OpinionIsrael News

Now is the time for sovereignty

Israel should apply sovereignty to the entire Land of Israel and change the rules of the game.

An Israeli flag in the E1 area of Ma'ale Adummim in Judea, Jan. 2, 2017. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
An Israeli flag in the E1 area of Ma'ale Adummim in Judea, Jan. 2, 2017. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar
Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar are co-chairs of the Sovereignty Movement founded by Women in Green.

Today, even the Israeli left acknowledges that a Palestinian state would be a disaster, but many are still deterred from applying sovereignty to the entire Land of Israel. They shouldn’t be. Now is the opportunity to apply sovereignty and change the rules of the game.

For years, we have heard the phrase “this is not the time to apply sovereignty” countless times and more than ever in recent months. It comes with the usual excuses: American and European opposition, sanctions, the Hague, Ramadan, existential war and so on. Such claims have one objective: to remove the vision of sovereignty from the public discourse.

Now, a new excuse has been added: Hamas attacked sovereign Israeli territory, so what good is sovereignty anyway?

To counter these claims, we must posit a fundamental question: Why is Israel at war?

Our enemies began a war against us because Israeli sovereignty over its land is anathema to them. From their perspective, the entire land “from the river to the sea” belongs to them and Israel has no right to exist.

But this flies in the face of history. The heartland of Israel—Judea and Samaria—belongs to the people of Israel by divine promise. Our ancestors walked the hills of Judea and Samaria, our prophets prophesied there, our Tabernacles and Temples were built there, and there we battled and dreamed. Nevertheless, some say, perhaps it is worth taking a chance on relinquishing Judea and Samaria. Perhaps then tranquility will come. They will be there; we will be here; and a fortified partition will be erected between us.

This idea led to a terrible delusion. We thought that if we ignored the Arabs’ demand for the entire land, restrained ourselves and exhibited self-control, we would have calm. For a time, this seemed to work. On the surface, relative calm was preserved except for occasional rounds of fighting. But beneath the surface, the enemy grew stronger. It armed, incited, trained and mobilized forces, preparing to inflict the blow that came upon us on the morning of Simchat Torah.

There are those among us who cling to their delusions. They claim we can buy a few more years of calm by capitulating to a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The consequences will be left to future generations.

Even opponents of a Palestinian state fear the application of sovereignty. They claim that this is not the time for it because the U.S. is arming us in wartime. Given its profound opposition to sovereignty, applying it will only alienate the Biden administration.

We believe that the opposite is true. In our view, the harsh and terrible reality in which we find ourselves since the morning of Simchat Torah is the result of the failure to apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea, Samaria and Gaza. This failure was interpreted as the Jewish people’s denial of its past, a lack of faith in the righteousness of its path. This was the impetus for our enemies’ attack. Victory over them will come only when Israel takes the just and moral step of applying sovereignty over its land, which will eradicate the possibility of establishing an enemy state on it.

Initiating sovereignty would indeed be a political challenge, but its chances of success are good if it is implemented properly. Moreover, it would lead to a shift in consciousness for us, our enemies and the entire world. It will clarify to whom this land belongs, prove that terror does not pay, ensure Israel’s strategic depth, enhance regional stability, preserve the land’s ecology, create enormous opportunities for economic and real estate development, and many other benefits. This should be the strategic vision for Israel’s centennial when there will be at least 20 million people living here.

Recently, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman unveiled a plan for the application of Israeli sovereignty over all of Judea and Samaria based on the biblical promise and the obligation to ensure Israel’s security. The Sovereignty Movement believes this demonstrates that the war is a historic opportunity that could change the rules of the game. If we do not change these rules, the world will decide the issue for us based on its own interests.

Israeli history has proven again and again that when we are strong, the world respects us. This was the case after the establishment of the State of Israel despite the enemies lying in wait to destroy it, after the victory in the Six-Day War, after the liberation of the hostages at Entebbe and after the bombing of Iraq’s nuclear reactor. These victories were not always achieved with the approval of the United States. But the world understands determination, moral righteousness and strength. Every time we have demonstrated them, it supported us.

Now is the time. Israel should begin by applying sovereignty to the Jordan Valley, on which there is a broad national consensus. This would reinforce a strong Zionist vision, based on Zionism’s three pillars—security, settlement and aliyah. A determined people with a clear vision can overcome any enemy. As David Ben-Gurion said, “Only with the compass of vision in our hands will we find our way in the stormy waves of our turbulent times.”

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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