At a recent meeting of the Likud party, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced that he had been in consultation with the White House regarding Israel’s proposed plan to annex the West Bank.
President Donald Trump responded immediately and called it a blatant lie. He insisted that there had never been consultations on the question of annexation of territories between Israel and the White House.
Caught in a lie, Netanyahu, red-faced, had to back-track to defend his earlier statement, now indicating that what he meant was that Israel and the United States president were discussing a number of issues.
But his lie offended the American president who stated that he was not convinced that Israel really wants peace. Nor, he said, do the Palestinians show any interest in moving towards peace negotiations.
The question of the legitimacy of annexing the West Bank, historic biblical Judea and Samaria is complex. Looking at it from purely the historic point of view, the “occupied” territories belong only to Israel. The cities of Nablus (Shechem) and Al-Khalil (Hebron) are the original areas of Jewish habitation since the conquest of Jericho and neighboring towns under Joshua’s leadership.
Jewish history begins on the West Bank of the Jordan River. It was always considered Jewish territory under the 1917 Balfour Declaration, ratified by the League of Nations at San Remo in 1922.
The territories of the West Bank were lost to the Israelis in the 1948 war of independence. Joyfully, they were recovered following Israel’s historic victory in the 1967 war, but never accepted by the Palestinians who lived on the West Bank lands.
The idea of Greater Israel was born and hundreds of thousands of Israelis moved into new settlements and built homes and cities surrounded by Palestinians. For decades, the Arabs have committed all kinds of acts of terrorism against the Jews, including shootings, stabbings, and death by car ramming.
The current proposal to annex the territories and to incorporate them into the State of Israel is neither unreal nor unreasonable. Palestinians who choose to remain there will be offered the rights of Israeli citizenship. If they refuse, they may become legal temporary residents.
But because of our ancient historical connection to the cities of Judea and Samaria over a period of three thousand years we must turn to the statement made by Theodor Herzl in 1903… “if you will it, it is no dream”.
Looking at annexation in the past, one needs to recall American history. In 1845 there was a conflict between the United States and Mexico over the border line with Texas. The Mexicans regarded the River Nuances as the border, whereas the Americans recognized the Rio Grande. The American president, James Polk, used the dispute as a pretext for the American annexation of the Mexican state of Texas in 1845.
Thus began the infamous Mexican-American War of 1846-1848. The Mexican general, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the conqueror of the Alamo in 1836, fought bravely with his troops, ultimately being defeated by the American forces.
As a result, Mexico lost much of its territory and ceded to the Americans 1,300,000 square kilometers which included the Mexican states of New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, California, Texas and western Colorado.
The peace between the United States and Mexico was signed on February 2, 1848 as the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
America became enriched in territory; Mexico became more impoverished.
There is a similarity between annexation and conquest of territory. The American-Mexican conflict was political. The conflict of the West Bank is historical. Israel has every legitimate right to claim the territory as belonging to Israel. The Bible is our lawyer and judge. The case for us is clear and it is the road to redemption for the land of our patriarchs and forefathers.
America and most of the world may not agree with us. It matters very little to us. Today the nations of the world raise voices in protest.
Their voices were silent from 1939-1945 when six million of our people were slaughtered. The decision to restore our ancient lands to our modern country awaits the courage of our legislators.
“V’im lo achshav, aimatai?” And if not now….when?