A FAREWELL TO THE HOMELAND

By Boris Shusteff

On September 8 Prime Minister Ehud Barak for the first time explicitly admitted that the land that will be turned over to the Palestinian civilian authority will not revert to Israel. Addressing the Israeli Parliament he said: "I recognize that the peace process involves a painful farewell to the homeland.".

We simply need to compare Barak's statement with Anwar Sadat's words in Jerusalem to understand why the Jewish state is in the mortal danger. "Our land does not yield itself to bargaining, it is not even open to argument," Sadat said. Barak did not say that the "peace process" will require that the Syrians say farewell to their homeland. He did not ask the Palestinian Arabs to "bear the pain" of parting with the land they claim as theirs in order to achieve peace. He did not do this because he knows that, save for the Jews, no other people in the world can voluntarily surrender their homeland to someone else.

No one can understand the value of a homeland better than one who has lost it. Was it not enough that the Jews lost it once? Or maybe the Jews are used to this since they have lost a lot of "pseudo-homelands" during their long exile? How many times were they evicted or massacred when they wanted nothing more than to call the country of their exile with the sweet word "homeland?" Perhaps they have forgotten the meaning of the word itself? Perhaps they do not understand that Eretz Yisrael - their only real homeland - if lost this time, will be lost forever?

Ehud Barak was born in Israel, as were many of his supporters. So how is it possible that they do not have this secret bond of nature, this particular affection for the native soil, which they first touched with their bodies, and pressed with their feet: where they first drew their breath: where they cried in their infancy, played in their childhood, and exercised their selves in manhood. Where their eyes were acquainted with the firmament, clouds, and fields: where have been by long continuance of descents their kinsfolk, friends and companions, and too many occasions of joy besides, which one may expect in vain in another part of the world. (1)

The love for Eretz Yisrael is an inextinguishable flame that kept alive the souls of millions of Jews detached from the land for two millennia. Eretz Yisrael is the reason for the existence of the Jewish people. Every single inch of it is invaluably precious. It cannot be sold, given away or forsaken. How did it happen that after the Jews reunited with their homeland they lost their love of it?

Barak said that, "We are parting from areas that are precious to all of us...We walked the land, we learned about its place in our history, we fought for it and we developed a connection to it.'' (2) There is no logic and no heart in this statement. If the areas are precious to us, then we are not going to part with them. People who walked their land, who learned its places, who fought for it and developed a connection to it cannot part with it voluntarily.

A homeland is not a book that one can browse through, learn its content, even get to like it and then simply give it to somebody else. One cannot wrap it like a gift and present it to his neighbor. If one is a patriot and loves one's country one can be separated from it only forcefully. A patriot is ready to sacrifice his or her soul for the life and liberty of the homeland. Niccolo Machiavelli wrote that:

"..when the safety of one's country wholly depends on the decision to be taken, no attention should be paid either to justice or injustice, to kindness or cruelty, or to its being praiseworthy or ignominious. On the contrary, every other consideration being set aside, that alternative should be wholeheartedly adopted which will save the life and preserve the freedom of one's country. "(1)

All countries in the world follow Machiavelli's advice. Israel's idol - America - did not say farewell to Pearl Harbor and did not offer it to Japan for peace. Israel's model - America - did not hesitate to use the atomic bomb against the Japanese caring about her own safety. So why then, having America's example of putting the survival of the country above all other interests, is Israel walking along the suicide road?

In Israel's case the only way to save its life and to preserve freedom of the Jewish state is through an immediate abrogation of Oslo and all consecutive agreements. Professor of International Law Louis Rene Beres has proven in countless works without a shadow of doubt that "under pertinent international law, Israel has a compelling obligation not to comply with the illegal Oslo Agreements. This obligation is reinforced by Israel's overriding responsibility to preserve itself as a state." (3)

What is even worse, Ehud Barak, who is familiar with Beres's writing, is well aware of the fact "that any agreement between a state and a non-state entity is not at all binding under international law (because the non-state entity, here the PLO, lacks the capacity to act as a legal person) (4). Thus all the arguments used by the Arabs and a lot of Israelis that Israel "must fulfill the agreement" are worthless from a legal standpoint.

The situation is extremely clear. First of all, the Torah forbids ceding even an inch of Eretz Yisrael. At the same time, International law does not require Israel to proceed with the agreement. On the contrary, Israel must abrogate it according to the "principle - Nullum crimen sine poena ("No crime without a punishment.") This major principle of international law, essential to all civilized international relations." (3) Moreover, from the pure military logic of Israel's territorial defense requirements, according to the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff Memorandum of 1967:

"Israel should retain the Golan Heights, several sections of Sinai, the Gaza Strip and the land west of "a defense line generally along the axis Bardala-Tubas-Nablus-Bira-Jerusalem" then turning "southeast to a junction with the Dead Sea at Wadi el Daraja," (this being more than half of Samaria, contiguous with a thickening of the Jerusalem corridor), and all of Judea south of Jerusalem." (4)

Eretz Yisrael is a Jewish land. No Arab propaganda can change this fact. To be able to fight for Israel's freedom the Jews must first believe that there is worth and dignity in being Jewish. If one does not believe this, the Jewish homeland does not make sense. If one believes - then any retreat is impossible.

One says farewell to one's homeland only on the deathbed or when one is sent into exile. Nobody knows better then the Jews that exile is equivalent, as Giuzeppe Mazzini put it, to "the death of the soul. [As if] father, mother, lover and country, all but the breath of life are taken from you; so that you may wander like Cain throughout the universe, and the iron of despair may enter your soul." (1) A farewell to the homeland can mean only one thing - the death of the people. [09/14/99]

NOTES

1.Maurizio Viroli, For Love of Country.

2. Assocoated Press news, 9/8/99

3. Louis Rene Beres. Letter to Ehud Barak, Prime Minister of Israel. Internet posting 9/13/99.

4. The Jerusalem Post, April,7, 1998.

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Boris Shusteff is an engineer in upstate New York. He is also a research associate with the Freeman Center for Strategic Studies.



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