Having just returned from Israel yesterday.
I want to first extend my sincere thanks to all the great Americans and Israelis that I met on this trip who came up to meet me to personally shake my hand.
This was my second visit to the modern State of Israel and it will certainly not be my last. People always ask you, “What did it feel like to be in Israel?”
For me, the response is quite simple. America is my physical homeland.
It is a Constitutional Republic in which my entire adult life has been spent under an oath to support and defend. It embodies the fundamental principles of liberty, freedom of will and conscience, and democracy.
Israel, however, is my spiritual homeland. It is a place about which I have read and studied my entire life.
It is the place where my Judeo-Christian faith heritage was born. Israel is the place that completes me as a person.
When you consider the shared values, culture, faith, and commitment to democratic principles, it is easy to understand why many believe America is not complete without Israel.
So, what did I feel while in Israel? I felt a sense of being home, especially on those mornings when I ran from our hotel to the Knesset and around the Old City walls of Jerusalem.
It was tough to not be glued to the stories about the constant rocket and missile attacks coming out of Gaza, while visiting Israel.
We arrived just days after a Thursday terrorist attack which claimed the lives of eight Israeli citizens.
We visited the borders with Lebanon and learned of the 50,000 rockets and missiles now in the arsenal of Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, all in violation of United Nations Mandate 1701.
But hardly any of that made our American news. Instead, 24/7 coverage of a 5.8 magnitude earthquake and a Tropical Storm/Category 1 Hurricane Irene.
Now, do not get me wrong, these were important events. But what I witnessed was almost “over-coverage,” while sirens were going off daily in southern Israel.
Our delegation visited the so-called “settlements” and all we found were neighborhoods and suburbs. When we went to Bethlehem to visit the birthplace of Jesus- a Jew- our group was not allowed to have our regular Jewish guides or bus drivers.
Israeli citizens are not allowed in Bethlehem or the ancient city of Jericho where the Bible teaches us that Joshua blew down the wall with trumpets.
My point is that the hypocrisy is revealing.
I believe the most important question we must begin to ask ourselves is, “What is Palestine?”
The word Palestine comes from the Roman word, Palestrina, which was first introduced to the region circa 73 AD. This was after the Romans had conquered and suppressed the Jewish rebellion and Emperor Hadrian decreed that the region would no longer be called Judea, a derivative of one of the Twelve Tribes, Judah. Instead, it would be called Palestrina, today, Palestine.
The word Palestrina was derived from the word Philistia, in other words, Philistines. However, interesting enough, the original Philistines were Greek.
After World War I and the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, the British Mandate referred to the region in this term, Palestine. And all residents, Jews and Arabs, had passports declaring them from Palestine.
The Peel Commission, the British Mandate, and the United Nations Mandate all sought to create a region where both Jew and Arab could coexist, which the Jews accepted, but the Arabs rejected.
Therefore, let us no longer operate under the misconceived notion that Palestine has anything to do with being Arab. For those who tout, “Free Palestine,”
I agree, return it back to the inhabitants who had the land taken from them back in the early 1st Century AD by the Romans.
When we walked last week through a 2,000-year-old tunnel under the ancient City of David to the Western Wall, there can be no historical or archaeological argument to refute that there has always been a nation of Israel.
It is a nation whose borders are clearly stated in the Bible, Numbers Chapter 34, a people who have a definitive bond to the land, their homeland.
So where does that take us today?
As one sits back and assesses the strategic and operational environment across the Middle East and the Maghreb, one thing becomes quite apparent.
This so-called “Arab Spring” is less about a democratic movement, than it is about the early phase of the restoration of an Islamic Caliphate, the last being the Ottoman Empire.
We are witnessing secular Muslim leaders being deposed in very volatile and unstable nations.
This growing Islamic Totalitarianism manifested in militant Islam has had a modus operand of capitalizing on unstable political situations (Iran, Afghanistan, and Somalia).
Now we see these same types of instances occurring in Egypt, Libya, and Syria and the rose-colored glasses of some seek to portray this as a great awakening of liberty. History does not support this in the Middle East.
We must evaluate these occurrences through the prism of keen strategic and operational insight which looks out 10, 20, or 30 years.
If we had done so during the deposing of the Shah of Iran, we might have been able to prevent what arose. The Iran with which we must contend today is the major exporter of Islamic totalitarianism and state sponsored terrorism.
In the midst of it all is Israel, that tiny defiant bastion of freedom, liberty, and democracy in an evolving storm. One only needs to survey a map of the Middle East, and the immediate peripheral states to see the very threatening situation.
And with that analysis, comes the resulting conclusion that Israel lacks one clear asset, and that is strategic depth for defense.
This is why any intonation of reverting to pre-1967 lines for Israel is not just ludicrous, but insane, and clearly evidences a lack of strategic security intelligence.
Slowly Israel is being surrounded on all sides: Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, an unstable Egypt and Syria, and a theocratic regime in Iran led by a 21st century “Madman.”
As well, Israel must contend with an internal infiltration. How many Americans would tolerate having some 50-100 rockets and missiles launched across its border? Then why should we expect Israel to tolerate the same?
The objective could not be any clearer to a seasoned military strategist: isolate and eliminate the modern day Jewish state of Israel.
And what is most appalling, western civilization is watching it happen, again.
It all comes back to visionary leadership. Israel has it with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, whom I had the distinguished honor of meeting.
America is so severely lacking this type of leadership, which is why the enemy is making its move now. The enemy knows that America has a Chamberlain, not a Churchill at the helm.
During our trip, we met with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad. He spoke of freedom and dignity — but what of recognition and respect of Israel? Let me be clear, I do not see a credible peace partner in the Palestinian Authority.
While we were in Israel, the PA never denounced the most recent heinous terrorist attack. There is no unity between Fatah and Hamas and therefore, no two-state solution exists.
At best it would have to be a three-state solution; Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.
The proposed United Nations unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state is nothing more than a sham, coming from an international organization which has little to no credibility, as evidenced with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) mission.
If the United Nations really wanted to do what is right, they would settle the homeland situation for the world’s largest ethnic group without a homeland, our dear friends, and the Kurdish people.
In closing, let us realize that the Muslim Brotherhood is not a college fraternity but an organization with a well-developed strategic plan.
Let us no longer operate in the realm of irrational emotionalism, but rather study and come to learn true geopolitics based upon history and fact.
There is an inextricable bond between America and Israel, and we must stop denying it or feeling ashamed about it. When we visited the Mount of the Beatitudes on the Sea of Galilee, in Matthew Chapter 5, Jesus referred to a city that sits upon a hill.
Several American Presidents have made reference to America being that “shining city that sits upon a hill.” I learned that Jews refer to going to Jerusalem as “ascending.”
And I am so grateful to now have firsthand experience running up both Knesset Hill as well as Capitol Hill, both very present beacons of liberty, freedom, and democracy amidst a sea of despots, dictators, autocrats, and theocrats.
God bless Israel, and God bless America!
Steadfast and Loyal
See more photos of my trip
Source: Rep. Allen West
Editor’s Note: You can contact Allen West Washington DC Office 1708 Longworth HOB Washington, DC 20515 ph: 202-225-3026 202-225-3026 • fax: 202-225-8398 Fort Lauderdale 6300 NE 1st Avenue – Suite 100 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309 phone: 954-202-6211 954-202-6211 • fax: 954-202-6212 West Palm Beach.