There is no room for niceties. We must tell it as it is.
It has been a while since I have had to write about a terrorist murder, but this fact makes it no easier.
Esther Horgan, 52, was a mother of six and a grandmother; her youngest child had celebrated his bar mitzvah just three months ago. Esther had gone out for one of her much-loved nature jogs, and was reported missing on Sunday afternoon by her husband, Binyamin, when she did not return. A search ensued with more and more people joining through the night.
She was found Monday morning in the Sheked (Reihan) Forest, just outside the Shomron (Samaria) community of Tel Menashe, where the Horgan family lives. It was obvious that she had suffered violence.
Elazar Roth, head of the Tel Menashe first response team, described Esther as “a woman full of life, full of light,” and “a woman who gave a great deal to the community and those around her. She was very family-oriented. She was a pillar of strength for her family.”
Roth described Tel Menashe and the surrounding area as “peaceful and beautiful…People are used to going out at all hours night and day for physical activity, nature hikes, and to meet people from nearby towns.”
While the police, the IDF and Shin Bet are investigating whether this was a terror attack, the Regional Council of the Shomron has been forthright in declaring that this is what it was.
Said Council head Yossi Dagan: “A dear woman so full of kindness, goes out in the center of the State of Israel to exercise a minute away from her home, and is murdered by vile people in such a cruel way. I ask ‘what barbarians, like in the Middle Ages, what cruelty to hack the face of a 52-year-old woman with a rock in cold-blood? What evil are we facing?‘” (Emphasis added)
Esther was laid to rest this morning.
Before the funeral, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) said:
“He murdered her with monstrous cruelty not because she did anything to him, rather simply because she was Jewish.”
We cannot forget this, ever. And indeed, must ask what evil we are facing.
The message: Now is a time when Israel must show maximum strength.
For four years President Trump, bless him, set a tone that was a corrective with regard to the Palestinian Authority. He took no nonsense from them and showed scant patience with their obstructionist behavior. Thus was US funding to the PA cut, the US Embassy moved to Jerusalem, the PLO office in Washington closed, etc. etc.
Now, with the possibility (shudder!) of a Biden-Harris administration imminent the mood in the air has already shifted. We are seeing more talk about that thoroughly delegitimized “two-state solution,” with declarations about it being the only way to bring “peace” to the Middle East.
Those who make such pronouncements are so oblivious that they have failed to notice that since Israel’s normalization agreements with the UAE, Bahrain, and Sudan, we are closer to peace than ever.
Last week, in what the rabbi of the Kotel referred to as a Chanukah Miracle, a delegation of Arabs from the UAE and Bahrain participated in a Chanukah ceremony at the Kotel.
And the Sephardi Chief Rabbi, Yitzhak Yosef, traveled to Dubai.
Who would have imagined all of this? Trump, who says more deals are coming, taught the world that peace did not depend upon Palestinian Arabs. And now those leaning to the left are behaving as if all the progress that has been made never happened.
The desire of those on the left, and some in the center, to champion the PA continues to bewilder. Over a period of decades, the Palestinian Arabs were the biggest recipients of international aid per capita in the world, yet they constantly cry poverty because of graft and the fact that they spend their money on terrorism and not development. They are not held responsible for their own situation and are perpetually seen as victims (a myth they perpetuate eagerly).
Although they have contributed nothing to the betterment of the world, their supporters continue to speak out for their right to a state – a state that encompasses all of Judaea and Samaria. The evidence is solid that, at best, it would be a failed state.
I think it is necessary, then, for me to make the case, briefly, once again, for Israeli’s rights in the Land, and against the establishment of a Palestinian state.
There are legal arguments:
- The Mandate for Palestine of 1922, which was indisputably grounded in international law, allocated all of Palestine to the Jews as a homeland. It was unanimously passed by the League of Nations in 1922. When the UN succeeded the League, Article 80 of its Charter preserved intact all the rights granted to Jews under the League’s Mandate for Palestine.
- Uti possidetis juris, a doctrine of customary international law, provides that emerging states presumptively inherit their pre-independence administrative boundaries. Thus have Judaea and Samaria been part of Israeli territory since Israel’s founding in 1948. The fact that Jordan seized this area illegally in the course of the War of Independence did not change the underlying reality.
- UN Security Council Resolution 242, passed after Israel had liberated Judaea and Samaria from that illegal Jordanian occupation in 1967, did not call for Israel’s withdrawal from all territories that had been taken. In fact, Judaea and Samaria (aka the West Bank) is not specifically referred to at all; the only reference is to “territories occupied in the recent conflict [the Six Day War].” Those territories included the Sinai, which Israel returned to Egypt. There is not even obliquely a reference in Resolution 242 to “Palestinian people” or “Palestinian territory.”
And historical arguments:
- The Palestinian Liberation Organization was founded in Cairo via the initiative of the Arab League, not Palestinian Arabs. Its first chairman was an Egyptian, Ahmed Shukeiri. (Yasser Arafat, who took over later was also from Egypt!) The founding took place in 1964, before Israel had taken Judaea and Samaria. What was to be “liberated”? Israel within the Green Line; that is, the goal was Israel’s destruction.
Even though the purported purpose of the PLO after 1967 was liberation of Judaea and Samaria, that original goal still stood.
- After the Yom Kippur War in 1973, the PLO recognized that it would not be able to defeat Israel in one blow. Thus was the “Strategy of Stages” established. While still endorsing terrorism, it now also sanctioned diplomatic relations that advanced the final PLO goal. Any territory acquired by the PLO via diplomatic means would be used to weaken Israel, and as a launching ground for attacks.
The goal was, and remains, the destruction of Israel.
- To this day, the PA is firmly wedded to terrorism. This is evident from the absolute refusal of PA President Mahmoud Abbas to withdraw support provided to terrorists in prison, the veneration of terrorists via naming streets and schools after them, lessons in PA school books and more.
With regard to the “pay-for-slay” payments by the PA to terrorists, very recently Palestinian Media Watch caught Qadri Abu Bakr, director of the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, bragging in an interview on official Palestinian Authority TV that:
“We are attempting … to absorb all the released prisoners so there will be no released prisoner who receives his salary as a released prisoner. No. [Instead] he is an employee like all the [public] employees.”
Deception is a routine element of PA practices.
Additionally, messages from the PA to their own people are rife with incitement. On December 3, on PA TV there was a program that featured a song that included these lyrics:
I’m coming towards you, my enemy, from every house, neighborhood and street
I’m coming with my rifle and my faith, I’m coming towards you, my enemy
What must be reinforced at this juncture is that any appearance of weakness on the part of Israel encourages Palestinian Arab violence. This runs counter to the Western notion that compromise and conciliation improve the situation. But it is the hard reality. If the PA begins to think it has the upper hand, violence will increase. This has happened time and again.
The Knesset is going to disperse tomorrow, triggering elections three months hence on March 23. This came as a bit of surprise because last minute negotiations regarding legislation to postpone the deadline for the budget had been held between Likud and Blue & White; Netanyahu thought he had it nailed. Efforts failed because in the end three Blue & White MKs – Asaf Zamir, Ram Shefa and Miki Haimovich – and one Likud MK – Michal Shir – voted against it.
Right after the vote, Shir, who entered the Knesset last year and is solidly right wing-nationalist, announced her intention of leaving Likud and joining Gideon Sa’ar’s party, New Hope.
MK Sharren Haskel (Likud) did not show to cast a vote on the budget issue. Indications are that she will also be leaving Likud to join Sa’ar.
Hmm… Do we see the beginning of a trend here?
My biggest concern with what Sa’ar has done is that it divides the votes of those who are solidly right-wing and anti-Netanyahu between himself and Naftali Bennett (head of Yamina). Bennett at this point has declared intention to replace Netanyahu.
As to the fact that we are going into elections, I confess to ambivalence. That the unity government did not function and demonstrated no unity is obvious. Sure enough, it will be a relief to see it gone. And that Gantz soon will no longer be Defense Minister and Associate Prime Minister is a welcome prospect.
Just days ago, in an interview with a Saudi paper he said that, “Jerusalem must stay united, but it will have place for a Palestinian capital.” (Emphasis added) This was in the context of saying he wants the Palestinian Arabs to be part of the peace process, he wants to reach a settlement with them.
We desperately need a strong, committed right wing government.
My greatest regret regarding the dispersal of the Knesset has to do with the fact that there was not time to pass legislation legalizing some 65 small settlements in Judaea & Samaria that are not yet official.
I do not anticipate doing another posting before Christmas. And so I now extend wishes for much peace and joy to my Christian friends.