25 December '16..
We can continue the argument over the settlements with the world of U.S. President Barack Obama and his supporters in legal and diplomatic language, rightfully protesting his hypocrisy and hoping for better under incoming President Donald Trump.
But all this cannot be done without screaming in the ears of the world -- especially during Hanukkah -- a single basic truth, as Shimon the Hasmonean put it some 2,200 years ago: "We have not taken foreign territory or any alien property, but have occupied our ancestral heritage, for some time unjustly wrested from us by our enemies; now that we have a favorable opportunity, we are merely recovering our ancestral heritage" (Maccabees 1, 15:33-34).
Our real and imagined friends in the United States and all over the world must finally hear that the historical, religious, legal and emotional links the nation of Israel has to Hebron, Beit-el, Shiloh and of course, Jerusalem, is no less than that of the Palestinians. They must hear that we are not occupiers in our own land, and that we are connected to it with bonds of love, the Bible, heritage and nature; that the settlements in Judea and Samaria, as elsewhere in the Land of Israel, are the realization of justice and natural rights.
This basic truth relating to the Land of Israel in its entirety will not change due to a U.N. resolution made on the Sabbath. Morally speaking, there is no difference between settlement in the Land of Israel, where Arabs lived at the beginning of the last century, and settlement in the Land of Israel, where Arabs live in the current century. There is no difference between settling Petach Tikva, which Zionist leader Moshe Smilansky described a few generations ago as a "small Arab settlement between Arab villages," and large settlements in Judea and Samaria.
Our justice and our natural rights are not based on security needs, nor on international law. They may not be considered to be "realpolitik" today, but they are explicitly a part of the discourse on rights, whose content, essence and language must once again be laid on the table.
What Shimon the Hasmonean understood more than 2,000 years ago, and what our sage Rashi understood in his interpretation of the first verse in Genesis some 1,000 years ago, followed by Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and later Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and certainly Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is that we exist here by way of force and of diplomacy, but, above all, we exist here by right.
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