By Boris Shusteff
Immediately after this attack upon officers of Antiochus, Mattathias cried out: "Whosoever is zealous for the Law, and whosoever wishes to support the Covenant, follow me"(1).
On October 14, 1999 Arutz -7 Radio reported that "a compromise was reached. between the Yesha Council and Prime Minister Barak on the dismantling of civilian outposts in Judea and Samaria." This decision of the Israeli leaders to "evacuate 12 outposts" could become the last straw that breaks the back of Jewish passive resistance to the suicidal and submissive policy that has been exercised by successive Israeli governments since the beginning of the Oslo process.
The great Jewish historian Heinrich Graetz wrote about the beginning of the Maccabean uprising: "When the bloody persecution of the Judean people had reached such a height that either the destruction of the whole nation, or their submission from exhaustion and despair seemed imminent, an open rebellion took the place of passive resistance." (1)
It is true, today the number of the "victims of peace" cannot be compared to the number of the Jews tortured and murdered in Antiochus' time. However, the anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish onslaught inside and outside of Israel has reached such a height that either the destruction of the whole nation, or their submission from exhaustion and despair is imminent.
The Jewish leaders' betrayal of the settlements - the soul of the Jewish state - tells us that the last red line has been crossed. It does not matter whether the settlements in question were established legally or not. It does not matter whether they are big or small. It does not matter where they are located. What is important is the fact that the Jewish state decided to uproot the Jews from the Jewish land.
The shameful word "evacuation" used in lieu of the more honest words "destruction," "dismantling," uprooting" cannot hide the terrible truth that "following the removal of persons and equipment from an encampment, tractors will be brought in to destroy the approach roads to the areas and soldiers will remain on site as necessary to prevent the reestablishment of any of the encampments" (2).
It appears that the Israeli leaders are absolutely incapable of learning from their previous blunders in their relations with the Arabs. What can be a better example then the issue of the interpretation of UN Resolution 242? The Arabs insist that the Jews must return "all the territories" gained as the result of the Six Day War. The Jews argue that the Resolution means "some territories," and that the word "the" was intentionally omitted from the text of the Resolution.
This "academic" dispute immediately lost all sense after the Jews surrendered to Egypt ALL the territory that they conquered during the war. The peace agreement with Jordan, when Israel returned ALL the Jordanian lands, just exacerbated the situation. Now, with a precedent established, both the Syrians and the Palestinian Arabs demand that Israel return to the June 4, 1967 armistice lines, since Israel did this in order to sign treaties with Egypt and Jordan.
The same situation will follow the uprooting even of a single settlement in Yesha. The precedent will be set and no force in the world will be able to change this fact. As MK Michael Kleiner said, "those who agree to the evacuation of one Jewish settlement in the end will find themselves losing all the settlements.. They will always be asked: If you agreed on settlement 'X' why can't you agree on settlement 'Y'" (3).
What is especially incomprehensible is that the leaders of the settlers themselves are taking part in this catastrophe. As Israeli Justice Minister Yossi Beilin told Israel Radio, "This is the first time that settlements will be removed by agreement with the settlers, not in a confrontation with them" (7).
The attempt of long-time Yesha veteran Ze'ev Chever, known as Zambish, who represented the settlers in the negotiations, to justify this "compromise" from a "legal" standpoint is unacceptable. His statement that the "neighborhoods that will be uprooted must not be seen, neither by the right-wing nor the left, as a precedent for the uprooting of communities, because the issue was only their legality"(4) is good only for complacency.
The Meretz MK Naomi Hazan, while well aware of the legal aspect of the issue nevertheless stressed the importance of the precedent that it sets. She wrote that "Barak's. decision to dismantle. outposts .set a significant precedent for dismantling settlements in the future"(5). The danger of this precedent was also immediately stressed by MK Rechavam Ze'evi of the National Union, who said that "if we're compromising, we might as well compromise on all of Eretz Yisrael. This new agreement is a precedent for the evacuation of other places." (4)
One should not have even the shadow of a doubt that, even more than before, the Arabs will undoubtedly see the dismantling of the settlements as a precedent that they can use for the dismantling of the Jewish state itself. Uri Dan wrote in a brilliant article in The Jerusalem Post that "for the Palestinians, everything is 'illegal.' Everything is 'stolen land.' .Even if Ramon and Sarid uproot all the settlements, the Palestinians will not waive any of their rights, neither to the borders of 1967 or to those of the 1947 Partition Plan"(6).
The moral gap between the settler leaders "compromise" and Naomi Hazan's suggestion to "come to terms with necessity of abandoning the settlement enterprise" (5) is almost nonexistent. In both cases whether it is an outpost, a single settlement, or a block of settlements, the essence of the issue is the separation of the Jew from the Jewish land. This is a violation of the Covenant between God and the Jewish people, and an attempt to abandon Judaism.
Heinrich Graetz described similar precedents in Jewish history.
"When Appeles, one of the Syrian overseers reached Modin, to summon the inhabitants to abandon the Law [and commanded] Mattathias to set an example of submission, the former answered: "If all the people in the kingdom obey the order of the monarch to depart from the faith of their fathers, I and my sons will abide by the Covenant of our forefathers." When one of the Judeans approached the altar to sacrifice to Jupiter, Mattathias could no longer restrain his wrath, but rushed upon the apostate, killing him at the altar. His sons. fell upon Apelles and his troops, killed them, and destroyed the altar. This act proved the turning-point; it set an example of courageous resistance as against inactive despair."(1)
The precedent of a courageous resistance versus inactive despair encouraged the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto. It was in the core of the Jewish victory in the War of Independence. All those who hold Judaism and the soul of the Jewish people in contempt should know that not only the settlers of Yesha but millions of Jews in Israel and all over the world believe in Eretz Yisrael. They should remember that the patience of the Jews is not eternal.[10/16/99]
1.. Heinrich Graetz, History of the Jews.
2.. Israel Wire News Service, 10/14/99.
3.. IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis), 10/14/99.
4.. Arutz 7, 10/14/99.
5.. "A settlement by any other name," by Naomi Hazan, The Jerusalem Post, 10/15/99
6.. "The real thing" by Uri Dan, The Jerusalem Post 10/14/99.
7.. Associate Press News 10/15/99.
Boris Shusteff is an engineer in upstate New York. He is also a research associate with the Freeman center for Strategic Studies.