Ariel Sharon stood in front of the United Nations and introduced himself as a "Jewish man, a proud representative of an ancient nation," before proceeding to recognize "the rights of others in the land," defined as the right "to liberty and a sovereign national existence in their own state" in the Land of Israel.
For the first time in the history of Israel, a Jewish leader gave a foreign nation the right to what he himself called "the estate of our forefathers… in which every part of the land, every mountain and valley, and every brook and stone is saturated with Jewish history, artifacts, and memories."
Our forefathers, from Abraham our father till the fathers of Zionism, are turning in their graves.
The "disengagement" together with the U.N. speech transmitted another chilling message: "The city, village, scenery, mountain range, deserts and coasts of Israel, which have loyally guarded, as witnesses, their original Hebrew names," can be the setting for the Palestinian "national existence," only when the Jewish existence in those lands is cut off.
What the terrorists of Palestine failed to do in five years of intifada was 'accomplished' by a Jewish army using force. The man that cleansed the area of "the Palestinian national existence," Gaza, of Jews, has promised to continue with the cleansing in the West Bank. He has decided that not a single Jew will live with the Palestinians, despite the fact that 1.2 million Arabs live in the area of the Jewish national existence.
For all of the "one way" and "unilateral" steps taken by the government, the Palestinians for their part have yet to recognize the right of the Jewish people to even a single centimeter in "Palestine."
Even the Palestinian "moderates" hardly live up to their names, they recognize the existence of the "Zionist entity" for tactical reasons alone.
Sharon's speech has turned the crack in the wall of Jewish national unity into a dangerous burst. A large camp now opposes the prime minister, who view his comments at the United Nations as illegitimate, and who view Sharon as leader of the infidel camp which is trying to force the Jewish nation to recognize the rights of another nation on parts of the Land of Israel.
This gap does not necessarily exist between the religious and secular. Rather, the Land of Israel loyalists, who believe that the land is Israel's exclusive inheritance, can be found among the ranks of many non observant people.
When Sharon tries to apply with force his view that the Palestinians also have a "right" to a national existence on land ethnically cleansed of Jews, including Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, the wall of national Zionist unity is liable to collapse, and knock over the foundations of the Jewish State.
Sharon's speech will make life for Likud Committee members easier. They can now choose between dividing the land with the Arabs and receiving 40 mandates in the next elections, together with the best of the government jobs – or to remain loyal to their ideological roots and to risk losing power.
A similar choice faced the Jews with the ascension of Christianity – to compromise on the faith of their fathers, and to join the winning force and conquer the world, or to remain "a nation that will dwell alone," and pay the price. If our forefathers had not taken the path they did, we would not exist today to again face a test. This time, it is the Land of Israel, rather than the religion of Israel, which is on the line.
Elyakim Haetzni is a former member of knesset