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With a petition for Palestinian statehood presented before the United Nations last week, the issue of the disputed right to the land of Israel seems to many to be on the verge of an historic, if unsatisfying and controversial, resolution. But Dr. Arieh Eldad, a Member of Knesset and chairman of the Jewish nationalist Hatikva party, insists that the root of the issue is not territorial, and thus any peace plan based on the concept of dividing the land is destined for failure.
In his pamphlet titled simply “Jordan is Palestine,” Eldad writes
Dividing the land of Israel west of the Jordan into two states – Israel and a Palestinian state – has become the only political plan accepted for international and domestic (Israeli) discourse. This, despite dozens of failures in trying to implement it during the past ninety years. Every failed attempt has been accompanied by bloody conflict and/or war.
Recently Eldad – also chief medical officer and senior commander of the Israel Defense Forces Medical Corps and a Brigadier-General in the IDF (Reserves) – expressed his iconoclastic opinions in a speech at Temple Ner Maarav in Encino, northwest of Los Angeles. Also entitled “Jordan is Palestine,” his presentation put forth what he calls the “simple truth” that the Jews, and not the Arabs, have an historic right to the land of Israel. “I’m all for ending the occupation,” he said. “We must end the occupation. Of course, I’m referring to the Muslim occupation of the land of Israel, starting in the seventh century.”
So yes, there is certainly a territorial component to the problem, Eldad acknowledges. But, he explained, falling back on a medical analogy that reflects his profession, “We have misdiagnosed the conflict. It is a religious war. It’s a clash of ideologies. It’s not a territorial conflict.”
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