The Biden Administration publicly admonished Israel for approving the construction of more Jewish homes in Area C of the West Bank. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said “We [the Biden Administration] strongly oppose the expansion of settlements… damages the prospects for a two state solution.” The homes are to be built in Revava, Kedumim, Elon Moreh, Har Bracha, Karnei Shomron, Gush Etzion and the Hebron Hills, towns strongly supported by Christian communities in the United States and around the world.
While broadly supported by religious Christians and Jews, the Biden Administration and the European Union attacked the plans for 1,300 Jewish homes, even as they ignored Israel’s approval of over 1,000 homes for Palestinian Arabs in the Israeli territory of Area C, where roughly 14% of West Bank Arabs live.
The rebuke stands in contrast to the reality that Israel has managed to exist with a minority population of 25% non-Jews. A future Palestinian state could similarly exist with several hundred thousand Jews, and the economy of such a state would benefit from Jewish residents bringing stability and trade with Israel.
The true obstacle for an enduring peace – and a two state solution – is the Arab belief that Jews have no rights to live anywhere in the land. Such mindset has guided the Palestinian Authority to have a law calling for either a death sentence or life of hard labor for any Arab selling land to a Jew. It brings the PA to prioritize payments to terrorists who kill Jews over-and-above any other public service. It drives the political-terrorist group HAMAS which runs Gaza, to spend its finite resources on building and firing missiles into Israel rather than building a productive society and economy.
Guided by such anti-Semitic worldview, Palestinians believe that terrorism drove Israel out of Gaza and Areas A and B in the West Bank and will ultimately drive the Jews from Area C and Israel completely. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called all of Israel a “painful settlement” and is ready to be rid of it entirely.
This must stop.
The pathway to an enduring peace is not to forcibly evict half a million Jews from Area C, but to shatter the false idol of a Jew-free state. It is time for the world to tell the Palestinians that Jews will not leave the West Bank nor eastern Jerusalem. The same way that there are Israeli Arabs, there will be Palestinian Jews.
For too long people have embraced the timeless anti-Semitic tradition that Jews should be banned from living somewhere. Denying the human rights of Jews will never bring peace.
It is time to recognize that the road to a peaceful two state solution will be built with the efforts of those Jews living, working and building the West Bank.
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