Heritage, Property and Sovereignty in the Holy Land

This land is my land, this land is your land. Whose land is this anyway?

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Silwan in the eastern half of Jerusalem
(photo: FirstOneThrough)

Events over the past few weeks both in Israel and at the United Nations warrant a review of three distinct concepts that seem to be alternatively ignored, refuted and merged: heritage, property and sovereignty in the holy land. They are each distinct concepts.

Heritage

Jews have a connection to the holy land that not only surpasses any other people in regards to that land, it surpasses other people’s ties to their homelands, as the Jewish connection combines both history and religion.

History: While Italian-Americans may feel a connection to Italy as their ancestors came from there some generations ago, there are very few people on the planet that have a widely accepted history in a land that extends back 3700 years.

Starting with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and extending for 1800 years, the majority of Jews on the planet lived in the holy land. During different periods they were self-governing while in others they were ruled by foreign powers that had control of the region as part of a broader kingdom. Only the Jews ruled the holy land as a distinct entity.

Religion: While some religions have holy sites like the Vatican, or a holy city like Medina, only the Jews have a holy LAND, in which the entirety of the land is viewed as a divine promise from God. For the last 2000 years, wherever Jews were in the world, they prayed facing the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Yet despite the glaringly obvious ties of Jews to the entirety of the holy land, various entities – including many Arab countries and the United Nations – have sought to distance Jews from the holy land. The Arabs have declared themselves as the true indigenous people in the land, even though the introduction of Arabs from the Arabian Peninsula occurred 2000 years after the Jews were in the land. Further, many of today’s “Palestinian Arabs” arrived from elsewhere in the Middle East like Iraq and Egypt during the 1920s and 1930s, after the start of the British Mandate.

The arguments that the Jews do not have a deep connection to the entirety of the holy land is an absurdity and insulting. And it does nothing to advance peace.

Property

While Jews around the world are deeply connected to the holy land, such bonds do not give them title to any property. Should someone – Jew or non-Jew – want to own land, they can go through the process of taking out a checkbook and buying a home. This is the same basic rule that applies anywhere in the world, such as an Italian-American owning property in Rome.

Despite the clear and obvious distinction between property ownership and heritage, some people in Israel have felt no compunction in seizing lands that are owned by Arabs east of the Green Line (EGL)/West Bank, on the premise that the land was promised to the Jews. That’s an absurdity.

While international law in the San Remo Agreement (1920) and the Palestine Mandate (1922) clearly recognized the Jewish heritage in the holy land, it only sought to give Jews priority to settle in STATE LANDS, not private property. That is why new communities in EGL like Maale Adumim are completely legitimate, since none of the city was built on private property. However, legalizing the theft of private property in outposts has no legal or moral basis.

Sovereignty

A third distinction is sovereignty – that is, what country rules the land. An individual Arab can own a house in Beer Sheva which is ruled by the Jewish State, and a Jew should be able to own a home in EGL, even if it becomes part of a new Palestinian State. The government that administers the land should be completely distinct from who lives in the land.

Unfortunately, in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), that is principally only true for Israel.

Most of the countries in MENA are almost completely Muslim and/or Arab. There is little tolerance in those countries for non-Muslims and non-Arabs.

The trend of creating Arab and Muslim-only areas has continued with Israel’s acquiescence, as demonstrated by the Jewish State’s removal of all Jews from the Sinai Peninsula (1982) and the Gaza Strip (2005). This has led to a presumption that Jews would once again be removed from EGL in a future peace deal. Should such an anti-Semitic condition be part of a peace deal, the notion that there is actually peace between the parties is laughable.


Jews have a connection to the holy land that surpasses any other people, and it is a major motivation for millions of Jews moving there, including both to Israel and EGL/West Bank. The UN and Arab countries are completely wrong in challenging the Jewish ties to their holy land.

Arabs that have demonstrated property rights must be respected as neighbors. Israel is wrong to take land that is privately owned, unless it is for a clear defensive purpose.

And the ultimate sovereignty of the disputed EGL/West Bank is a matter for the two sides to work out. Neither Jewish heritage nor Arab and Jewish property rights should be the defining considerations in determing sovereignty, but a thoughtful approach designed to improve the chance of a lasting peace for the people in the holy land.


Related First.One.Through articles:

“Settlements” Crossing the Line

It is Time to Insert “Jewish” into the Names of the Holy Sites

Obama’s “Palestinian Land”

The Legal Israeli Settlements

Nicholas Kristof’s “Arab Land”

The Long History of Dictating Where Jews Can Live Continues

Obama’s Select Religious Compassion

A “Viable” Palestinian State

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Samantha Power Breakthrough: Violence Erodes the Prospects for Peace

“1. Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;”

US Security Council Resolution 2334

On December 23, 2016, the United States opted to abstain from a UN Security Council resolution that allowed the body to condemn all Israeli “settlements” living east of the 1949 Armistice Lines/ the Green Line as illegal.  Samantha Power, the US Ambassador to the United Nations addressed the council after the vote to explain her reasons.

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U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power
December 23, 2016

Ms. Power began her speech by underscoring “the United States’ deep and long-standing commitment to achieving a comprehensive and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.”  But her rationale really took aim with the goal of two states, not a comprehensive peace.

The Israeli Actions

She claimed that the “United States’ long-standing position that Israeli settlement activity in territories occupied in 1967:

  • undermines Israel’s security,
  • harms the viability of a negotiated two-state outcome, and
  • erodes prospects for peace and stability in the region.”

Each point is deeply flawed.

Israel is the tiniest and most isolated country in the Middle East and much of the world. It is only 15km across (without the West Bank) around its most densely populated areas.  The capital sits on the border of the West Bank, a situation that is impossible from a security perspective, especially considering the country has been in a state of war with its neighbors for virtually the entirety of its existence. To state that enlarging its narrow borders undermines its security is obviously false.

The second comment that the settlements harm the viability of a Palestinian State is ridiculous. Annexing portions of Area C of the West Bank such as E1 and Maale Adumim would make a Palestinian State in the West Bank 15km across at a single narrow place- not for many kilometers as is the case for Israel. The argument that a Palestinian state cannot be viable if it is 15km narrow at a single point underscores that Israel should annex the entire middle of the land.

Ms. Power reserved her comment about peace – theoretically what most concerned her – for the very end.  Because the connection to settlements it is nonsensical.  How can Jews in a new Palestinian State undermine peace? Doesn’t peace mean getting along?

Not for the Obama administration.

Power clarified that: “One cannot simultaneously champion expanding Israeli settlements and champion a viable two-state solution that would end the conflict. One has to make a choice between settlements and separation.

If that is indeed the US position that peace can only be achieved by completely separating the parties, ensuring that no Jews be allowed to live east of the Green Line, then it would stand to reason that the US must be promoting the notion that all Arabs be expelled from Israel. How can Israel incorporate over 1 million Arabs if separation is the key to peace?

The essence of Power’s comments is that Israel thinks about peace the wrong way. It isn’t about coexistence, trade and commerce. It’s about distinct existences. Israel is looking for normalization while the Arabs are in divorce proceedings.

Palestinian Actions

The Obama administration pulled their world-view together when Power addressed the problems stemming from the actions of Palestinian Arabs:

“For Palestinian leaders, that means recognizing the obvious: that in addition to taking innocent lives – the incitement to violence, the glorification of terrorists, and the growth of violent extremism erodes prospects for peace, as this resolution makes crystal clear.

The comment that violent extremism and the murder of innocents “erodes the prospects for peace,” is not stating the obvious; it NEGATES the obvious by destroying its very definition. Killing someone doesn’t undermine the prospects for living, it ENDS living.

  • When acting-President of the Palestinian Authority names schools, squares and soccer tournaments after terrorists who killed civilians, it CONTRADICTS peace.
  • When Abbas takes to the loudspeakers asking for martyrs to converge on Jerusalem, he NEGATES peace.
  • When Palestinian Arabs vote the terrorist group Hamas – which has the most anti-Semitic charter in the world which calls for the complete destruction of Israel and murder of Jews – to a whopping 58% of the parliament, they DESTROY peace.
  • When 93% of Palestinian Arabs are anti-Semites, they NULLIFY peace.
  • When the UN Secretary General says that he supports the integration of Hamas into a Palestinian unity government, the global body UNDERMINES peace.

Power conflated the “prospects for peace” and a new Palestinian state.  She essentially argued that Palestinian Arabs are only killing now to get a new state, and will stop when they get independence.  Such approach willfully ignored the inconvenient fact that Hamas launched three wars from Gaza since Israel withdrew from the region.

Power recognized the threat of violence; she just felt that enough military hardware would make the inconvenient violence manageable:

“Israelis are rightfully concerned about making sure there is not a new terrorist haven next door. President Obama and this administration have shown an unprecedented commitment to Israel’s security because that is what we believe in.”

While Power argued that the United States would supply enough military equipment to ensure a viable and secure Israel, even in narrow borders, she stated the armament was intended to combat “a new terrorist haven.”  She seemed to have missed the point that the terrorists are not new. They are part of the established elected Palestinian government itself, and supported by the world body that just condemned Israel.

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When Power opened her remarks at the UNSC discussing a “comprehensive and lasting peace,” she was only addressing the Israelis.  Only the Israelis are seeking peace; the Palestinian Arabs are seeking a state.

The notion that Palestinian Arab violence undermines the “prospects for peace” is wishful thinking that the violence will stop once a Palestinian State is created. The violence that is incited and celebrated by Palestinian leadership is pure evil, and undermines the rationale of allowing such a state to come into being at all. While all people deserve freedom and self-determination, should the United Nations actively endorse the creation of a violent and anti-Semitic regime as a pathway towards peace and stability?


Related First.One.Through articles:

Stopping the Purveyors of Hateful Propaganda

An Inconvenient Truth: Palestinian Polls

Stabbing the Palestinian “Right of Return”

“Peace” According to Palestinian “Moderates”

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“Settlements” Crossing the Line

Jews living in various parts of the Holy Land is problematic for some people. Different statements and actions in the fall of 2016 brought various matters to the public attention, but few people understand which “settlements” actually “crossed the line.”

 

Moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem
(Not over the Green Line and not Crossing the Line)

President-elect Donald Trump made statements after his election victory, that he planned on moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which Israel has long designated as its capital. Today, it is not nearly as controversial as it once was.

The initial controversy of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital stemmed from the 1947 UN Partition Plan which allocated Greater Jerusalem and Greater Bethlehem into a “corpus separatum,” an international zone called the “Holy Basin.” While the Jews accepted the proposal, the Arabs rejected it and launched a war to eliminate the Jewish State. At war’s end, Israel controlled the western part of Jerusalem, while the Arabs took all of Greater Bethlehem and the eastern part of Jerusalem. Jordan expelled all of the Jews from the region, granted citizenship to all of the Arabs (specifically excluding Jews) and annexed the region, in a move never recognized by any country in the world.

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1947 UN Proposal for the Holy Basin including
Greater Bethlehem and Greater Jerusalem

While the western half of Jerusalem has been always been inside of the 1949 Armistice Lines / the Green Line, many countries still did not want to move their embassies to Jerusalem in the expectation that some solution would evolve to create a two state solution, which would also settle the question of Jerusalem and Bethlehem.  After Jordan attacked Israel in 1967 and lost all of the land east of the Green Line (EGL) including Bethlehem and the eastern part of Jerusalem, a solution appeared even more distant.

Indeed, things did change.

  • In 1980, Israel extended the borders of Jerusalem and declared that the city, “complete and united, is the capital of Israel.”
  • In 1988, Jordan gave up all claims to the EGL lands, and in 1994, it signed a peace agreement with Israel. The peace agreement acknowledged Jordan’s special role on the Jewish Temple Mount, but did not give Jordan any sovereignty in Jerusalem whatsoever.
  • In 1993 and then in 1995, the Israelis and Palestinian Arabs signed the Oslo I and Oslo II Accords, respectively.  As part of those agreements, the Palestinian Authority (PA) effectively agreed that Israel has sovereignty over the western part of Jerusalem. And as part of that agreement, Israel handed control to the PA of half of the Holy Basin, the city of Bethlehem.

Today, the only part of the Holy Basin that remains disputed is the eastern half of Jerusalem. (Granted there are terrorist groups like Hamas that refuse to acknowledge Israel’s rights over the western part of the Jerusalem, but for that matter, Hamas refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist at all.) As of today, the only countries that do not recognize that the western part of Jerusalem is part of Israel are the same countries that do not believe in Israel’s right to exist.

As such, moving the US embassy to Jerusalem is no longer controversial, any more than recognizing the Jewish State.  Congress voted to approve moving the embassy in October 1995, at the time of Oslo II. However, US presidents have withheld executing the move as the broader Israeli-Arab peace has still not been realized.

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US Consulate in Jerusalem is not an embassy
(photo: FirstOneThrough)

Moving the US embassy to Jerusalem does nothing to alter the negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinian Arabs that want to make peace. Withholding the move simply rewards entities like Hamas that are at war with Israel.

Jews in Apartments in the Eastern Part of Jerusalem
(Over the Green Line, but not Crossing the Line)

After Jews reunified the city of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War, they moved back into the eastern half of their holiest city. Not only did they return to the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, but to other sections outside of the Old City walls, like Silwan, which was founded in the second half of the 19th century by Yemenite Jews.

Jews returning to the area was viewed as controversial by Arabs, who had banned Jews from the region while they controlled the area from 1949 to 1967.  However, international law clearly stated that “No person shall be excluded from Palestine on the sole ground of his religious belief.” (Mandate of Palestine, Article 15).

Yet US President Obama preferred to endorse the anti-Semitic agenda of the Palestinian Authority in condemning Jews for moving into apartments that they legally purchased in Silwan. In October 2014, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said The US condemns the recent occupation of residential buildings in the neighborhood of Silwan by people whose agenda provokes tensions.”

The scenario was hard to fathom. The first black president in US history condemned people for moving into a neighborhood because such action was viewed with hostility by the current residents. Would Obama have sided with white racists in the 1950s in Selma, GA that were against blacks moving into the neighborhood?

The apartments which Jews had purchased were in existing buildings in their holiest city. To characterize the actions as a “occupation of residential buildings” made the action sound like a military maneuver against Arabs, rather than a normalization of people coexisting.

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Silwan, in the eastern part of Jerusalem
(photo: FirstOneThrough)

While the apartments were over the invisible Green Line (which was clearly defined as not a permanent border in the 1949 Armistice Agreement), the Obama administration was completely wrong that such actions crossed the line of appropriate behavior.

 

Settlements on Private Palestinian Arab Land
(Over the Line and Crossing the Line)

On November 15, 2016, the Israeli Knesset voted to legalize Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria that were built on private Palestinian Arab land.

That was wrong.

International law gave Jews the right live anywhere in Palestine, as described in Article 6 of the Mandate of Palestine “shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage… close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.”  But private property is not state land.  The introduction of Article 6 states “The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced…”  It is unjust and immoral to seize an individual’s private property unless there are extenuating circumstances.

This does not appear to be one of those cases.


There is a broad movement to delegitimize Jews who are living anywhere in the Holy Land. That is wrong and anti-Semitic. However, those disgusting calls to expel and ban Jews from living in homes they have every legal and moral right to inhabit, should not override the rights of Arabs to live on their private property as well.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Long History of Dictating Where Jews Can Live Continues

The Arguments over Jerusalem

Palestinians agree that Israel rules all of Jerusalem, but the World Treats the City as Divided

“East Jerusalem” – the 0.5% Molehill

“Extremist” or “Courageous”

Israel was never a British Colony; Judea and Samaria are not Israeli Colonies

New York Times Lies about the Gentleness of Zionism

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While Joe Biden Passionately Defends Israel, He Ignores Jewish Rights and the History of the Jewish State

Vice President Joe Biden addressed the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. on March 20, 2016. He spoke passionately about the importance of the security of Israel and America’s commitment to defend Israel.

At roughly the 29 minute mark of the speech, he said that “One thing is certain: the United States will constantly and forever have Israel’s back….no administration has done more to advance the security of Israel than we [this administration] have. Our commitment to Israel’s qualitative military edge is unquestionable; it will not change.” Putting aside the enormity of the pending threat of Iran from the JCPOA, the statement strikes many people in the Israeli government as accurate.

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Vice President Joe Biden at AIPAC, March 20, 2016

However passionately Biden spoke about the importance of Israel’s security and America’s commitment to such, he confused the cause of safety, with the contours of  the basic history of the Jewish State. At three different occasions Biden spoke about the Holocaust and the current anti-Semitism in Europe. He stated that Israel needs to exist “as the ultimate guarantor of security for Jewish people around the world…Never, never, never again! And without Israel, there is no guarantee.”

The pro-Israel crowd rose to its feet in a standing ovation (video 33:30).

I was sad.

  1. “Never Again” is universal. It is the moral, ethical and primary responsibility of every government to protect each and every one of its citizens. It is true that many countries throughout history have turned on the Jews. But in 2016, I expect the Vice President of the United States of America to stand a foot taller and declare twice as loud as the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls who saidif 100,000 Jews leave, France will no longer be France. The French Republic will be judged a failure.”
    ”Never Again” should not just be a slogan inside of Israel; it must be the slogan of every country in the world. How could a leader of the greatest country in the world pawn off the security of Jews to Israel alone?
  2. Modern Israel is the Third Jewish State. Israel was not created as a reaction to the Holocaust in World War II. It was not made as the United Nations’ pen for holding people out of harm’s way. That is a mischaracterization that President Obama has made repeatedly over his term. In his interview in The Atlantic in 2015, Obama compared the security of Jews to American blacks when he said “There’s a direct line between supporting the right of the Jewish people to have a homeland and to feel safe and free of discrimination and persecution, and the right of African Americans to vote and have equal protection under the law. These things are indivisible in my mind.
    Nope.
    Israel was established in international law as the homeland of the Jewish people in 1920 in the San Remo Agreement, well before World War II. The 1922 British Mandate for Palestine clearly stated that the reason for the Jewish homeland in Palestine was specifically because of “the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.” The mandate facilitated Jews to move there, acquire property and citizenship once again.

Does the myopic view of Vice President Biden seeing and describing Israel solely as a safe haven for Jews matter?

You bet.

Without an understanding of Jewish history that dates back more than 3000 years in the land, and the international law that gives Jews the option of living throughout the land, Jews have no real rights.  They are interlopers and recent arrivals in “Arab lands,” rather than the indigenous people.  They are only entitled to security – and that security could be in an arbitrary, very small part of the holy land.

That is why the Obama administration calls Jewish homes east of the Green Line (EGL) as “illegitimate.”  That is why the administration could propose “settlement freezes.”  It leads to a view that Jerusalem, the holiest city to only one religion (Judaism), that has been the capital city of only one people in history (Jews), could be subject to negotiation and division.

When Biden said (video 20:45-22:45) that settlements hurt the chance for peace with Palestinian Arabs, he wasn’t just advocating splitting the land; he was segmenting his logic and ignoring facts.  To him, Israel has no inherent rights and Jews have no freedom to live where they want.  Israel and Jews are only entitled “to exist” with security.

For their part, the Democratic administration argues that Palestinians are entitled to “dignity and self-determination.”  And if that “dignity” means anti-Semitic laws, banning Jews and squashing the freedoms and rights of Jews, this administration will support it – as long as Israel has security.

Such a view destroys there ever being peace between Israel and Arabs.

The underlying reason preventing peace is the Arabs’ refusal to recognize the basic and fundamental rights Jews have for living in the land – regardless of whether it is under an Israeli flag, a Jordanian flag or a future Palestinian flag.  Sadly, the Obama administration holds the same position.

Perhaps, sadder still, is watching a pro-Israel community applaud.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Narrative that Prevents Peace in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

The Invisible Anti-Semitism in Obama’s 2016 State of the Union

Obama’s “Values” Red Herring

The Arguments over Jerusalem

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The Illogic of Land Swaps

The argument that using the “1967 lines” as the basis for the borders of Israel and Palestine in a two-state solution is flawed at the outset.  “Land swaps” simply underscore that absurdity of the argument.

Obama on Israel-Palestine Borders

In May 2011, US President Barack Obama shared his thoughts on the contours of the ultimate borders of Israel and Palestine in a two-state solution: “We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.

The comment infuriated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and pro-Israel advocates. Obama clarified his comments before a pro-Israel group a few days later: “By definition, it means that the parties themselves, Israelis and Palestinians will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967… it allows the parties themselves to account for the changes that have taken place over the last 44 years…. Including the new demographic realities on the ground, and the needs of both sides.”

Obama’s second statement moved away from his comments about “1967 lines.” By stating that the border would be arrived at through mutual negotiations and look “different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967,” Obama made the comment about the 1967 lines moot.  If the parties agree to an entirely new construct for borders, than that would be acceptable too.  There is no reason to even mention the “1967 lines” or land swaps.

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President Barack Obama at AIPAC May 2011

But the left-wing group J Street was much more aggressive than Obama on the contours of Israel, and lobbied the US government about the 1967 lines and land swaps.

J Street on Israel-Palestine Borders

J Street clearly calls for a two-state solution to be based on the 1967 lines with land swaps as detailed on its site: “This border will be based on the pre-1967 Green Line, with equivalent swaps of land…  land of equivalent quantity and quality will be swapped from within the pre-1967 Green Line.

The group also urged the US government and Jewish groups to strongly condemn any Jews living east of the Green Line (EGL/West Bank).  More specificaly, J Street stated:

J Street is deeply concerned that the pre-1967 Green Line separating Israel and the occupied territory is being effectively erased both on the ground and in the consciousness of Israelis, Jews and others around the world.

The resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will require establishing a border through negotiations between Israel and the new state of Palestine – based, as noted previously, on the pre-1967 Green Line with adjustments. Until that border is negotiated, the Green Line remains the internationally-recognized separation between the state of Israel and the territory won in the Six Day War in 1967.

A disturbing and growing lack of awareness of the Green Line is partially responsible for the 47-year occupation fading from the consciousness of the Israeli and international Jewish publics. Efforts to erase the Green Line from maps and from public awareness serve the interests only of those who seek to establish control over all the territory to the Jordan River.

One step American community groups, businesses, schools and governments could take to foster memory of the distinction between pre-1967 Israel and the subsequently occupied territory would be to use only maps that include the pre-1967 Green Line – a visual reminder of the Green Line and its significance.”

j street bookmark

All of J Street’s arguments: negotiations based on 1967 lines; equivalent swaps of land; and using equivalent “quality” are all illogical.  The desire to push the US government to punish Israel was demonic.

The Illogic of “Land Swaps”

There are a number of issues regarding using the 1967 lines and subsequent land swaps as envisioned by J Street.

The 1967 Lines Rewards Aggression.  Using the 1967 lines as a starting point for negotiations rewards aggression.  When Israel declared itself as an independent state in 1948, it was immediately attacked by five Arab armies from Egypt; Jordan; Syria; Lebanon; and Iraq.  The 1967 lines were the Armistice Lines where the warring parties stopped fighting in 1949.

Imagine that in 1948-9, Egypt conquered the entire southern part of Israel, all of the way up until Bethlehem, and Jordan conquered the entire eastern part of the country, leaving Israel as a narrow sliver of coastline from Tel Aviv to Rosh Hanikra. Consequently, imagine that it is this small state that becomes recognized by the United Nations in 1949, within Armistice Lines with Egypt and Jordan.

Further consider that history played out precisely as it did: in 1967 the Arab armies once again threatened to destroy Israel, so Israel pre-emptively attacked Egypt and Syria and then Jordan attacked Israel. Egypt and Jordan lost all of the territory that it took from the 1922 Palestine Mandate for a Jewish homeland in the war.

How would the world react?  Would the world demand that Israel needs to return to a stub of a state and give Egypt and Jordan all of the land past the 1949 Armistice Lines? Even if Egypt and Jordan ultimately relinquished their claims to the lands they seized in favor of Palestinian Arabs, would those borders somehow be considered the appropriate borders for Israel and Palestine?

Of course not.

Pushing Israel to accept the borders that the UN endorsed in 1949 would be rewarding the five Arab armies assault on Israel. The areas within the Jewish homeland mandate that are some refer to as “Arab land,” are simply lands that were seized by Arab aggression.  Using such 1967 lines/ the 1949 Armistice Lines, is a direct reward to an aggressive war to destroy the Jewish State.

Land Swaps Acknowledges that 1967 Lines are not Borders.  Those parties that suggest that land swaps between Israel and a future Palestinian state, inherently admit that the 1967 lines have no merit.  How could anyone suggest that a sovereign nation (Israel) give up some of its own land?  How could a country annex land of another country (Palestine)?  It can do so, if the two parties both acknowledge that the lines are not borders.

This was clearly spelled out in the Armistice Agreement with Egypt that stated “[t]he Armistice Demarcation Line is not to be construed in any sense as a political or territorial boundary.” Similarly, the Armistice Agreement between Israel and Jordan which stated “The Armistice Demarcation Lines defined in articles V and VI of this Agreement are agreed upon by the Parties without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines or to claims of either Party relating thereto.

While J Street urges Israel and Jewish groups to “know its boundaries,” the actual suggestion to engage in land swaps undermines the J Street argument that the 1967 lines have any real significance.  If there is any doubt, the Armistice Agreements that created those specific Armistice Lines stated those lines were not borders.

Land Swaps Undermine a call to limit Jewish “Settlements.” J Street and other groups that suggest that no Jewish Israelis should be allowed to live east of the Green Line (EGL/ West Bank), undermine their own argument when they suggest that there should be land swaps.  If Israel should give over some of its land west of the Green Line to a future Palestinian State, that would mean that Jews should also be prohibited from living in those border areas in Israel too.  Swapping land means that those Jewish communities in Israel would be considered a similar threat towards peace as the “settlements” in EGL/West Bank.

If people really believe that Jewish communities threaten the viability of a Palestinian State, the same parties that argue for banning Israelis in EGL/West Bank should argue similarly argue against Jewish communities in Israel that threaten the ability to effectively conclude land swaps.

That suggestion is clearly absurd.

Therefore if it is not a problem for Jews to move into communities that are west of the Green Line, than it is not an issue for Jews to move east of the Green Line.

Phantom Size.  The suggestion that the exact number of square kilometers of the “West Bank” and Gaza that were created by the 1949 Armistice Lines is somehow a sacred amount is ridiculuous.  As described above, the “West Bank” was an artifice created by a war of Arab aggression against Israel in 1948.  There is/was nothing inherently special about where the warring parties stopped fighting.

It is therefore non-sensical to suggest that the “equivalent quantity”of land be exchanged between the parties.  The Armistice Lines were arbitrary, non-permanent lines, and therefore the amount of land on either side of those lines are also arbitrary.

Further Absurdity of “Equivalent Quality.” J Street outdid itself in promoting a concept that went beyond the illogical suggestions of the 1967 lines land swaps.  It proposed that the land swaps between Israel and the Palestinian Authority should be based on land of “equivalent quality.”  In other words, J Street did not only propose that there be a swap of 50 square km on one side of the Green Line for 50km on the other side.  J Street introduced the concept of “quality.”  The far left-wing group argued that desert land would not be equivalent to an aquifer.  Holy land would not be equivalent to non-Holy land.

What is the conversion factor between the different types of land? Who knows!  Just add some subjective requirements to simplify negotiations that are already going nowhere for decades and are illogical at the start.  That should speed things up!

 benami-J Street
J Street leader Jeremy Ben Ami

When people pick on Obama for being anti-Israel, they should consider his rather moderate stance compared to the advice he receives from J Street.


Related First.One.Through articles:

J Street: Going Bigger and Bolder than BDS

The Legal Israeli Settlements

The Left-Wing’s Two State Solution: 1.5 States for Arabs, 0.5 for Jews

The Long History of Dictating Where Jews Can Live Continues

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J Street: Going Bigger and Bolder than BDS

The BDS Movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) against Israel and Israeli companies has been going on for several years.  According to Professor Eugene Kontorovich, the movement focuses on three main areas: campuses; companies and countries.  He notes that the college campus activities get a lot of attention, but have little practical impact.  The BDS of specific Israeli companies have more direct financial ramifications on the targeted companies (like Sodastream), while actions by countries can have the most severe impact on the Jewish State.

In that light, it is interesting to note the actions of J Street, which describes itself as a “Pro-Israel” group.

benami-J Street
J Street Executive Director Jeremy Ben Ami
(photo: JTA/ J Street)

There is no question that the country with the largest economic and security relationship with Israel is the United States.  As detailed in “International-Domestic Abuse: Obama and Netanyahu,” the US is by far Israel’s largest trading partner.  Further, Israel relies on the US not only for $3 billion in military aid each year, but protection at the United Nations Security Council.

Therefore, the threat of the United States government putting pressure on Israel is many magnitudes more significant than a group of angry anthropologists on college campuses.  Such US pressure could cripple Israel both on a financial front and the security of its people.

And that is exactly what J Street proposes.

January 2011: “[I]f the [UN] Resolution [condemning Israeli settlements] does come to a vote, we urge the Obama administration to work to craft language, particularly around Jerusalem, that it can support condemning settlement activity and promoting a two-state solution.

While we hope never to see the state of Israel publicly taken to task by the United Nations, we cannot support a U.S. veto of a Resolution that closely tracks long-standing American policy and that appropriately condemns Israeli settlement policy.”

J Street advocated that the United States abandon Israel at the UN Security Council, a place where the US is often the only voice of support.  The statement above was so reprehensible to many, that even devout liberal politician Gary Ackerman (D-NY) condemned the group and stated that he would have nothing to do with it.

J Street continued:

In September 2014: “J Street urges the United States government to undertake a thorough review of its policy toward Israeli settlements and to announce the steps it will take if Israel goes forward with this decision. As a first step, it should declare now that it is the view of the United States that settlements are not merely “unhelpful” or “illegitimate” but illegal under international law as laid out in the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

There are many leading international authorities (as well as the government of Israel itself) that clearly lay out why the settlements are neither illegal, nor counter to the Fourth Geneva Convention. However, it was the Jordanian annexation of the “West Bank” in 1950 and the expulsion of all of the Jews from the area that was clearly counter to the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Not only does J Street not side with the Israeli government in this regard, it “urges the United States government” to penalize Israel at the United Nations security council and elsewhere.

These official policy statements of J Street have implications well beyond angry annoying voices at universities.  They put Israel directly at risk.

J Street may make proclamations that they do not support BDS, but their voices and lobbying efforts are actually much more dangerous to the security of Israel.


Related First One Through articles:

The Fault in Our Tent: The Limit of Acceptable Speech

Liberals’ Biggest Enemies of 2015

The Left-Wing’s Two State Solution: 1.5 States for Arabs, 0.5 for Jews

Adalah, Dismantling Zionism

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Join Facebook group: FirstOne Through  Israel Analysis

 

 

The Long History of Dictating Where Jews Can Live Continues

The world has a long established track record of telling Jews where they can and cannot live. It is a phenomenon that uniquely relates to Jews which continues to this day in the holy land.

Pluralistic World, Narrowly Defined

The “Western World” likes to think of itself as modern and “progressive.” Its leaders believe they have largely overcome rampant bigotry in their societies. For example, western leaders would never suggest that black people be only allowed to live in certain cities, or declare that gays be confined to ghettos. Even during this wave of radical Islamic terrorism, no leader would ever say that all Muslims should be expelled from the country. Modern civilized society would never tolerate such positions.

The “Western” pluralistic approach is not confined to opinions within its own borders. Wherever there is ethnic strife, western officials promote parties getting along.  In northern Cyprus, Christians and Muslims are urged to reconcile.  In Myanmar, the US calls for Muslims and Buddhists to try to live together in peace.

However, the attitudes change when it comes to Jews in the Middle East. Pluralism is passé east of the Green Line.

Jews are Treated Differently

Today, it has become all too common for Europeans to protest in the streets chanting “Free Palestine” in calls for the destruction of the Jewish State of Israel. University professors give legitimacy to Hamas, a terrorist group, which openly calls for killing Jews and destroying Israel. The leaders of the European Union call for Jews to be expelled from Judea and Samaria. And the President of the United States, Barack Obama, condemned Jews living in apartments they legally purchased in eastern Jerusalem.

While pluralism is an embraced ideal, the open tent does not cover Israel.  The western world that prides itself on fraternity, believes that Jews should be banned from living in predominantly Arab neighborhoods.  The modern culture that seeks a global community, wants to deny Jews the right to live in their homes. The progressive left which advocates for human rights, condemns Jews rather than Palestinian Arabs who fight for a Jew-free state.

Ideally, everyone should be able live anywhere.  Except for Jews who should be banned from living east of the invisible Green Line.

It should not surprise people that the Jewish State is treated differently. These same “progressive” countries have a long history of forcing Jews into ghettos and expelling them from their homes.  Dictating where Jews are allowed to live is second nature. It’s the Jewish “Pen Policy.”

Here is a list of the Pen Policy in action, after the Crusades. This list ignores the brutal slaughter of millions of Jews over that time.  There is no comparable treatment of any other ethnic or religious minority.

History of Expelling Jews

Many governments expelled all of their Jewish inhabitants, both on the local city level and on the national level.

Austria: Jews expelled from Vienna in 1670.

Brazil: Jews expelled from Recife in 1654.

Czech Republic: Jews expelled from Prague in 1745.

England: Expelled all of the Jews in 1290. Jews could not live in England for another 360 years.

Egypt: Jews expelled in 1956.
Israel removes Jews from Sinai in peace deal with Egypt in 1982.

France: 100,000 Jews expelled in 1306 and then again in 1322.
Charles VI expelled the Jews in 1394.
In 1420, the Jews were expelled from Lyons.

Germany: Jews expelled from Brandenburg in 1510.
In 1593, Jews expelled from Bavaria.
In 1614, Jews expelled from Frankfurt.

Hungary: Marie Theresa (still an all-time favorite leader among Hungarians) expelled all Jews from Hungary and Bohemia in 1744.

Italy: Jews expelled from Southern Italy in 1288.
In 1491, Jews expelled from Ravenna.
In 1492, Jews expelled from Sicily and Sardinia.
In 1494, Jews expelled from Florence and Tuscany.
In 1510, Jews expelled from southern Rome.
In 1541, last Jews evicted from Naples.
In 1550, Jews expelled from Genoa.
In 1558, Jews expelled from Recanati.
In 1569, all Jews forced out of Papal states by decree of Pope Pius V.
In 1571, Venice decides to evict all remaining Jews, but does not carry it out.
In 1593, Pope Clement VIII evicts Jews from all papal states, except Rome.
In 1597, almost all of the Jews of Milan are expelled.

Lithuania: Jews expelled in 1495.

Martinique: King Louis XIV ordered all Jews expelled from French colonies in the New World in 1683.

Netherlands: Jews banned from Utrecht in 1444.

Palestinian Authority: After massacre of 69 Jews by local Arabs, British forces remove remaining Jewish community of Hebron in 1929.
In 1949, after attacking Israel when it declared independence, Jordanians expel all Jews from Judea and Samaria and the eastern half of Jerusalem which they illegally annex.
In 2005, Israel removes all Jews from Gaza Strip.

Poland: Jews expelled from Warsaw in 1483.

Portugal: Some Jews expelled in 1483.
In 1497, choice of conversion or expulsion of all Jews.

Spain: Jews expelled from Seville in 1483.
All 200,000 Jews expelled from country in 1492.

Switzerland: Jews expelled from Basel in 1349.

Tunisia: Jews expelled or massacred in 1535.

Ghettos

Some governments did not expel their Jews, but forced them to live in concentrated areas. Street signs can still be found in European cities named “Street of the Jews.”

Austria: Vienna’s Leopoldstadt goes back hundreds of years.

Czech Republic: Prague has one of the most famous Jewish Quarters, which was created as a restrictive ghetto.

Italy: Venice instituted the first ghetto by papal decree in Europe in 1516.  Others were developed in Ferrara (1624) and Rome (1555).

Germany: Created over 1000 in Germany and Poland during World War II, including the infamous Warsaw Ghetto.

Russia: Jews were confined to the “Pale of Settlements” in 1791.  Jews were forbidden to live in 75% of Russia.

DSC_0121
“Jew Street” in Obernai, France
(photo: FirstOneThrough)

The world has grown very comfortable dictating where Jews may live. It is well past time for Europeans to condemn the racist Jew-free attitudes of Jordanians (1949-1967) and Palestinian Arabs today, and adopt a pluralistic and welcoming approach towards Jews in Judea and Samaria.

In November 2015, in a speech about attitudes towards Muslims, US President Barack Obama said, “we don’t have religious tests for our compassion… We don’t discriminate against people because of their faith.” If only he and others held such feelings about Jews as well.


Related First.One.Through articles and videos:

Names and Narrative: The West Bank / Judea and Samaria

Names and Narrative: Palestinian Territories/ Israeli Territories

Video: Judea and Samaria (Foo Fighters)

Video: The “1967 Borders” (The Kinks)

Subscribe YouTube channel: FirstOneThrough

Join Facebook group: FirstOne Through  Israel Analysis

The Israeli Peace Process versus the Palestinian Divorce Proceedings

Summary: The gap in resolving the long running Israel-Palestinian Question has to do with the goals of each party: the Israelis believe they have been engaged in a peace process between peoples while the Palestinians are negotiating a divorce settlement between countries.

Politicians and the media – both well-meaning and otherwise – have blamed various parties for the failures to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. When they are not directly pointing accusing fingers, they still use language which conveys their biases. A person needn’t look past the language used in discussions about Jewish homes beyond the Green Line/ 1949 Armistice Lines – the “settlements”.

“Settlements”

“Viability”: As detailed in “A Viable Palestinian State”, various parties have described the “settlements” as a hindrance to a viable Palestinian state. The statement is meant as a direct attack on Israel, and is absurd. If a Palestinian state cannot exist with a 5% Jewish population, then surely Israel cannot exist with a 20% Muslim population. Are the people that make such a comment looking for Israel to expel a million Israeli Arabs?

Similarly, if a viable Palestine is compromised because such new country would be only 15km across at a single point, surely Israel cannot exist in its current configuration with a 15km narrow corridor for a dozen kilometers. Are these politicians and media pundits suggesting that Israel must annex the entire spine of the land?

“Complication” and “Provocation”: Another sentiment that is expressed is that settlements “complicate the peace process.” As conveyed in June 2015 by the New York Times in an article called “Israel’s work on a West Bank Site Gives Rise to New Suspicion,” even existing homes purchased by private individuals (as opposed to new communities established by the Israeli government) hurt the peace process. The article described a man who purchased an abandoned building and surrounding property: “Leftist Israeli politicians and advocacy groups have reacted with alarm, suspecting a new settlement in the occupied West Bank [a NYT term] that would further complicate the peace process.

This statement is similar to the rebuke of the Obama administration to Jews buying and moving into homes they own in Silwan, in the eastern part of Jerusalem. As detailed in the FirstOneThrough article “Obama supports Anti-Semitic Palestinian Agenda of Jew-Free State,” the Obama administration condemned Jews for legally buying homes and becoming neighbors in an Arab neighborhood east of the Green Line, referring to such basic act of living as a provocation.

And therein lies the basic gap in understanding the actions, intentions and goals of the two sides.

20150610_080707
New York Times article quoting “leftists” that claim that individual Jews owning land east of the Green Line “complicates peace”

Israeli Peace Process

The primary stated goals of the negotiations were to get to a peace based on two states:

  • The peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan are vital. But they’re not enough. We must also find a way to forge a lasting peace with the Palestinians. Two years ago, I publicly committed to a solution of two states for two peoples: A Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state. I am willing to make painful compromises to achieve this historic peace. As the leader of Israel, it is my responsibility to lead my people to peace.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu May 2011
  • Our goal is two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. The process is the one of direct negotiations to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to resolve all the permanent status issues and end the occupation that began in 1967 under which Palestinians have suffered so much.” Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority Mahmoud Abbas June 2003

As part of making peace with Palestinian Arabs, Israel has stated it will enable a new state of Palestine to be created.  For their part, the Palestinian Arabs are interested in their new state to be self-governing and to not deal with Israeli Jews. Israel has focused on peace with the people; Palestinians have focused on separation of the people. Two states living side-by-side in peace is not the same as two people living side-by-side in peace.

A peace process is best established with various personal, commercial and governmental relationships and dealings. Such interactions would enable the parties to navigate ongoing thorny issues like water rights and security.  It would enable partnerships to develop tourism and the economy.

Israel understands the importance of establishing relationships with its Arab neighbors.  As soon as the country was founded in 1948, the country granted 160,000 non-Jews citizenship and extended an offer and desire for peace with the neighboring Arab countries.  When Israel annexed Jerusalem, it offered all of the people there citizenship.  As of 2015, non-Jews account for 25% of Israel and have full rights in the most liberal country in the region, and one of the most liberal in the world. In the 2015 Israeli election, the Arab party placed third among the dozen parties seeking seats in the Knesset.

Over the decades, Israel forged peace agreements with neighboring Arab countries Egypt and Jordan.  It has stated that it is ready to so with Palestinian Arabs and the other neighboring countries as well.

Palestinian Divorce Proceedings

When Israel captured the area east of the Green Line in 1967 after it was attacked by the Jordanian and Palestinian Arabs, it rescinded the Jordanian ban on Jews living in the area (from 1949-67).  Israel allowed Jews to live and establish themselves in the region once again where they bought existing houses next to Arabs, built new houses, and created new companies.

All of which, made the Palestinian Arabs angry.

The Palestinians do not want Jewish neighbors in a new state.  Acting President Abbas made very clear his intention when he declared “we will not see the presence of a single Israeli – soldier or civilian – on our lands.”

The Palestinians do not want any Jewish businesses in a new state.  Despite the extraordinary efforts that some companies like Sodastream went through to hire Palestinian Arabs in its plant east of the Green Line (EGL) to work alongside Israeli Arabs and Jews, Palestinians put pressure on the company to abandon the area – which it did. Palestinians promote a BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) of all businesses established by Jews in the EGL.

Palestinians think Jews have no rights to buy or live anywhere in the land. They think the entire region – including Israel – is Arab land and that Jews have no history in the region. One can often hear Abbas and other Palestinians refer to the “Judaization” of the land, as if the holy land never had Jews.

The Palestinians reject the legitimacy of Israel itself. While the Palestinians will acknowledge the fact that Israel exists and will negotiate with it, they do not view the existence of the Jewish state as legitimate. They consider Jews colonialists and Israel a foreign colonial enterprise.  As such, they will not recognize Israel as a Jewish State.

The Palestinians are not looking for peace with Israel, nor are they seeking peace with Jews. They view the presence of both in the entire holy land as illegitimate. Their goals are to completely separate themselves from Israel and Jews in their own state, and to reestablish a majority Arab presence inside of Israel. Within their new country, the Palestinians do not want a single Israeli person or business.  Inside of Israel, they want millions of Arabs that are second and third generation removed from Arabs that once lived in the land, to specifically move to Israel because they feel that such land is also Arab land which Jews took illegally.

 

That is why Jewish “settlements” east of the Green Line are inaccurately called obstacles to a “peace process.” Jewish homes and businesses east of the Green Line do NOT “complicate the peace process”, they complicate the divorce proceedings that the Palestinians desire. A Jewish presence can only be called a “provocation” to a people that want to be rid of Jews.

It is not inaccurate to state that Jewish homes in EGL complicate permanent status negotiations, but it is an inversion of the truth to claim that they hurt the “peace process.”

 


Related First One Through articles:

Nicholas Kristof’s “Arab Land”

Delivery of the Fictional Palestinian Keys

Names and Narrative: The West Bank / Judea and Samaria

 

A “Viable” Palestinian State

Summary: Pundits parrot Palestinian propaganda and state that Jews living in homes on the west bank of the Jordan River (WBJR) threaten the viability of a Palestinian state, Jodi Roduren of the Times being the latest. As Shakespeare wrote “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

 20150313_130018
New York Times cover story on “Settlements”

The New York Times’ Jodi Rudoren once again took to the front pages of the paper to decry the building of Jewish homes in lands the Palestinians want for a future state. In the March 12 cover story she wrote: “Steady growth of settlements across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, which most world leaders consider violations of international law, complicates both the creation of a viable Palestine and the challenge of someday uprooting Israelis, who are now raising a second and third generation in contested areas.” The thousand-plus word article detailed the size of various towns and the number of Jews living there, but never once discussed how the presence of Jews “complicates the creation of a viable Palestine.” Thomas Friedman echoed the sentiment on March 18, 2015 op-ed piece where he wrote “some 350,000 settlers are now living in the West Bank, makes it hard to see how a viable two-state solution is possible anymore.“ Let me spell out what they suggested.

PEOPLE

Palestinians are not simply seeking the establishment of a new country where they can be self-governing; they seek a country devoid of Jews. It is as though the presence of Jews triggers some sort of terrible anaphylactic shock to the Palestinian people.

In 2013, acting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared that “we would not see the presence of a single Israeli – civilian or soldier – on our lands.” For some reason, Abbas abhors the presence of Jews. This would appear to be the rationale for the media thinking that Jews risk the viability of a Palestinian state.

Ignoring for the moment the glaring anti-Semitic nature of the Abbas’s desire, consider the number of Jews that could potentially live in a new state of Palestine.

Small Percentage: Jews account for roughly 40% of the population in the eastern part of Jerusalem; about 13% of the remainder of the west bank of the Jordan River (WBJR), and 0% of Gaza. Ignoring the eastern part of Jerusalem which Israel annexed, Jews account for 8% of the population in the territories. If a portion of the Palestinian population living around the world (estimated at 7 million people) moved to a new state of Palestine – say 2 million of them – the total percentage of Jews would drop to 5%. If land swaps with Israel would move blocks of towns with Jews to Israel, the percentage would drop into the very low single digits.

Is this truly a sticking point for Abbas? Does he need a country to be completely Judenfrei like Nazi Germany? Would a Jewish population of 2-3% make a state non-viable?

Maybe he should look at Israel, which seems to do fine with non-Jewish citizens, which account for 25% of the country’s population. Umm al-Fahm in Israel is a city of nearly 50,000, almost all of whom are Israeli Arabs. Nazareth, with a population of about 66,000 is also completely Arab. Haifa, one of Israel’s largest cities, has a 24% Arab population. The Arab presence doesn’t offend Israelis and doesn’t impact the “viability” of Israel, and they account for 10 times as large a group as Jews would in a new country of Palestine.

“Uprooting Israelis”: Roduren wrote that it will be difficult to move hundreds of thousands of Jewish Israelis from their homes. She is right: such a massive expulsion would dwarf the evictions of Israelis from the Sinai in 1982 and Gaza in 2005. The situation here is also completely different.

When Israel took Sinai from Egypt in the 1967 war, it was new territory. It was never part of the holy land to Jews and was not part of the 1922 Palestine Mandate which established a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The 4500 Israelis that lived in the Sinai who were evicted by the Israeli government as part of a peace treaty were new transplants to the region.

When Israel evacuated the 21 settlements in Gaza in 2005, it was much harder. Gaza was part of Palestine and is featured in the bible. However, it was never home to many Jews at any point in its history.

The WBJR (plus additional area) is known as Judea and Samaria. It has ALWAYS been part of the Jewish history and Jews have always lived throughout the area, except for brief periods of time when they were evicted and banned (such as when Jordanian and Palestinian Arabs controlled the area from 1949-67). The area was an integral part of the 1922 British Mandate of Palestine which established a Jewish homeland. When Israel legally counter-attacked the Jordanians in 1967, it removed the racist ban of Jews in the land that the Jordanians put in place, after they evicted all of the Jews counter to the Fourth Geneva Convention. In 1967, Israel allowed Jews to return to live in lands they had always lived in.

The “complication” of “someday uprooting” hundreds of thousands of Israelis living in WBJR is not about the sheer size of the numbers. These residents belong there and should never be evicted or forced to leave at all.

Counter to Palestinian Law: In 2002, Palestinians drafted a framework of laws called the Basic Law. It, theoretically, guarantees the freedom of religion:

  • Article 18: Freedom of belief and the performance of religious rituals are guaranteed, provided that they do not violate public order or public morals.It is interesting (telling?), that the Palestinians would guarantee the freedom of religion, as long as there are no Jews living in the land.

LAND

Other media sources claim that the threat to a viable Palestinian state is not because of the presence of Jews, but because of the remaining configuration of the land.

For example, the Guardian wrote about the potential development of a parcel of land known as “E1”, standing for “East of Jerusalem”, which Israel plans to develop to bridge the eastern part of the Jerusalem municipality with the large city of Maale Adumim. The Guardian wrote Despite its prosaic name, E1 has the potential to kill off hopes for a viable Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, according to opponents of Israeli development on the 12 sq km site east of Jerusalem…. It would also almost bisect the West Bank, making a contiguous Palestinian state almost impossible.”

While the annexation of E1 would likely cut off “East Jerusalem” as a capital of a future Palestinian State, it does nothing to harm the viability of a new country. Making such comments is simply echoing the Palestinian government’s alarmist position “we cannot build a viable state with a country that is disintegrating into small pieces.

The “bisection of the West Bank” that the article claims refers to the distance from Maale Adumim to the Jordan River which would be only 15 kilometers. This would be the narrowest spot of WBJR. It would happen at only a single spot in the middle of the Judean Desert before widening by many miles.

Israel’s narrowest spot is that same 15 kilometers across, except it stays narrow for several miles. Further, that narrow stretch runs along Israel’s main population and commercial center near Tel Aviv. This compares to the WBJR which is mostly unpopulated desert land.

15miles wide
Narrowest point map,
from Honest Reporting

Is a single narrow stretch of land so catastrophic that Palestine would not be viable? Should that be true, Abbas must believe that much of the spine of the country which sits in the hills of eastern “West Bank” should be annexed by Israel to make sure it becomes viable, just as Bayit Yehudi’s Naftali Bennett suggests.


In short, if Abbas feels that the issue of a “viable” state is because a handful of Jews cannot live in Palestine, then by definition, the “Right of Return” of millions of Arabs to Israel cannot be permitted or it would destroy Israel. Similarly, if the threat of viability stems from “bisecting” the land, then Israel would need to annex the entire middle of the country.

There are many paths to a viable country which include building an economy and ensuring security. Neither of those are accomplished by banning Jews from living in the land.  It is well past time for Abbas to continue to make such racist claims; it is disgraceful that western media continues to blindly repeat it.


Related First One Through articles:

Abbas’s racism: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/abbas-knows-racism/

The Legal Settlements: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/12/11/the-legal-israeli-settlements/

West Bank/ Judea and Samaria: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/names-and-narrative-the-green-line-west-bank-judea-and-samaria/

Palestinian xenophobia:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQS1XVQR-Xc

The New York Times Major anti-Netanyahu Propaganda Piece

Summary: The New York Times once again showed its bias against Jews living on the west bank of the Jordan River by painting opinion as international law. It posted a large non news-article during the week of Israeli elections in an attempt to discredit Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

On March 12, 2015, the New York Times ran a cover page story called “As Israeli Settlements take Root, So do Complications” and on its online version it was titled “Netanyahu and the Settlements”. The article repeatedly referred to something called the “Geneva Initiative” as if the initiative carried any backing or legal authority. In actuality, the 2003 initiative is most akin to a present day Facebook Group.

20150313_130018
New York Times large cover story on the “Settlements”

The Times wrote “Two-thirds of new construction over the last two years, the Peace Now report shows, was on the Palestinian side of a line drawn by the Geneva Initiative, an international working group that produced a model agreement in 2003…
Efrat, with nearly 10,000 residents, is to Israelis the capital of the Etzion block. Palestinians, though, do not accept it as part of the block at all,
because it is on the eastern side of Route 60 — their side of the Geneva Initiative map. Annexing it would be far more complicated.”

By reading such statements, one would think that Israel is deliberately building homes on the “Palestinian side” of a road, contrary to existing laws and/or agreements. Palestinians are comfortable with Jews living on one side of Route 60, but not on the other.  That is specifically what the NYT intends the reader to conclude by writing such an article. It is completely untrue.

The Geneva Initiative was launched by a handful of people- both Israelis and Palestinians. The civilians met during 2003 and drafted a guideline of how a two state-solution could emerge. None of the people participating were elected or appointed by any governmental body. Their initiative was not endorsed by any government. Neither Israelis nor Palestinians consider this old private working paper at all.

“the 2003 Geneva Initiative is most akin
to a present day Facebook Group”

Meanwhile ACTUAL laws and agreements were deliberately omitted from the NYT article. They include the 1922 British Mandate of Palestine which was signed by the League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations. The Mandate stated:

  • Article 6: The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.
  • Article 15: The Mandatory shall see that complete freedom of conscience and the free exercise of all forms of worship, subject only to the maintenance of public order and morals, are ensured to all. No discrimination of any kind shall be made between the inhabitants of Palestine on the ground of race, religion or language. No person shall be excluded from Palestine on the sole ground of his religious belief.

As described above, international law enabled Jews to live everywhere in Palestine. Such freedom of movement and the ability to buy land was also the case under the Ottoman Turks. This is history and law – not the opinion of a handful of private citizens.

The west bank of the Jordan River was an integral part of the 1922 British Mandate of Palestine.  It was annexed by the Jordanians in 1950, after Jordan attacked Israel in the 1948-9 war (such Jordan annexation was with approval of the Palestinians but never considered by the United Nations). The Jordanians illegally evicted all of the Jews from the area, including the eastern part of Jerusalem, counter to the Fourth Geneva Convention.

After Jordan (and the Palestinians who were Jordanian citizens) attacked Israel again in 1967, Israel was obligated to launch a counter-attack per The Hague Regulations which state:

  • Article 40: Any serious violation of the armistice by one of the parties gives the other party the right of denouncing it, and even, in cases of urgency, of recommencing hostilities immediately.

Jordan was therefore legally attacked by Israel.  The Jordanians officially gave up all claim to the land in 1988.

None of these international laws, agreements or actions on the part of governments are mentioned in this large cover story by the New York Times. Instead, the Times chose to paint a picture that Israel is not abiding to laws to make it appear as the belligerent party. It does this with the aid of a private working paper from 12 years ago.

20150313_130046
Double page story by the NYT, continued from March 12 2015 cover 

There was nothing new in the story which begs the questions:

  • Why give the article such prominence by placing it on the cover with a large color picture, and continue with a full two-page spread in the inside pages complete with pictures, maps and drawings?
  • Why use an old private Initiative to make an argument about the location of settlements instead of history and law?
  • Why post the article now?

The New York Times posted the piece as they want to see Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu defeated in upcoming Israeli elections.  The Israeli elections will take place later in the week, on March 17, 2015.  The New York Times, which has a long history of attacking the Israeli Prime Minister, put this non-news story on the front page the week before Israeli elections to make it appear that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was acting outside of the law.

The Times has once again shown it is not a credible source of news and chooses to air its biased opinions throughout the newspaper.  It has also shown that it seeks to influence the outcome of foreign elections with large distortions.  An interesting piece of hypocrisy, as the day before, on March 11, the NYT posted an op-ed from Thomas Freidman arguing about Sheldon Adelson’s attempts to influence elections in the United States with major contributions to Republican candidates, as well as claiming Adelson’s Israel Hayom newspaper is a biased mouthpiece for Netanyahu in Israel.

Is the Times posting the opinion of Barack Obama or George Soros?


First One Through articles:

Legal settlements: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/12/11/the-legal-israeli-settlements/

NYT’s Nicholas Kristof’s “Arab Land”  https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/nicholas-kristofs-arab-land/

NYT ignores Jihadists in Israel: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2015/01/26/radical-jihadists-in-europe-and-dislocated-and-alienated-palestinians-in-Israel/

NYT minimizing Netanyahu’s election success: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/new-york-times-talking-turkey/

NYT only using “West Bank” instead of “Judea and Samaria” https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/names-and-narrative-the-green-line-west-bank-judea-and-samaria/