The Internal Normalization of Judea and Samaria

Nearly 400 rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza this week. 

  • The Samaria Regional Council prepared to receive residents of Israel’s south if they needed to evacuate.
  • Ben Gurion Airport diverted some planes to fly over Samaria to ensure their safely.
  • The European Union decided to finalize a decision to label all products from Judea and Samaria as “made in Israeli settlements”. 

In a surprising twist of events, Hamas was not responsible for the rockets fired this week, nor were they involved. In response to Israel taking out a mid-level terrorist leader in Gaza, a group called the Islamic Jihad began to retaliate by firing rockets into Israel’s south and coastal region. For a short time, areas as far as Tel Aviv closed schools, and thousands of civilians were living in fear of running to the nearest shelter as soon as the Red Alert sirens sounded. From Tuesday to Thursday (Nov 12th-14th), nearly 400 rockets were fired, with several direct hits to houses and roads. Miraculously, no Israelis were killed.

By Thursday, Israel managed to broker a ceasefire, and since then, things have been relatively quiet, with Gaza managing to only fire a few rockets in breach of the agreement.

In a move similar to his predecessor a few years ago, Yossi Dagan, chairman of the Samaria Regional Council, prepared to receive thousands of residents of the south if needed. On Tuesday morning, Dagan informed the Home Front Command Major General Tamir Yedai that the Samaria Regional Council, together with their communities, were preparing for the absorption of thousands of citizens from the southern region, Shfela and the Center if needed. Harboring citizens in the heartland has several advantages: 

  • Samaria is centrally located to most parts of Israel.
  • Samarian communities are dispersed, and there are few densely populated areas, which is where the rockets are typically aimed.
  • There are Arab villages sprinkled all throughout the Samaria communities, which makes them much less of a target, since Gaza would not intentionally aim rockets at their own people. 

In another ironic twist, the people located in central Samaria this week began to see commercial planes flying overhead, and it was not difficult to figure out that Ben Gurion airport re-routed their flight patterns to enter and exit the country on routes that were farther away from Gaza. While rockets rained down in southern Israel and along the coast, flights to and from Ben Gurion flew over the Mount of Blessing on their way to and from Tel Aviv.

Whilst Samaria was one of the quietest places in Israel during the latest round of violence in Israel, the world has continued their fight to delegitimize Israel’s right to the heartland. The European Union decided to finalize their decision to force labeling of all products coming from East Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and the Golan Heights as such. 

The EU has shown its true colors by attempting to delegitimize Israel and their right to their ancestral homelands. They are even disregarding the United States recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and their sovereignty on the Golan Heights. Here’s the facts: 

  • The United States has recognized and stood with Israel regarding their right to Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. 
  • The U.S. has stated that they are no longer using the term “two state solution” when working on the peace plan for the Middle East.
  • In Israel, there are more than 700,000 Jews living in East Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. 
  • Israel is doing more to help the Palestinian people than their own government. 

So, when violence breaks out in Israel, the so-called “West Bank” is the safest place to be. Israel’s greatest ally, the United States, is supporting Israel’s right to peace, security, and settlement in much (if not all) of their historic and rightful land. The Jewish people are settling and thriving in Judea and Samaria, and another EU boycott will not inhibit them. 

The fight is not over. We cannot let our guard down, as much of the world is still against Israel’s right to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria (and the Golan Heights in some cases). However, like it or not, the biblical heartland of Israel is slowly but surely becoming normal to Israel and the rest of the world. The more people that come here and stand with the heartland each year, the faster the world will recognize this fact. 

Keep standing with all of Israel. 

About the author

Luke Hilton is the Director of Marketing for HaYovel, an organization that brings Christians to Judea and Samaria, the Biblical Heartland of Israel, to serve the land and people in volunteer service. Luke has been speaking about Israel since 2011, and has traveled extensively in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia speaking about Israel. He currently co-hosts The Israel Guys Youtube channel and podcast. Luke is based in Israel with his lovely wife Olivia and their five beautiful children.

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