May 20, 2011
Despite Obama's speech, Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria will outlive us all
In approximately 18 months Barack Obama may no longer be President, or just a lame duck limping to January 2013. At most, he would be President for another 5 and half years.
During the same period, more thousands of Jews will continue being added to the population of Judea and Samaria. Since 1967, the following people have passed away when G-d took them in His own good time: Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan. During that same period, the Jewish population of Judea and Samaria, including the areas of East Jerusalem liberated in June 1967, have grown to 558,000 – 230,000 in Greater East Jerusalem and 328,000 throughout the rest of Yesha. The numbers are on the way to reaching a million.
Yitzchak Rabin had an Oslo plan to withdraw from Yesha, and he tragically was assassinated. Shimon Peres thereupon entered as Israeli Prime Minister with a higher than 90% poll rating, and assured everyone that he would complete the process of withdrawing. Yet, in an unforeseen short period, an outbreak of Arab bus bombings wiped out his support, and he lost office to Binyamin Netanyahu. After Bibi compromised on Hebron at the Wye Conference, his stellar polls suddenly plummeted south, and he was ousted by Ehud Barak. Barak, touted as “Mr. Security,” proceeded to withdraw unilaterally from South Lebanon, creating a vacuum soon filled by Hezbollah, and then worked with Bill Clinton to prepare a complete withdrawal from virtually all of Judea and Samaria. Miraculously, Arafat turned him down, started an Intifada, and Barak lost the government to Ariel Sharon in a landslide. Sharon unilaterally withdrew from Gaza, creating a vacuum soon filled by Hamas, and then turned his attention “kadimah” (eastward) to withdrawing from Judea and Samaria. And suddenly, just in the blink of an eye, he sustained a stroke that has left him in a coma for years. Ehud Olmert followed him with the promise to complete the withdrawal from Judea and Samaria. Suddenly, however, a war erupted in Southern Lebanon, and Olmert’s military miscalculations and failures, augmented by the incompetence of a Defense Minister with no meaningful qualifications other than being a union organizer who rose to head the Labor Party, obliterated his authority. Stymied by the scandal of war, Olmert eventually recouped over some time and again began to work towards withdrawing from Judea and Samaria, until financial scandals suddenly erupted and forced him out. Next came Tzippi Livni, and she was voted out soon after. And now Netanyahu again.
Nothing seems to have prevented Israel from withdrawing from the Sinai, from Southern Lebanon, or from Gaza. By contrast, everything – the logical, the inexplicable, and yes the miraculous – repeatedly has prevented a withdrawal from Judea and Samaria. During that same period, Nixon had the Rogers Plan. Nixon is dead, and Rogers is dead. Ford came up with the Reassessment Plan. Ford is dead. Jimmy Carter has done everything imaginable to advance the cause of Hamas and Fatah. As President, he pushed Israel until he remarkably was overwhelmed by 19% inflation, Iranian hostages and a botched rescue mission, and Soviet progression throughout Asia, Africa, and South America. Israel got a bit of a remission during the Reagan Years, particularly with Secretaries of State Alexander Haig and George Shultz. Then George H.W. Bush came in, reached 90% popularity with the Desert Storm Kuwait War, turned his attention to pressing Israel under an anti-Semitic James Baker and even condemned American Jews for lobbying in Washington for Israel, and his poll numbers disappeared overnight, as the economy up-ended and as he was caught on camera in all his human mortality vomiting at a dinner in Japan. Bill Clinton came in, invited Arafat to the White House more than any other Clinton White House visitor, pressed Ehud Barak to give up Judea and Samaria, including most of East Jerusalem, and somehow saw it all fizzle as Arafat rejected the offers and as the Clinton White House unexpectedly became consumed with its own survival as scandals upin scandals began erupting. George W. Bush came in, supported Israel initially as no President before had done, and enjoyed stellar poll numbers, even expanding his party’s leads in the first bi-elections and then winning reelection. As he turned during his second term to pressing Israel, under his “Road Map,” to give up Judea and Samaria, the American economy inexplicably collapsed overnight, eradicating his poll numbers and wiping out his party. And now Barack Obama. Obama came in with excellent poll numbers, rapidly moved towards pressing Israel to halt all construction in Judea and Samaria, and heaped the onus for Mideast problems on Israel, even traveling throughout the Arab world on an Apology Tour, making that speech in Egypt and pressing Israel to retreat from Judea and Samaria. As the pressure grew on Israel to withdraw, even with White House snubs of Netanyahu, suddenly the oil well inexplicably blew in the Gulf of Mexico. And now, as he has unfolded his new Mideast speech, the Mississippi crests as housing starts recede, joblessness sits at 9 percent, gasoline moves beyond $4 a gallon, all before and leading up to the speech.
As all experienced public speakers know, sometimes a one-hour speech is significant for the two or four sentences buried within the hundreds of other sentences. The entire speech today was crafted around those few sentences in the end, calling on Israel to squeeze itself back to the 1967 borders. A cursory look at all the newsmedia reports of the Obama speech confirms that each and every news analyst understood that the key points of the speech were Obama’s call for Israel to return to the 1967 borders, with minor land-swap adjustments – essentially the proposal that Ehud Barak offered to Arafat, long since rejected by Israelis and by Arabs in Judea and Samaria, as well as by those in Hamas Gaza. All the talk about demilitarizing and assuring and guaranteeing that weapons will not infiltrate into such an Arab Judea-Samaria are ridiculed and amply countered by the massive rearming of Hezbollah in South Lebanon under the noses of the UNIFIL forces and the rearming of Hamas in Gaza since the Goldstone War. If the past half century has taught anything, it has taught that Israel will not withdraw from Judea or Samaria unless a higher power than those in the White House or the Knesset agree and that the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria will outlive all of us, including those now in the White House and the Israeli Prime Minister’s residence.
For additional background information, I refer readers to: http://rabbidov.com/twostate.htm
Rabbi Dov Fischer, adjunct professor of law at Loyola Law School, is a columnist for several online magazines and is rabbi of Young Israel of Orange County. He blogs at rabbidov.com