THE JEWISH STATES
By Boris Shusteff
Our destiny lies in our own hands. We ourselves must determine what is right for the Jewish people and the Jewish state. We ourselves must choose the course we shall follow. We need and we desire the understanding and the support of others, but in the hour of decision it is our judgement and our resolve and our vision that must guide us. (Yosef Tekoah. Israel's Ambassador to the UN, New York, April 15,1975).
The negotiations going on in Camp David unequivocally prove that the world community wants to establish another Palestinian state on a land whose every corner breathes with Jewish history. They also show that the current Israeli leadership is incapable of defending the territorial interests of the Jewish people. The Israeli leaders do not want to admit even to themselves that the abandonment of Yudea, Samaria and Gaza (Yesha) creates an existential threat not only to the citizens of Yesha but first and foremost to the citizens of Israel. An Israel will emerge crippled from these negotiations, squeezed into its pre-1967 Auschwitz borders; its capital - a divided Jerusalem; its water sources in the hands of its enemies.
At the same time the recent events in Israel clearly demonstrate that the trivial measures are not sufficient to stop the sliding of the Jewish state into the abyss. Although the no-confidence vote in Knesset prior to Ehud Barak's departure to America proved that the majority of the Israeli parliament does not support Barak, it still fell seven votes short of forcing a new election. The disintegration of the Israeli government and the resignation of the National Religious Party, the Yisrael B'Aliyah party and the religious Sephardic SHAS party did not stop Barak's departure to Washington either. Tel Aviv's July 16th demonstration against Israel's surrender was almost 200,000 strong. However, the event has a greater chance of entering the Guinness book of records than influencing Barak's actions in Camp David.
Undoubtedly all those who gathered on July 16 in Rabin's Square to show their support for the Jewish state must be commended. However, a demonstration is simply not enough. Israel has almost crossed the point of no return and only a colossal and concentrated effort could stop its demise. It is necessary to admit that if Israeli citizens continue playing by the established rules they will simply expedite the creation of the second Palestinian state and subsequent disintegration of the Jewish state. Needed is a chain of positive events that will establish a new reality in Eretz Yisrael and will give initiative to those who support Israel's Jewish identity.
Israel's so-called national camp needs a revolution. The major Israeli "right" parties have all but converged with the "left" ones and their ideologies are indistinguishable. The Likud as it was known 20 years ago no longer exists. Who will believe today that in March 1977 the Likud coalition platform declared: "Judea and Samaria will not be handed to any foreign administration; between the sea and Jordan there will only be Israeli sovereignty" (1)? The almost total obsession with the "termination of the Arab-Israeli conflict" by all possible means inevitably leads to the situation where the baby is thrown out with the water.
Today's Israeli leaders routinely see the territorial concessions while obviously "painful" but tolerable and acceptable. They simply do not understand, as Israel Harel put it on July 20 in "Haaretz" that:
"If the state of Israel is neither "the Land of Zion and Jerusalem" nor all that is connoted by this phrase, which appears in our national anthem, then our entire country is, as the Arabs claim, occupied territory that belongs to another people. If the state of Israel is like any other country on the face of the globe and if what we have established here is just one more state lacking any particular identity or uniqueness, we have no right, moral or otherwise, to be living here atop the ruins of Arab towns and villages."
Fortunately there are still large portions of the population that are ready to carry the onerous burden of centuries-old Jewish tradition. While they can be found in every strata of Israeli society, their biggest representation is obviously among the citizens of Yesha and among the Israeli youth. It is they who will carry forward the torch of the Jewish life on the Jewish land. It is the citizens of Yesha that can prevent today the disastrous dismemberment of Eretz Yisrael. It is the young Israelis with their idealism that still hear in every beat of their Jewish hearts the unexplainable longing towards their Jewish homeland.
All those who love Eretz Yisrael must realize that changes in the Israeli government are not enough to reverse the situation on the ground. First, there is no time left for these changes, as Arafat has declared that on September 13 he will proclaim a Palestinian state. Second, even electing a new leader tomorrow would have no effect. There is no leader among Israel's major parties who would have the courage to announce the annexation of Yesha to Israel.
Therefore only one plausible solution remains - the citizens of Yesha should proclaim an independent State of Judea on the lands of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Like Ben Gurion did 52 years ago with the creation of Israel, the leaders of Yesha must call a press-conference and announce the creation of a second Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael - the State of Judea. This step must be taken by the Yesha Council immediately, before the other contender, Yasser Arafat, does this on September 13.
For those who do not accept the divine link between the Jews and Eretz Yisrael, and do not recognize that sovereignty over Eretz Yisrael was given to the Jewish people by the Almighty, there is an internationally recognized legal aspect that makes the proclamation of the State of Judea legitimate. On April 24, 1920 the League of Nations through the British Mandate "recognized the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine"(1) and established "grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country"(1). Article 6 of the Mandate "encouraged... close settlement of the Jews on the land"(1) including the lands of Yesha. When the United Nations was created in lieu of the League of Nations, its Charter included Article 80 specifically to allow the continuation of the existing Mandates (including the British Mandate).
Article 80 stated that "nothing...shall be construed in or of itself to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever... of any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments to which Members of the United Nations may respectively be parties." Thus the rights of the Jews to settle Eretz Yisrael were again confirmed by the international community. From the legal standpoint the Jews did not lose these rights even when in November 1947 UN General Assembly resolution 181 was issued, recommending a "Plan of Partition" of Palestine. Firstly, this resolution was not enforceable, it simply "recommended" the division of Palestine; and secondly, it lost its legitimacy immediately after the Arabs violated it by starting the war against Israel.
All this means that there does not exist an internationally valid document that stops the Jews from reconstituting their national home in Palestine, including Yesha. The only obstacle that stands between the proclamation of another Jewish state is the lack of willing leaders. Since the Israeli leaders are hesitant to proclaim Jewish sovereignty over the lands of Yesha, the leaders of Yesha must do that themselves. There is no international law that prevents the Jews from having two states (the Arabs have almost two dozen states). Although the Jewish population of the State of Judea will constitute 400,000 people, (if it includes the eastern and northern parts of Jerusalem) one should recall that Israel's population at the time of her proclamation was also small, only 600,000 people.
After the State of Judea is proclaimed and its government is established the territory of Yesha will stop being a contested land, as it will have acquired Jewish sovereignty. The first task of the government of Judea would be to unveil an extensive, highly visible public relation campaign to explain to the world community the well-known truths about the ties of the Jews with the land of the State of Judea. Emphasis should be given to the fact that 80% of the places mentioned in the Torah are located in the State of Judea.
The State of Judea will immediately enjoy the recognition of another Jewish state - Israel. The Gallup opinion poll carried on July 19, 2000 demonstrated that "48% of the representative sample of 594 surveyed adult Israelis (both Jews and Arabs) support settlers" (2). That means that after the State of Judea is created the Israelis that support the settlers will give economic assistance to the new state as well as aid in settling the land in the new state. One of the first articles in the Constitution of the new state will proclaim the right of any Jew in the world (Israeli Jews included) to live in the State of Judea.
The Israeli government, absolved from the responsibility of making decisions pertaining to the annexation of Yesha will be glad to extend a helping hand to its sister state. The new Middle East will be created. The State of Judea will sign a military agreement with the state of Israel, thus allowing Israel to deploy her military forces in locations mutually agreeable to both states. This will make the presence of Israeli troops in Yesha legitimate, while giving the State of Judea time to establish their own military forces.
The State of Judea will officially apply for membership in the UN. It will demand from the world community recognition of the inalienable rights of the Judeans (or Jews as they are known among the world community): their right to repatriation, self-determination, and establishment of their independent state. The millions of Judeans scattered all over the world will be able to return to their homeland and live as a free people in a free land.
As for the non-Jewish inhabitants of the State of Judea it is not the intent of this article to discuss the different available solutions. One should only mention that the future government of the State of Judea could decide to lease some lands (i.e. parts of the Gaza strip) for certain periods of time, under certain conditions to its Arab residents. At the same time the future relations between Israel and the State of Judea could one day lead to the creation of a confederation between the two states.
If the Jewish people wants to live in Eretz Yisrael the creation of the State of Judea is a must. After the State of Judea is created and enjoys the support of the Israeli army any attempt by Arafat to lay claim to the lands of Yesha will be an attempt to claim the sovereign land of a sovereign state. In other words it would be pure aggression that would be answered by the Israeli and the Judean armies accordingly.
Of course one could say that all of the above is a utopia. [Editor's Note: "If you will it, it need not be a dream."...Herzl] Then there is a question one should answer first: "If the world is so eager to accept two Palestinian Arab states what is wrong with two Jewish states?" [07/23/00]
1. The Israeli-Arab Reader. A documentary history of the Middle East conflict. Editors Walter Laquer and Barry Rubin. Penguin Books, New York, 1995.
2. "Maariv," 21 July, 2000.
Boris Shusteff is an engineer. He is also a research associate with the Freeman Center for Strategic Studies.