by Jerrold L. Sobel
For those old enough to remember, in 1971 Paul Revere and the Raiders hit the music charts with a number 1 song, “Cherokee Nation,” (the Lament of the Cherokee People.) It’s a poignant song dealing with the disbursement of the Cherokee people from their native lands originally in the Southeastern United States; Georgia, Tennessee, the Carolinas, and re-located to reservations out west mainly in Oklahoma.
At the behest of white settlers seeking the tribe’s ancient homeland for growing cotton upon, these misfortunate native Americans were ruthlessly evicted. In the hope of retaining some of the land, the Cherokees attempted to appease the federal government by signing away 22 million acres of land, but it was to no avail. Between 1814 to 1824, then President, Andrew Jackson, a major proponent of Indian removal, signed and abrogated 9 treaties with not only the Cherokees, but the Chicasaw, Creek, and Choctaw nations as well. Rubber stamping this outrageous injustice, the Supreme Court in 1823 ruled that these tribes could exist in the United States, but could not hold title to the land. Most of you are probably starting to see where I’m going with this.
Fast forward 187 years and once again an American president seeks to formulate a treaty to usurp the ancient homeland of another tribe, the Jews; also giving similar assurance, that they too will be allowed to live in peace if only they as well give up title to their land. Most disturbingly now as then, in hope of placating the great father in Washington, the Jewish Chief, Netanyahu is actually contemplating the following:
Over the past two weeks reports have been widely circulated that Israel and the Americans have been holding secret negotiations over an ill conceived American idea which calls for the Jewish State to lease back land in east Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley from what supposedly will be a new Palestinian state.
Wow, there’s an idea for you. Israel, a militarily powerful nation, that has fought and won four major wars with the Arabs should unilaterally give up title to her ancient capital and her historical ownership of the Jordan Valley, so vital to her defense and then lease it back for 40-99 years. If I could find one, I’d love to get some feedback on this one from a Cherokee or Creek indian. If these reports are true, you have to wonder what in the world could be going through Prime Minister Netanyahu’s head by not immediately dismissing this craziness out of hand? By even allowing such an idea becoming a topic of conversation he’s giving credence to an absurdity which surely would become the death knell of the Jewish State. If this insanity is permitted to move forward, Israelis and Diaspora Jews throughout the world should not blame Obama; by now only the willfully blind fail to recognize where he stands on Israel, but what’s Netanyahu’s motivation?
If there truly is a heaven, and I believe there is, the likes of Levi Eshkol, Moshe Dayan, and Golda Meir must be staring down in disbelief. Where does Netanyahu have the right or the mandate to bargain away not only ancient Jewish land owned by our matriarchs and patriarchs but generations of Jews yet to be born. Playing devil’s advocate, what supposedly would happen after 40, 70, or 99 years when the lease expires? Would whatever Jews left be placed on a reservation by their Palestinian masters?
If this harebrained idea has traction, and after Oslo I believe anything is possible, the Jewish people have far more to worry about the Americans and the present Israeli government than they do the Palestinians or the entire Arab world for that matter. If ever a diplomatic change in direction is needed, it’s now. Successive pusillanimous Israeli governments have taken Israel down a slippery trail leading to this moment. In a quixotic quest for acceptance and peace, these myopic Prime Ministers have instead emboldened Israel’s enemies and have grossly weakened her in the eyes of both her adversaries and the world at large. Few can doubt, each non-reciprocal concession made by the Israeli’s over the past 20 years has only upped the ante for additional accedence. Without exception, every magnanimous Israeli gesture has been met with recalcitrance by the Arabs and unrelenting coercion by American negotiators, particularly those in this Administration. This failure of Israeli leadership to “just say no” has brought Israel to such a nadir that in some quarters it’s become legitimate to speak of her becoming delegitimized by the world and renters within her own land. How can this suicidal trend be reversed?
For starters, it has become prudent to thank the present American delegation for its diplomatic effort but immediately send them packing back to the United States with the reminder that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, not a settlement and a strong Israel with defensible borders is in the interest of America as well as Israel. Likewise, similar to an individual, a nation has a right to change course in life when it sees itself going down hill, which Israel surely is. More to the point, the Oslo Accords must immediately be repudiated.
On October 8th, Yitzchak Rabin’s daughter, Dalia, made the following statement. “Many people who were close to father told me that on the eve of the murder he considered stopping the Oslo process because of the terror that was running rampant in the streets and that Arafat wasn’t delivering the goods. Father after all wasn’t a blind man running forward without thought. I don’t rule out the possibility that he considered also doing a reverse on our side.” Whether this is a daughter’s attempt at revisionist history to clear her father’s name from the disaster which Oslo turned out to be or if there is credence to what she says is immaterial. What is certain, based upon his last speech to the Knesset on October 5, 1995:
Rabin ruled out a fully sovereign Palestinian state.
He ruled out a total withdrawal from Judea and Samaria and a return to the June 4, 1967 borders.
He ruled out withdrawing from the Jordan Valley.
He was against uprooting settlements from Gaza.
He ruled out dismantling any settlements prior to a full peace with the Palestinians.
He insisted Israel retain full security control of the borders with Egypt and Jordan such as the Philadelphia corridor along the Egyptian border where today Hamas does much of its weapon smuggling.
It’s incomprehensible. If Rabin was able to see the error of his ways just prior to his unfortunate demise, why haven’t subsequent Israeli administrations been able to do likewise? By what quirk of foolish leadership has Israel descended from vanquishing the PLO to Tunisia following the first Lebanese War to discussing leasing her ancestral land back from these terrorists.
It’s time; it’s been time, it’s been time for a long time, for Israel to reverse course and go back to the days when her leadership truly acted in the interest of her own security and no longer allow American Presidents such as Carter, Clinton, and the one presently in the White House to arrogantly dictate and cajole her into policies which mean nothing to them but ultimately will lead to the destruction of the Jewish State. For Israel to survive the fate which awaited the Cherokee nation in 1823 and Czechoslovakia in 1938, she must once again elect leadership that can stand down not only the pressures placed upon her by the Arabs and their dhimmi supporters in Europe but American leaders concerned with their own legacies and whose importance will soon be forgotten but whose consequences will profoundly effect her survival.
PM Rabin’s speech to the Knesset; Oct. 5, 1995