Needing to attend some seminars in Nahariya, I found myself taking the train along the Israeli coast from where we landed at Ben Gurion International Airport through Tel Aviv through Haifa and Akko on up to Nahariya. The advantage one enjoys in a train over driving is, obviously, looking around at the surrounding area. Sometimes just not needing to watch the traffic can become educational. Most people, and all those knowledgeable of matters in the Middle East, understand that should Israel surrender to the demands of much of the world, especially United States President Obama, to return to the pre 1967 Six Day War borders that the center of the country would only be a short nine miles. Many have also heard that giving the Palestinians the Judean Hills high ground would provide them with a platform for firing rockets into the heart of Israel from an area of great advantage. Despite this knowledge, very few of us, myself included, do not really put these two facts together and fully realize the full implications. My trip from the airport gave me a picture that is cemented in my mind’s eye (very different than John Kerry’s Cambodia mission seared into his memory as I did see the area I describe). So, the only question for me to answer is will I be able to impress on my readers the visual scene that struck me to my very soul. I really hope I am able to do so.
Even before the Mediterranean Sea came into view on the left side of the northbound train, one could see off a short way on the left the rising Judean Hills. The very same hills which the battles of Ruth are described in the Bible among numerous other battles the small nation of Israel has been forced to fight when attacked by neighboring peoples. The hills appear to be not all that far away from the train but extremely imposing. One can easily see the individual homes and structures built on the ridges and ledges on the sides of the hills and atop the hills. Each tree on the sides of the hills stands singularly in stark contrast. One can almost make out individual leaves and it is easy to notice the bare trunks and larger branches that make up the central spires of each tree. I was amazed at the height they commanded and the nearness they posed. I looked up the height of the area of the Judean Hills and they were approximately half a mile high. Within a few more miles approaching Haifa we could easily see the Mediterranean Sea to our left less than a half mile and maybe only a quarter of a mile at points from the tracks. Looking to the right and then the left back and forth between the two contrasting landscapes and it was astoundingly amazing how the two scenes on either side of the train could be so vastly different. One side waves riding up the beach with the froth as they break easily visible on one side contrasted with flat lands suddenly thrusting up standing overlooking the farms and homes like a proud guardian. The idea that those same hills could just as easily be the rising menacing threat to life instead of a guardian was readily obvious. Putting the two scenes together and one realized that somebody surfing those Mediterranean waves would stand out and be an easy target for a sniper with a scope. Somebody safe behind a wall could fire rockets and adjust their targeting with little to no threat to themselves but with deadly results from the foot of the hills all the way to the beach and out into the surf. The stark realities that in no sane and logical world can Israel be expected to allow any potential enemy, let alone a known terrorist enemy, to hold possession of the Judean Hills and continue to function as a nation. It was that simple and made perfectly clear with the proof right there for my eyes to see and the shock my mind realized was truly frightening in its potentials for the future.
For those who might say that all of this does not matter and that Israel is obliged to return these areas to their rightful owner, I invite them to come and see for themselves. I realize that even seeing the reality before them would likely not change their genocidal thoughts. Those who demand Israel surrender these highlands to those sworn to destroy her and to do so with a murderous rage would also be the ones likely to celebrate the carnage after it became reality and not just a cold wish in their hate filled dreams. They claim that Israel stole the areas of Judea and Samaria which they use the convenience of the term West Bank as that steals from the names their actual Jewish history that Judea and Samaria connect to these lands. They go further and claim that it was from a country named Palestine that Israel conquered and took these lands. Really? Please show me any historic proof of a war between a country named Palestine and Israel. You very easily will be able to produce evidences of war between Israel and countries such as Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon. With the smallest of additional efforts you will also include Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, and possibly even Yemen. Go really into history and you might also include such names as the Canaanites, the Midianites, the Philistines, the Babylonians, the Assyrians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Hittites, and possibly the followers of Baal. But nowhere will you find a war between Israel, or Judea or the Jewish people and a nation named Palestine. Even if one were to claim that Israel attacked Egypt and Syria without ample provocation and thus may not continue to hold on to lands they occupied resulting from that war will run into two problems. The lesser one is that Israel had responded to a recognized act of war by Egypt when the Egyptians blockaded the Straits of Tiran and since at that time Egypt and Syria were under shared leadership representing the United Arab Republic (UAR) Israeli response to the act of war committed by Egypt placed them at war with both countries as they were connected under one ruler. It was after hearing the broadcasts out of Cairo and the rest of Egypt and the broadcasts from Damascus and the rest of Syria telling of their great victories and how they were almost entering Tel Aviv that Jordan saw the war as their opportunity to partake of a great victory. Israeli leaders, including a personal plea to King Hussein of Jordan from Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, pleaded with the King of Jordan not to enter the war telling him that the reports of a great victory were untrue and simple propaganda to cover up the massive losses of land, troops and equipment the Arab armies were suffering. Choosing not to believe the Israelis and instead believing his Arab allies reports, the King threw Jordan into the war where he lost the lands of Judea and Samaria to Israel. Since Jordan was seen as an occupier of the lands by almost the entire world having only England and Pakistan recognizing Jordanian claims to the lands, Israel was seen as having liberated Judea and Samaria. When Israel and Jordan signed their peace agreement, Jordan ceded the lands of Judea and Samaria to Israel. It was years later at the urgings of Yasser Arafat that the Jordanian government changed their historical record claiming they had ceded their claims to the PLO and Arafat. So, of the countries who made war with Israel in June of 1967, Jordan most definitely declared war and attacked Israel diverting forces heading to the Egyptian front to engage the attacking Jordanian army. Who attacked who between Israel and Jordan is without doubt and historically recognized and noted without even a shred of doubt. So, no matter how much one twists the Fourth Geneva Conventions, Israel has complete and totally legal claim to all of Judea and Samaria including every inch of Jerusalem and the lands west of the Jordan River. Israeli claims are legal, justified, backed and verifiable whether you choose to use the Geneva Conventions or the Churchill White Papers which were issued when Britain formed what is today Jordan out of the Mandate Lands against all agreements and ratified treaties and numerous other agreements, treaties, and conventions established between 1900 and the 1930s. Still, the viewing of how close and the oversight of the lands of the Judean Hills was a sobering event in my life, and that is likely the important point here.
Beyond the Cusp