Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Day After Annapolis

Received the following via Lee Wunsch from the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston

I moved to Israel 23 years ago and within a month of arriving, we had already signed a contract to build our home in Karnei Shomron. We took out a mortgage which we are still paying and committed nearly all our savings to the home. We moved in more than 20 years ago, with three children. Two more were born after we already lived in Samaria. Our children are mostly out of the house now, at least during the week, but they come home for Shabbat, to the home and community that they have always known. On Shabbat, we go to synagogue and visit with friends, catching up with what is happening to everyone in the community.

As I watched Bush, Olmert and Abbas on television I looked to the walls next to our television and saw the bookshelves, where our books are overflowing on the shelves. Years of accumulation. I looked at the pictures on the wall, most of which have been painted by my very talented daughter. Years of activity.

And I looked straight at Bush, Olmert and Abbas and asked them: What is it about my house, my family, my community that is an obstacle to peace? What is it about our lives that prevents the Arabs in the neighboring villages from enjoying peace and security, from living their own lives. If my son gets married and wants to live nearby, should he be asking Abbas and Bush for permission to build a new house?

I have written a great deal about our right to this land, about the history of the conflict, about an alternative way to solve the humanitarian problems of the Palestinian Arabs. Today, I want to write about the people who actually live in this land, the so-called settlers that everyone loves to hate.

We live in Judea and Samaria and we love it here. We have taken rocky, barren land and turned it into a paradise. We have planted trees and gardens, built schools and shops and raised our children to love the land as we do. The world has gathered at Annapolis, in part to solve the Palestinian refugee problem. But, in so doing, they have put forward a plan that will create an enormous Jewish refugee problem.

I am not willing to be a refugee. I tremble at the thought of going through what my friends from Gush Katif went through. I came to Israel to set down roots in my own homeland, roots that cannot be set down by a Jew anywhere else in the world. I set down my roots in Samaria. I built my home on land that did not belong to any Arab, that had not been cultivated by anyone for centuries, on the same spot where Jews lived thousands of years ago. How dare anyone try and take that away from me?

Sondra Oster Baras was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio in an Orthodox Jewish home. She was educated at the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland, a religious all-day school sponsored by the Cleveland Jewish community. Upon graduation from high school, Sondra studied religious studies at the Jerusalem College for Women in Israel. She completed her B.A. in history and English at Barnard College in New York. She obtained her J.D. at Columbia University's School of Law. In 1984, after practicing law in New York for a short time, Sondra moved to Israel. Sondra continued her legal career in Israel, after being accepted to the Israeli bar. Sondra Oster Baras currently resides in Karnei Shomron, together with her husband Edward, a computer programmer, and their five children.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael


M.R. said...

Jammel, a question. I've been reading pieces very similar to this, and I read the NY Times article of 28November, but I still am not sure: [b]what was decided at Annapolis?[/b] All I know is the the "road map" will be reinstated in some form, and that a deadline for peace was set: 2008. This calls for a two-state partition plan? Does this mean that Olmert has commited to reverting to pre-67 borders? Or are they still just talking? Did Olmert say he'll seriously give away all of Yehuda, Shomron, and Pre-67 Yerushalayim?

YMedad said...

Re: Road Map - what happened to Sharon's 14 points of reconsideration that needed to be fulfilled?

YMedad said...

What has Sondra to do with this?

Anonymous said...

For those who download, Sondra has a great appearance on CNN's God's Jewish Warriors show from the summer. They interview her at home, and follow her on a U.S. fundraising tour.

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