Why Republicans Must Take the Lead on Israel: A Postscript

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On July 24, I posted a piece — “Why Republicans Must Take the Lead on Israel” — on FrontPage.

Its thesis, in brief: In January, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu appointed the Levy Committee – headed by Edmund Levy, retired Supreme Court Justice, and including another retired judge and a lawyer who is an expert on international law – and charged them with considering the legal status of  “unauthorized settlements” in Judea and Samaria.

The findings of that committee, which labored long and hard in its research, have now been released.  It found that (emphasis added):

  • According to international law, Israelis have a legal right to settle all of Judea and Samaria, at the very least the lands that Israel controls under agreements with the Palestinian Authority [area C under the Oslo Accords].
  • “[F]rom an international law perspective, the laws of ‘occupation’ do not apply to the unique historic and legal circumstances surrounding Israel’s decades-long presence in Judea and Samaria.”
  • “Likewise, the Fourth Geneva Convention [relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War] on the transfer of populations does not apply, and wasn’t intended to apply to communities such as those established by Israel in Judea and Samaria.”

The committee made several recommendations, but neither its findings nor those recommendations are binding on the government of Israel.  Prime Minister Netanyahu has submitted the Report to his Ministerial Committee on Settlements, but at present there has been no policy established with regard to the Committee findings.

Now, the prime minister may in due course accept those findings.  Or, feeling interna­tional political constraints, he may decide to simply table the issue.

My suggestion was that – in light of the clear evidence that the Palestinians do not really intend to negotiate a “two state solution” and the growing nationalist movement inside of Israel – it might be time for the Republicans to accept the major finding of the Levy Committee and acknowledge the right of Jews to settle in Judea and Samaria.

While recognizing that this would not be a politically correct move, I suggested that an election year, when new policies and platforms are drafted, might be the appropriate time to act on this.

Not surprisingly, I have received a good deal of private communication regarding my proposal.  Most was supportive. But I also received communication that expressed an enormous unease with what I was suggesting.  What was interesting was that these apprehensive messages did not come from persons opposed to the notion of Israel’s rights in Judea and Samaria.

Rather, they were written by people who are on board with a nationalist agenda, but who fear that what I was suggesting would backfire: It would be understood, they maintained, as a bid to encourage the Republican Party to pressure the Israeli prime minister with regard to Israeli policy.

I am thoroughly convinced that this reading is incorrect and that the reverse is actually true. And so I have returned to my computer to draft this postscript to my original piece:

I begin by noting that the prime minister himself had appointed and charged the Levy Committee. In no way was I coming out of left field; I had simply suggested that the Republicans embrace the findings of Netanyahu’s own committee. In point of fact, the two members of the Knesset whom I mentioned by name as leaders of efforts to promote the findings of the Levy Report—Danny Danon and Tzipi Hotovely—are themselves members of Netanyahu’s party, Likud.

But there is something even more basic than this.  I had not proposed that Republicans endorse the annexation by Israel of all of Judea and Samaria or even Area C.  I had not suggested that the Republicans reject all possibility of negotiations with the PA, or declare the “two state solution” dead.

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  • WilliamJamesWard

    The very idea that Netanyahu would make decisions that were not in the best interests of Israel
    is indicative of shock created by interminable denial by the Palestinians of absolutey anything
    Israel does that suggests it is alive and well. The hammering of denial of Israel has created a
    psychosis freezing the blood of Israeli politicians that are not leftist and suicide exhultants.
    There are no borders that will be safe for Israelis if Palestinians, Hamas, Hezbollah or any
    Islamist horde sits on waiting for the chance to strike, no international aprobrium strong enough
    to stay the murderers hands. The only thing that will give safety to Israel is the one state solution
    and borders that are empty of all but nature and God's blue sky, Israel must expand and show
    the way against intransigent evil. Repblicans should take up Israels cause because it is right.
    Lets see if the Republicans can take up the right and honorable action, it will ring true with
    the majority of American voters who are sick to death with the catering to murdering thugs.

  • WildJew

    Arlene, last week you wrote: "Prime Minister Netanyahu may well not be at the forefront of this process. There is in fact good reason to assume he will not be, for he is bound by a number of constraints. For example: a primary concern of his, with valid reason, is the nuclear advancement of Iran. His interest in securing the cooperation of the U.S. in dealing with Iran may make it necessary for him to continue to assume the politically correct “two-state” stance…."

    Today you write: "Now, the prime minister may in due course accept those (Levy's) findings. Or, feeling interna­tional political constraints, he may decide to simply table the issue…."

    Tabling the Levy report is not acceptable. Pressure should be brought to bear on the prime minister by his supporters to adopt the Levy Committee findings. On July 29th Mitt Romney sat down to an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

    Blitzer asked Romney: "Do you consider Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel?"

    Romney: "Yes of course, a nation has the capacity to choose its own capital city and Jerusalem is Israel's capital."

    Clearly Governor Romney is following Netanyahu's lead on Jerusalem because the prime minister has made it abundantly clear time and again, Jerusalem is Israel's eternal (undivided) capital.

    Likewise in the December 10, 2011 Iowa debate, Romney said: "….the United States of America should not jump ahead of Bibi Netanyahu and say something that makes it more difficult for him to– to do his job…"

    That is why it is incumbent on Prime Minister Netanyahu to take the lead and adopt the Levy Committee report thereby either forcing the Republicans' hand at the upcoming convention or provide Romney the necessary impetus to ask that the platform writing committee alter Republican party policy which since 2004 calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state in Israel's heartland.

    Steve Klein

  • WildJew

    As to Prime Minister Netanyahu's interest in securing the cooperation of the U.S. in dealing with Iran, that does not appear to be a concern presently, at least in the lead-up to the election:

    Obama team panics, forks over new Iran sanctions

    By Jennifer Rubin

    Contrary to liberal political pundits’ talking point of the day (Romney’s trip: Bad!), at least the Israel portion of the trip was so successful, and the embarrassment to President Obama so great (from the Israeli prime minister’s statement that sanctions haven’t worked and from Mitt Romney’s willingness to declare Jerusalem the capital), that the Obama team Tuesday rushed out what it has strenuously refused to present for seven months, namely more Iran sanctions. By executive order Obama agreed to sanction two financial institutions and make one of the Iranian financial work-arounds sanctionable…."


    • Kufar Dawg

      These "sanctions" are a waste of time. They're just a political dog and pony show to make the zero and his regime look like they're doing something. There was an article recently right here on FPM that exposed the fact there are so many exceptions to the sanctions on a worldwide basis they're pointless.

    • Shoshana Rubin

      Thanks for Rubin's article!

  • Bert

    Only those Intellectuals with difficulty seeing truth, justice and reality are agonizing over finding a solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. The solution is to acknowledge and to state the simple truth: Jordan is already Palestine with a large majority of her population being Palestinians. Let all the Palestinians in Judea Samaria, Gaza and even inside Israel go and join their fellow Palestinians in Jordan which is three times the size of israel. The ONLY reason to object is not technical difficulties but rather that such a solution removes the pretext for the destruction of Israel.

  • κατεργάζομαι

    ….."The land of Israel belongs to God, and He has decided to give it to the Jewish nation,
    in accordance with the covenant sealed on Mount Sinai, a covenant that no other nation
    was willing to undertake. After a long exile, we've returned home. We bear no malice toward anyone
    and seek no harm to anyone. But we will not surrender any portion of our land to foreign powers,
    and if foreigners rise up against us to destroy us, we will fight against them and,
    with God's help, we will destroy them."

    ~ Martin Wasserman

  • κατεργάζομαι

    ~ "The Bible declares that God determined to keep His chosen people separated to Himself (Exodus 33:16; Leviticus 20:26; etc.) because He would bring them back into their land in the last days (Jeremiah 30:10; 31:8-12; Ezekiel 36:24, 35-38; etc.) prior to Messiah’s second coming.

    "That prophecy and promise, so long awaited, was fulfilled in the rebirth of Israel in her Promised Land in 1948, nearly 1900 years after the final diaspora at the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD by the Roman armies of Titus.

    "This restoration of a nation after 25 centuries is utterly astonishing, a phenomenon without parallel in the history of any other peoples and inexplicable by any natural means, much less by chance”

    ~ Dave Hunt, A Cup of Trembling, Harvest House, 1995, p. 102.

  • Schlomotion

    Ms. Kushner is at pain to convert the Republican Party of the United States into an Israel-First organization resembling World Likud that reflects their ambitions and not the needs of the United States. Her rhetorical fallback position is a demand "that the Republicans recognize that the Jews of Israel have rights." That is an obnoxious position to take as firstly, that issue is not in dispute, and secondly, she is lying by being overbroad and general. She wants precise and specific violations of our and of international law to be endorsed by the Republican Party. Her weaseling will not stand.

  • Ghostwriter

    You're not fooling anyone with your Jew hatred,Schlockmotion. You hate Jews and want them dead. End of story.

  • Shoshana Rubin

    Arlene, just as it is not up to America if and when Israel strikes Iran, it is not up to the US to offer recognition of an essentually one-state solution, which I endorse, and it means that citizens of Israel will be able to settle in more of Judea, Samaria and all of Jerusalem, our forever capital.

    Why should we Jews expect a Republican policy of the one state solution when the majority of Jewish Americans, who are ignorant of this issue due to the the left's propaganda and intimidation, are for the two state solution?

    I am so tired of Obama blaming Israel for everything under the sun and the moon, I would be thrilled if the Republicans led by Romney, began pressuring the Palestinians.

    • WilliamJamesWard

      When consiering a Palestinian State and reflecting that the ledership steals all of the
      millions donated by the Nations including America and then keep the majority of
      their people in abject poverty, it is a criminally outrageous condition. The Palestinian
      leadership should be forced out and reality let in so that improvement in living
      conditions may improve relationships but this can never happen with demented
      Islamist intrangency forcing and impossible life on their slaves. Israel must take
      the high road and moral position which if the Republicans do not accept it will
      shout to the high heavens they are and have been false, otherwise things may
      come to be as is necessary and a Romney Administration backing Israel.