The Biden Administration has decided to pick a fight with Israel over opening an official consulate for the Palestinian Authority in Israel’s capital city of Jerusalem. The logical place to open the office is in Ramallah near the government offices of the Palestinian Authority, like many other countries.
Here is a sampling of some countries with consulate offices in Ramallah:
The Israeli government voiced its strong objections to Biden’s decision to open an office in Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minster Naftali Bennett said “My position, which has been presented to the Americans by myself and by Foreign Minister Lapid, is that there is no place for an American consulate that serves the Palestinians in Jerusalem.“
In the past, there was a consulate which serviced Palestinian Arabs since 1967 at 18 Agron Street in the area Palestinians call “West Jerusalem,” in a building that the US has used since the Ottoman Empire ruled the area. It proved impractical and dangerous, as the armed guards which escorted American diplomats from the building in Israel to the offices of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, had to hand off security at the perimeter of Area A. US President Trump shut the Palestinian consulate and moved the services into the embassy to Israel.
If the United States wants to separate the facilities serving Israelis and Palestinian Arabs, it makes the most sense to open the consulate in Ramallah. Alternative locations can be cities in Area A under the control of the Palestinian Authority. The question is how much the Biden Administration wants to anger Israel, please Palestinians and put American diplomats in danger.
possible Location of consulate for palestinians
Most practical, as seat of PA government. Many countries have consulates there
Part of Area A, controlled by the Palestinian Authority
Part of Area A, and also part of what was envisioned as “corpus separatum” along with Jerusalem in the UN 1947 Partition Plan
Annexed by Israel, would anger Israel and please PA as actively challenging Israel’s annexation
18 Agron Street, western Jerusalem
Desired location as past location of consulate, but most controversial and impractical
Possible locations of US consulate to Palestinian Authority ranked from least to most controversial and dangerous
The United States relocated its embassy in Israel to the Jewish State’s capital of Jerusalem in 2018. Its website seemingly moved to Ramallah.
The embassy in Israel’s website has eight main categories: Visa, US Citizen Services, Our Relationship, Business, Education & Culture, Embassy, News & Events, and Palestinian Affairs Unit. The last category is designed to handle the needs of the Stateless Arabs of Palestine (SAPs). The website offers translation options for each category:
US Citizen Services
Arabic and Hebrew
Arabic and Hebrew
Education & Culture
News & Events
Palestine Affairs Unit
Translations offered on US Embassy in Israel website
Why would the US State Department not have a consistent method of handling translation for all of its services? It would make sense for translations of the English-language site to be in Hebrew and Arabic for every section of its website. However, the site is mostly translatable only into Arabic, making those only speaking Hebrew – Jews – unable to use the site.
Is the US embassy deliberately excluding Jews from being able to access some of its services? Is it a dynamic because the US State Department is populated by a bunch of Arabists – even in Israel?
The current Charge d’Affaires is Michael Ratney. His bio reviews that from 2015 to 2017 he was based in Syria. From 2012 to 2015 he was “responsible for the U.S. political, economic, and cultural relationship with Palestinians in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza.” Before that he did tours in Qatar, Iraq, Lebanon and Morocco. He speaks Arabic and French fluently. No Hebrew.
The Deputy Chief of Mission is Jonathan Shrier who spent much of his recent career in Pakistan and Afghanistan. His previous work in Israel was “aimed at improving economic conditions for Palestinians.” His foreign languages “include Chinese, Arabic, French, and Spanish.” No Hebrew.
The prioritization of Arabs in the US State Department shows up in every day matters as well. Consider comments by the US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield about Israel on October 19 featured on the embassy website (pictured above). She acknowledged Palestinian Hanan Ashrawi and Israeli Daniel Levy giving comments to the UN Security Council – both vilifying Israel – mentioning the Palestinian first. She didn’t protest the fact that no one called out Palestinian terror, corruption and incitement for the lack of peace before the UN body.
When Ned Price spoke about Secretary of State Blinken meeting with Israeli officials, he also mentioned Palestinians first. When Sen. Chris Murphy, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism spoke to Christiane Amanpour on CNN about his trip to Israel, he led with the critical thing about his trip to Israel was “outreach with the Palestinians.” It’s a persistent theme.
The current configuration of the US State Department – even in the embassy in Israel – is oriented towards Israeli Arabs and Palestinians, not Israeli Jews.
Maybe when Tom Nides, who is Jewish, is confirmed as ambassador to Israel, the embassy and its website will actually start to constructively address Jews in the Jewish State.
When people look back in history to January 2015, they immediately think about the massacres committed by Muslim fanatics in Paris, France at the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices and at a kosher supermarket nearby. Muslim extremists wanted to kill the writers at the magazine because they lampooned the Islamic prophet, and at the kosher store because they hated Jews.
Another kind of battle was taking place at the same time in Jerusalem, Israel. The United States Consulate, which serviced Arabs living east of the Green Line, decided it was going to begin arming Arab guards at the compound.
History of 18 Agron Street Consulate
The United States first appointed a U.S. consul to Jerusalem in 1844, at the direction of President John Tyler. The U.S. consulate moved to 18 Agron Street (circled in blue on the map above) in 1912, when the city was still under the control of the Ottomans. Within a few years the Ottomans lost most of their empire at the end of World War I, and Palestine fell under the British Mandate which was directed to continue to facilitate Jewish migration to Palestine which had been actively going on for many decades. The western portion of Jerusalem where the consulate was located was already mostly Jewish in 1912 (Jerusalem has been majority Jewish since 1867), and only became more so over the following years.
When Israel declared itself an independent state in May 1948, the United States quickly recognized it, while the Muslim and Arab world rejected the declaration completely. The armies of five Arab nations invaded Israel and at war’s end, occupied the eastern half of Jerusalem. The dividing line between Israel and Jordan, which illegally occupied and annexed in 1950 the eastern part of the city along with what is now often called the “West Bank”, was marked in green in maps, as shown above. As the United States had originally supported the 1947 UN Partition Plan which called for Jerusalem and Bethlehem to be an international city, it withheld turning the consulate into the official Israeli embassy. Instead, the US placed its embassy in Tel Aviv and opted to use the 18 Agron Street location as an office to handle local meetings, even though it considered the Jordanian annexation of the eastern part of the city illegal.
After Jordan attacked Israel again in June 1967 and lost all of its illegally annexed land to Israel, the US decided to continue to keep its embassy in Tel Aviv and used the 18 Agron building to handle issues for Arabs living east of the Green Line, who had Jordanian citizenship until 1988 and are now referred to as Palestinian Arabs.
War in Peace
In 1993 and 1995, Israel and the newly created Palestinian Authority (PA) signed the Oslo Accords I and II. The PA was handed by Israel a number of cities – including Bethlehem – to administer, and in turn, the PA recognized Israeli authority in all lands that the PA did not control, including Jerusalem. The Oslo plan was for more land to gradually be handed to the PA, with a goal of reaching a full peace deal in five years, in September 2000. Over the five years 1995 to 2000, the PA was handed West Bank land so that most of the Palestinian Arabs living there were either in Area A under full PA control, or Area B, where PA had administrative control and Israel had security control. In September 2000, the head of the PA, Yasser Arafat, refused the peace deal and launched a terrorist war gently termed the “Second Intifada” halting the transfer of any more land to the PA.
Ten years after Oslo II, in 2005, Israel decided to leave Gaza with assurances from US President George W Bush that it would not be forced to assume borders along the Green Line nor would it need to take in Palestinian “refugees” who would be settled in a new Palestinian state. That action enabled the political-terrorist group Hamas to take over and launch wars repeatedly from the territory.
Another decade on, in January 2015, the US consulate in Jerusalem decided that it was too difficult to drive to PA-controlled land in Area A without a single continuous military escort, as the Israeli-armed guards at the consulate were forbidden by law from entering PA-controlled territory and needed to hand security of American diplomats to Palestinian security guards upon reaching the perimeter of Area A. Therefore, the head of security at the US consulate, Dan Cronin, decided that he would train and arm 35 Palestinians from eastern Jerusalem who could enter Area A without difficulty. The problem was that it’s illegal for these Palestinian Arab security guards to carry weapons in Israel. Three Israeli guards at the consulate quit in protest, saying that it’s “in effect setting up an armed Palestinian militia in the consulate. They are being trained with weapons, in Krav Maga, and tactical driving. It’s irresponsible. Who can guarantee that such weapons in the hands of Palestinians won’t spread to terror?””
In 2018, President Trump moved the US embassy to Israel’s capital in accordance with Congress’s Embassy Act of 1995 and shut the consulate offices. Services for Palestinian Arabs are now handled out of that office at 14 David Flusser Street.
In January 2015, when President Obama said he was angered at “an attack on journalists” in Paris while he ignored the attack on Jews which he later belittled as being “random,” he was simultaneously arming Palestinian Arabs inside of the US consulate in Jerusalem in blatant disregard of US-Israeli agreements. Obama’s vice president at that time is now President Biden, who has promised to reopen a consulate to Palestinian Arabs, even as he is warned that such an action will likely bring down the Israeli government.
The Obama Administration essentially set up an armed Palestinian militia inside the US Jerusalem consulate in 2015. Today, Biden is writing his own playbook on using the consulate to destabilize the Jewish State.
The Trump Administration moved the United States embassy to Israel to Jerusalem in 2018 in compliance with the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act. Since that time, the U.S. has encouraged other countries to move their embassies, and Guatemala moved theirs shortly thereafter. Honduras announced plans to have their embassy in Jerusalem by the end of 2020, and Serbia and Malawi announced their intentions to do move their embassies in the near future.
A country establishes an embassy in a foreign country to facilitate in person meetings with that government’s people. Typically the vast majority are located in that country’s capital where most government buildings and offices are located. However, there is no obligation to set up an embassy in the capital city. For example, several countries (like Oman) have opted to not place their foreign dignitaries in Canberra, Australia’s capital, because it is a relatively small city in a pretty remote part of the world. There are also several countries (including Andorra, Comoros and Maldives) that locate their embassies to the U.S. in New York City rather than Washington, D.C.
A new Biden administration should continue to push all countries to move their embassies to Jerusalem for very practical and environmental reasons: it would take hundreds of cars off the road every day.
Currently, most countries have their embassies to Israel in Tel Aviv, about 42 miles from Jerusalem. Tel Aviv is is a great city on the Mediterranean Sea with fantastic restaurants and night life (often ranked with Barcelona among the greatest cities in the world) and is close to Israel’s major international airport. However, the hour drive to Jerusalem is often snarled in terrible traffic as is the route back. By relocating embassies to Jerusalem, not only will thousands of miles of unnecessary travel and wasted time be saved, but the burning of fossil fuel and amount of pollution will be dramatically reduced.
As there is no obligation to keep an embassy in a capital city, a relocation to Jerusalem is not a formal acknowledgement of the city as Israel’s capital, an action which may or may not accompany such relocation. What is without question, is that moving embassies to Jerusalem will improve the quality of life on the planet.
As people concerned about the Israel-Arab conflict consider the US presidential elections, an important understanding of the two candidates can be found in their articulation of where a theoretical capital of a future Palestinian state would be located.
President Donald Trump announced the US road map to peace In January 2020 which included proposed contours for a two state-solution, the first such third-party proposal since the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative. In regards to a Palestinian state, Trump said:
“The Palestinian people have grown distrustful after years of unfulfilled promises — so true — yet I know they are ready to escape their tragic past and realize a great destiny. But we must break free of yesterday’s failed approaches.
This map will more than double the Palestinian territory and provide a Palestinian capital in eastern Jerusalem where America will proudly open an embassy. (Applause.) No Palestinians or Israelis will be uprooted from their homes. (Applause.)”
The map highlighted areas within the eastern part of the city of Jerusalem which would become a “Palestinian capital.” The phrase “eastern Jerusalem” highlighted that the United States recognized not only that Jerusalem is a single city but that “East Jerusalem” has not existed for over fifty years; it had a brief turbulent life for nineteen years as an artifice of war in the 1948-1967 time period. Those dark years had barbed wire running through the heart of the city with the Jordanian Arabs controlling the eastern portion after they expelled all of the Jews. The Arabs would not let any Jew enter the Old City, even for prayer at Judaism holiest location.
Vice President Joe Biden sees Jerusalem quite differently as can be inferred by his recent comment in May 2020:
“I will reopen the US consulate in East Jerusalem, find a way to reopen the PLO’s diplomatic mission in Washington, and resume the decades-long economic and security assistance efforts to the Palestinians that the Trump Administration stopped.”
Biden referred to “East Jerusalem” as a proper noun as if such city exists and had any legitimacy. He spoke about it as if the United Nations had proposed splitting Jerusalem in 1947 and giving “East Jerusalem” to Palestinian Arabs. He conjured a world in which Israel hadn’t already divided the UN’s “Corpus Separatum” giving the Palestinian Authority the city of Bethlehem in 1996 while it held Jerusalem.
Biden spoke of pure fantasy. He might as well as have mentioned his Obama Administration’s permitting UN Security Council Resolution 2334 to pass which advanced a time-altering, human rights-scoffing principle that Jews living in their holiest city is illegal and an occupation of Palestinian territory.
Vice President Joe Biden addressing AIPAC in a pre-recorded message March 2020
Names highlight a particular narrative, and President Trump’s “eastern Jerusalem” and former Vice President Biden’s “East Jerusalem” underscore how each party understands the nature of the city. One party will deal with the Israel-Arab conflict on the basis of reality and the other in the construct of harmful fiction.
There are so many examples of the bias at the United Nations in favor of Palestinian Arabs over Israel, that the obvious ones are sometimes overlooked.
Consider the situation of Jerusalem, a holy city for three religions which has had a Jewish majority since the 1860’s.
In trying to find a solution for the hotly contested city, the UN General Assembly voted on November 29, 1947 to place Greater Jerusalem and Greater Bethlehem into a distinct corpus separatum which would neither be part of a Jewish State of Israel nor an Arab State of Palestine. The nations at the UN voted 33 in favor, 13 against and 10 abstentions. (The 13 countries that voted against the partition were mostly the Arab and Muslim countries of Afghanistan, Cuba, Egypt, Greece, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Yemen.) The proposal would never come to pass, as the “corpus separatum” was divided after Israel’s War of Independence with Israel controlling the western half of Jerusalem and the Jordanians controlling all of Greater Bethlehem and the eastern portion of Jerusalem.
Israel declared Jerusalem as its capital city and located its federal government buildings there, but virtually no countries recognized Israel’s assumption of the western part of the city, nor the Jordanian occupation of the eastern part of the city. That was the situation from 1949 to 1967, and continued to be true after the Jordanians attacked Israel again in June 1967 and lost its portion of corpus separatum and the rest of the West Bank.
For decades, countries have continued to withhold their recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, much as they had since Israel founding.
Israeli flag waving in front of the Western Wall of the Jewish Temple Mount
That changed recently.
In December 2017, the United States decided to acknowledge the fact that Israel’s capital is Jerusalem, to the chagrin of many other countries. A few weeks later, the UN voted to condemn the United States’ relocation of its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem by a vote of 128 to 9, with 35 abstentions. Many of the 128 countries voiced opinions that Jerusalem is a final status issue to be resolved between the Israelis and Palestinian Authority. Any recognition that either the Israelis or Palestinian Arabs has a superior claim to areas of corpus separatum was to be avoided.
Yet, with no sense of embarrassment or question of hypocrisy, many of those same nations which voted to admonish the US, chose to vote at the UN on November 16, 2018 on several resolutions which referred to East Jerusalem as “Occupied Palestinian Territory.”
Draft resolution “Applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the other occupied Arab territories” (document A/C.4/73/L.19) passed by a vote of 154 to 5 with 8 abstentions.
The draft resolution titled “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan” (document A/C.4/73/L.20) passed by a recorded 153 votes in favour to 5 against with 10 abstentions.
The draft resolution “Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem” (document A/C.4/73/L.21) passed by 153 to 6 with 9 abstentions.
If countries want to be consistent in their treatment of Jerusalem and desire for peace, they have a choice: either recognize Israel’s claim to the western part of the city and move their embassies to the western part of Jerusalem just like the United States, OR refuse to call “East Jerusalem” part of “Occupied Palestinian Territory.”
Any country refusing to move its embassy for Israel to Jerusalem while simultaneously calling the eastern part of Jerusalem part of “Occupied Palestinian Territory” is spitting in the face of Israel and rejecting participating in the peace process.
The United States has had a consulate in the western part of Jerusalem for decades, despite the “controversial” and “disputed” nature of the city which had been planned as an independent “corpus separatum” together with Bethlehem in the United Nations Partition Plan of 1947. The U.S. Consulate did not provide any services to Israel, but existed just to provide services to Palestinian Arabs from the West Bank and Gaza, for items such as visas.
Israel never complained about the U.S. operations for Palestinians sitting squarely in Israel’s capital. For decades Israel remained silent at the insult.
U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem (photo: First.One.Through)
But Israel would show its great appreciation to the the United States when President Donald Trump announced the intention of the U.S. to recognize the reality of Jerusalem serving as Israel’s capital, and plans to move the U.S. embassy to the city from Tel Aviv. The U.S. opened the embassy in May 2018, and just yesterday, announced plans to fold the services of the U.S. consulate into the new embassy building, and closing the current consulate location.
The Palestinians went crazy. As it did when the U.S. moved its embassy to Jerusalem, the Palestinian Authority objected to the closing of the U.S. Consulate office.
Their hypocrisy never dawned on them.
For decades the U.S. consulate sat in Jerusalem serving Palestinians, however, the Palestinians went berserk when the U.S. similarly moved its embassy for Israel to Jerusalem. Is a U.S. presence in Jerusalem only OK for the Palestinians?
The Palestinian Authority claims the eastern part of Jerusalem as its capital, but accepted the existence of the U.S. consulate for Palestinian Arabs in WESTERN Jerusalem. Is the Palestinian Authority laying claim to the western part of Jerusalem too?
For too long, the U.S. showed too much deference to the Palestinian Arabs’ sensitivities while it snubbed Israel, but as Israel was so reliant on the United States, Jerusalem suffered the indignities in silence. However, times have changed and Israel can now openly thank President Trump for treating the country with the respect of a sovereign nation, a thriving democracy and true American ally.
The United States officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6, 2017. Several countries have made a variety of arguments as to why they have not – and will not – similarly recognize Israel’s capital city.
Some countries note that Israel’s action on July 30, 1980 in which it declared that “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel,” was declared illegal by the United Nations Security Council.
Did countries recognize Jerusalem the day before on July 29, 1980? No.
Did countries recognize the western portion of Jerusalem before the war on June 4, 1967? No.
How is it that so few countries EVER officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, going back to the end of the war of independence? There was no controversy related to eastern Jerusalem during those 18 years until the Jordanians attacked Israel in June 1967, and lost the territory that they had illegally annexed.
Let’s be candid. The issue surrounding Jerusalem has always been about money, in particular, the Suez Canal in Egypt and the Arab world’s enormous oil wealth. Today, it continues to be trade, albeit it is much less important to the global economies than it was decades ago.
The excuse about the eastern half of Jerusalem which includes Muslim holy sites is a fig leaf covering the world’s lust for Arab money, from 1948 until today.
A view of the Old City of Jerusalem from Mt. Scopus (photo: First.One.Through)
And the fig leaf is porous.
Countries already recognize the western half of Jerusalem as being an integral part of Israel. Further, many world leaders (including US Presidents Bill Clinton and George W Bush) came to Israel’s capital and addressed the parliament in Jerusalem. They recognized Jerusalem both as part of Israel and de facto as its capital.
Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel in March 2008 spoke at the Israeli Knesset. So when Merkel now states that “the status of Jerusalem is to be resolved in the framework of a two-state solution,” she unashamedly plays out the farce. Germany DOES recognize the western part of Jerusalem as part of Israel and as its functioning capital, but does not want to do it in an “official” capacity as it believes that withholding such recognition might enrich Germany through better relations and economic trading with the dozens of Arab and Muslim countries, and minimize the terrorism in Germany from Islamic extremists. As that seems a bit cold, Merkel put forward the red herring of seeking peace, as if recognizing reality somehow harms peace.
Let’s be clear: most of the world recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital already. The farce of countries not “officially” recognizing Jerusalem is positioned as a prod that pushes Israel towards a peace agreement. But it is nothing of the sort. It is a calculated trade-off between the dignity of the citizens of Israel on one hand, against the commercial self-interest of trading with Arab countries on the other. It is therefore appropriate for Israel to rethink its own trading policies with countries which have no qualms in humiliating it on the global stage.
The New York Times has a Jew problem, or more specifically, a huge problem with any Jews living in parts of the “Arab Middle East.”
In a March 8, 2018 article called “No Man’s Land: New U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem May Lie Partly Outside Israel,” the Times came up with a new term that was both meaningless and said much about how the liberal paper thinks of Jews living east of the 1949 Armistice Lines.
In describing the planned relocation of the U.S. embassy to an area in Jerusalem that possibly partially sat in the ‘No Man’s Land’ that existed between 1949 and 1967, the paper wrote:
“The dispute could turn the American ambassador, David M. Friedman, an avid supporter of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, into a new kind of diplomatic settler himself.”
That’s quite a phrase, “diplomatic settler.” It’s also completely nonsensical. U.S. ambassadors are U.S. citizens, not Israeli. How can an American be a settler? Simply by being Jewish?
There was a time that a “settler” meant any Israeli that moved into a new development over the Green Line in Judea & Samaria / the West Bank. The physical new town was known as a “settlement” and the inhabitants were known as “settlers.” The homes defined the people.
Over time, a pro-Palestinian narrative took hold in much of the world which inverted that formula. For them, the people (settlers) define the homes (settlements). Specifically, any Israeli Jew that lives over the invisible Green Line is known as a settler. (This is in sharp contrast to Israeli Muslims – like the thousands of Arabs in eastern Jerusalem that have taken Israeli citizenship – that are never considered “settlers.”) Presumably, the rationale for focusing on people is based on a very broad reading of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention that Israel’s policies enabling Jews to live in the land that it took from Jordan in 1967 is effectively a “transfer of population,” possibly runs counter to that international law.
But The New York Times moved the definition of a settler yet again, in a giant anti-Semitic leap.
For anti-Zionists like the New York Times, ANY Jew, regardless of citizenship should be considered a settler if they live east of the Green Line. Hence the U.S. ambassador to Israel would become a “diplomatic settler,” simply because he’s Jewish. If the U.S. Ambassador to Israel were Christian or Muslim or Buddhist or any other religion, presumably the diplomatic settler moniker wouldn’t stick.
This new approach could lead to all sorts of interesting titles.
“Tourist Settler:” A foreign Jewish traveler visiting Bethlehem and staying overnight
“Businessman Settler:” Any Jewish traveler doing business in Jericho who keeps an apartment in the city
“Student Settler.” A foreign Jew studying in the West Bank
What would happen if the United States decided to recognize a State of Palestine along the lines agreed to thus far between the principles, in Gaza and Area A of the West Bank, and established a U.S. embassy in Bethlehem. If that U.S. ambassador to Palestine was Jewish, I guess the Times would also label him a “Diplomatic Settler.” Only a non-Jewish diplomat could avoid having such title, and not be branded a colonialist interloper.
On March 8, 2018, Isabel Kershner wrote an article for the New York Times called “No Man’s Land: New U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem May Lie Partly Outside Israel.” The article described that the location of the U.S. embassy would partially lie outside of Israel’s 1949 Armistice Lines with Jordan in an area known at the time as the “No Man’s Land.” It attempted to explain the terminology through a history lesson about the area.
But being the New York Times, the history would be incomplete and distorted.
Consider the opening of the description:
“No Man’s Land encompasses the area between the armistice lines drawn at the end of the 1948-9 war and was claimed by Jordan and Israel. Israel won full control of it in the 1967 war, so the United Nations and much of the world consider it occupied territory.”
As the NY Times does at every occasion, it describes Israel’s administration of Judea and Samaria with a statement that the world does not recognize Israel’s claim and considers the land “occupied territory.” Yet the Times will never print – even here in an article meant to clarify the nature of the land – that Jordan’s claim on the entirety of the West Bank/Judea and Samaria was never considered valid.
The omissions would continue.
Kershner wrote that she would give some clarity to the nature of the land:
“After the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation, Israel signed an armistice agreement with Jordan, which controlled the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The sides demarcated the armistice line on a map in grease pencil. Where they did not agree they drew their own lines staking out maximalist positions – the Israelis in green, as far as possible to the east, the Jordanians in red, to the west.
The disputed enclaves, called the ‘areas between the lines,’ were under neither party’s control and came to be known as No Man’s Land.”
Note the many problems of the first sentence. It states that no party is to blame for the 1948 war. A person would never know that the armies of five Arab countries invaded Israel at its creation by the first half of the sentence. The second half would lead a reader to conclude that the Jordanians naturally had controlled the West Bank and East Jerusalem. This is deeply flawed. The Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan, as today’s Jordan was known back in 1948, invaded and illegally annexed Judea and Samaria and the eastern half of Jerusalem. To state that Jordan simply “controlled the West Bank and East Jerusalem,” makes that illegal seizure seem normative and historic. It was neither. It was an invasion in an offensive war to destroy Israel.
The problems in the “historical unpacking” would continue:
“After 1949, both Israel and Jordan claimed the territory, holding that its status would be determined in an eventual agreement. When the 1967 war broke out, the Jordanian and Israeli armies fought over it.”
The 1967 war didn’t simply break out. Jordan attacked Israel first (again), after Israel repeatedly told the Jordanians to not initiate a war. The point is not a subtle one, as the laws regarding the seizure of land in a war are arguably not the same in a defensive war as an offensive war. Especially when the party that initiated the hostilities (Jordan) had zero claim to the land they occupied (all of the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem and the No Man’s Land!)
In short, the article focused squarely on Israel’s claim to a part of Jerusalem counter to a Jordanian claim that the paper wrote about as a historical reality. In truth, the Jordanians NEVER had an legal claim to any of the West Bank or eastern Jerusalem, and rescinded the false claim to that land 30 years ago.
Jerusalem was divided for roughly 19 years of its 4000 year history, from 1948 to 1967. But the New York Times will continue to try to slice and divide Judaism’s holiest city at every opportunity to minimize the Jewish State’s ties to its capital.