Monday, December 28, 2009

The Everyone Wins Peace Plan in Halacha

A common theme that a couple of the religious critics of the Everyone Wins Peace Plan have expressed is that peace plans to the right of my plan follow Halacha (Talmudic Law) and mine does not in relation to not allowing gentiles to have dominion in the Holy Land. Here is where they are mistaken according to my understanding of Talmudic Law.

Are Arabs allowed to be accepted in the Holy Land by the Jewish people?

  • 1) The Biblical injunction against allowing idolators to possess the Holy Land (Lo Techanem) only applies to adding groups and entire populations to the land, not individuals. (for more on this study tractate Avodah Zarah, Mishnah 1:8 and the Gamora 21a) So, for example, to bring this back to current events, the concept of an Arabic "right of return" to the Land of Israel would not be acceptable under this concept.

    Saving Lives (pikuach nefesh) is the more pressing concern, however, as Security realities preclude an Arabic "right of return" therefore the Arabic "right of return" is forbidden due to clear cut danger to life concerns and thus the prohibition is even more severe than the concept of Lo Techanem alone would prohibit and is absolutely forbidden under Biblical injunction.

  • 2) Maintaining current demographic ratios via a staggered naturalization process connected to Jewish immigration rates (i.e. the heart of the Everyone Wins Peace Plan) would not be Biblically prohibited.

  • 3) Any rabbinical restrictions that would be glossed over, due to the fact of the realities on the ground, and the probable leadership of a secular government in this process cannot override the fundamental command of preservation of life. Every day that true peace is delayed more lives are at risk. It would be a violation of Biblical law to even consider delaying a TRUE peace plan.

Moshiach (the Messiah) could come up with a better plan, I admit. But we are prohibited to wait until he comes for such an optimal plan due to the danger of life that would entail (unless he should show up before you finish reading this...). Since that is the case, we must run with whatever peace plan that is politically VIABLE within the context of allowing for primal halachic standards. Rabbi Kahane's plan, unfortunately, does not meet that test.

Of the currently well known peace plans, Everyone Wins allows for primal halachic standards, while showing the most concern for the indigenous Arabic population (as well as the indigenous Jewish Population) of any halachically acceptable plan.

This makes Everyone Wins the most politically liberal interpretation of halachic standards in the context of any peace plan out there.

That means that Everyone Wins' political viability is unmatched by any other halachically acceptable peace plan over the long term.

That also means that unlike a Kahane type plan, it does not require a political revolution to occur.

This way of a "politically natural" redemptive process is consistent with the concept (in Isaiah 44:22) "return to me for I have (already) redeemed you."

Thus the three main standards that would uphold halachic concerns in our search for a true peace plan would be:

a) being strong for security (and against terror),

b) allowing Judaic religious freedom in any part of the land, and

c) political viability so that the first two goals can be achieved as soon as possible.

The emphasis in religion should be on morals and ethics and it all starts with the preservation of life. That is the intent of Talmudic Law. And so may it be our collective aspiration, by the grace of God.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Regime Change of the PA Via Annexation

Were I a member of the Netanyahu Administration I would have voted against the building freeze in the territories. They are sending a confusing message of negotiating against their own position even before the PA regime returns to the negotiation table with them. This was only to placate a foreign power, not in pursuance of good policy for their people. The destructively self effacing courtship of friendship from the anti Jewish PA must cease so that Israel’s penchant for kindness and patience no longer be used against it by anyone. Fair play begins with being willing to play by the rules.

The Israeli government’s blunder, however, has a silver lining that is found in their special treatment of East Jerusalem in the face of Western linkage of East Jerusalem with Judea and Samaria. It illustrates that they believe that the State of Israel, at least potentially, has absolute authority over the lands conquered in the defensive Six Day War, otherwise how could they assume that their annexation of East Jerusalem is valid? Thus the silver lining in the dark cloud that the Netanyahu Administration performed is that they have incidentally taken a real step in disputing those who erroneously say that U.N. resolutions 242 and 338 make lands conquered in defensive wars barred from annexation by the defensive conquerors. One of the leading foundations in the conflict over the territories is this very dispute.

To briefly explain the basics of that dispute in International Law, those who argued that defensive conquest is illegal since the passage of Resolution 242 are standing upon the implicit but not explicit gist of the resolution’s wording and matters of current political expediency alone, whereas those who say defensive wars are legal means of territorial annexation cite actual historic precedents. As even an explicit law forbidding defensive conquest would only be a “customary law”, while returning strategic land to a belligerent regime would be aiding and abetting the self destruction of the innocent nation(s) who heed the implicit command of resolutions like 242, which would violate the most profound of International Norms in existence (Jus Cogens) toward their own populace. Humanity, if it is to continue to morally and ethically progress in its great journey through time, cannot bear such crimes against it.

Allow me to ask you this: A man that loves his wife does not mind if she makes a few mistakes here and there. A man that hates his wife does not tolerate any wrong that she does unless he depends on her for something, whether that is for his continued prestige, care of his children, avoiding the loss of his fortune to divorce expense or the like. So what does Abbas have that makes the Netanyahu Administration desire to put up with him?

If Abbas leaves, there is fear that Hamas would take over? How can they not if every time there is an election Hamas gains more and more strength? But that is not Israel’s concern. The Arab people subjugated by the PA voted for their terrorist leaders rather than less offensive third party candidates like Hanan Ashrawi’s party. Now third party alternatives will likely never again gain the attention of the Palestinian press thus solidifying the hold of the current terroristic PA configuration in perpetuity for as long as the PA will exist. You owe such voters nothing from a foreign policy aspect. Thus when forming your policy towards Palestinian Arabs only humanitarian concerns should be considered in relation to their dire political plight and bleak future if the PA should remain their masters, God forbid.

Standard regime change cannot fix this problem. The regime once removed would likely be replaced by a worse regime. So what you have then is essentially an entire national entity lost to the prospect of achieving true peace through negotiation. Therefore negotiation itself has been made a mockery and even an impediment toward the pursuit of actual regional peace by the will of the Palestinian voters themselves as interpreted by their petty and corrupt leaders. Acknowledge that as long as you hope for the PA to change, there is no hope.

Consider that if you annex only small portions of the West Bank, you abandon thousands of good Arab people within the PA to an endless reign of despotic rulers. It would not be compassionate to ignore their plight. Abraham asked God to spare an entire evil city if only ten good people could be found in it. Many thousands of Arabs voted against Hamas. Do they all deserve abandonment?

Let’s put the answer out there plainly. Do not replace Abbas, remove him and his whole regime entirely. Annex the territories and bring democracy and peace simultaneously to the Israelis and Arabs living there. If demographic concerns still haunt, then a plan like the Everyone Wins Peace Plan can treat that even in the context of such a massive annexation by way of a staggered naturalization process. Either way, you could then have true peace and liberty for all, by the grace of God.