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Why Palestinians Prefer Israeli Sovereignty

Judea & Samaria's 50th anniversary is a time to end the Palestinian Authority's occupation of Israeli land.

26.3.17, 14:41 | sniperjo | 39 reads
I was honored to host a panel discussion this month at the 4th annual Sovereignty Conference hosted by the Women for Israel's Tomorrow (Women in Green) headed by Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katzover.
 
The session was entitled "Minorities in favor of Israeli sovereignty," and it featured several senior Arab leaders, including Sheikh Abu Khalil Al-Tamimi from Hebron, Hajj Ashraf Jabari from Hebron, Mr. Jonathan Elkhoury from Lebanon and Ms. Anett Haskia from Akko among others. The following are my remarks at the opening of the session: 
 
In 1996, when the Hebron Accords were being discussed, I was approached by many delegations from Hebron's Arab community -- the trade union, the industrialists and a delegation of sheikhs -- and they begged for one thing. They said, please don't bring upon us this calamity. Please don't bring the Palestinian Authority. They knew exactly who they were dealing with.     
 
Unfortunately, their pleas were not heard, and the Israeli government transferred control of Hebron, like the other cities of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, to the PLO which became the PA. Today, after more than 2,000 Israelis have been killed in terrorist attacks and tens of thousands of wounded, we see that the Palestinian Authority has become a dangerous enemy in the international political arena and one of the leading forces in incitement and terrorism.
 
The 1993 Oslo Accords that created the PA did not just neglect certain parts of our Jewish homeland and security, it neglected the Arabs too. We neglected our Arab allies who suffered from the PLO as well. 
 
The years 1994 - 1996 suffered from horrific terrorism, just as the abandonment of our Arab Christian allies in Southern Lebanon in 2000 brought about a heavy price. Our punishment was the Second Intifada of 2001 - 2003.
 
Israel's past government administrations neglected the human rights of the Arab residents and abandoned them to the terrorist gangs of the PLO. I remember that awful, cynical slogan from the 1990's, "The Palestinian Authority will do a better job at overcoming Hamas than Israel, and it will do it without the High Court and without B'Tselem."

Our courageous friends who came here are Arab leaders -- both Muslim and Christian -- who have arrived here to say that the best way for them and their people is Israeli sovereignty. They are authentic leaders, not corrupt politicians or members of imported organizations. They are not here just to promote their interests but to promote their communities as leaders of their clans and towns. We promise our friends, we will not betray you. We do not neglect our allies and we do not neglect our brethren.
 
 
The cynical remnant of the old administration continues to try to delude us. But today it is clear to everyone today that it is impossible to divide this small area into two states for two peoples. It is impossible to deport half a million Jews or two million Arabs. It is clear to everyone that a withdrawal from Judea and Samaria will bring millions of refugees from Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq causing havoc both for security, and ecology. This would include a pathway for ISIS to infiltrate into the suburbs of Tel Aviv or to Ben-Gurion international airport.
 
We need to look reality in the face and take responsibility, and this Jubilee year of the liberation of Judea and Samaria is the year to do so.
 
Sovereignty means responsibility -- responsibility for the land and for everything in it, including, of course, for the human beings. Human beings deserve human rights, and these will be granted to them with sovereignty. Residency does not mean citizenship and we will not force citizenship. Those seeking citizenship will have to prove that they deserve it. We are talking about human rights and residency rights, including health care, water, education, employment and more. 
 
Our approach is the only realistic approach. It turned out that we were right all along. Israel's past governments made a mistake. The Oslo Accords were misleading, unjust, and immoral. The Land of Israel is one unit, geographically and historically, with minorities deserving respect and rights, with the exception of the right to fight against or seek to dismantle the state. 
 
It's about security, it's about morality, it's about justice, and, God willing, it's also about peace. 
 
This article was translated from Hebrew. Read the original here.
 
Noam Arnon is the spokesperson for the Jewish Community of Hebron and is a long-time resident.
 
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