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.
(While I share many of the sentiments expressed in this piece, I don't see this as the direction we should be going. We know that whatever conditions may be attached to their behavior in terms of reciprocity, the likelihood of our following through has a very poor record. Y)
In 1947, the United Nations voted to divide the land of Israel, then called Palestine. Until that moment when it was divided, there were Arab Palestinians and Jewish Palestinians. The Arab Palestinians were, for the most part, transplants of the Hashemite Kingdom - which was given 2/3 of the mandated land of Palestine by the British and some nomadic tribes that moved across borders at will.
The Jewish Palestinians were easily divided into two classifications - those that remained as part of an unbroken chain of descendants of those who were never exiled (I have met several members of this family and even discovered recently one is a neighbor of mine), and those who moved to Israel from Europe and other lands in the few hundred years before the re-establishment of Israel.
Finding no way to make peace, the UN declared there would be two states and divided the land. The Jews immediately accepted this plan, understanding that peace with your neighbors was, at that time, preferable to war...of course, that was 8 or 9 or 10 wars ago. The Arab population which was not, by any means, organized or prepared for statehood in any way, was told by their Arab brothers to get out of the way as the massive Arab war machine would plow from the north, south, east and west and push the Jews into the sea.
Well, Israel was declared on May 14, 1948 and within hours, two things happened. The first was that countries rose up to recognize the new state - the US being the first, if I remember correctly. The second thing that happened was that five Arab nations invaded the new country to obliterate it. When the smoke cleared, the Jews had held on to their promised lands and captured much of what would have gone to the Arabs - their first lesson that Jews were no longer willing to roll over and surrender.
That is the end of my short history lesson. Now a declaration. More than 60 years ago, the Palestinians, or what there was of them at the time, had the option of declaring a state, they chose war. Upon our declaration, five Arab nations invaded.
Now, the Palestinians are claiming they will accept a state on even less land for more people and be happy. Doubtful.
So, here is what I believe should be Israel's declaration. Go ahead, declare your state. But when you do, be prepared for the consequences, as we were. No, we will not invade. We will not threaten to push the Palestinians into the sea. Cold blooded murder is their calling card, not ours.
No, the logical and natural result of any Palestinian declaration of independence will be - independence. That's right. They'll have their state. And, at that moment, we will seal, close, lock and throw away the key to any and all border crossings. We will stop supplying OUR electricity, OUR water, OUR fuel. Throw open the borders of Egypt - let your Arab brothers protect you, supply you, bail you out and feed you. Let them heal you, our doctors and hospitals will be closed to you as well. Our burn centers, our pediatric experts, our heart specialists - fly to Europe, walk to Egypt. The border is closed.
In 1948, five nations invaded us for our declaration. By contrast, our simply closing our borders should be considered a reasonable response. So, Gaza - Hamas - be warned of two things:
1. If you declare independence, the next sound you hear will be the shutting of all doors into Israel. No more workers will cross into Israel, no more patience needing medical care. No, you can't have our electricity - you don't even pay for it half the time anyway. No, fuel can be shipped in from wherever. You want independence, this you shall have, and...
2. If you dare to shoot one rocket at Israel, the next one sound you hear will be our firing back. Zero tolerance. None. America wouldn't take it; England can't; Russia didn't. No, none. Shoot one rocket and you will find out what we can really do. As an independent nation, if you wage war on your neighbor, you have to expect that your neighbor will wage war right back.
That should be OUR declaration.
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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!"