobs balls back strictly in Israel’s direction.
Instead of courageously facing this reality, the Israeli left equates right-wing realism with a loss of hope. It seeks to restore that hope through a peace process that has proven barren and one-sided even when the left itself was in power.
This living in a fantasy world is by no means a strictly Israeli malady. French Socialists similarly argued that France could re - main competitive with a 35-hour work week and overgenerous benefits. The Obama administration could originally view precipitated withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan and self-abasement as a panacea for countering anti-Americanism. Eventually a deteriorating situation prompted a course correction.
Israel, however, cannot afford such self-delusion.
Contributor Amiel Ungar is also a columnist for the Hebrew weekly Besheva