Gershon Mesika, the head of the Shomron Regional Authority, spoke recently to the EU Parliament in Brussels. His talk focused on the importance of Shomron (Samaria) to Israel.
The speech, which is shown here, includes the following:
“In the course of the First World War and immediately after it, the victorious powers made a series of decisions that culminated in the historic decision in 1922 by the League of Nations, to establish a national home for the Jewish people in the Land of Israel. It is interesting and important to look at the words used in the mandate that was given to Britain to implement this project.
“Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine, and to the grounds for reconstituting their National Home in that country…”
The justification that the League of Nations gave as the grounds for establishing the Jewish national home in the Land of Israel was the historical connection between the nation and the Land. What caused this? It was the power of the Bible and the Jewish insistence on maintaining the connection to the Land of Israel.
“In 1945, with the establishment of the United Nations after World War II, the organization’s founding charter included the recognition of the Jewish people’s legal rights to the Land of Israel as eternal ones that cannot be revoked without the consent of the Jewish people.”
“Article 80, known as the “Land of Israel article,” determines that “nothing in the Charter shall be construed . . . to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or peoples or the terms of existing international instruments.” In other words, the continued legal rights of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel are anchored in the binding UN Charter. These include the rights of the Jewish people to Judea and Samaria, which the UN has no right to take away from it.”
We hear the word “occupation” repeatedly. From whom, exactly, did the state of Israel take the land in order to occupy it?
After the establishment of the state of Israel, the Kingdom of Jordan conquered the area of Judea and Samaria. Except Britain and Pakistan, no one in the world recognized Jordanian ownership of these territories. This was an illegal occupation of the area that the occupying power called “the West Bank of the Jordan.”
This occupied territory served for years as a base for launching terror attacks, and for repeated firing on and shelling of Jewish population centers on the coastal plain, which is completely controlled by the Samaria mountains. In 1967, the surrounding countries again tried to annihilate us. To realize what danger we were facing, one needs only to look through the newspapers from that time to see the threats of murder and destruction, the sickening cries – “We will throw the Jews into the sea,” “The men are for the sea and the women are for us” – and the Nazi caricatures, this time with Arabic captions.
But this time we won a decisive victory and took back our heartland.
Before Israel regained them, Judea and Samaria were under illegal Jordanian occupation. That was preceded by the British Mandate, which by definition was intended for transferring the Land to the Jews. The British were preceded by the Turks who gave up the land, along with the rest of their empire, in the 1923 Lausanne Accord.
All of the western Land of Israel, including Judea and Samaria or the Shomron, is a tiny strip of land. A glance at the map of the Middle East shows an Arab Muslim ocean that starts next to the Atlantic Ocean in the west and ends on the border with India. Inside this territory, Israel is so small that on maps, its name is usually written in the Mediterranean Sea.
“Israel is a small David facing a large and menacing Goliath who threatens it with destruction every single day, and means it, and prepares for it. Israeli control of the mountains prevents this. Handing over this territory to the enemy means suicide.”
“The Shomron is the cradle of the birth of the Jewish People. It is a vital strategic component for the existence of the state of Israel, which measures 70 kilometers in width from the sea to the Jordan River, of which 55 kilometers are in Shomron.”
Mesika’s talk emphasises the historical and current right to the land, as well as its importance in Israel’s security. He provides a good comparison that Israel is so small that it’s name is often written in maps in the Mediterranean Sea (bringing its own reminder of the previously expressed Arab desire to see Israel in the sea) The “David and Goliath” analogy is an important one that Mesika takes back for Israel – this analogy has more recently been exploited in the reverse way for Israel and the Palestinians. One alternate analogy is to consider a ship versus an iceberg, where the small Palestinian tip of the iceberg hides a major negative force against Israel.