Since the Six Day War in 1967, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Shlita, has unceasingly expressed his opposition to surrendering any of the liberated territories. During the Camp David negotiations he reiterated his views and brilliantly negated all of the arguments for concessions. Despite these efforts the Camp David accords were effectuated.

The ultimate “peace treaty” which emerged was worthless, and the signatories themselves knew that there was really nothing to rely on.

At the present time the people in power in Eretz Yisroel must garner a clear lesson from the past experiences not to fall into the trap of negotiating with terrorists or offering to return any land. Eretz Yisroel belongs to the Jewish people and we cannot and must not give up any land.

This essay is adapted from a sicha delivered by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Shlita, on Shabbos Chayei Sarah, 5746. May we direct the readers’ attention to earlier publications of the Rebbe’s Sichos on this topic: “Eretz Yisroel — An Analysis of the Camp David Peace Process,” “Peace for the Galilee,” (Sichos In English vol. 14) and “Travesty of Justice” (Sichos In English vol. 16).

The “Megillas Taanis” relates,

On the 25th of MarCheshvan the compact of the settlements of Shomron (Samaria) was formed.

It goes on to explain that when the returnees from the first exile returned to Eretz Yisroel they approached the “Gentile settlement and they were rejected,” they then settled near the Sea of Busti and, built a walled city. Many Jewish settlements sprang up in the surrounding area and they were called the “blessed cities.”

The lesson for us from this “historical footnote” is obvious. When Jews settle they must raise a “walled city,” physical walls as well as spiritual protection. This will bring many more satellite settlements and then they will be called by the name, “blessed cities.”

Which gives us a clear directive for our times concerning the areas of Yehudah and Shomron (Judea and Samaria).

In this generation we have been privileged by G‑d to reclaim and resettle the liberated areas of Yehudah and Shomron. Our conduct now should follow the example of making a “compact of the settlements of Shomron,” by building “walled, fortified cities” around which many satellite suburbs and villages will sprout up. This approach will lead to the greatest blessings.

A Shameful Misadventure

The shocking reality is that the people who have been given the power of decision in Eretz Yisroel are chasing after murderers and terrorists, trying to find favor in their eyes, to convince them to take away tracts of Yehudah and Shomron! Not only is this actually happening — but it is being pursued in a shameful and denigrating manner, openly and with much fanfare.

This attitude of shameful fawning and obsequiousness to the gentiles never before existed, even in the lands of the diaspora. In Eretz Yisroel itself so disgraceful an approach was certainly never previously followed. To deal with terrorists!?

Day and night the political leaders of Eretz Yisroel proclaim that they are ready for “joint rule” and “trusteeship,” or even “autonomy.” It appears that their sole intention is just to be able to sit down at a round table together with the terrorists!

What will result is common knowledge. When dealing with murderers and terrorists, even after the agreements are signed they will be of no value — just a “scrap of paper.” When you sit down to negotiations with a murderer who holds a dagger in his hand it does not take long before you are stabbed in the back.

What makes this almost ludicrous (if it weren’t so tragic) is that there are still those who argue that we stand now in the Messianic period!

Learning from past mistakes — Camp David

What is most astonishing is that they have not taken a lesson from their past mistakes. This is not the first time the concept of “land for peace” has come up. The precedent was set with the signing of the tragic “Camp David Accords,” when we returned everything to Egypt for their signature on a worthless peace treaty. Today everyone admits that it was a grave and tragic mistake! Despite this clear guidepost, the political leaders today tread the same path regarding Yehudah and Shomron.

It would be worthwhile to stop for a moment to recall some of the noteworthy results which followed that peace treaty with Egypt; perhaps it will open some eyes to see the potential outcome of such acts.

Jews who toiled, worked and sweated to build new settlements in Eretz Yisroel were driven from their homes and property en masse — men, women and children.

Soldiers who normally sacrifice their lives to protect the Holy Land and its inhabitants were forced to dislodge other Jews from their homes and possessions.

For what? To give those tracts of land to gentiles — to Egyptians! Mitzrayim was the source of all later exiles (see Midrash Bereishis 16:5). The diaspora of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome were all rooted in the exile of Egypt.

Giving away parts of Eretz Yisroel, which the Holy One blessed be He bequeathed to the whole Jewish Nation — from the time of Mount Sinai till the generation of Mashiach, as an eternal legacy — is bad enough. But the travesty was compounded manifold, because delivering these strategic areas to Egypt comprised a direct and serious threat to the wellbeing of 3 million Jews who live in our Holy Land!

And the Oil Fields!?

During the period that the Sinai Peninsula was under the control of Eretz Yisroel after 1967, Jewish labor, toil and money were invested in developing the Sinai oil wells. This included monies that were donated by Jews all over the world, during “Kol Nidrei” appeals! There are, in fact, several wealthy Jewish investors who still have claims against the government of Eretz Yisroel for not honoring their personal investments, when they returned the oil fields to Egypt.

Think about this.

Petroleum is one of the most important natural resources for the existence and security of Eretz Yisroel. We speak here first of all of civilian needs, from a purely economic standpoint and infinitely moreso when we speak strategically —for the weapons of defense. And yet, this foreboding folly was accompanied by “ceremonies of celebration.”

What did they get in return for Sinai and its oil fields? A signature on a peace treaty. Both the signatories and the intermediary knew very well how little can be relied on the faithfulness of the signatures — today we see the practical results.

What really took place may now be told

During the negotiations at Camp David detailed reports of the agendas and protocols of the proceedings were brought to my attention. Realizing what was happening I expressed the strongest protest to many points, explaining my position with sound reasoning. The proposed agenda would create a serious threat to the security of the Jewish population of the Holy Land.

Actually there was nothing novel in my position. Everyone involved was aware of the illogical, suicidal risks involved in returning the land and oil fields to Egypt.

Yet, despite these real fears, the people involved were ready to place the civilian population in a situation of mortal danger just to get that signature on the treaty.

The plot, the players and the scenario are all well known.

At that time, the person at the top argued that he was under tremendous pressure and saw no alternative but to succumb and agree to dismantle the settlements and return the land and the oil fields, etc. In answer to this self-justifying position, the suggestion was made that under such extreme circumstances, if he could not withstand the pressure, the only alternative was to resign and give the proceedings over to others who would withstand the pressure.

Did he not realize that he was endangering 3 million Jews because of his inability to persevere!

It was explained to the person who brought the reports, that he should suggest to the persons involved that they had to be adamant, and if necessary transfer the negotiations to others who could better stand the pressure — it was surely better than allowing a dangerous outcome.

“You were not born a minister.”

The argument went as follows: No one is horn a minister, certainly not a Prime Minister! In fact, for many years you were in exile in the diaspora; then when you finally reached Eretz Yisroel you had to be in hiding for many years. Finally the time came when you could reveal yourself and openly avow your position. You were still far away from rule. It was only after many “revolutions” that you rose to rulership.

Looking back now, would it have been so terrible, when under pressure to endanger the security of the Jews of the Holy Land, that you would have resigned from your position so as not to succumb! You could still have lived a normal life, with your family, in society, keeping your position of honor. In fact — on the contrary — it would not weigh on your conscience today, that you were the one who placed the Jewish people in a state of danger! At the time you answered that you did not see another who could fit the role — well you should have returned your “mandate” to those who elected you, and let them choose another! And even if they were to agree to your actions — their approval would have been worthless, because you knew the truth, that it would bring insecurity!

No one has the right to commit suicide:

If one should decide to commit suicide, using the argument that he is “master of his fate,” and being in a democracy, no one has the right to tell him what to do....

Even in the democratic society of New York if one were to climb up on the Brooklyn Bridge and threaten to jump off, the police and firemen would be alerted and they would use every means to stop him from carrying out his threat.

If this be true in the case of an individual, how much more so when we speak of a nation of 3 million people! No group of people have the right to create a situation of mortal danger for themselves.

“But no Prime Minister ever did that.”

There was another argument presented. No Prime Minister had ever resigned in the face of pressure. This had no logical basis.

I once spoke of a Jew about closing his business on Shabbos. He responded that it would be impossible, because for all the years that the business had existed — more than fifty years — it had never been closed on Shabbos even when the owners were Jews. “You are a smart Jew,” I said to him, “and you know that in the Ten Commandments we are told to observe Shabbos. Why do you care what the previous owners did!” A minori ad majus, in our case, where we were dealing not only with Shabbos, but also with matters of life and death —and not for one Jew, but for millions of Jews.

The potential threat that loomed ahead was clearly seen, how could you bear to carry the onus, just because others before you did not resign?!

Despite all our efforts and all their hesitations, the results are well known. They agreed to dismantle the settlements, return the land and the oilfields to Egypt — and no sooner was it all done and Egypt began breaking the treaty. So much so, that now everyone agrees that for all we gave, we received nothing.

Peace?

But you say, at least we have a condition of “cease-fire” in a manner that we do not have to commit tens of thousands of men to guard the border. Is this really true? If we think about it, this is exactly what Egypt wanted, that our soldiers should not be along the border. They decided to pursue their goal diplomatically; they persevered and succeeded! And you say that you gained because you do not have to have soldiers on the border?! Egypt will be quite happy that you give her all the land, and then you will not have to have any soldiers on the border!

Having seen the outcome of returning land for the peace treaty in Sinai — can the present leaders of Eretz Yisroel seriously be moving in the same direction concerning Yehudah and Shomron?! Will the same fate that befell Yamit, Sinai, and the oil fields now also be the future of Yehudah, Shomron and perhaps even Yerushalayim? Will no one raise his voice in protest?!

“But we promised”

There is another argument that is voiced at the present time: Since we committed ourselves to peace at Camp David we must show the world that we are men of our words.

The principle of being true to one’s words is certainly a noble attribute and should always be pursued, but:

(A) Here we must seriously weigh the pros and cons. For when we deal with a matter of survival we know that saving a life comes before all mitzvos of the Torah. It certainly gets precedence over an assurance given by an individual which will endanger the survival of 3 million Jews.

(B) Honoring the promises of statesmen is a question of national or political trust, but in the case of saving a life, we cannot lend an ear to the opinion of politicians who are motivated by political or national criteria. Here we must seek the expert opinion of the military professionals. From a purely military defense position — excluding political factors — what should our position be?

This would be analogous to a person who was suffering from a foot ailment and had to make a decision how to treat his malady. Would such an individual even dream of presenting his case to a panel of wise laymen for a vote. Anyone knows and realizes that when there is a medical question it must be presented to a health professional, and in choosing the right doctor to consult about the sick foot, it would be obvious that the one who is suffering should approach a foot specialist.

From this simple analogy we may deduce that in the case of a life-threatening situation, that could face 3 million Jews, we must certainly turn to experts, and not rely on the vote of politicians. Should you respond that those politicians also have knowledge in fields of defense, the answer is that they are polluting their clear military vision with political considerations; we need pure, unadulterated defense expertise!

(C) When all was said and done at Camp David the Israeli politicians emerged as inept negotiators in the eyes of their American counterparts. They had an attitude of despondency before the talks started, they had an inferiority complex during the discussions, and they gave away too much at the end.

Even world politicians were shocked and amazed at the manner in which the negotiations proceeded and the eventual concessions and signatures on the tragic treaty.

What is most astonishing now in diplomatic circles is the phenomenon, that after realizing the failure of Camp David the “seasoned politicians” still avow their faith and dedication to the tragic treaty, and their assurance not to renege on their promises. And, that they will proceed in a similar fashion in the case of Yehudah and Shomron.

When diplomacy is conducted in such a manner it is no wonder that the other side never dreams of fulfilling their part of the deal. They know our weakness — under any and all circumstances we will continue to keep our part of the bargain, to show the world our trustworthiness.

What is the Torah view?

There were those who argued that this was the Torah view — to give concessions for defense purposes.

Therefore, let it be known that this subject has been raised before and dealt with within the framework of: “Gentiles who surrounded Jewish cities.” (Eruvin 45a) There is really no need to repeat this now. Should someone respond that the subjects are not similar, there is no substance in that argument and the onus of proof still lies on them.

Those so called ‘Torah authorities’ have not presented proof to substantiate their position and they admit in their letters, that they write from a position of dialectical discussion and debate, and not as Halachic experts.

Therefore, let this question of Torah-view be placed before the Halachic authorities of Eretz Yisroel and let us see if those august Rabbis will allow a state of insecurity for 3 million Jews?!

Although this position has been voiced many times in the past, it has all been in vain. Now that the negotiations over Yehudah and Shomron are once again on the agenda it has become necessary to make the strongest protest again and to open the eyes of the public to see the great danger in this approach. Maybe they will alter their position and stand firm not to return any more sections of the land.

“The Guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.”

Despite this dreary outlook and pessimistic prognosis — all is not lost — this projection of doom may not materialize. After the Six Day War — after all the myriad miracles and the great supernatural victory, no world diplomat had the audacity to ask for the return of the liberated territories. Not Arafat, not Egypt, Jordan, Syria; not one of them dreamed of such a possibility.

At that time, without being solicited, a delegation was sent to Washington from Eretz Yisroel with the message, that they were willing to return territory! Although the world was bedazzled by the miraculous victory of the Jewish people and could not think of requesting the return of land, the leaders of Eretz Yisroel came up with the proposal to return Sinai, Yehudah and Shomron, and even on Yerushalayim they were willing to accept a tripartite rule.

[The height of self-hating inferiority and debasement was perpetrated when they intentionally expressed their proposal that Jerusalem could be Moslem-Jewish-Christian! Moslem before Jewish! Everyone knows that Yerushalayim belonged to the Jews first! Only later did the Moslems come, and then, for a short period, the Christians conquered it. These self-denigrating Jews put the Moslems first, and adding self-injury to self-insult, they then offered to return sections of the Land.]

When they finally convinced the diplomats in Washington that they were in their full senses and were really offering to return the lands, the offer was transmitted to the Arabs. Here the miracle happened. The Arabs refused to take what the Jews offered! Their official response was that it was not enough, but the fact remained that they refused!

So we see that miracles do happen. May the Holy One blessed be He perform another miracle, and this time too, the Arabs will refuse! We may be certain that “The Guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.”

Let us increase our Torah and mitzvos with joy, and then we will have the complete Torah and mitzvos with the true and complete redemption through our righteous Mashiach, may he come and redeem us, and lead us upright to our Land.