web analytics
July 22, 2014 / 24 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Gilo’

The Elephant And The Sand Castle

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Why is there no peace in the Middle East?

“There are a lot of reasons for the [recent] peace effort’s failure,” writes Israeli analyst Nachum Barnea on Ynet, but “the primary sabotage came from the settlements.” This is the conclusion of unnamed “senior American officials involved in Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace push” who talked with Barnea.

Just curious: Did the Arab side agree to live in peace with Israel before there was a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria, such as in 1948? Did the Arabs accept Israel in 1964 when the PLO was established with the objective of destroying Israel? (Hint: They didn’t.)

“From the U.S. perspective,” Barnea writes, “the issue of the settlements was largely to blame” for the breakdown of talks. The officials said they couldn’t understand why Israel rejected Abbas’s demand for a three-month freeze on settlement construction. “Why is it such a big deal?” they innocently asked.

It’s questions like that that make it hard to believe that Barnea was actually talking to “senior” officials who were truly “involved” in the peace talks. Don’t they remember what happened the last time Israel agreed to a construction freeze in Judea and Samaria? Not only did it nearly drain Israel’s entire housing industry, leaving long-term financial damage in its wake, but it also brought further Palestinian blackmail and demands, with absolutely no Arab concessions.

It was in late 2009 that Israel declared a ten-month construction freeze, under American brokerage, thus paying the Palestinians to deign to agree to come to the negotiating table. “We hope this decision will help launch meaningful peace negotiations,” Prime Minister Netanyahu declared at the time.

But the PA played its cards well. For nine months it simply refused to begin negotiating, and then finally claimed, “This ten-month moratorium is not acceptable; it must be ‘infinite.’ ”

Only in the final month of the freeze did the PA finally pretend it had agreed to talk – and then, only on one topic: “The freeze must continue indefinitely, or else no talks.” Thus, Israel had agreed to freeze the lives of 350,000 Israelis just so that the PA would agree to negotiate about how much longer the freeze would go on.

Israel did not fall for the trap, ended the freeze as scheduled, and negotiations have been stuck right there ever since. Yet now, it’s considered Israel’s fault…

Another aspect of the “blame the settlements” approach can be seen in the hostile reaction to Israel’s reissuing of tenders for 700 housing units in Gilo. Gilo is a Jewish suburb of Jerusalem, in an area that had been unilaterally and illegally administered by Jordan between 1948 and 1967. (Illegal, because the area was supposed to be part of a Palestinian state, according to the 1947 UN partition resolution; Jordan refused to accept this, invaded the area to attack Israel, and then took for itself parts of Jerusalem, as well as Judea and Samaria.)

To blame the talks’ breakdown on housing plans in Gilo is the height of smug hypocrisy. Everyone knows that Gilo will always be a part of Israel, no matter what “peace agreement” is ever reached. Gilo is far from just another little “settlement.” It is home to over 40,000 Israelis from all walks of life – including some of Israel’s most prominent left-wing pundits – and is an intrinsic part of Yerushalayim in every way. So, for that matter, are Ramat Eshkol, N’vei Yaakov, East Talpiyot, and other Jerusalem “settlements” claimed by the Palestinian Authority.

The truth is that seeking to place blame for the failure of the Kerry initiative is like trying to calculate why a sand castle cannot support the weight of an elephant: It simply is not built for it. The Arab world is simply not built to accept the existence of Israel in its midst. The PA, specifically, teaches its youth that the Jews have no national or historical rights in the area; that those who murder them in suicide and other attacks are to be glorified; and that the several thousand nomads who lived in the Holy Land together with Jews in recent centuries are actually the forebears of a “glorious Palestinian nation” that has been around for 2,000 years – even before the advent of Islam.

Jerusalem Approves 350 Homes for Jews in City’s ‘Settlements’

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Jerusalem Municipality’s Committee for Planning and Building has approved the construction of another 350 residential units in Jerusalem neighborhoods that the United States and United Nations consider “illegal” and home to “illegitimate” Jews.

The neighborhoods are Har Homa, across the highway from the Gilo “settlement” in southern Jerusalem, and Pisgat Ze’ev and Neve Yaakov, both of them located on the northern end of the capital.

The city’s deputy mayor Pepep Alalu of the left-wing Meretz party sharply criticized the announcement by the committee and called it an intention ploy to prevent a final agreement with the Palestinian Authority.

Toa certain extent he is right if it agreed that anything Israel does without the approval of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is an obstacle to an agreement.

That is the one-way policy that the Obama administration has pursued and which assumes that Abbas’ demands are the basis for a final agreement, except perhaps for the demand to flood Israel with several million foreign Arabs under the hijacked phrase ”right of return.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s “framework: that is to be dumped on the Palestinian Authority-Israeli negotiating table some time in the near future undoubtedly will not tackle the issue of the Jewish neighborhoods that the West calls “settlements.”

No one in his right mind, not even PA negotiator Saeb Erekat seriously thinks that Israel will expel 300,000 Jews form Har Homa, Gilo, Armon HaNatziv, French Hill and Ramot neighborhoods.

The only reason that the United States makes a stink about every home that Israel announces will be built in these areas is that it wants to show Abbas it does not distinguish them from Arab neighborhoods in areas of Jerusalem that were occupied by Jordan before the Six-Day War in 1967.

If the West were to ignore new housing in Gilo and Ramot, it would be putting a silent stamp of approval on the right of Israel to exercise its right of sovereignty over the Jewish neighborhoods on land that was legally annexed to Jerusalem in 1980.

Post-Election Construction: Will It Happen?

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Now that the elections in Jerusalem are over, and with murderous Palestinian terrorists having been freed from prison, there seems to be an across-the-board desire to resume Jewish construction in the capital. The question is: Will this new enthusiasm last long enough for tractors to actually start work?

Prime Minister Netanyahu, under whose watch Jewish construction in the outlying areas of the Holy City has ground to a resounding halt, let it be known that together with last week’s release of killers from prison, he will initiate construction in eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria (Yesha). And in fact, the Housing Ministry announced this week plans for 1,000 new housing units in large Yesha towns – though not in the smaller ones that need it most – and 700 more in Jerusalem.

Specifically, Gilo, Har Homa and Ramat Shlomo – among the Jerusalem neighborhoods liberated from Jordanian control during the Six-Day War – are scheduled to gain hundreds of apartments. In Yesha, the 1,030 new units will be distributed among Elkanah, Beitar Illit, Karnei Shomron, Maaleh Adumim, Givat Ze’ev, Adam, and Ariel (in descending order).

It is said that Netanyahu’s sudden benevolence is an attempt to offset the popular resentment and anger at his government’s release of terrorist murderers. Fifty-two such killers have already been freed in the framework of the ongoing negotiations with the Palestinian Authority – half the total set to be freed as the talks proceed.

This could be a case of getting hit with the fish, paying for it, and having to eat it in any event. For one thing, the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party doesn’t accept the gesture. “Don’t do us any favors,” party officials told Netanyahu. “Don’t release terrorists and don’t build.”

The Yesha Council of Jewish Communities responded similarly: “Releasing terrorists is a terrible mistake both morally and politically. We object even if it is bound up with decisions to build.”

In addition, the PA used the occasion to attack Israel for “sabotaging” the talks and violating their pre-conditions, and its top negotiator even announced his resignation. Though their accusations are totally false – Israel agreed beforehand with U.S. Secretary of State Kerry that no restrictions would apply to Israeli construction during the talks – the international damage to Israel’s reputation has been done.

And in the end, who says the construction will actually ever happen? In the face of international condemnation, it could very well be that the building plans – so necessary for the vitality of Israel’s economy, both inside and outside of Yesha – will go the way of last month’s Hebron announcement: Following a murderous terrorist attack, Netanyahu announced that Jews would be allowed to populate the Jewish-owned Beit HaMachpelah building – and the next day the decision was reversed.

On the municipal level, newly reelected mayor Nir Barkat gave a nod towards the nationalist camp when he said, “I believe we must build [in Jerusalem]; we dare not hesitate. If it were up to us [in the municipality], we would run with it.” He specifically mentioned Gilo, Har Homa, Pisgat Ze’ev – all liberated in 1967 – and other neighborhoods.

Barkat’s political opponents don’t take his pledge very seriously, however. Housing Minister Uri Ariel blames him not for not building, but for not protesting: “It’s the fault of my boss,” he told a crowd of supporters, referring to the prime minister’s construction halt, “but why don’t we see Barkat making an outcry?”

Ariel and Barkat actually agree that there must be no linkage between building in the capital and a possible diplomatic agreement with the PA. “The very attempt to [make an agreement dependent on not building] is the true obstacle,” Barkat said. Ariel was even more pointed, saying:

“Can you imagine any other country forbidding Jews to build houses? We would all run out to the streets to cry out and protest – but here it passes quietly… Netanyahu is not even allowing us to make zoning plans. The construction permits of today are from two years ago. The few hundred new units we obtained are far from enough! We need a minimum of 4,000 new units in Jerusalem each year.”

According to the PA-sympathetic Ir Amim organization, last year saw a record number of tenders issued for housing units in post-1967 neighborhoods – a grand total of 2,386. Keep in mind that this brings up the average number for the past 11 years to the grand total of 877 – quite a bit less than the 4,000 Minister Ariel demands.

Police Looking for Two Jews Who Knifed Arab Cabbie

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Two Jewish youth attacked an Arab cab driver after they asked him to take them from Gilo, in southern Jerusalem, to downtown Jerusalem, police said Monday.

The driver, 50, is from the Beit Safafa neighborhood bordering Gilo. He escaped with light wounds after struggling with the attackers, who fled.

Police are treating the attack as an anti-Arab crime.

Kerry Asking Palestinians for an Extension to Revive Talks

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry phoned Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas twice this weekend, as part of his efforts to revive the peace process, the Palestinian official news agency Wafa reported Saturday.

Abbas reportedly told Kerry that it is crucial that Israel releases prisoners and stops settlement activities.

Last week, Kerry unveiled a $4 billion U.S. plan to boost the Palestinian economy, but the announcement was met with a cool response, as an adviser to Abbas told the press that the leadership would “not offer political concessions in exchange for economic benefits.”

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Almalki estimated Friday that Kerry would fail to achieve a breakthrough before June 7 as Kerry had wanted.

Political advisor to the PA Chairman, Nimer Hamad, said that Kerry asked for the extension to complete his efforts to revive the peace process, a task that was to be completed by the end of thwe coming week.

PLO officials said last week that Kerry has been pushing Abbas to return to negotiations without an Israeli commitment to stop settlement construction, and emphasized that it is inconsistent with the demands of the Palestinian leadership.

On Friday, DOS Spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters that Kerry had spoken with Prime Minister Netanyahu Thursday, and raise the issue of settlement expansion—which, in reality, come down to 300 residential units in East Jerusalem’s Jewish neighborhoods of Ramot and Gilo. By then, Kerry had only spoken once to Abbas.

Psaki said that the State Dept. feels that “these activities are counterproductive to the cause of peace. They’re not constructive.”

Last week, the EU’s Lady Catherine Ashton called on the Israeli Government to reverse completely its decision on the new units in East Jerusalem. What a way to break the hearts of 300 Israelis who had one the Housing Ministry’s lottery for those units!

A reporter asked about the report in Yedioth Ahronoth, that Kerry submitted a proposal to the Israelis whereby they can keep parts of the Jordan Valley.

Psaki warned against reporting “those reports that suggest there’s been an American proposal put on the table. From the beginning, this has always been a case where the ball is in the court of the Israeli and the Palestinian people. The Secretary’s obviously very committed to this. He feels it’s important for regional stability. There are many world and global powers who are very committed to this, but it is ultimately up to them to make tough choices.”

Kerry Hosts ‘Peace Process Partner’ Livni to Advance PA Demands

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is Prime Minister Netanyahu’s de facto “peace process minister,” is in Washington for talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is fresh from winning a supposed “concession” from the Arab League for the American-sponsored peace process.

Kerry has come up with a proposal to adopt most of the Saudi 2002 Peace Initiative, which is virtually everything that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has demanded.

Kerry’s mission is to make a deal. Getting Israel and the Palestinian Authority to agree on the final status of an independent Arab country under the aegis of the Palestinian Authority would be a glorious triumph for Kerry, possibly the stepping stone to the White House in  2016.

To get there, he is taking the course of least resistance, meaning the Israeli government.

Enter his real peace partner, Tzipi Livni.

Prime Minister Netanyahu holds the portfolio of Foreign Minister until there is a court decision on whether Avigdor Lieberman is guilty of fraud or can return to his former post. In the meantime, Netanyahu hurriedly bought Livni’s tiny party of six Knesset Members into the government by granting her the responsibility for handling the American effort for Palestinian Authority peace talks, one of Livni’s pet hobbies.

She and Kerry have the same goal, a deal at any cost with the prize of international admiration.

He came away from a meeting with the Arab League last week and tried to sell Israel a bill of goods of the Great Concession: The Arab supposedly are prepared to amend the Saudi 2002 Peace Initiative and back “land swaps,” meaning Israel would have their approval for sovereignty over a small amount of the land that was restored to the country in the Six-Day War in 1967.

In return, Israel would fork over an equal amount of land that has been part of the country since 1948.

Qatari Prime Minister Sheik al-Thani, whose kingdom has been unusually aggressive in handing out fat checks to Hamas and is pouring money into Arab areas of Jerusalem as well as the Palestinian Authority, led the Arab League delegation.

He agreed that perhaps – maybe if this and maybe if that, and if Israel behaves – the League could agree to “minor” land swaps.

For Kerry, this was a big concession. He “broke” the back of the Arabs and all that is left for him to do is tell Israel it is the best thing for the country since felafel.

“The Arab League delegation affirmed … the two-state solution on the basis of the 4th of June 1967 line, with the (possibility) of comparable and mutual agreed minor swap of the land,” he declared.

Of course, no one has any idea of what “minor” land swaps could mean, but you can rest your bottom dinar it does not mean that Israel would retain Gush Etzion. Maaleh Adumim? Maybe. Maybe not.

Perhaps the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Ramot, French Hill, Pisgat Ze’ev and Talpiot, among others? Could be.

And Gilo? Probably not.

It does not matter now. The most important thing for Kerry and Livni, his one-woman Israeli government fan club, is to talk it up. It does not matter to them that Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal already has rejected the idea. But they can take of him later and drop Hamas from the list of outlawed terrorist organizations, make it a legal terrorist group, and everything will be just fine.

Livni said the Qatari prime minister’s grand concession of possibly, just maybe, agreeing to a  minor land swap was “very positive news.”

And what would land would Israel give up in this “minor” swap. Most likely, enough land to link Gaza with Judea and Samaria.

Of course there is one not so minor point that Kerry has forgotten. Actually, he has not forgotten because the State Dept. does not know any better.

What Israeli Arab in his right mind would give up all the benefits and security he gets from the Israeli government and become subjects of the Palestinian Authority in order to help Kerry’s political career?

Respected Poll: Large Majority Favor Sovereignty in West Bank

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

A surprising 80 percent of Israelis support the idea of Israeli sovereignty over all or part of Judea and Samaria, according to a new poll released by the respected Geocartography research institute.

The survey was commissioned by the University of Ariel, located in central Samaria, in advance of its annual Conference for Law and Mass Media.

The idea of Israeli sovereignty began to win popularity last year when a government-commissioned report by three legal experts, headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Edmund Levy, concluded that Israelis have the right under international law to live anywhere they want in Judea and Samaria.

The “Levy Committee” also debunked the popular concept, adopted by the United States and almost all of the international community, that Israel “occupies” Judea and Samaria.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu quickly shelved the report for “further study,” obviously not wanting to upset the Obama administration’s continuation of the long-buried “peace process” that it still promotes to an audience of none.

The most surprising results in the Geocartography poll related to the views of those who have left-wing views. More than a majority, in fact 60 percent, stated that Israel has to take sovereignty over at least part of Judea and Samaria.

Even among those who consider themselves thoroughly left wing, 42 percent agreed that international law must recognize Israeli sovereignty in part of the areas that the Palestinian Authority demands for itself, if it ever becomes an independent country

Overall, more than one-third of Israelis support Israeli sovereignty over all of Judea and Samaria, and 25 percent think that it should apply to part of the area.

Most support for sovereignty undoubtedly is for Maaleh Adumim, a city of more than 40,000 located only 10 minutes away from Jerusalem, and the Gush Etzion communities, the largest of which is Efrat, heavily populated by Americans.

The nationalist Women in Green movement applauded the data that emerged from the poll.

“These figures might be surprising for a part of the Israeli public, but this comes as no surprise to us,” said Women in Green leaders  Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar.

“ In recent years we have been traveling throughout Israel  and wherever the question of sovereignty is raised, the idea is received favorably, with extensive support,” they added.

Asked by the Jewish Press if proposing sovereignty makes any sense in the wake of the American insistence to continue with its peace process plan, they said, “The Americans know that ‘two states for two peoples’ is, thank God, not a reality.”

Matar and Katsover also argued that with the failure of the peace process, there is no other alternative on the table, making Israeli sovereignty more of a viable option.

They dismissed many problems with sovereignty leaving Israel with a large Arab minority that could wreck the country’s Jewish identity.

The Women in Green leaders explained that there are several solutions to the problem but “first of all, let’s implement sovereignty and then we will deal with the arguments.”

Four different  proposals on coping with the demographics have been proposed, they said.

One idea is to offer all Arabs citizenship on the condition that they pledge loyalty to Israel as a Jewish state.

Another idea to the opposite extreme is to pay Palestinian Authority Arabs to leave Israel.

A third proposed solution is to grant them the status of residents without citizenship.

The fourth idea is to recognize that Palestine is Jordan, where the Arabs in Judea and Samaria could move.

European Union and American officials would be aghast at any of the suggestions, but after 22 years of failed diplomatic attempts to build up a Palestinian Authority that can self-govern and guarantee security for Israel as a neighbor, the peace process in retrospect seems even more far-fetched than Israeli sovereignty.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/respected-poll-large-majority-favor-sovereignty-in-west-bank/2013/04/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: