Judea and Samaria Will Outlive Us All
In approximately eighteen months, Barack Obama may well be a lame duck limping to January.
During the same period, more thousands of Jews will continue being added to the population of Judea and Samaria. Since 1967, several powerful world leaders who worked to oust Israel from Judea and Samaria have passed away. During that same period, the Jewish population of Judea and Samaria, including the areas of East Jerusalem liberated in June 1967, has grown to 558,000 -- 230,000 in Greater East Jerusalem and 328,000 throughout the rest of Yesha.
Yitzchak Rabin had an Oslo plan to withdraw from Judea and Samaria, but he was tragically assassinated before it could be advanced. Shimon Peres, Rabin's Labor Party successor, thereupon entered as Israeli prime minister with a higher than 90% poll rating and assured everyone that he would complete the vision of withdrawing. Yet an outbreak of Arab bus bombings wiped out Peres's support, whereupon he lost office to Binyamin Netanyahu. After Bibi compromised on Hebron at the Wye Conference, his stellar polls suddenly plummeted, and he was ousted by Ehud Barak.
Barak proceeded to withdraw unilaterally from South Lebanon, creating a vacuum soon filled by Hezbollah, and then to work with Bill Clinton to prepare a complete withdrawal from virtually all of Judea and Samaria. Inexplicably, Arafat turned him down, started an Intifada, and Barak lost the government to Ariel Sharon in a landslide. Sharon soon shifted course ideologically; formed the new Kadimah party; unilaterally withdrew from Gaza, creating a vacuum soon filled by Hamas; and then turned his attention to withdrawing from Judea and Samaria. Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, he sustained a massive stroke that has left him comatose for years.
Ehud Olmert followed Barak with the promise to withdraw from Judea and Samaria. Then Hezbollah terrorists started a war, and Olmert's miscalculations and failures, augmented by the incompetence of a defense minister with no qualifications other than being a socialist union organizer who rose to head the Labor Party, obliterated his authority. Stymied by the scandal of war, Olmert was consumed and further driven from office by financial scandals. Tzipi Livni, the last Kadimah prime minister, was voted out rapidly. And now Netanyahu again.
During that same period since 1967, Richard Nixon presented the Rogers Plan. Nixon has passed on, and Rogers has passed. Gerald Ford and Henry Kissinger tried imposing the "Reassessment Plan." Ford is gone, Kissinger irrelevant. Jimmy Carter has done everything imaginable through a lifetime to advance the cause of Hamas and Fatah sovereignty. Yet, as president, he pushed Israel until he unexpectedly was overwhelmed by 19% inflation, Iranian hostages, a botched rescue mission, and Soviet progression on three continents.
Israel enjoyed some respite during the Reagan years, with her concerns sympathetically grasped by Secretaries of State Alexander Haig and George Shultz. Then George H.W. Bush came in, reached 90% popularity with the Desert Storm and the war in Kuwait, turned his attention to pressing Israel with James Baker as a decidedly unfriendly secretary of state, and even condemned American Jews for lobbying in Washington for Israel. Somehow, his poll numbers disappeared overnight as the economy upended. Bill Clinton came in, made Arafat the most frequent invitee to the White House, and pressed Israel to cede Judea and Samaria -- and yet he saw everything fizzle as Arafat rejected the offers. The Clinton White House soon became consumed with its own survival as repeated scandals began erupting like unquelled acne.
George W. Bush came in, supported Israel initially as no president ever had, and enjoyed stellar poll numbers, even expanding his party's leads in the first bi-elections and then winning reelection. As he turned during his second term to pressing Israel, under his "Road Map" to cede Judea and Samaria, Hurricane Katrina hit, and the American economy, led by bursting housing and banking bubbles, subsequently collapsed overnight, eradicating his poll numbers and devastating his party.
And now Barack Obama. Obama came in with excellent poll numbers, rapidly moved towards pressing Israel to halt all construction in Judea and Samaria, and heaped the onus for Mideast problems on Israel, even traveling and genuflecting throughout the Arab world on an Apology Tour centered on a speech in Egypt. His efforts radicalized the expectations of Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah because Abbas had to be at least as extreme as the American president. And Obama's gigantic poll numbers flattened in the face of pressing for an Obamacare whose details we would learn only after it was passed, even as James Cameron could not help Obama solve an oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The GOP's victories in November set records.
As pressure from the Obama administration to withdraw has intensified against Israel, signaling to Israel's foes that historic diplomatic backing from America is not reliable, the economy has failed to respond to "stimulus." Now it's petering out again under the weight of oil at $100 a barrel, receding housing starts, joblessness stuck at 9 percent, and the Mississippi cresting. Natural disasters already have led to rising commodities futures, and the elected leadership refuses to open ANWR to drill here and drill now, intensifying the Obama economic calamity as he tilts at green windmills.
Obama's entire Mideast speech, including forgiving Egypt's billions of loan dollars, was crafted around his intent to squeeze Israel back to suicidal 1967 borders. If Washington only will listen respectfully to the Arab world, from Hamas to Mahmoud Abbas, the message could not be more clear: there will be no negotiated peace with Israel. First, Israel must divide her capital city. Then she must agree to be overrun by three million aliens seeking to supplant her. And she still will have no right to exist within the geographical Orbit of Islam. As we saw on Sunday, "Nakba Day" (The Day of Catastrophe) in the Arab mind is not the day in June 1967 that Israel liberated Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, but instead the day in May 1948 when Israel breathed her way into existence.
All the talk about demilitarizing and assuring (even guaranteeing) that weapons will not infiltrate into such an Arab Judea-Samaria is made ridiculous by the massive rearming of Hezbollah in South Lebanon (under the noses of United Nations forces that were supposed to prevent it) and the rearming of Hamas in Gaza since the Goldstone War. The unification of Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah with Hamas solidifies an outward posture that parallels the unmistakable refusal to abide alongside a Jewish country.
But in the end, it does not matter. Sixty years after Hitler, no Israeli government is going to uproot nearly 600,000 Jews in the land where they themselves live. It is fantasy. If the past half-century has taught anything, it has taught that the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria will outlive all of us, including those now abiding in the White House.
Dov Fischer, adjunct professor of law at Loyola Law School, is a columnist for several online magazines and is rabbi of Young Israel of Orange County. He blogs at rabbidov.com.