For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
As I read Ettinger’s excellent piece, I was reminded of other historical facts having to do with limiting Jewish settlement, emigration or immigration. Even before the British Mandate, Britain was actively limiting Jewish immigration to Palestine. Stalin also prevented Jewish emigration. The Mandate didn’t change much. Britain continued to limit immigration and so so did Russia/USSR right up to its downfall. Remember the “Let my people go” campaign in the seventies.
Haj Amin el Husseini, the grand Mufti of Jerusalem and confidant of Hitler, led a full scale Arab revolt against the Jews between 1936 and 1939 causing much Jewish bloodshed. In response the Peel Commission was set up and recommended limiting Jewish immigration to Palestine. Just what the Arabs wanted. In fact, the Peel Commission even recommended the abolition of the Mandate and recommended two states. Ben Gurion fought hard to maintain Jewish immigration and even supported partition while most of the Zionist movement did not. To his chagrin, friends of Zionism in England including Churchill, Lloyd George persuaded the British Parliament to vote against partition.
In 1938, Ben Gurion commented on Chamberlain’s “Peace in our time” and said “They handed Czechoslovakia over. Why shouldn’t they do the same with us?”
Shortly thereafter Ben Gurion made his case to Malcolm MacDonald, the Colonial Secretary, who suggested, that the Arab and Muslim world could rise up and threaten the British Empire and therefore to prevent this, Britain had to make sure that the Jews in Palestine remained a minority. In other words Britain was against the creation of a Jewish state.
During the war, the world conspired to prevent Jews from escaping Europe to Palestine. Britain, even after the war, actively attempted to limit Jewish immigration to Palestine. Remember the DP Camps in Cypress and Exodus.
It was due to Jewish resistance after the war that the British turned the matter over to the UN which ultimately voted for the partition that the British Parliament had turned down.. Ben Gurion preferred half a loaf to no loaf and so declared the State of Israel.
The Law of Return was quickly passed welcoming all “Jews” to come to Israel. All you needed to be eligible was one Jewish grandparent.
After the Six Day War in ‘67 the World attempted to prevent Jewish settlement of Judea and Samaria even though Jews had the legal right to do so stemming from the British Mandate. Neither Res 242 nor the Oslo Accords made mention of restricting such settlement, so the international community tried to brand the settlements as illegal pursuant to the Geneva Convention. Many legal scholars beg to differ with this and argue convincingly that the Convention doesn’t make settlements illegal.
Prior to the Roadmap, in response to atrocities the Arabs committed with their suicide bombers, Senator Mitchell rewarded them by recommending a settlement freeze just like the Peel Commission did. This freeze was incorporated into the Roadmap which came into existence in 2003.
Another refrain that developed particularly after the Roadmap, was that no one, meaning Israel, should do anything, meaning settle the land, to prejudge the outcome. Of course the Arabs could do anything they wanted to prejudge the outcome and the US cooperated with them. A case in point is opening her Consulate in Jerusalem to serve the Arabs while at the same time refusing to open her Embassy in Jerusalem to serve the Israelis. The US also supports illegal Arab construction and condemns Jewish construction, legal or otherwise.
The demand in the Roadmap that Palestine be “viable” and “contiguous” also prejudges the outcome as does the demand that Jerusalem be divided.
And now Obama is demanding a settlement freeze. Fortunately he doesn’t have the support in the US or in Israel to bring it about.
As Ettinger points out, Israel can and must resist the pressure and act in her own best interests. .
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"