A powerful wind is now shaking the settlement enterprise and bringing with it new possibilities and new calculations. The new administration in Washington is still learning and “consolidating,” but the settlements are surely no longer a thorn in its side: The radical Left succeeded in forcing the national “right-wing” government, though the High Court of Justice, to evacuate a 20-year-old settlement, and it is now investing its efforts in additional “Amonas.”
And there is also the Judea and Samaria Regulation Law, which is not really a milestone, but a byroad. The High Court of Justice will probably close it to traffic soon.
Byroads of this kind, of craftiness and chicanery, which have been used for decades to establish the settlement project as the most correct and the most Zionist in the heart of the land of Israel, have exhausted themselves. The time has come to get back on track, to raise the bar with the United States, to try to achieve more.
In 1949, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel, saying that even though the decision would receive only one vote of support at the United Nations — Israel’s — this was the deciding vote. In 1981, Prime Minister Menachem Begin applied sovereignty to the Golan Heights. Now it is Judea and Samaria’s turn.
In my opinion, the “Palestinian state minus” paradigm to which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred was from the outset nothing more than a maneuver that bought us time, a type of smoke screen. The world never bought it, and rightly so. It also brought a building freeze in the settlements and in Jerusalem upon us, and mainly an unrealistic expectation on the part of much of the world that the idea would be realized.
Netanyahu was once the best at providing arguments against the 1993 Oslo Accords. His writings then, including “A Place Among the Nations,” remain convincing today. But now the world asks us: How can you promise the Palestinians a state while at the same time building and expanding Jewish communities in the “occupied” territories that are seemingly meant to be handed over when it is established? How would that work out?
I don’t believe it does.
On Feb. 15 at the White House, we must tell President Donald Trump and the world that we are returning to our basic truth: our right to the land of Israel. We are not the conquerors of our own land. The opposite is true: We have emancipated it from the occupation of others. Trump needs to hear that our interest in Judea and Samaria is first and foremost of a historical-religious-nationalist-conscious nature, and that security is a tool for realizing that right, and not the opposite. The Palestinians stick to their truth and speak in the language of rights. We should also go back to that.
The “settlement bloc” paradigm created by former Prime Ministers Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak, the aim of which is the implementation of the Palestinian state paradigm, should also be taken off the agenda. Its real aim is to return to the 1967 borders, with a few moderations. It was born in sin on the Left. It would be best if that is where it remains.
This about-face should be accompanied by expansive construction and the historical step of annexation — the application of Israeli law over the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, as we did in Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. This is necessary to make it clear to ourselves and to the world that we will not be confused again.