As I prepared to analyze the speech given by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the Begin-Sadat Center at Bar-Ilan University on June 14, 2009, I assumed, as most people did, that its main purpose was to respond to the recent speech given in Cairo by United States President Barak Obama. And, for all intents and purposes, it was. But, judging from the reactions from the different parties mentioned in the speech, it's also clear that many people see in it what they want. Or, perhaps, maybe it's that some people can see more clearly what its real intentions are.
As I read the speech I was surprised at much of what was said. After speaking for a few minutes on how good it could be if Israel and the Arabs could just "join hands and work together for peace", Netanyahu seemed to come out swinging. Early in the speech he made it clear that the root of the entire Israeli-Arab conflict was the refusal of the Arabs to recognize the Jewish people's right to a homeland. Netanyahu made sure it was understood that Israel's connection to the land goes back 3,500 years.
He also made it clear that although the Jews have suffered "expulsions, pogroms, blood libels and massacres" for 2,000 years, that is not the reason they have a right to create a sovereign state where it is today. Israel's right, Netanyahu pointed out, "arises from one simple fact: this is the homeland of the Jewish people, this is where our identity was forged." This particular point was made in regards to Obama's recent statement at the Buchenwald concentration camp when he falsely connected the right of the Jews to have a homeland with their suffering in the Holocaust. (Aside from the fact that Jews have had a continual presence in the Land of Israel for over 3,500 years, the current aliyah [immigration] to Israel began in the middle-to-late 1800's, a few years before the masterminds of the Holocaust were even born.)
Netanyahu went on to confront the leaders of the Palestinian Authority (PA/PLO), stating that Israel had done what it needed to do but the PA/PLO has continually violated its part in the agreements. This is true, however, all those nations pushing for peace in the Middle East always overlook these violations. Instead, they tend to focus on what Israel allegedly hasn't done.
In regards to the settlements, Netanyahu implied that Israel would continue to build in existing settlements to allow for natural growth but that there was "no intention of building new settlements or of expropriating additional land for existing settlements". In a moment of clarity, he clearly pointed out that the problem was not the settlements:
"Those who think that the continued enmity toward Israel is a product of our presence in Judea, Samaria and Gaza is confusing cause and consequence. The attacks against us began in the 1920s, escalated into a comprehensive attack in 1948 with the declaration of Israel's independence, continued with the fedayeen attacks in the 1950s, and climaxed in 1967, on the eve of the Six-Day War, in an attempt to tighten a noose around the neck of the State of Israel. All this occurred during the fifty years before a single Israeli soldier ever set foot in Judea and Samaria."
He then went on to say that withdrawal from the land was not the answer either:
"Many good people have told us that withdrawal from territories is the key to peace with the Palestinians [sic]. Well, we withdrew. But the fact is that every withdrawal was met with massive waves of terror, by suicide bombers and thousands of missiles.
We tried to withdraw with an agreement and without an agreement. We tried a partial withdrawal and a full withdrawal. In 2000 and again last year, Israel proposed an almost total withdrawal in exchange for an end to the conflict, and twice our offers were rejected.
We evacuated every last inch of the Gaza strip, we uprooted tens of settlements and evicted thousands of Israelis from their homes, and in response, we received a hail of missiles on our cities, towns and children.
The claim that territorial withdrawals will bring peace with the Palestinians, or at least advance peace, has up till now not stood the test of reality.
... Territorial withdrawals have not lessened the hatred, and to our regret, Palestinian moderates are not yet ready to say the simple words: Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, and it will stay that way."
All of this seems very bold and even a bit of "in your face" to the US. And, as I said, I was surprised at Netanyahu's boldness. But then came the bombshell. Even though he clearly stated that withdrawal from the land was pointless, it seems that Netanyahu has grabbed hold of former US President George W. Bush's demonic vision of a two state final solution:
"In my vision of peace, in this small land of ours, two peoples live freely, side-by-side, in amity and mutual respect. Each will have its own flag, its own national anthem, its own government. Neither will threaten the security or survival of the other."
In an attempt to soften the blow of his statement he went on to say:
"The territory under Palestinian control must be demilitarized with ironclad security provisions for Israel.... we must ensure that Palestinians will not be able to import missiles into their territory, to field an army, to close their airspace to us, or to make pacts with the likes of Hizb'Allah and Iran."
As most people are aware, politicians are always saying one thing and winking while they are doing it. And Netanyahu is among the best at that type of political maneuvering. When I read the part about his "vision" of ... let's call it what it really is ... an Arab terrorist state carved out of the heartland of the State of Israel, it became clear that all of the previous statements he had made in his speech were just for show, nothing else. He never meant any of it. When you consider that Barak Obama himself had called Netanyahu several times the previous week, and that the White House's reaction to the speech was overall favorable, you have to know that something is up. It's as if the entire speech was worked out in advance with the Obama administration. The earlier portions of the speech were intended to make him look good to his constituents. And unfortunately many people in Israel thought the speech was excellent.
All during his recent campaign for Prime Minister, Netanyahu said he refused to even consider the idea of a "two-state solution". (Just as he did with Hebron the last time he was elected Prime Minister.) And now, just like Bush, he is having demonic visions of two states living side by side in "amity and mutual respect". Notice that Netanyahu, always the clever guy, never once mentioned "two states", only "two peoples". But if each of the peoples have their own flag, national anthem and government, that's exactly what it is ... two independent, sovereign states.
His calls for a "demilitarized" state are really a joke. He knows that will never happen but figures that topic can be dealt with later with his own countrymen. The United States has not spent hundreds of millions of dollars and several years in arming and training a PA/PLO Arab military force just to disband it. Like all politicians, Netanyahu is all about the semantics, as is the US. They are very careful to refer to the terrorist army they are now arming and training as a "paramilitary security force".
In spite of all this, the main point here, however, is not whether he supports an Arab state with a standing army. It's about the actual creation of the state itself. It's about taking the heartland of Israel, where most of its history happened — what Netanyahu's brother died for — and giving it to a sworn enemy of Israel.
Netanyahu's choice for the location of his speech is also interesting. Bar-Ilan University is the only religious university in Israel. So, Netanyahu stands in a place that teaches the Torah of Yahweh and declares that he, not the God of Israel, will determine the borders of the Jewish state.
Netanyahu is a politician first and a Jew second. He and most of the other recent leaders of the Jewish state have nothing in common with those who worked so hard to re-establish the State of Israel:
"No Jew alive today has the authority to yield any piece of land whatsoever. This right is preserved by the Jewish people throughout the generations and cannot be forfeited under any circumstance. Even if at some given time there will be those who declare that they are relinquishing this right, they have neither the power nor the jurisdiction to negate it for future generations to come." David Ben Gurion, former Prime Minister
"It is not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them, they did not exist." Golda Meir, former Prime Minister of Israel
"It is incredible what political simpletons Jews are. They shut their eyes to one of the most elementary rules of life, that you must not 'meet halfway' those who do not want to meet you." Ze'ev (Vladimir) Jabotinsky, The Iron Wall, November 4, 1923
Netanyahu's choice for ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, has also made it clear that Israel must withdraw from Judea and Samaria. He stated this before he was even chosen for the position. Oren is currently in discussions with the US regarding the settlements. He said Wednesday that he expected the ongoing dispute between the Israeli and US governments over settlement construction in Judea and Samaria to be resolved soon. These types of talks are generally not part of an ambassador's typical job description yet this is evidently what Netanyahu selected Oren for. Michael Oren is really a henchman for the Netanyahu regime. In a recent interview regarding the US-Israeli agreement now under discussion, Oren was asked, "Will it make the settlers happy?" Oren's response: "I cannot speak in their name but I can say that the solution will be good for Israel's government and for Israel's national interests." So what Oren is clearly saying then is that he doesn't care about the 300,000+ Jews living in Judea and Samaria. He is more concerned about the politics of the government and Israel's reputation. But what about the people — the men, the women, and the children who built up the land? What about these people who follow the Torah which Oren obviously cares so little for? While he bills himself as an historian, Oren is really just a politician willing to sell out others to gain a name for himself.
Since the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza, several thousand former Jewish residents are still homeless and without jobs. Many of the young people have dropped out of school. Many people, young and old alike, have suffered severe mental distress. Even the Israeli government has said they were not prepared for this type of devastation, and many politicians who supported it now say it was a major mistake. If this is the case for 10,000+ people, what will happen when 300,000+ people are thrown out of their homes? If the Israeli government can't help the former Jewish residents of Gaza, how can they possibly imagine they could help out all these others? No other nation in the world — especially the United States — has shown any support for these relocated people from Gaza. You can be sure they won't cry one tear for the 300,000+ people thrown out of their homes in Judea and Samaria. The world, in fact, would celebrate if that day were to ever happen.
But the Jewish people have not spent the last 230+ years returning to Israel, building it up and defending it just so they could give away to a non-existent people. Fortunately, many of those people living in Judea and Samaria are willing to stand and fight for what they believe in. They saw the mistakes they made by going quietly in the Gaza pogrom. They believe the words of Yahweh, the God of Israel, who created the nation of Israel and gave them all of the land from the Mediterranean Sea to the wilderness, and from the Euphrates River to the River of Egypt. This is the whole basis of the Jewish people. Without the Land of Israel, there is no Jewish people. When they were scattered across the world, the Land of Israel laid dormant, waiting for the Jewish people to return. Even when other people lived there the Land did not respond, nothing grew; it was waiting for its rightful owners. Israel's purpose is to show the Gentile nations how to live, according to the instructions (Torah) put forth by Yahweh. This can only be done when they are living in the land the Lord gave to them. This is where they are to live, this is their "place among the nations".
"Yet say: Thus said the Lord Yahweh: I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the Land of Israel. And they shall return there, and do away with all its detestable things and all its abominations.... But as for them whose heart is set upon their detestable things and their abominations, I will repay them for their conduct—declares the Lord Yahweh." (Ezekiel 11:17-18,21)
Scripture is quite clear what will happen to those who oppose Israel's settlement policy:
"For lo! in those days and in that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will contend with them over my very own people, Israel, which they scattered among the nations, for they divided My land among themselves." (Joel 4.1-2)
"Assuredly, all who wanted to devour you shall be devoured, and every one of your foes shall go into captivity; those who despoiled you shall be despoiled, and all who pillaged you I will give up to pillage." (Jeremiah 30:16)
Even though Netanyahu promised Jerusalem will not be divided, don't hold your breath. He said the same thing about Hebron. Yet, here he is, just two and a half months in office, giving away the Land as fast as he can. Too many people put their trust in government leaders, and other people, for that matter. The Creator was very clear about who we really are: "the devisings of man's mind are evil from his youth" (genesis 8.21).
"Thus said Yahweh: Cursed is he who trusts in man, who makes mere flesh his strength, and turns his thoughts from Yahweh.... Blessed is he who trusts in Yahweh, whose trust is Yahweh alone." (Jeremiah 17:5,7)
For those of us who are Gentile supporters of Israel, let us stand and take our place beside those who will fight for the Land of Israel. Chose now who you will serve: the gods of the nations or Yahweh, the God of Israel!
"Now, therefore, revere Yahweh and serve Him with undivided loyalty; put away the gods that your forefathers served beyond the Euphrates and in Egypt, and serve Yahweh. Or, if you loath to serve Yahweh, choose this day which ones you are going to serve — the gods your forefathers served beyond the Euphrates, or those of the Amorites in whose land you are settled; but I and my household will serve Yahweh." (Joshua 24.14-15)