Some follow-up points on the RNC resolution I reported on here.
First, I think it’s clear that the RNC absolutely has no idea what they actually said. They do not understand the implications of their resolution and that it would mean either the end of Israel as a Jewish state or would necessitate the mass expulsion of Palestinians from the West Bank.
Second, several readers, at this site and in other places, have raised the issue of whether one of the “whereas” clauses mitigates the call for a single state. That clause reads:
“WHEREAS, the Nation of Israel declared its independent control and governance of said lands on May 14, 1948, with the goal of re-establishing their God-given lands as a homeland for the Jewish people; ”
The clause refers to Israel’s declaration of independence and sovereignty, but it bears no relation to any piece of land. On that date, there were no lines drawn. What would become the Green Line was not in existence in any sense–the Green Line is the line drawn by the armistice declared in 1949 (various agreements were signed with neighboring countries from February to July of that year to end the fighting).
On May 14, 1948, the Yishuv (which would become Israel the next day) did not have control of the Upper Galilee, or large portions of the Negev, but did have control of areas of the West bank which it would soon lose.
In short, that date is meaningless in terms of limiting the amount of land being referred to. The Yishuv/Israeli leadership was still seeking ways to maximize the territory under its control, as is well documented, and certainly cannot be argued to refer to anything that remotely corresponds to Israel’s recognized borders today.
Moreover, the enormous flood of biblical references belies any such limits. One of the things that fuels the extremism of religious Zionism today is the fact that the real cradle of Jewish history, as viewed through a biblical lens, is the West Bank. It’s not Haifa or Tel Aviv; it’s Khevron (Hebron), Shechem (Nablus), Jericho and East Jerusalem.
And the RNC itself makes it clear that the “whereas” clause in question does not limit Israel to the Green Line. The “resolved” clause that is so controversial states:
“… recognizing that Israel is neither an attacking force nor an occupier of the lands of others; and that peace can be afforded the region only through a united Israel governed under one law for all people.”
Israel is not occupying Palestinian lands, according to the RNC and peace can only come with a united Israel. Well, there is no question of dis-uniting Israel within the Green Line, so what can they possibly be referring to?
No, try as one might, there is no question that this is a call for Israeli annexation of the West Bank. The text leaves no room for any other interpretation. Indeed, the particular passage from Leviticus that they cite in this context, and which was quoted by Mik Moore in comments on my post earlier, shows that they envision absorbing the Palestinians on the land, not realizing that this will mean Jews will become a minority in Israel as a result. It refers to laws governing non-Jews in Israel.
And, I’ll reiterate, the citing of Israel’s declaration of independence in no way limits the land being referred to. Israeli forces at that time were still reaching well into the West Bank, and important chunks of what would soon become Israel were still under Palestinian control on May 14, 1948.
Of course, the RNC does not understand what they are advocating. But they do understand that they are advocating Israeli control of the West Bank–they simply don’t realize what that implies. In reality, if they were actually able to pursue this as policy, they would not back off the Israeli control of the land; they would more likely advocate for the expulsion of the bulk of the Palestinians because God gave the land to the Jews.
There simply is no reasonable reading of this text that can come to any conclusion other than the RNC calling for Israel’s permanent and full control of the West Bank. A “united Israel” is meant to stand in contrast with dividing the holy land between Israel and the Palestinians.
ONE MORE UPDATE: It should be noted that this resolution, which was brought by South Carolina’s representative to the RNC’s national meeting, is a virtual clone of one that South Carolina’s GOP passed last year. You can see a report on that here. The SC resolution can be seen here.