By Dwight Owen Schweitzer
April 1948, Tel Aviv. Israel’s new Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, announced an end to the occupation of a small portion of the State of Israel today, an occupation that has continued unabated since the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in the year 74 CE when, after suppressing the Bar Kochba rebellion, they expelled the Jewish population and renamed the land Palestine.
“Certain non-Jewish residents of the small portion of land recently returned to us have been invited to stay but apparently object to the return of sovereignty to the rightful owners. This, even though the Jewish leadership has agreed to forgo the claims of the Jewish People to the return of 80 percent of the State of Israel being given to the Arabs in the made-up state of Trans-Jordan in exchange for peace.
“Unfortunately, even a concession of such magnitude made to peacefully achieve a quick and peaceful reinstatement of Jewish control over that tiny fraction of their land being offered, which is largely desert, is apparently inadequate to insure its peaceful return”.
Did anyone ever see that story? The answer is no, because no one wrote it, not then and unfortunately, not now. Diaspora Jews had long since accepted the fiction that land stolen is land lost, when international law existing since Roman times held that “first in time is first in right,” a legal premise that has continued unchanged in almost every law book throughout the world and to this day.
Interestingly enough, our Arab brothers and sisters understood this concept only too well and so conveniently created the fiction that the Jewish people of today aren’t related by blood and genetics to those Jews expelled by the Romans so many centuries ago. These “modern” Jews sprung out of the ether sometime after the “real” Jews conveniently disappeared.
Why these “neo Jews” (my phrase) decided to take up Hebrew, the five books of Moses, the same Torah scrolls with the same rituals and historical connections of the “real” Jews is somehow left to the fertile imaginations of the creators of this rather ridiculous fiction. Of course one might pause to wonder why anyone with half a wit would choose to be Jewish at a time when Jews were not safe anywhere and particularly unsafe everywhere; a time when Jews were blamed for every possible misfortune that befell their fellow men, women and children.
So what do our founding fathers do when the remnant of their ancient homeland is, like a bone to a hungry dog, tossed to them and then made to fight for the right to keep even that? They act as if the State of Israel really was created in 1948 and that what they were given was a gift out of the goodness of a world heart that really felt bad that the Holocaust happened on their watch.
This one small act in a long and unhappy history of bad calls was the precursor of all that has befallen my ancient homeland since the day when someone should have said, “Thanks, but remember what we are giving up to get this little sliver of home.” If they had, say after the 1948 war, just said “We have the right to it all but we are willing to settle for this, just leave us alone to live with you in peace.” If they said it in 1956 or even waited until the 7th of June 1967 and reminded the world again after the Yom Kippur War in 1973 that it had always been Israel, that might have been enough.
For what we must also “never forget” is that we live in a world that defines justice as anything but the rights of the Jewish People to get back what was stolen from them. It doesn’t seem to matter whether the theft was by the Romans or the Swiss bankers or the French insurance companies, or the Germans or the Austrians or the Spaniards or the Russians and oh so many others for so long in ways too numerous to mention.
The legacy of that slight historical omission is that our Land, that holds centuries of our blood in its arid sand, is somehow not ours, and not to be reclaimed like the stolen goods of centuries since; this is the legacy of Jewish hubris and it is a legacy we will be shackled with as a millstone around our collective necks until we face the world and say Judea and Samaria are Israel and have been since before the creation of every state on the face of the earth save Egypt.
On that day, our cause shall be just, and those who accuse us of occupying our own land, those who have our blood on their hands and our gift to the world in their hearts will be made mute. The ebb and flow of history inexorably favors those whose cry for “justice” is also a cry for truth, for it is truth that is the greatest gift to be sought, fought for and achieved. The truth, so simple and explicit, is that we cannot be occupiers of our own land.