Abortion, “Settlements” and Judeo-Christian Communities of Faith

There are very few subject matters that excite people to such a degree that they become passionate even when there is no personal stake in the matter. The curious thing about two of them – abortion and the “settlements” – is that the left and right are similarly inconsistent about the rights of the self and those of the impacted.

Abortion

The left-wing considers abortion a personal matter for the mother. They consider the impacted party – the fetus – to have no rights, even up to the point of birth. Their “pro-choice” position argues that if you don’t like abortions, then don’t have one. Each person can decide on their own what works best for their circumstance. Some pro-choice people have even suggested that men should have zero say in the entire abortion discussion.

The right-wing that is “pro-life” doesn’t dismiss that women are a factor in the topic, however, they feel that the fetus also has rights. Some people in this camp feel that abortions are a form of legalized murder of innocent babies. The moves taken by some states like New York which have removed any penalties or restrictions for an abortion up until the moment of birth are viewed as sickening. The idea that men should have no say in laws regarding infanticide are considered outrageous and repugnant.

“Settlements”

The left-wing has tacked to a different course when it comes to Israeli Jews living over the 1949 Armistice Lines between Israel and TransJordan. They feel that the rights of Jews to live in the area commonly called the “West Bank” is wrong as it impacts Palestinian (formerly Jordanian) Arabs who do not want them living there in their call for a Jew-free country. Rather than follow their own advice on abortion – if you don’t like it, don’t do it – they have attempted to stop others (Jews specifically) from living in “settlements.”

The right-wing has similarly taken the inverted path on Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria. They stand fully behind the rights of Jews to live where they want, especially in the Jewish holy land. The fact that Palestinian Arabs don’t like it is irrelevant. The impacted party must learn to live with the actions of people who use their agency to control their lives.

Changed Laws

The see-saw between right and left has pulled laws in different directions over the decades.

Abortion was illegal throughout the United States until 1973. The law continues to be challenged by different states which expand upon the rights of women (like New York described above) or for the rights of the unborn, as in Texas and Mississippi.

International law not only allowed but encouraged Jews to live throughout historic Palestine. The 1920 San Remo Agreement and the 1922 Mandate of Palestine not only called for Jews to live everywhere in the land, but specifically prohibited anyone from being banned from living in any part of the land (Article 15) – even in what became TransJordan (Article 25) – because of their religion. The United Nations reversed that in 2016 with the passage of UNSC 2334 which made it illegal for Jews to live over the 1949 Armistice Lines.

Abortion rights advocates demand that abortion rights are human rights and fight the laws viewed as discriminatory and will push for access even if laws are passed which they view as inherently misogynistic. Settlement activists similarly view UNSC 2334 and various calls to ban Jews from living somewhere as deeply anti-Semitic. They are fighting against the laws and attempts to boycott Jews who live in the Israeli territory of Area C.

The Distant Passion

The Deciding Party with Agency

There are nearly 4 billion women on the planet, so it stands to reason that there are many people who feel a vested interest in abortion rights. A woman in Ireland may look at the status of abortion in Texas and know that the decisions there have no immediate direct impact on her. However, she may feel both a connection with the women of Texas, and believe that the trend line in one part of the world may ultimately impact the situation for her thousands of miles away.

So it is with Jewish settlements. While there are a paltry few million Jews, there are hundreds of millions of Christian Zionists and others excited to see the rebirth of the Jewish State and want to ensure its success as they believe it confirms their faith. They stand amazed at the thriving democracy and technology marvel that Jews have built in the middle of the illiberal Middle East and are confident that God is blessing the Jewish people and will also bless those who bless the Jewish people.

The reality is that everyone – not just those with a vested interest – would likely be fine with abortions and settlements if there were no impacted party. The tension exists because there are others in the mix, and that dynamic is what ignites the passions.

Israeli buildings in the Judean Desert in Area C

The Impacted Party

In the abortion debate, many religious people believe that life begins at conception. Even those less religious intuitively understand that there is something unique about a fetus, especially in the third trimester, when an abortion cannot be equated with a woman getting a tattoo or body piercings. The pro-life community believes that the rights of the unborn – at some point during pregnancy – are as great as the rights of the mother.

The right and left do not side with the party with agency or the impacted party but whom they prioritize. The right sides with Jews and the unborn while the left tilts towards women and Arabs.

The split can perhaps be best summarized by the religious Judeo-Christian community versus the secular and Muslim community. The religious Judeo-Christian community generally believes that a fetus is more than a mass of cells and has inherent human dignity. They similarly attempt to live lives infused with the values of the Bible, and believe that the land of Israel is not simply holy land as it is to other faiths, but a uniquely Jewish Promised Land. The secular world believes neither, and wants to keep the beliefs of others out of their lives and politics.

The pro-life and pro-Zionist factions have tremendous overlap, not just in conservative politics but in the religious Judeo-Christian communities. The pro-abortion and pro-Palestinian groups similarly overlap in their anti-Judeo-Christian worldview, which they have attempted to characterize as a “White Patriarchy,” as a method of demonizing those alternative views.

Ongoing debates on abortions, settlements and a variety of issues will feature a slew of creative invectives, but at the core is the battle between the devoutly secular and the Judeo-Christian communities of faith around the world.

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“Land Belonging to Palestinians Before the 1967 War”

One of Israel’s leading critics in congress is Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) who uses the battering ram of “defending Palestinian children” to portray Israel as an offensive abuser of human rights. The foundation of her view of Israel is her belief that Israel has stolen land belonging to Arabs.

While McCollum didn’t utter a word about Hamas’s barrage of missiles against Israeli civilians in the summer of 2014, nor the killing of three Israeli teenagers which sparked the war, nor the Hamas Charter which blames Jews for all the world’s ills thus marking them for death, she did begin to find her voice regarding her view of the region a year later. In 2015, she berated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for opposing the Iranian nuclear plan, and in 2016, she admonished Israelis living in Area C of the West Bank. She then applauded the Obama Administration’s decision to allow UN Security Council Resolution 2334 to pass, making those Israeli homes illegal. On January 9, 2017 she offered the following:

[telling hard truths] is particularly true when it comes to the issue of illegal Israeli settlement expansion. This policy is one of the most serious obstacles to achieving a two-state solution, the only viable avenue to peace between Israel and the Palestinians. It has long been the bipartisan policy of U.S. administrations to oppose settlement expansion on land belonging to Palestinians before the 1967 war precisely because these settlements diminish the prospects of reaching a two-state solution and are not essential to Israel’s security.

The quote above is full of factual inaccuracies, inane predictions and false beliefs. They each deserve to be unpacked as McCollum is likely not alone in these feelings.

“land belonging to Palestinians before the 1967 war”

This statement is full of problems:

  1. No sovereign Palestine. The land was not “Palestinian” as there was no “Palestine” before the 1967 war. The area commonly called the “West Bank” was annexed by Jordan in 1950. All of those “Palestinians” received Jordanian citizenship in 1954, as long as they weren’t Jewish (clause 3 spelled that anti-Semitic dynamic clearly). It is only because of the Oslo Accord signed by the newly created Palestinian Authority and Israel that there is some self-rule by Palestinians today. Roughly 86% of West Bank Arabs live in Areas A and B under Palestinian control and 100% of the Arabs in Gaza live under Palestinian control. There are about 14% of West Bank Arabs living in Area C under Israeli control – all post the Oslo Accords of the 1990’s.
  2. The dividing line was never a border. When the Jordanians and Israelis reached a ceasefire at the end of the 1948-9 war, the frontier for the “land belonging to Palestinians” was defined by the 1949 Armistice Lines. The ceasefire agreement specifically stated that the line is “without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines,” meaning that they were never considered to be a border. Therefore, not only was the land up to the 1949 Armistice Line not under Palestinian sovereignty, the border was never defined. A final resolution could be just half of the area thought of as the West Bank, or the border configuration put forward under President Trump.
  3. Individual ownership then and now. As described above, the land was not under the sovereignty of Palestine in 1967 but there were individual Arabs who owned land. Arabs owned and continue to own property in Israel too. Arabs under Palestinian rule today, and the 14% of Arabs who live in Area C also owned and continue to own homes. That hasn’t changed, but Jews who had owned land in the “West Bank” and eastern Jerusalem before 1967 had it seized by the Jordanians, so Jewish property now appears as something novel.
    Jews and Arabs each own property on an individual basis in both Israel and the West Bank, and property rights have remained intact, as long as people are able to show valid documents.
  4. International law prohibits banning people based on religion. When the League of Nations gave the British the Mandate for Palestine which was a single territorial unit but now considered to be Gaza, Israel, the West Bank and Jordan, Article 15 specifically stated that “No person shall be excluded from Palestine on the sole ground of his religious belief.” The idea that UNSC Resolution 2334 can call an Israeli Jew living in Area C as “illegal” but can call an Israeli Arab living in Jerusalem as legal is a violation of human rights, international law and blatantly anti-Semitic.
  5. International law encouraged Jewish immigration throughout Palestine. Article 6 in the same Palestine Mandate called for Britain to “facilitate Jewish immigration… and… close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.” International law considered the land not privately owned by Arabs to be designated for Jewish purposes.

When McCollum discusses “land belonging to Palestinians” she might be talking about individual Arab property which was and remains the same before and after Jordan attacked Israel in June 1967. But by adding the clause “before the 1967 war,” McCollum is seemingly implying that there was Palestinian sovereignty over discrete land with defined borders. There is absolutely no truth for any such characterization.

Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) attacks Israel regularly with fabrications and innuendoes.
(photo:by Preston Keres)

Rep. Betty McCollum’s entire basis for approaching the Arab-Israel Conflict is incorrect, illogical and based on a Palestinian narrative that rejects coexistence with Jews.

“illegal Israeli settlement expansion”

Israeli “settlement expansion” was legal as described above, UNTIL the passage of UNSC Resolution 2334 in December 2016. McCollum used twisted logic to defend enabling the passage of a law labeling Israeli homes as illegal by saying that they were illegal. But they weren’t illegal before the resolution! One can use similar logic by passing a law that makes owning a gun illegal and then defending the law by saying of course it’s illegal because it’s illegal! The fact is it was legal before the new law’s passage.

“most serious obstacles”

McCollum stated that Jewish families living in a section of the West Bank is one of the “most serious obstacles” to peace. More than Arab terrorism and incitement to murder. More than rampant Palestinian anti-Semitism. More than the Arab belief that Jews have no rights or connection or history living in the land.

To believe such nonsense, one must have adopted the Palestinian narrative whole OR simply want to grant the Palestinians their wish to have a country devoid of any Jews.

I will agree that Jews living in Judea and Samaria are an obstacle to a particular formulation of a two state solution – one preferred by Palestinians and others who want to limit where Jews can live. But that formulation is inherently anti-Semitic and a pathway to ensure that there will never be an enduring peace.

not essential to Israel’s security”

A congresswoman from the United States told a country which is 444 times smaller than it, which has three times as many neighbors – several of which have refused to acknowledge its existence and have been in a constant state of war – that it has a good handle on what is and is not essential for the small country’s security.

No country in the world puts its capital city nor its largest city on a border, let alone with a neighbor which has constantly fought against its fundamental existence. If McCollum was truly concerned about Israel’s security, she would endorse Israel’s annexation of the area known as E1 east of Jerusalem all of the way to Maale Adumim, rather than state that Israel should divide its capital and largest city in two.

Rep. McCollum’s basis for approaching the Arab-Israel conflict is incorrect and illogical. It is perhaps not surprising that she tries to advance “soft” resolutions about protecting Palestinian children, hoping to avoid discussing her dangerous and false anti-Israel narrative.



Related First One Through articles:

The 1967 War Created Both the “West Bank” and the Notion of a Palestinian State

Recognition of Acquiring Disputed Land in a Defensive War

The Right Number of Anti-Semites in Congress

Time to Define Banning Jews From Living Somewhere as Antisemitic

Excerpt of Hamas Charter to Share with Your Elected Officials

Importing Peaceful Ideas to the West Bank

The Mourabitat Women of Congress

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Settlements For Peace

The Biden Administration publicly admonished Israel for approving the construction of more Jewish homes in Area C of the West Bank. State Department spokesperson Ned Price saidWe [the Biden Administration] strongly oppose the expansion of settlements… damages the prospects for a two state solution.” The homes are to be built in Revava, Kedumim, Elon Moreh, Har Bracha, Karnei Shomron, Gush Etzion and the Hebron Hills, towns strongly supported by Christian communities in the United States and around the world.

While broadly supported by religious Christians and Jews, the Biden Administration and the European Union attacked the plans for 1,300 Jewish homes, even as they ignored Israel’s approval of over 1,000 homes for Palestinian Arabs in the Israeli territory of Area C, where roughly 14% of West Bank Arabs live.

The rebuke stands in contrast to the reality that Israel has managed to exist with a minority population of 25% non-Jews. A future Palestinian state could similarly exist with several hundred thousand Jews, and the economy of such a state would benefit from Jewish residents bringing stability and trade with Israel.

The true obstacle for an enduring peace – and a two state solution – is the Arab belief that Jews have no rights to live anywhere in the land. Such mindset has guided the Palestinian Authority to have a law calling for either a death sentence or life of hard labor for any Arab selling land to a Jew. It brings the PA to prioritize payments to terrorists who kill Jews over-and-above any other public service. It drives the political-terrorist group HAMAS which runs Gaza, to spend its finite resources on building and firing missiles into Israel rather than building a productive society and economy.

Guided by such anti-Semitic worldview, Palestinians believe that terrorism drove Israel out of Gaza and Areas A and B in the West Bank and will ultimately drive the Jews from Area C and Israel completely. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called all of Israel a “painful settlement” and is ready to be rid of it entirely.

This must stop.

The pathway to an enduring peace is not to forcibly evict half a million Jews from Area C, but to shatter the false idol of a Jew-free state. It is time for the world to tell the Palestinians that Jews will not leave the West Bank nor eastern Jerusalem. The same way that there are Israeli Arabs, there will be Palestinian Jews.

For too long people have embraced the timeless anti-Semitic tradition that Jews should be banned from living somewhere. Denying the human rights of Jews will never bring peace.

It is time to recognize that the road to a peaceful two state solution will be built with the efforts of those Jews living, working and building the West Bank.


Related First One Through articles:

Considering Israel’s Model for Arabs Applied to Jews in a Palestinian State

Considering Carter’s 1978 Letter Claiming Settlements Are Illegal

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

“Which Most of the World Considers Illegal…”

Anti-“Settlements” is Anti-Semitism

The Legal Israeli Settlements

The Jordan Valley in 1930 and 2020

The Best Palestinian Response to the Trump Initiative is Welcoming Jews to Palestine

American Leaders Always Planned on Israel Absorbing Much of the West Bank

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The UN on the Status of Jerusalem

UN Secretary-General António Guterres spoke to the General Assembly on May 20, 2021 as the latest battle between HAMAS and Israel was coming to a close. He spoke of the status of Jerusalem several times:

  • “I am also deeply concerned by the continuation of violent clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, where several Palestinian families are under the threat of eviction.”
  • “I urge Israel to cease demolitions and evictions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, in line with its obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law.  All settlement activities, including evictions and demolitions, are illegal under international law.”
  • Jerusalem is a holy city for three world religions.  I underscore that the status quo at the holy sites must be upheld and respected.”
  • “We must work towards a resumption of negotiations that will address the status of Jerusalem and other final status issues, end the occupation and allow for the realization of a two-State solution on the basis of the 1967 lines, United Nations resolutions, international law and mutual agreements, with Jerusalem as capital of both Israel and Palestine.”

Note how the UNSG switched between “East Jerusalem” and “Jerusalem.” He referred to it as an actual place when connected to the “occupied West Bank” but conceded that it is a single city otherwise.

When it came to East Jerusalem, he stated that Arabs have rights to live there while Jews have none. Any house where a Jew lives was transformed into a “settlement” even a building which he owns and where his ancestors lived.

As it relates to the “status quo at the holy sites” which currently includes a ban on Jewish prayer at their holiest location of the Jewish Temple Mount, Guterres wants that ban to remain in place. He also appears to want the Arab squatters in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood which refuse to pay rent to the Jewish owners, to be able to remain. However, he seemingly wants to see all the Jews living in “East Jerusalem” to be expelled from the city, as they are doing so illegally “under international law.”

Sheik Jarrah neighborhood as mapped out by Pro-Palestinian group Peace Now. Homes where Jews live are considered “settlements” while other homes get no special markings.

Guterres also called for resumption of negotiations between the parties but simultaneously called for the outcomes favored by the Palestinians: that the negotiating position starts from “the 1967 lines” and that Jerusalem will be the “capital of both Israel and Palestine,” positions not favored by Israel.

The various positions show inconsistency in application, unless viewed as seeking outcomes favored by Arabs.

If the United Nations favors the “status quo” on matters like the ban of Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount and protecting the residence of Palestinian squatters, it implicitly recognizes all Jews already living in East Jerusalem and should no longer call them “settlers.” If the UN seeks coexistence between Jews and Arabs, it should support full equal rights for Jews on the Temple Mount, and for Arabs and Jews to live together freely as they choose throughout Jerusalem. Lastly, if the UN wants the two parties to negotiate a peace, it should allow the parties to do so without prejudging an outcome on particular issues.

But the UN doesn’t truly support the status quo, coexistence or a peace negotiated between Israelis and Palestinians. The UN only backs the Palestinians, its adopted wards, which makes it impossible for the organization to play a constructive role between the parties. It also underscores the importance for the United States to remain squarely behind Israel.


Related First One Through articles:

Jerusalem’s Old City Is a Religious War for Muslim Arabs

The United Nations and Holy Sites in the Holy Land

Dignity for Israel: Jewish Prayer on the Temple Mount

The Legal Israeli Settlements

Jerusalem Population Facts

Abbas’s Harmful East Jerusalem Fantasy

The Green Line Through Jerusalem

The Remarkable Tel Jerusalem

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To Serve Jews, United Nations Style

In 1962, the television show The Twilight Zone aired a show called “To Serve Man.” The show featured aliens arriving at the United Nations in New York City who presented themselves as saviors who would bring forth a new era of peace and prosperity for mankind, ending starvation and wars on Earth. Their proposal was greeted warmly, and their manifesto, “To Serve Man,” was understood as a friendly call to service mankind. Only as humans alighted the alien spacecraft to embark on a mission of bi-planet relations, was it revealed that their manifesto was actually a cookbook and humans were on the alien menu.

The friendly face of the United Nations itself is such an alien creature, whose stated mission to service is limited to its authoritarian masses, while it places Jews and the Jewish State in its cross-hairs for devouring.

The United Nations in New York City

The UN was formed at the end of World War II as an outgrowth of the League of Nations. Its new mission was more aggressive than its predecessor, and sought to ensure human rights and promote coexistence as a reaction to the terrible global war and genocide of Jews. But the years after 1945 witnessed the emergence of dictatorships, monarchies and authoritarian regimes around the world which joined the UN, changing its mission to a distorted notion of human rights and decency.

The sole Jewish State became the most targeted country by the United Nations. The various UN agencies advanced specific standing items which called out Israel. So it was a regular day at the UN when the General Assembly passed a resolution in 1975 that equated the national aspiration of Jews as uniquely detestable, with the Zionism is Racism resolution. It was more of the same when the UN Security Counsel declared in 2016 that no Israeli Jews should be allowed to live east of the 1949 Armistice Lines.

The hunger for Jews continued in February 2020, as the antisemitic UN added to its menu, featuring not only Jews but also companies that service Jews.

A February 12, 2020 report to the UN Office of Human Rights listed 112 companies which are “involved in certain activities relating to settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” A total of 94 companies are Israeli and the balance are headquartered in six other countries including the United States. American companies listed include Expedia, Trip Advisor and Airbnb.

So imagine the following scenario: an Israeli Jew and and Israeli Arab who both live in the Israeli city of Jaffa decide to move to the Old City of Jerusalem. The United Nations brands the Israeli Jew as an illegal settler, but not the Israeli Arab. When each of them decides to rent a room in their apartment on Airbnb, the action of the Jew is considered a grave human rights issue, but not when the Arab uses the Airbnb service.

This backward Taliban mentality has become a core of the UN, as anti-Zionism fervor has characterized the reestablishment of the Jewish State as an appalling injustice which must be righted by serving it up whole to its rightful Arab owners.


In 1945, Jews welcomed the creation of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In theory and in hope, the new world order was designed to protect everyone including Jews who would be guaranteed the right to own property (Article 17) and pray at Judaism’s holy sites (Article 18). At inception, the UN seemed to be an organization meant to service all of mankind, but like an episode of the Twilight Zone, the UN blueprint became a recipe book to devour Jews, the Jewish State and any person or organization who services Jews.


Related First One Through articles:

Nicholas Kristof’s “Arab Land”

Real and Imagined Laws of Living in Silwan

The Nerve of ‘Judaizing’ Neighborhoods

The New York Times All Out Assault on Jewish Jerusalem

Anti-“Settlements” is Anti-Semitism

The United Nations Bias Between Jews and Palestinians Regarding Property Rights

Google to Stop Displaying Pictures of Israeli Flags in East Jerusalem and West Bank

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Considering Carter’s 1978 Letter Claiming Settlements Are Illegal

The November 18, 2019 announcement by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Israeli “settlements” are not illegal reverses the conclusion of a lawyer advising President Jimmy Carter’s State Department in 1978. A First One Through (FOT) deconstruction of that opinion follows.

The letter was compiled by Herbet Hansell, a lawyer from Jones Day who provided occasional legal consulting services to the State Department. His letter of April 21, 1978 set the framework for Carter to label the settlements as “illegal,” an opinion not shared by any other U.S. president before or since.

“Dear Chairmen Fraser and Hamilton:

Secretary Vance has asked me to reply to your request for a statement of legal considerations underlying the United States view that the establishment of the Israeli civilian settlements in the territories occupied by Israel is inconsistent with international law. Accordingly, I am approving the following in response to that request:”

FOT COMMENT: It is important to note that the conclusion was already given to Hansell, that the “United States view that the establishment of the Israeli civilian settlements in the territories occupied by Israel is inconsistent with international law.” Any good lawyer trained at arguing either side of a case can find a rationale to give his employer the backup required. Hansell did his best in the letter.

“The Territories Involved

The Sinai Peninsula, Gaza, the West Bank and the Golan Heights were ruled by the Ottoman Empire before World War I. Following World War I, Sinai was part of Egypt; the Gaza strip and the West Bank (as well as the area east of the Jordan) were part of the British Mandate for Palestine; and the Golan Heights were part of the French Mandate for Syria. Syria and Jordan later became independent. The
West Bank and Gaza continued under British Mandate until May 1948.”

FOT: All of these statements are true to some extent. The issue is that these parcels of land like the “West Bank” were non-entities at the end of World War I. The definition of what they were to become were artifices of war and armistice lines.

Further, there is no discussion of the purpose of the British Mandate of Palestine. There was no mention that the Mandate specifically stated in Article 4 that it “shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage… close settlement by Jews on the land,” nor Article 15 that “No person shall be excluded from Palestine on the sole ground of his religious belief.” The Mandate not only considered Jews living in Gaza and what would become the “West Bank” as legal, it ENCOURAGED Jews living throughout the land.

In 1947, the United Nations recommended a plan of partition, never effectuated, that allocated some territory to a Jewish state and other territory (including the West Bank and Gaza) to an Arab state. On 14 May 1948, immediately prior to British termination of the Mandate, a provisional government of Israel proclaimed the establishment of a Jewish state in the areas allocated to it under the Jewish plan. The Arab League rejected partition and commenced hostilities. When the hostilities ceased, Egypt occupied Gaza, and Jordan occupied the West Bank. These territorial lines of demarcation were incorporated, with minor changes, in the armistice agreements concluded in 1949. The armistice agreements expressly denied political significance to the new lines, but they were de facto boundaries until June 1967.”

FOT: The summary of the 1947 partition plan leaves out the principle that Greater Jerusalem and Greater Bethlehem were designed to be a “corpus separatum” and internationally-administered. Its legal position is completely unique and distinct from the “West Bank,” a horrible omission by Hansell.

Another shortcoming is that Hansell’s observation that the UN “recommended a plan of partition, never effectuated,” never enters his calculus for the remainder of his letter. If the UN simply “recommended” the partition, it had no legal validity. Therefore, when Israel declared itself an independent state at the end of the British Mandate, its borders would be set as the FULL territory, including Gaza and what would become the “West Bank” under international law known as Uti possidetis juris.

The reason that partition was never effectuated, was that the Arabs rejected it completely, as they considered the entirety of the land to be Arab with no space for a Jewish state. This makes the issue one about a civil war over a single tract of land, not one between two autonomous countries. Therefore the only international laws which would pertain would be regarding rules of war and protecting civilians, not laws dealing with incursions into foreign territory.

Even if one were to look past these failures and try to see Hansell’s point of view, the historic background still falls flat. Jordan did not simply “occupy” the West Bank; it evicted all of the Jews in 1949, annexed the territory in 1950 and then granted all non-Jews citizenship in 1954. The Arabs ethnically cleansed Judea and Samaria and then renamed the area east of the 1949 Armistice Lines the “west bank of the Jordan River,” which, over time, was shortened to the commonly used term “West Bank.” Such racist and antisemitic behavior – coming just a few years after the Holocaust no less! – should never be embraced.

Additionally, Israel secured additional land in the 1948-9 war beyond what was proposed for the Jewish State in the 1947 Partition Plan. The world accepted this additional territory both because Israel acquired the land in a defensive battle and that the Armistice Lines were expressly viewed as subject to change by both parties (the Arabs assumed Israel would shrink and the Zionists believed Israel sovereignty would expand). The principle of acquiring more land in a defensive battle in 1967 similarly applies.

Lastly, not only did the Palestinians not declare an independent Arab state, there was no more land to even consider as independent, as Egypt assumed control of Gaza and Jordan annexed the West Bank. When Hansell considers the Israeli counter-party in 1978, is he thinking about the Jordanians? Palestinians (who had accepted Jordanian citizenship)?

“During the June 1967 war, Israeli forces occupied Gaza, the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank and the Golan Heights. Egypt regained some territory in Sinai during the October 1973 war and in subsequent disengagement agreements, but Israeli control of the other occupied territories was not affected, except for minor changes on the Golan Heights through a disengagement agreement with Syria.”

FOT: Completely absent from the narrative is the not-inconsequential point that Israel was the DEFENSIVE PARTY during the June 1967 war. While it is a matter of debate whether Israel’s preemptive attack on Syria and Egypt which had threatened to attack Israel and amassed troops on the border was defensive, there is no question that Jordan attacked Israel first. Just as Israel acquired additional land in a defensive battle in 1949 which was endorsed by the world, so too was Israel’s acquisition of the West Bank.

The Settlements
Some seventy-five Israeli settlements have been established in the above territories (excluding military camps on the West Bank into which small groups of civilians have recently moved). Israel established its first settlements in the occupied territories in 1967 as para-military ‘nahals’. A number of ‘nahals’ have
become civilian settlements as they have become economically viable.

“Israel began establishing civilian settlements in 1968. Civilian settlements are supported by the government, and also by non-governmental settlement movements affiliated in most cases with political parties. Most are reportedly built on public lands outside the boundaries of any municipality, but some are built on private or municipal lands expropriated for the purpose.”

FOT: Stating that settlements are “supported” by the Israeli government is misleading. Israel “supports” all civilians in the West Bank – including Arab towns – with various services ranging from protection to electricity and water. Hansell’s caveat that most settlements are “reportedly” built on public lands seems peculiar, as though he doubted the veracity of the report to add that “some are built on private or municipal lands.”

Legal Considerations
1. As noted above, the Israeli armed forces entered Gaza, the West Bank, Sinai and the Golan Heights in June 1967, in the course of an armed conflict. Those areas had not previously been part of Israel’s sovereign territory nor otherwise under its administration. By reason of such entry of its armed forces, Israel established control and began to exercise authority over these territories; and under international law, Israel became a belligerent occupant of these territories.”

FOT: Hansell now delves into the legal analysis of the settlements, but his omissions in the background now become toxic to the analysis.

  • There is no factual mention that Israel was without question the defensive party regarding Jordan in the West Bank, yet Hansell declares that Israel was the “belligerent” party.
  • Hansell noted that the 1949 Armistice Lines had no “political significance.” Therefore, the area one foot to the right or left of the the armistice lines was only theoretically Israel and Jordan. While the world recognized the sovereignty of Israel to the west of the line, the entirety of the UN (except Pakistan and the UK) did not acknowledge Jordan’s annexation of the West Bank. These Arabs also never declared an independent state as noted above.
  • In short, Israel entered into a disputed territory which was an integral part of the Palestine Mandate from which Jews were expelled in a defensive war 18 years earlier in a defensive maneuver.

Hansell continued:

“Territory coming under the control of a belligerent occupant does not thereby become its sovereign territory. International law confers upon the occupying State authority to undertake interim military administration over the territory and its inhabitants; that authority is not unlimited. The governing rules are designed to permit pursuit of its military needs by the occupying power, to protect the security of the occupying forces, to provide for orderly government, to protect the rights and interests of the inhabitants, and to reserve questions of territorial change and sovereignty to a later stage when the war is ended. See L. Oppenheim, 2 International Law 432-438 (7th ed., H. Lauterpacht ed., 1952); E. Feilchenfield, The International Economic Law of Belligerent Occupation 4-5, 11-12, 15-17, 87 (1942); M. McDougal & F. Feliciano, Law and Minimum World Public Order 734-46, 751-7 (1961); Regulations annexed to the 1907 Hague Convention on the Laws and Customs of War on Land, Articles 42-56, 1 Bevans 643; Department of the Army, The Law of Land Warfare, Chapter 6 (1956) (FM-27-10).

‘In positive terms, and broadly stated, the Occupant’s powers are (1) to continue orderly government, (2) to exercise control over and utilize the resources of the country so far as necessary for that purpose and to meet his own military needs. He may thus, under the latter head, apply its resources to his own military objects, claim services from the inhabitants, use, requisition, seize or destroy their property, within the limits of what is required for the army of occupation and the needs of the local population.”

FOT: Even while Hansell labels Israel as a “belligerent occupant” as if Israel aggressively attacked and entered a sovereign nation’s territory, he comments that such party has the authority to manage the security of the territory and “provide for orderly government” and oversee the inhabitants until “the war is ended.” Has the war ended? It certainly had not by 1978 when this letter was drafted. Jordan only made peace with Israel in 1994, and abandoned all claim to the West Bank in 1988, ten years after this opinion letter was drafted. As such, according to Hansell, Israel’s role in the West Bank is undisputed.

“But beyond the limits of quality, quantum and duration thus implied, the Occupant’s acts will not have legal effect, although they may in fact be unchallengeable until the territory is liberated. He is not entitled to treat the country as his own territory or its inhabitants as his own subjects…, and over a wide range of public property, he can confer rights only as against himself, and within his own limited period of de facto rule. J. Stone, Legal Controls of International Conflict, 697 (1959).”

FOT: Hansell himself comments that the “Occupant” is in charge of orderly government and security until it is “liberated.” Was the West Bank to be “liberated” to the Jordanians who illegally annexed the land? Liberated to the British who ran the Mandate until the Jordanians invaded? Liberated to the Ottoman Empire who ruled the land until the end of World War I? In 1978, the “Palestinians” of the West Bank were all Jordanians, citizens of the invading army which had ethnically cleansed the region of its Jews. It is arguable that the land was liberated from Jordan back to Israel. Yet the fact that Israel did not immediately annex the land in 1967 and put it under its full sovereignty also suggests that Israel viewed the land as disputed.

Hansell stated that the Occupant must not treat the “inhabitants as his own subjects.” A curiosity, as today people complain that Palestinian Arabs have no right to vote in Israeli elections, but that’s the desired result according to Hansell.

“On the basis of the available information, the civilian settlements in the territories occupied by Israel do not appear to be consistent with these limits on Israel’s authority as belligerent occupant in that they do not seem intended to be of limited duration or established to provide orderly government of the territories and, though some may serve incidental security purposes, they do not appear to be required to meet military needs during the occupation.”

FOT: Hansell was very unsure of himself, using couched language throughout his conclusion. He noted that the civilian settlements do not “appear” consistent with the limits as the “belligerent occupant.” Of course, that also doesn’t mean that it is illegal. It just means that his first line of consideration did not touch upon Israeli civilians. However, it did make clear that Israel has security responsibility for the entire land and that the inhabitants should not be considered citizens of the Occupant, therefore only subject to military rule with no rights to vote.

“2. Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, 12 August 1949, 6 UST 3516, provides, in paragraph 6: ‘The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies’.

Paragraph 6 appears to apply by its terms to any transfer by an occupying power of parts of its civilian population, whatever the objective and whether involuntary or voluntary. It seems clearly to reach such involvements of the occupying power as determining the location of the settlements, making land available and financing of settlements, as well as other kinds of assistance and participation in their creation. And the paragraph appears applicable whether or not harm is done by a particular transfer. The language and history of the provision lead to the conclusion that transfers of a belligerent occupant’s civilian population into occupied territory are broadly proscribed as beyond the scope of interim military administration.”

FOT: Hansell uses a very broad interpretation of the word “transfer,” well beyond its definition.

The law states that the government cannot “deport or transfer” its own citizens. The word “deport” means to expel, sort of the way Turkey has invaded Syria and is deporting thousands of its unwanted refugees into Syria (of course, there has been no UN Security Council resolution of Turkey’s slaughter of the Syrian Kurds and dumping unwanteds, but that’s another story). The deported people have no right to return to the original Occupant’s land. This is in contrast to “transfer” in which the civilians remain citizens of the Occupant’s country.

Because the transferred people maintain citizenship rights, Hansell seems to argue that it covers voluntary movement of civilians. However, that interpretation has nothing to do with the definition of “transfer.” Arguing that Israel is enticing its citizens to move to the West Bank because it plans the towns still does not mean the government is moving (“transferring”) anybody. It is simply providing an orderly government in the land which it is obligated to do as discussed above.

Further, Hansell’s concluding point is that the very essence of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention has to do with situations which are inherently short-term in nature. The Civil War between the Jews and Arabs for the holy land started in the 1920’s and began raging in full force in 1936 and is still going strong as evidenced by three wars, the Second Intifada and Stabbing Intifada, in just the last twenty years. The Article in question is not designed or equipped to deal with a civil war, let alone one which has been going on for decades.

“The view has been advanced that a transfer is prohibited under paragraph 6 only to the extent that it involves the displacement of the local population. Although one respected authority, Lauterpacht, evidently took this view, it is otherwise unsupported in the literature, in the rules of international law or in the language and negotiating history of the Convention, and it seems clearly not correct.
Displacement of protected persons is dealt with separately in the Convention and paragraph 6 would seem redundant if limited to cases of displacement. Another view of paragraph 6 is that it is directed against mass population transfers such as occurred in World War II for political, racial or colonization ends; but there is no apparent support or reason for limiting its application to such cases.

The Israeli civilian settlements thus appear to constitute a ‘transfer of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies’ within the scope of paragraph 6.”

FOT: Having stretched the definition of “transfer” well beyond its intent, Hansell argues against a straw man whether the impact or quantity of people has any impact on his definition of “transfer.” It’s a foolish point and does not buttress his argument for reinterpreting the definition of “transfer.”

“3. Under Art. 6 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, paragraph 6 of Article 49 would cease to be applicable to Israel in the territories occupied by it if and when it discontinues the exercise of governmental functions in those territories. The laws of belligerent occupation generally would continue to apply with respect to particular occupied territory until Israel leaves it or the war ends between Israel and its neighbours concerned with the particular territory. The war can end in many ways, including by express agreement or by de facto acceptance of the status quo by the belligerent.”

FOT: Hansell’s argument is that Israel remains bound to the terms of the Fourth Geneva Convention as long as it remains in the territory or the war ends. While the parties were still fighting in 1978, Israel and Jordan subsequently signed a peace agreement in 1994 therefore implying an end to the applicability of this law. Some might note that Jordan gave up all claims to the West Bank in 1988 and effectively handed such claim to the Palestinians whom Jordan began to strip of Jordanian citizenship. But such arguments fall flat. Jordan had no rights to the West Bank in any form to relinquish them to the Palestinians; the West Bank was land being fought over in a civil war between the Zionists and the local Arabs.

4. It has been suggested that the principles of belligerent occupation, including Article 49, paragraph 6, of the Fourth Geneva Convention, may not apply in the West Bank and Gaza because Jordan and Egypt were not the respective legitimate sovereigns of these territories. However, those principles appear applicable whether or not Jordan and Egypt possessed legitimate sovereign rights in respect of those territories. Protecting the reversionary interest of an ousted sovereign is not their sole or essential purpose; the paramount purposes are protecting the civilian population of an occupied territory and reserving permanent territorial changes, if any, until settlement of the conflict. The Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel, Egypt and Jordan are parties, binds signatories with respect to their territories and the territories of other contracting parties, and “in all circumstances” (Article 1), and in ‘all cases’ of armed conflict among them (Article 2) and with respect to all persons who ‘in any manner whatsoever’ find themselves under the control of a party of which they are not nationals (Article 4).”

FOT: Hansell continued to point out that the relevant parties regarding the Geneva Convention are not the Palestinians (which makes sense as those living in the West Bank were all Jordanian in 1978) but Israel, Egypt and Jordan. As Israel and Jordan signed a peace agreement in 1994, the Geneva Convention no longer applies so the Trump Administration can easily state that Israeli civilians living in the West Bank are not illegal.

“Conclusion
While Israel may undertake, in the occupied territories, actions necessary to meet its military needs and to provide for orderly government during the occupation, for reasons indicated above the establishment of the civilian settlements in those territories is inconsistent with international law.”

FOT: Hansell’s arguments were extremely weak and inherently flawed in 1978 and are not relevant today as Israel has peace agreements with both Egypt and Jordan. The Trump administration’s recognition of this fact is welcome and was overdue.

Jews and Arabs are coexisting in Israel and are building a thriving country together in the midst of mayhem all around them. While it is desirable for the stateless Arabs living in Gaza and the West Bank to have citizenship in some country, such goal has no relevance on the legality of Israeli Jews living in the West Bank.

Jewish homes in Psagot, Judea and Samaria/ the West Bank
(photo: First.One.Through)


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The Long History of Dictating Where Jews Can Live Continues

The Many Lies of Jimmy Carter

Anti-“Settlements” is Anti-Semitism

Israel Has Much Higher Claims to The West Bank Than Golan Heights

Republicans Do Not Believe There is Any “Occupation”

Names and Narrative: The West Bank / Judea and Samaria

The EU’s Choice of Labels: “Made in West Bank” and “Anti-Semite”

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Trump Reverses the Carter and Obama Anti-Israel UN Resolutions

The United Nations is a group of 193 countries of various sizes, races, religions and political philosophies. From the time the UN was created in 1945 as an outgrowth of the League of Nations until today, the total number of member countries has swelled, mostly with monarchies, dictatorships and authoritarian regimes. As such, votes in the UN General Assembly are often at odds with decency and freedom, such as the 1975 “Zionism is Racism” resolution.

To counteract the world circus, the UN established the UN Security Council which was chaired by world powers to “lead” in matters of security. Regrettably, the makeup of the council’s five permanent representatives from the United States, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom already included two non-Democratic countries. Depending on the makeup of the additional five rotating members in the UNSC, it was often left for the United States to be the sole voice of logic, reason and empathy.

Those voices of reason and decency were absent when the two most left-wing US presidents sat in office: Jimmy Carter (1977-1981) and Barack Obama (2009-2017).

Anti-Jewish Jerusalem Resolutions Under Carter

While anti-rational anti-Israel UNGA resolutions started soon after Israel took lands in its defensive war in June 1967, the anti-Jewish nature of the UNSC resolutions gained credibility and momentum in 1980 under the watch of President Carter.

As Israel prepared to annex the eastern part of Jerusalem which had been illegally annexed by Jordan in 1950, and declare the city Israel’s undivided capital on July 30, 1980, the UN Security Council began to pass resolutions attacking the move in harsh language.

The March 1, 1980 UNSC Resolution 465 stated (incorrectly) that:

  • the Fourth Geneva Convention related to Israelis moving into Jerusalem. It was nothing of the sort. Jews have been a majority in Jerusalem since the 1860’s and were expelled from the eastern part of the city by the invading Jordanians. Jerusalem was designated by the UN in 1947 to be an internationally-administered city, a “corpus separatum,” not part of another country to which the Geneva Convention applies.
  • As noted above, Jerusalem was neither a Palestinian nor Arab territory as “deplored” in the UNSC resolution.
  • The comment that the UN cared about Jerusalem’s “need for protection and preservation of the unique spiritual and religious dimension of the Holy Places in the city,” when it did nothing about the Jordanian expulsion of the Jews, annexation of the city and refusal to allow Jews to enter, pray or live in the city was insulting, disgusting and reeked of Jew-hatred.
  • Further calling for all Jews to be evicted from Jerusalem to reestablish the “demographic composition” of the purely Arab Old City which the Jordanians had created and enforced, blessed the Muslim antisemitism.

And the United States under Carter let such vile resolution pass, as it did a few months later on June 30 when the UNSC passed Resolution 476 which called on the entire world to join in on the antisemitic edict as it sought to enforce its ban on Jews in the city.

On December 6, 2017 President Trump marked the United States objection to and rejection of the UNSC resolutions and recognized the fact that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and soon moved the US embassy to the city.

Anti-Jewish Judea and Samaria Resolution Under Obama

In the waning days of the Obama administration, the anti-Israel voices inside the White House and the United Nations pulled together anti-fact anti-Israel UN Security Resolution 2334.

  • The UN resolution’s use of the term “Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967” is interesting nomenclature. The UN does not recognize Palestine as an official country. Does the resolution refer to Armistice Lines that Israel agreed to with Jordan (not Palestine)? Does it refer to incremental land that Israel took beyond the 1947 Partition Plan up to those Armistice Lines?
  • The resolution again “condemned” the shift in the “demographic composition” of that “Palestinian Territory including East Jerusalem.” Too many Jews. Too many Jews. Too many Jews. Too cynical? Do you think that the resolution was concerned that the Arab population grew four-fold from 1967 to 2017? I don’t think so.
  • The presence of those Jews was deemed a threat to “the viability of the two-State solution based on the 1967 lines.” While past resolutions were only concerned about arriving at a peace agreement, now the contours of the peace agreement which was theoretically to be negotiated between the Israelis and Palestinian Arabs themselves, now had a predetermined outcome. So why negotiate at all?
  • If the presence of Jews threatened the existence of an Palestinian state, does the presence of Arabs threaten Israel? If so, the UN’s declaration that Palestinian refugees should be moved into Israel is a direct threat to the viability and existence of a member state of the UN, a war crime.
  • The resolution declared definitively that any place in which an Israeli Jew lives beyond the June 4, 1967 lines has “no legal validity
  • Significantly called on the entire world to actively “distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967” in a move not seen in any disputed territory around the world.

This last statement enabled the UN to compile a “blacklist” of companies operating in the Israeli territory of Area C (which was agreed to by the Palestinian Authority in the Oslo Accords). So on November 12, 2019, the European Union declared that labeling products made in Area C had to have a distinct label than items produced in Israel.

Not a week later, it was time for the Trump Administration to respond in kind.

On November 18, 2019 the Trump Administration marked the United States objection to UNSC Resolution 2334 and stated that Israeli civilian settlements are NOT illegal and do NOT hamper peace.

President Trump has sought to reverse the terrible damage done by the Carter and Obama administrations at the United Nations with its overtly anti-Jewish resolutions, by standing proudly and defending the Jewish State. Hopefully other countries will follow.


President Trump visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem,
the first sitting U.S. president to visit the site, in May 2017


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The Legal Israeli Settlements

When You Understand Israel’s May 1948 Borders, You Understand There is No “Occupation”

Anti-“Settlements” is Anti-Semitism

Republicans Do Not Believe There is Any “Occupation”

The Arguments over Jerusalem

Enduring Peace versus Peace Now

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Anti-“Settlements” is Anti-Semitism

Consider this scenario:

There are three houses on a street in Silwan in eastern Jerusalem, two for sale. One is purchased by an Israeli Arab from Haifa and another by an Israeli Jew from Tel Aviv. The third is owned by an Arab who decides to finally take Israeli citizenship, an offer that had been outstanding for decades.

  • The Palestinian Authority welcomes the Arab purchase, but will sentence to death the person who sold the house to the Jew. It will ignore the Arab who became an Israeli.
  • The United Nations has no issue with the Arab’s purchase or taking Israeli citizenship, but considers the Jew’s purchase illegal.
  • The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (B.D.S.) movement appreciates that the Arab purchase maintains the “Arab character” of Silwan, put demonizes the Jew’s purchase as an obstacle to peace. No opinion about the Arab become an Israeli.
  • Airbnb will list the homes of the new Arab owner and the Israeli Arab on its website but will donate any profit from the Jewish owner’s listing.

Those blatant antisemitic actions are the not only reality today, but are celebrated by Islamic extremists and are being mainstreamed by the alt-left. Rather than loudly calling out the vile Jew-hatred, people are loudly calling for more.


The neighborhood of Silwan in eastern Jerusalem,
founded by Yemenite Jews in the late 19th century

(photo: First.One.Through)

After the Jordanians attacked Israel in 1948 and ethnically cleansed all Jews from the west bank of the Jordan River and eastern Jerusalem, the Arab world celebrated. The Jordanians annexed the region in a move not accepted by almost every country on the world and then granted citizenship to anyone who wasn’t a Jew in 1954.

When B.D.S supporters call out for the “good old days,” this is what they seek to reestablish – those Jew-free days between 1949 and 1967. That’s the reality which the United Nations wants to recreate when it makes statements that every Jew has no rights to live east of the Green Line.

How has it not occurred to people that the statement that “settlements are an obstacle to peace,” stems from the noxious antisemitism of Palestinians demanding a Jew-free country?


Does Airbnb believe that coexistence means condoning Palestinian Authority’s laws
which call for killing people who sell homes to Jews?


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Long History of Dictating Where Jews Can Live Continues

The Legal Israeli Settlements

Real and Imagined Laws of Living in Silwan

Obama supports Anti-Semitic Palestinian Agenda of Jew-Free State

No Jews Allowed in Palestine

The United Nations Bias Between Jews and Palestinians Regarding Property Rights

The Three Camps of Ethnic Cleansing in the BDS Movement

The Israeli Peace Process versus the Palestinian Divorce Proceedings

Marking November 29 as The International Day of Solidarity with Jews Living East of the Green Line

BDS is a Movement by Radical Islamists and Far-Left Progressives to Block Your Freedoms

Abbas’s Speech and the Window into Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism

The “Diplomatic Settler”

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Heritage, Property and Sovereignty in the Holy Land

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

 dsc_0114
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.

power-vote-un
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.

lose-hope


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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