Gershon Mesika is head of the Shomron (Samaria) Regional Council. This is a slightly edited version of his speech which was delivered in Hebrew and translated simultaneously into the languages of the listeners. The English translation is by Arutz Sheva’s Gil Ronen. The speech was well-received, illustrating how a forthright defense of Israel’s rights by someone of strength and character will obtain more respect than the groveling characteristic of so many Israeli spokesmen.
Heads of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, Members of Parliament from European countries, distinguished guests,
The prophets of Israel predicted that before the Messiah comes there will be a time of confusion, when good is turned into evil and evil is turned into good.
We see this clearly today.
The Shomron, or Samaria, which I am honored to represent in this distinguished place, the European Parliament, is a region that is in the center of international attention, since it is a sizable part of the territory that is in dispute between the Jewish nation and its neighbors in the Middle East.
But this area, which for many in the world is nothing but “disputed land,” is a homeland for us, the place that characterizes and determines our national and religious identity, the scene of the great events described in the Book of Books, the Bible.
The Middle Eastern confrontation and the Islamic terror campaign against the citizens of Israel are attempts by reactionary forces to oppose the historic process of the Return to Zion: our return to our historic homeland after nearly 2,000 years, during which we were scattered all over the world – weak, humiliated, trampled, rejected, but strong in our spirit and faith.
During all those years, we did not cease for a moment to remain faithful to our homeland and to maintain a living, continuous, day-to-day connection with it. This bond was expressed in prayers and in the most important religious ceremonies, thanks to which it was only natural for us to realize the dream when opportunity came.
The connection also manifested itself in the continuous existence of Jewish settlement on the Land throughout the long years of exile. Jews always lived in the Land of Israel, throughout the years of Roman, Persian, Greek, Christian and Muslim occupation.
And indeed, even after 2,000 years of exile, the nations of the world recognized the Jewish people’s right to its homeland. In the course of the First World War and immediately after it, the victorious powers made a series of decisions that culminated in the historic decision in 1922 by the League of Nations, to establish a national home for the Jewish people in the Land of Israel.
It is interesting and important to look at the words used in the mandate that was given to Britain to implement this project.