Ze'ev B. Begin
The 1949 armistice demarcation lines did not reflect morality or historical affinity, but only the limited ability of the newly born State of Israel to defend itself against the invading Arab armies, aimed at smothering the baby Jewish state in its cradle. Thus, assigning a measure of diplomatic holiness to the 1949 "Green lines", as many do, means sanctifying brute force.
Hence, the liberation of Jerusalem, Samaria and Judea in June 1967 was an act of justice: the return of the Jews to their actual roots, to the area to which they have a natural, historical, inalienable right. Two political conclusions directly ensue from this simple truth: (a) no foreign sovereignty should be allowed west of the Jordan River, and (b) Israeli governments should enable Jews to implement their right to establish communities in their homeland, including in Samaria and Judea.
But if this view prevails, ask good people, what about the prospects for peace between Israel and its immediate Arab neighbors? The only logical explanation for the PLO rejection of previous Israeli far-reaching concessions is the Arab deep hostility to the very existence of a Jewish state anywhere in Palestine. PLO leader Mahmoud Abass stated at the United Nations General Assembly (Sept. 21, 2016): "One hundred years have passed since the notorious Balfour Declaration, by which Britain gave, without any right, authority or consent from anyone, the land of Palestine to another people. This paved the road for the Nakba of the Palestinian people and their dispossession and displacement from their land." Recently (May 15th, 2017) he reiterated this same position in a speech in India.
Hence, from the PLO point of view, a permanent agreement that, by their consent, will anchor Israel eternally in a part of Palestine, an agreement that will include a quota on the realization of "the return of refugees to their homes," cannot also include the essential clause declaring "termination of all mutual claims". Therefore, the PLO is not able to sign a permanent peace agreement with any Israeli government.
Fifty years elapsed since we have reunited with parts of our ancient homeland, and despite all difficulties we have gone from strength to strength. Since Israel's future does not hinge on our neighbors' ill will, its optimism for a bright future is well based.
In 1922, when the League of Nations mandated Palestine to Britain, it adopted the Balfour Declaration while adding an important sentence: "Whereas recognition has been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country." As is well known, the original Jewish national home, to be re-constituted, was centered mainly in Jerusalem and on the hills north and south of it, in the hilly regions well known as Samaria and Judea. These were the hills that our forefathers walked, that our kings ruled, where our priests served and from which our prophets defined new moral values.
Ze'ev Binyamin Begin is a current member of the Knesset for the Likud party, and is the son of former Prime Minister of Israel Menachem Begin. MK Begin is also an Israeli geologist. He studied geology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and completed his doctorate in geology at Colorado State University in 1978. He was first elected to the Knesset in 1988 as a Likud MK; and served as Minister of Science (1996-1997) and Minister without Portfolio (2009-2013).