I know that what I am about to say is unpopular with many readers who generally agree with me. But as a seeker of truth, I am bound to speak the truth as I know it and understand it.
Last week Prime Minister Netanyahu announced the construction of 3000 new housing units in Judea and Samaria. He is doing this in a section called E1. That is the area between Maleh Adumim which basically borders on the so called “Green Line.” These units will connect the two.
First the disclaimer. I truly believe that in the event of any final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, Ma’aleh Adumim will be a part of Israel as will any territory between it. I also do not believe that there will be a peace agreement any time soon. The way things are going now, probably never. But in theory at least I don’t think even the Palestinians (Under Abbas – Not Hamas) would disagree with that statement. Why that won’t happen is beyond the scope of this essay.
In a related issue, I also believe that the Palestinians should not have asked to be upgraded at the UN to non-member observer state status, and it should certainly not have been granted. The US and Israel were both right to oppose it.
I understand why the Palestinians did it. They want desperately to have their own state. And they will not get it any time soon through negotiations. So they are doing whatever they can on the international scene to take steps towards making that a reality. And the world says,” Sure.” “Why not?” “Palestinians have a right to a state same as the Jews.”
But as the U.S. pointed out in a very powerful speech by UN Ambassador Susan Rice – this action does not advance the cause of peace and indeed even harms it.
How does this move in any way harm Israel? By upgrading the Palestinians to observer but non member status it can now bring Israel to the International Court of Justice at The Hague and charge it with crimes against humanity in its role as an occupier of the disputed territories. (Editor’s note: An opinion of the International Court of Justice is only binding if the parties to the dispute both accept the jurisdiction of the Court).
This court according to many opinions will be a kangaroo court when it comes to Israel. That shouldn’t be too hard to believe considering how most of international community usually views the Jewish state. Including the left in both in America and Israel. They see Israel as an oppressive occupier akin to the Apartheid State of pre Mandella South Africa.
That said, I don’t think the Palestinians are going to try bringing Israel to that court. That will most certainly end even the remotest chance for a peace deal. It will also probably end American financial aid to them as well.
It is pretty clear to me that the only reason the Prime Minister has authorized new housing in Judea and Samaria is in retaliation for what happened in the UN. They want to re-assert their right to settle anywhere in Jerusalem and its outskirts. The current Israeli position is that Jerusalem is the once and forever capital of Israel and not subject to negotiation.
While this is a view that I favor, I don’t think it was wise for the Prime Minister to announce new housing in Judea and Samaria at this time. Unless there is an urgent need to accommodate natural growth, it should not have been done. Not because they don’t have that right. But because it serves no purpose other than to antagonize the only real friend Israel has in the world, the United States of America.
It is no secret that the US is against any settlement activity. Even for natural growth. If natural growth isn’t even the reason, why spit in the face of the only friend you have by announcing new construction in Judea and Samaria? Especially right after they cheered Israel on during their incursion into Gaza; paying for the Iron Dome Defense System that saved so many lives. They gave Israel 100% support! And Israel did this right after the US made such a strong speech opposing raising Palestinian status in the UN. The US is only major country to do that aside from Canada? 138 nations voted to support the upgrade including the UK!
About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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