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The Opportunity of the Century

by Sondra Baras
February 4, 2020

Last week, President Trump stood with Prime Minister Netanyahu in the White House and announced to the world his “Deal of the Century.”  Describing his vision “From Peace to Prosperity,” Trump changed the paradigm for Middle East Peace Processes.  For years, Israel has been pressured, blamed and delegitimized for daring to claim its historical homeland.  The vocabulary of the discussion has been one-sided.  Israel has been called an occupier, and the heartland of Biblical Israel, including the very place where the Land of Israel was first promised to Abraham and his descendants by G-d, was considered illegally-occupied Palestine.

Even Israeli leaders have traditionally been reluctant to press the claim to this vital area of the Land of Israel.  Israel has rarely put forth a vision for permanent possession of Judea and Samaria.  And, indeed, the right was often, legitimately, accused of rejecting plans proposed by the left without putting forth comprehensive plans of their own.

About ten years ago, under the leadership of a few visionaries, people began discussing sovereignty.  While the settlement movement and its supporters had always advocated permanent Israeli control over all of Judea and Samaria, we couldn’t quite figure out how to handle the large Arab population that lived in these areas.  Most of us were terrified at the thought of granting citizenship to what was and remains a population largely hostile to Israel.  When the conversation turned to sovereignty, however, creative individuals began to develop new ideas.

Naftali Bennett, the head of the Yemina Party and the Minister of Defense in Israel’s interim government, put forth a plan a number of years ago calling upon Israel to annex Area C in a staged fashion, the area that remained in exclusive Israeli control after Oslo and where all Jewish communities and their access roads are located.  This was in contrast to Binyamin Netanyahu who continued to support a two-state solution, albeit redefining the state so as to resemble more of an autonomy than a state.  Netanyahu’s lip-service to a two-state solution, however, provided an excuse for sovereignty detractors to point to the right-wing prime minister as a supporter of a Palestinian State.  Clarity was indeed in short supply.

While the US has long been a friend of Israel, most American presidents have supported the creation of a Palestinian State.  President George Bush and President Barak Obama, exerted enormous pressure on Israel to withdraw from Judea and Samaria.  Obama forced Israel to freeze construction in Judea and Samaria for nearly a year and then engineered UN Security Council Resolution 2334  calling “settlements” a flagrant violation of International Law.

And then came President Trump.  He moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem, retreated from the Iran deal, stopped US payments to the Palestinian Authority, recognized Israel’s sovereignty on the Golan Heights and announced that the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria were not illegal.

Trump’s vision, as announced last week, states firmly that Israel has historical and Biblical rights to Judea and Samaria. While recognizing the notion of a Palestinian State, statehood in this context is totally redefined.  The Palestinians will not have security control over their territories nor will they ever be entitled to establish a military.  Their borders and airspace will be controlled by Israel.  In essence, this “state” is really just an autonomy, that will enable the Palestinians to govern themselves and control their own civilian lives but without posing a threat to Israel.

But most importantly, the Palestinians will only be given the right to establish a this redefined state if they agree to a detailed list of criteria, including the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state with a united Jerusalem as its capital and the renunciation and effective eradication of Arab terrorism, incitement to violence and international activity against Israel.  And this is the greatest paradigm shiftIsrael will no longer be expected to withdraw or surrender its assets as a gesture towards the Palestinians. It is the Palestinians who will now be expected to change their behavior and accept principles that are essential for peaceful living in this region.

Can or will the Palestinians do this?  Can the leopard change his spots?  (Jeremiah 13:23)  If they do, there may well be a chance for peace.  But everything we have experienced over the past 100 years and the immediate Palestinian response to Trump’s plan points to their continued hostility to Israel and a total rejection of this plan.

And that leaves us with the opportunity of the century.  Trump explicitly recognized Israel’s right to annex the areas that include Jewish communities.  Does the plan include risks?  Of course!  But it also includes opportunities.  The question remains whether Israel will seize these opportunities, quickly, before the tide begins to turn.  As Israel faces its third election in a year, it is by no means clear whether the next government will support broad Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria.  And it is not clear whether President Trump, facing his own re-election will still be president one  year from now.

US Administration officials are speaking in two voices — those who are urging Israel to act immediately and those who are counseling patience.  But there is no time to lose.  Israel must annex the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria now.  We have been granted the opportunity of a lifetime.  We dare not let it pass us by.

If you are an American, please contact your political leaders and urge them to support Israeli annexation today.  If you are a citizen of any other country, please contact your leaders and urge them to support the Trump vision.  But most importantly, pray. Pray that our leaders and yours have the courage to do the right thing.

Comments

John Lockwood

Date: 5 Feb, 2020

We will do so Sondra

Oved Zucker

Date: 5 Feb, 2020

Exactly.

Indira Arulsamy

Date: 5 Feb, 2020

I support President Donald Trump’s deal of the Century from peace to prosperity. I urge you to support The Trump Vision Thank you so much

Linda Woerman

Date: 5 Feb, 2020

Dear Sondra and Settlement Supporters, I stand with you for complete Israeli annexation and control over Judea and Samaria. My Washington State Senators and Representative are on my Speed Dial and will hear from me this week in support of this opportunity . I pray you will see the demilitarization of all Palestinian settlements and may the Gaza Strip be restored to Israel. May your leadership move quickly now. May Israeli settlements continue to grow exponentially. We are so grateful for the progress CFOIC has worked so hard for all these years. You give meaning to "Hazak, Hazak, v'nit'chazek!" Shalom ????????????

John Somerville

Date: 5 Feb, 2020

DEAR SONDRA, OUTSTANDING ARTICLE. YOU'VE FIRED ME UP. WE HAVE DONE SEVERAL RADIO PROGRAMS ON THE PLAN AND I WILL BE UNASHAMEDLY STEALING YOUR IDEAS TOMORROW. YOU ARE THE BEST. G-D BLESS YOU ABUNDANTLY AND KEEP UP THAT CLEVELAND HEIGHTS FIRE. JOHN

Chris & Suzanne Atkins

Date: 5 Feb, 2020

We wholeheartedly support all initiatives & nations which recognise the right for the state of modern day Israel to exist & to proclaim the Land as it’s rightful & historical homeland.

Bettina Schulz

Date: 5 Feb, 2020

Thanks so much, Sondra, for your clear voice! I'm the same opinion that Israel should act now immediately before the elections. I'm reminded that Ben Gurion in 1948 acted also promptly to create the Jewish State and America wanted him to wait! If he would have waited ... I'm not sure about the creation of the Jewish State! So Israel should act now!! It's still and will remain for ever Adonai's chosen Land For His people!!

Bouwman

Date: 5 Feb, 2020

Jozua 1: 9

Karel Orlik

Date: 5 Feb, 2020

Thank God that my country, along with Austria, Italy and Hungary, has blocked the EU pokes to condemn the Trump´s Deal...

hal

Date: 5 Feb, 2020

very insightful comments!!! take advantage of the opportunity...

Hilton William Prinsloo

Date: 5 Feb, 2020

I support the initiative whole heartily. These areas are the ancient areas of Israel. Hilton

Will Best

Date: 5 Feb, 2020

Sondra, thanks for your clarification of these actions by Trump. Having been to Israel in 1994 and 2014, I have heard both sides of the issue. In 1994, I was on a United Church of Christ trip and heard only the Palestinian side, and in 2014, the Israeli view. Unfortunately, the UCC has in my view, uncritically adopted the Palestinian view of things wthout examination all the facts. My angle of support comes with two reasons. 1. Over the span of warring human history it has been the practice of winning sides in a conflict to occupy and often annex areas it fairly won in battle. In a war, not caused by Israel, it regained territory promised it by the original UN mandate. So for me, Israel has simply followed what has been the age-old practice in history. 2. However, Biblical history shows God has promised this land to Israel and at the present time, has provided both the will and means for His people to take Him up on the promise. All of this at great risk, but did not the original promise also involve great risk and continued vigilance when Joshua crossed over? So I support the movement on these grounds and others and see the present day as a time when God's favor rests upon His people to fulfill the promise. I do pray continually for the peace of Jerusalem, and the protection of Israel. Thanks for your insights into all of this.

Esther Brumit

Date: 5 Feb, 2020

I’m with you. The time to act is now.

Ruth Parker

Date: 5 Feb, 2020

My representatives in the US Congress are Nancy Pelosi and Diane Feinstein, I would contact them if I thought there was a snowball's chance in hell they would listen to me. Is there someething else I can do?

Kathryn C Durfee

Date: 5 Feb, 2020

So glad to read most of this. I of course plan to vote for Mr. T and continue to admire his courage in the face of so much hate. If he ends up losing, then I strongly suspect he will be the last POTUS for whom I'll ever be able to vote.

Jan B Shampaner

Date: 10 Feb, 2020

My New York legislators are useless democrats, so consumed by anger and even hatred of our President that they are blind to anything else. But, although I acknowledge Mr. President's imperfections, he is our duly-elected President and has my support, 100% for his efforts regarding Yisra'el and her sovereignty issues. UN mandate is superseded by El Elyon's totally encompassing will! When will man get it straight, eh? Praying always for the Shalom of Yisra'el v' Yerushalayim - ever on my tongue...

Carolyn McCurry

Date: 17 Feb, 2020

Praying for this peace plan and that Pres. Trump will remain in office for the next 4 years.

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