By Col. (res.) Tal Braun
It is time for the people of Israel to apply sovereignty over the land to which they have historic ties and is their true, promised, homeland.
Many in the world are quick to provide reasons why it is appropriate to reject and even postpone the application of Israeli sovereignty to the territories of the ancestral land. Among them are those "exilic Jews,” who have seemingly lost their deep affinity for Israeli heritage and long-held belief in Zionism, and are paralyzed by the fear of what the Gentiles might think. Some of them will disguise this sentiment with statements expressing their concern that it would hurt the relationship with both Israel’s immediate and distant environments, albeit the latter has never truly demonstrated either deep understanding of, or affection for, the Jews.
Some will insist that first, "staff work must be completed and explored," as if it has not yet been done, as if there is no justification and such a move would require proof. The Arabs at home and abroad would prefer that the State of Israel cease to exist as a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, regardless of their sovereignty over one piece of land or another. The hypocritical Europeans are terrified of the Arabs, only now beginning to realize that they themselves are losing sovereignty over their own countries in the face of an increase in “muscle-flexing” and civil insubordination on the part of the immigrants, most of them Arabs and Muslims, who do not really like Jews and even less - Christian infidels, whether they are anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi or just liberal democrats.
In this article, I would like to make clear that the government is now urgently required to apply sovereignty, something that should have been accomplished 53 years ago, after the liberation of Judea, Samaria & the Jordan Valley from the Arab-Jordanian occupation. I would like to prove to those generals, politicians and experts, who have endless excuses for rejecting a good idea and a brave opportunity, insisting that instead they need to deepen their groundwork, establish a professional and independent committee, assure that they will prioritize and deal with the issue in person when the time is right, that continuing to postpone is a means of displaying weakness and demonstrates an inability to take courageous, demanding and determined action.
With three examples, I will demonstrate the need to establish sovereignty now, stemming from the natural right of the Jewish people to territories in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley:
Gush Etzion -Israeli settlement bloc
Whereas Gush Etzion was under the control of the people of Israel until their expulsion from their homeland some 2000 years ago at the time of the destruction of the Temple, and there is a great deal of archaeological evidence that there has been a significant Jewish presence there for quite some time, as well as documentation in the holy scripture, various books and writings;
Whereas the land of Gush Etzion was legally purchased by Jews, enabling them to establish the settlement of "Migdal Eder" there in 1927, eventually abandoned by its residents after a series of Arab terror attacks on the local Jewish Population in 1929;
Whereas a second settlement attempt was made in 1935 by the "El Hahar" Company, founded by Shmuel Zvi Holtzman, which purchased much land on Mount Hebron from local Arabs, and also eventually failed due to the Arab uprising against the British mandate and terror attacks against Jews in 1936;
Whereas the kibbutzim "Kfar Etzion," "Masuot Isaac," "Ein Tzurim," and "Revadim," that were established as parts of Gush Etzion from 1943-1947, were destroyed and left after a siege and severe fighting in which 242 Jewish fighters and civilians were killed, some of whom were massacred after their surrender, some of whom experienced prolonged captivity by the Jordanians during the War of Independence;
Whereas, following the Six Day War, Gush Etzion was liberated from the Jordanian occupation and Jewish communities began to be rebuilt, in many cases by the second generation of the founders of the kibbutzim that were destroyed, and today, have more than twenty settlements, most of which are presently part of the regional municipality of Gush Etzion, "Efrat" and the city of "Beitar Illit."
Whereas on August 31, 2014, in response to the murder of three Jewish youths, the State declared about 4,000 dunams in the Gush Etzion hills as state land, despite the criticism of this declaration and threats that were never realized.
Whereas we have regained control over our ancestral land and there is a basic understanding that Gush Etzion is an integral part of the State of Israel for now and forever, due to its role in the ancient heritage of the people of Israel as well as historical, security, social and traditional, circumstances, among others.
Whereas it is time for us to act in the spirit of the words expressed by Simon Maccabeus to king Antiochus VII Euergetes messenger, as written in the Book of the Maccabees: "We have neither taken foreign land nor seized foreign property, but only the inheritance of our ancestors, which at one time had been unjustly taken by our enemies. Now that we have the opportunity, we are firmly holding the inheritance of our ancestors.”
And so, sovereignty must be applied to Gush Etzion in the Judean Mountains!
Gush Shiloh- Israeli settlement bloc
Whereas in Gush Shiloh, is found the settlement of Shiloh that was established near the biblical site of ancient Shiloh, that was an Israeli city of the tribe of Ephraim in southern Samaria, during the period between the settlement of tribes in the land of Canaan and the establishment of the united Israeli kingdom;
Whereas Shiloh served as the religious and ritual center of the tribes of Israel, and probably also the actual capital of Israel, the site of the official tabernacle.
Whereas the site served as a pilgrimage site for all religions, many archaeologists have identified the site, despite foreign conquests and attempts to obscure and erase the Jewish presence there, and have found there many artifacts that indicate the importance and centrality of the place in Jewish tradition. One example are ancient coins embossed: “The year of the liberation of Jerusalem,” which probably date to the period of the Great Revolt;
Whereas this is the first settlement bloc of modern times in the area of Binyamin county but multiple sources, including the books of Joshua, Judges and Samuel, offer evidence of the existence of a significant Jewish settlement bloc in the area as early as biblical times, at which time major figures were responsible for shaping the image of the people of Israel which lasts to this day;
Whereas in Gush Shiloh, other settlements were established, including "Eli," where the pre-military service yeshiva of "Bnei David" was founded in 1988, generating generations of soldiers and commanders fighting for the glory of the State of Israel, including 21 new officers out of 500 who completed the officers' course recently, as well as those Israeli heroes who fell while protecting the land and people of Israel, like my brother in arms- Major Yossi Ohana, who fell during a battle in Lebanon 25 years ago, Major Roi Klein, LTC. Emanuel Moreno, and Capt. Hadar Goldin, who we are still hoping to return for burial in Israel, as well as many other of this country’s best men.
And so, sovereignty must now be applied to the Shiloh bloc in the Samaria Mountains!
Whereas, in the book of Joshua, the "Gilgal" is mentioned as the place through which the Israelites entered the Land of Israel, and since then, the place has been identified with the inheritance of the tribes of Judah, Gad, Reuben, Menashe and Benjamin;
Whereas during the Hasmonean period until the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, with the end of the military operations responsible for the occupation and expansion of the Hasmonean state, Alexander Yanai understood the strategic importance of the place and established a fortress system for the protection of the eastern border of his kingdom including: "Alexandrion" at the summit of the Sarataba, "Ha- Dook" at Mount Quarantania, "Kiprus" and "Horkania" fortress, glorious buildings including the palace complex in Jericho where members of the royal family, and priest’s families lived.
Whereas, the Jordan Valley was used, during various periods, to mobilize military forces intended to conquer the land and to invade it from the east, such as during the period of the Great Revolt by the Romans when the Roman army advanced from the north toward Jerusalem through the Jordan Valley. Additionally, during the Ottoman rule over the land of Israel that began in 1517, at which time the area was neglected and abandoned by its settlers due to plundering raids by nomadic tribes from the desert areas. As the explorer of the land of Israel, priest Tristram, who visited the Jordan Valley at the time, wrote in his book: "With the Bedouins came a regime of no law, and all the Turkish government's authority was uprooted. There was no recognized government on the eastern side ... The Land of Israel will be destroyed and left to migrants."
The last example is the invasion of the Arab armies and the Jordanian Legion that conquered the Jordan Valley, Judea and Samaria, when the British Mandate ended, and the establishment of the State of Israel was declared on 1948.
These and other examples point to the importance of full Israeli control of the Jordan Valley in a broad sense, for generations to come, to ensure the existence of a national home for the Jewish people in Israel;
Whereas attempts were made to renew Jewish settlement in the Jordan Valley region during the Ottoman rule, which succeeded only during the British Mandate with the establishment of Kibbutz "Beit HaArava" on land awarded to the potassium company in the Dead Sea, until the kibbutz and its residents were evacuated a day after the state's declaration;
Whereas for 19 years the valley was under Jordanian occupation and was only released by the IDF during the Six Day War, a move that allowed the establishment of 21 Israeli agricultural settlements, according to the "Alon plan;"
Whereas the valley is on the one hand a natural land border between the State of Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the disintegrating Arab states, and, on the other hand, a buffer zone, which has prevented the entry of terrorists, the smuggling of weapons and means of warfare into Judea and Samaria, where a terrorist infrastructure was based in the Arab settlements from the early 70s to the Oslo Accords, at which time the area became a barrier between the Palestinian Authority and Jordan.
Whereas, in the Israeli governments, there was broad agreement on the importance of “the Jordan Valley in the broadest sense” for the security of the State of Israel, as stated at the time by Minister Yigal Alon in his plan, and as former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon reiterated at the end of the political-security cabinet meeting in the Jordan Valley on May 1, 2001: "Our Valley forever… There will never be a situation that the Jordan Valley, in the broadest sense, that serves as Israel's eastern security zone, won’t be in the hands of the State of Israel. This area will forever be in our hands."
In his remarks about the Jordan Valley, Sharon emphasized that he meant the area between the Jordan River and the ridges west of Alon Road, similar to that area defined in the “Alon Plan" conceived by Yigal Alon in the 1970s.
And so, sovereignty must now be applied to the Jordan Valley!
The people of Israel do not need the agreement, coordination or understanding of any Arab or anti-Israeli, anti-Zionist or anti-Semite from elsewhere in the world, in order to apply sovereignty over territories in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley, where both the past and future Israeli legacy is deeply rooted!
Since the people of Israel have returned to their homeland, and still continue to settle and develop it, as written within the vision of the prophets - they no longer need the consent of the Gentiles, but instead, the courageous decision of one Jewish, Israeli and Zionist leader, elected to lead and apply sovereignty now!