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May 20, 2010: Raising Our Voices Again

August 25, 2010

We need your help here, from those inside of Israel especially, but those outside as well.  I have been focusing on political events that in the main involve Israel in interactions with the international community, such as the “proximity talks” (which I address below.)  
 
But now I raise an issue of a different kind, which cannot pass unnoticed.  Arutz Sheva described the situation:
 
“The IDF’s Civilian Administration issued a demolition order [May 9] against the spacious building that houses Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva at Yitzhar, in Samaria. MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union), in an unprecedented statement, warned that bloodshed would ensue.
“Local residents believe that authorities are purposely punishing the yeshiva because of a confrontation with the IDF that took place on Independence Day, and also because security forces hold the yeshiva’s students responsible for various attacks against Arabs in recent months and years.”

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Note of clarification: Yeshiva head Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira was held by authorities this winter with regard to the arson attack on the Kafr Yassuf mosque. Reports the JPost: “A Jerusalem District Court judge forced the police to release Shapira for lack of evidence.”

As to Independence Day, Yitzhar residents say that IDF troops began harassing visitors who wanted to tour the area and prevented them from entering the springs near the settlement.  When the soldiers tried to hold back one of the residents, other settlers became agitated. The residents say that one of the soldiers stationed in the area fired a warning shot into the air. When he refused to give his name, the residents demanded that he remain in the area until he agreed to do so.

The IDF says that residents attacked soldiers with stones, lightly hurting three.

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According to the Arutz Sheva report: “‘…the authorities are making special efforts to hurt the yeshiva in an unfair and vindictive way,’ a yeshiva spokesman said… ‘It should be noted that the building is an ornate permanent structure, with an area of 1,300 square meters, which was built with the aid of the Ministry of Housing and was approved by the various authorities to serve as an educational institution.’

“The destruction order, the residents said, cited an 11 year old work-stoppage order – one that they had never heard of until now. The building took years to build and cost over $1 million.

“MK Eldad reacted to the news…by declaring that ‘the Defense Minister and his yes-man, the Head of the Civilian Administration, declared war on the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria when they issued a demolition order against the Yitzhar Yeshiva that was established 11 years ago.’”

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Further clarifications from the JPost :

The IDF administration in Judea and Samaria claimed that the construction was done outside the zoning area for this type of building. The Yitzhar treasurer, Itamar Posner, however, maintains “that the building was within an appropriately zoned area of the settlement…

“…he noted that the ministries of Construction and Housing as well as Transportation had invested heavily in the project. They would not have done so if it was illegal, he reasoned.

“Posner added no one at the yeshiva has any record of a demolition order from 1999. Nor had they heard anything about it in past years.

“…The yeshiva…posted a response [on its website] that said, in part, that the legal status of the yeshiva was stronger than many other structures in Judea and Samaria.”

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I’ve been writing about Barak’s positions vis-a-vis the “proximity talks,” and his failure to protect Jewish interests, with, instead, an eagerness to run to make concessions.

Well, here he is, our muscle-flexing minister, showing one and all that he’s really tough with the people on the right, and thereby courting approval from the left and, need I add, the international community. Obama and Abbas would be so pleased with him.
 
This cannot be permitted to proceed. 
 
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I am asking you to write to Prime Minister Netanyahu (not Barak himself).  The demand is that Netanyahu stop Barak.  We need a huge outpouring of protest. As always, numbers count.
 
Make your message short, and to the point, please.  If you are writing from outside of Israel, please note that the world is watching and if Barak succeeds he will do Israel considerable harm among the very people who are Israel’s biggest supporters.  This has impact. 
 
If you are inside of Israel, please get as many other Israeli citizens as possible to write.
 
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Fax: 02-670-5369 (From the US: 011-972-2-670-5369) 

E-mail: Memshala@pmo.gov.il and also pm_eng2@it.pmo.gov.il (underscore after pm) use both addresses. 

If you do e-mail, for the first address, above, put: “Attention: Cabinet Secretary, Zvi Hauser.”

For the second address, above, put “No Demolition at Yitzhar,” “Don’t destroy the Yeshiva,” “Stop Barak now,” or something similar. Short and to the point.
 
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Now, to the farce known as the “proximity talks.”  Mitchell is here.  He held talks with Abbas in Ramallah yesterday, and is scheduled to meet with Netanyahu today.
 
Right before Shavuot, I read yet another statement by PA negotiator Saeb Erekat, and I thought, ah, the “threat du jour.”  Said Erekat:  “Israel is now facing two options: Peace or settlements.  Israel cannot combine the two together.”
 
Spoken, once again, with the arrogant self-assurance of someone who assumes that the American president will deliver for the PA. 
 
Personally, I think our prime minister should put out a parallel statement:
 
The PA must understand that peace is only possible if it recognizes Israel’s right to exist AS A JEWISH  STATE.  The PA should not delude itself that it can have peace without this.
 
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There were additional statements that Erekat made that I wish to examine here:
 
“He added that according to agreements reached between the PA and the Obama administration, core issues, such as Jerusalem, refugees, water, borders and prisoners, would be resolved on the basis of international law and United Nations resolutions.
 
“‘This will eventually lead to ending the Israeli occupation of our land and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state,’ he said.”
 
I’ve been writing vigorously about the need to tell our narrative, or, put more boldly, tell the truth, to combat the Arab lies.  And here is an instance in which that truth is very badly needed. For the truth is stretched so badly by Erekat that it is not even recognizable as such.
 
“…resolved on the basis of international law and United Nations resolutions.”  UN Security Council Resolution 242, passed after the Six Day War, does not require Israel to return to the ’67 lines and does not even mention a Palestinian people or a Palestinian state.
 
Erekat refers to “our” land (which is commonly understood to be everything past the ’67 line), but it is not their land.  It never was their land.  We need to talk about the Sanremo Conference and the Mandate for Palestine, which exist within international law to this day, and give all of the land between the river and the sea to the Jews.  Now, as never before, our case must be made.
 
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Even Security Council Resolution 1397, which was passed during the intifada in 2002 and recognizes the “vision” of two states living side by side, calls for “secure and recognized borders.”  It says nothing about Israel returning to the ’67 line and does not in any way acknowledge that all land on the other side of that line is automatically “Palestinian.”
 
What is more, it “demands immediate cessation of all acts of violence, including all acts of terror, provocation, incitement and destruction.” 
 
And so, if Erekat is going to refer to UN resolutions, he should be prepared to put his own house in order.
 
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I would further point out here that there is a difference between Security Council resolutions, which have standing in international law, and General Assembly resolutions, which are no more than recommendations and do not.  Too often, that difference is conveniently ignored.
 
It is important to note that both resolution 181 of 1947, which called for the partition of Palestine, and resolution 194, passed in 1948, which the Arabs use as the basis for a “right of return,” are General Assembly resolutions. They carry no weight in international law.
 
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Yesterday, PA president Mahmoud Abbas warned about Israeli “provocations” that are threatening the talks.  He presented Mitchell with a letter detailing Israeli “crimes.”  You can see just how far this is going to go.
 
Allow me, please, to note a couple of things the PA, our “peace partner,” is doing:
 
According to a Palestinian Media Watch report, the PA TV children’s show “Chicks,” this past week featured children who had visited places in Israel such as the Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee), Haifa and Jaffa, and they were all identified as being in “Palestine.”
 
“The Arabic word chosen to define ‘Palestine’ was ‘dawla’ which means ‘state'”.

“The Palestinian Authority alternates its messages between denying Israel’s right to exist and denying Israel’s very existence. This is one example of denying Israel’s very existence, having it replaced by ‘the State of Palestine.'”
 
http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=2254
 
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The PA has declared “all out war” against the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.  It has now launched a large scale campaign to persuade Palestinian Arabs that they should boycott everything coming from these communities.
 
This is contrary to what is stipulated in the Oslo Accords.
 
What is more, it is particularly galling considering that Netanyahu, since he became prime minister, has worked to strengthen the PA economy. 
 
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Above I refer to the “threat du jour.”  Here I have the US idiocy of the week:
 
Reuters reports that according to John Brennan, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, Washington is concerned about “some elements” in Hezbollah.   There is a need, he said, “to try to build up the more moderate elements.”
 
When you stop laughing, you can finish reading…
 
Brennan, who made his comments at a Washington conference, referred to Hezbollah as a “very interesting organization” that has moved from being a “purely a terrorist organization,” to a militia, to a partner in the Lebanese government. 
 
How pathetic these people (not Hezbollah, the decision makers in Washington) are!  I have news for Brennan: Hezbollah, which is bringing in weapons galore, is still a terrorist organization.  My concern is that this sort of thinking may color the US reaction to us when, sooner or later, we take on Hezbollah again.
 
Remember when Obama proposed reaching out to the moderate elements in the Taliban, and members of the Taliban said they didn’t know what he was talking about, as they were all the same?
 
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I spoke about the farce that is the “proximity talks.”  I haven’t the stomach here to also address the farce that is the dealings with Iran.  But it’s painful.
 
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Allow me to end with teachings from a shiur, a religious lesson, I attended on Shavuot night.  It was intended to provide us with a vision of hope during these terribly dark times. It did so for me, and I share this with you can you can be buoyed as well.
 
Our teacher used as her model the situation of the parents of Moshe (Moses).  Struggling against the decree of Pharaoh to toss all newborn Israelite babies in the Nile, they hid their son for three months, and then recognizing that it would not be possible any longer, they placed him in a teva (Hebrew for “ark”) and set it in the bulrushes at the edge of the river. There, of course, he was discovered by Pharaoh’s daughter.
 
After studying the Torah text itself, we looked at two commentaries on this situation.  One was exceedingly grim. Oh, the pain those parents must have felt, the grief…  The other was imbued with faith (emunah) and hope.
 
Consider: Why does the Torah refer to the water-proofed basket in which Moshe was placed a teva?  This word is the same one used for the ark of Noah at the time of the flood. What is a teva, as compared to a ship? our teacher asked? A ship has a steering column.  A teva does not:  It is steered by G-d.  Moshe’s mother, Yocheved, was placing her baby son in G-d’s care.
 
There is a midrash that tells us that the day on which he was placed in that teva, is the same day (Shavuot) that years later he ascended Har Sinai to receive the Torah from the Almighty.
 
We must never, ever, despair.
 
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