Editor's Note: This column was coauthored by Bob Morrison.
Dani Dayan is an Israeli envoy who visited Washington recently. He came as a representative of the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria.
Dani Dayan wants to open up a dialog with Americans, both at the official level and at the grassroots level. He says Israel’s settlers are “here to stay.” Most Americans have not been to Judea and Samaria and are therefore not familiar with its geography, resources, and topography. The Judean hills are crucial for strategic reasons.
If Judea and Samaria should ever be given up to the Arabs by any imposed Mideast peace settlement, Jerusalem and the Coastal Plain would be in jeopardy -- this includes Tel Aviv.
Dani Dayan represents communities that number some 160,000 today. They increase daily because families live there and because Israel continues to draw immigrants from around the world. Sadly, some of these immigrants are coming from European cities where anti-Semitism is on the rise again.
It’s interesting, too, to see a representative who actually represents. Israel, surrounded on every side by enemies in the past, has never had a day without representative government. It is the Mideast’s only democracy.
Contrast this with the election of Mahmoud Abbas. He was voted in only once as the leader of what Westerners agreed to call the Palestinian Authority. Abbas rules the Fatah faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
Dedicated to the destruction of Israel from its founding in 1967, the PLO until 1988 was listed by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization. PLO founder Yasser Arafat practically invented airline hijacking for terror purposes. Palestinians carried out the murder of U.S. Ambassador Cleo Noel in Khartoum in 1973. All that was supposed to change in 1988.
But the PLO has never removed the destruction of Israel from its charter, and all maps they publish show the region from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea with no Israel at all.
When Hamas won the elections in Gaza, a brief civil war with Abbas’s Fatah broke out. Hamas won. Since then, Abbas does not dare to hold an election in the areas over which he claims to have authority.
He knows he would lose to Hamas. He has repeatedly postponed scheduled elections in the region. And he is embracing Hamas.