Uri Pilichowski
Author, Educator and Father - Brother to All

Annexation is Crucial Now

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu points at a map of the Jordan Valley as he gives a statement, promising to extend Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea area, in Ramat Gan on September 10, 2019. (Menahem Kahana/AFP)

Constructing a compelling argument in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is usually done by playing the bigger victim. Whichever side can engender the most sympathy seems to be the side that’s constructed the most compelling argument. Palestinians claim to be victims of apartheid, occupation and oppression. Israelis claim to be victims of violent terrorism. Generally, although it’s always bad to generalize, progressives and liberals side with the Palestinian claim of victimhood to a more powerful Israeli force. Conservative and traditionalists side with the Israeli fear of terror.

“Settlers” rarely win the sympathy and victimhood argument. For 52 years settlers built and expanded their territory. While settlers have been subject to restrictions placed on expansion, they’ve essentially won and settled throughout the area. Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria reside in 130-200 Jewish towns and outposts, control the roads and govern the area in dispute. If sympathy wins the crowds over, settlers, with one of the world’s strongest armies protecting them against a ragtag disjointed group of terrorists, find it hard to garner sympathy for their cause.

Settlers don’t want sympathy. Settlers want justice and truth. Zionism believes that Jews have a right to self-determination on our land. In 1947 the world offered the Jewish people a compromise – full self determination on part of their land. Unlike the Arabs who refused the offer, the Jews jumped at the chance. The Arabs, now Palestinians, have tried reversing that decision ever since. This compromise wasn’t just or based on truth. Denying the Jewish people Judea and Samaria, the heartland of the Jewish homeland, was pragmatic, but it wasn’t just. The truth is that Judea and Samaria is Jewish land and justice demands it be governed by the Jewish state. In 1967, the Jewish Zionist State was attacked and in its defense against a collection of genocidal enemies, gained the entirety of their land. Justice had finally been served and truth had won the day.

Fifty two years later the Jewish people have finally summoned the courage to annex our historic land. The Americans have also agreed that the Jewish people deserve to govern Judea and Samaria, and the Pompeo Doctrine states that Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria isn’t inconsistent with international law. For this, the Israeli people and the settler community are grateful to the Trump administration. Ambassador Friedman has recently stated that America is in favor of annexation of Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria, but not until a joint Israeli-American committee irons out the differences.

Yet some caution against annexation. Some fear annexation because of expected international backlash and others warn of a future Democratic administration reversing the Pompeo Doctrine. There are some – and I strongly disagree with them – who feel annexation should never happen because it is morally flawed or will undermine the Jewish and Democratic nature of Israel. I’ve addressed those claims in an essay titled, “Jewish Democratic Israel from the River to the Sea.”

Annexation shouldn’t wait for committees, be postponed because of international backlash or fear of a future American reversal of support. Zionists have always built and expanded without fear of what others said about them. If Zionists had worried about those concerns in the past, Israel wouldn’t be the strong country it is today. Annexation should happen as soon as possible because it is just and reflects the truth of the Jewish historic connection to Judea and Samaria. As Ambassador Friedman said at the City of David in June, “The truth is the only foundation upon which peace will come to this area.”

About the Author
Rabbi Uri Pilichowski is an educator. As a teacher, author and speaker, he teaches Torah and Politics, where he specifically emphasizes rational thought and conceptual analysis.
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