The Guardian hosts an Israeli “settler” point-of-view

Cross posted by Yisrael Medad at My Right Word

My good friend Dani Dayan has an op-ed in, of all places, The Guardian.  He had one in the New York Times last July that really upset many left-wing radicals who think freedom of expression is to be limited to their way of thinking formulating politics.

Some extracts and comments from “What you call ‘settlements’ are on solid moral ground”:

…More than 360,000 Israelis live in almost 200 communities across Judea and Samaria, with 200,000 more in East Jerusalem. That’s more than half a million people. Our endeavour stands on solid moral ground.

This week marks 46 years since the agonising days of June 1967, when the Arab world physically tried to annihilate Israel. We defeated them and liberated the strategic hills that overlook 70% of Israel’s population. If partition of this contested land was ever the just solution to the conflict, it ceased the moment one side refused.

I would add, to fine-tune the piece: just as the indigenous Arabs rejected a partition proposal during World War I in the form of the Sykes-Picot arrangement, and as they did in 1937, in 1939 and again in 1947, they undercut their moral standing by being totally uncompromising.

Our communities stand on solid moral ground. Built on vacant land, no settlement stands on the ruins of any Arab village…In Judea and Samaria there is ample room for many Jews, many Palestinians and peaceful coexistence. Our communities stand on solid moral ground because the right of Jews to live in Shiloh, Hebron or Beth El is inalienable. These sites are the cradles of Jewish civilisation, the birthplace of Hebraic culture. Negating the right of Jews to live in these historic parts of the Jewish homeland would be morally wrong.

It is also quite contrary to legal rights Jews hold to their patrimony, recognized over the centuries by all the leading nations and religions and confirmed through the Balfour Declaration, the 1919 Versailles Peace Conference, the 1920 Sam Remo Conference and the 1922 League of Nations.

Unfortunately, too many people view as moral the necessity of the establishment of a Palestinian state and ignore the historic and legal aspects of Jewish national rights in the Land of Israel as well as the history and the character of the conflict over the last 90 years or so.

Moreover, many people, too many, say that Biblical narratives, even if true and confirmed by archaeological science, are irrelevant and I presume they would interpret this reference -“…Shiloh, Hebron or Beth El is inalienable. These sites are the cradles of Jewish civilisation, the birthplace of Hebraic culture” – as a Biblical reference.  But “biblical” does not mean only “religious” or “theological”.  There is an objective truth in the Biblical narrative.

What could be added to this claim is that Jews lived in these areas not only 2000 years ago but throughout the past 2000 years, in every century thereof, and until 1948.

It was the Arabs that practiced ethnic cleansing through terror and depopulated Jewish communities in Gaza, Hebron and Jerusalem’s Old City.  That is not only a strike at our historic right but very much immoral.

Dani concludes:

After 20 years of failed attempts to reach a two-state solution, isn’t it time we admit our failures and move on? The time has come to invest in new, innovative paths to peace that unite people through acts of mutual respect. The first step is to stop the demonisation of our communities and acknowledge that settlements aren’t the problem – but rather an integral part of any future solution.

And we need to formulate a second step.  That would be the idea of retention.  Then we can move on to other intermediate forms of self-rule.  Only then and after a testing period can we even contemplate anything further.

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