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November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘settlement’

We Need To Chill Out About Obama

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

● The president of the United States, in the midst of a policy dispute with the Israeli prime minister, glared into the television cameras and angrily declared, “It is not the business of other nations to make American foreign policy.”

Barack Obama? No, Ronald Reagan – who in 1981 was pushing hard for Congressional approval of the sale of Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft to Saudi Arabia, and who that same year reacted to the Israeli attack on Iraq’s nuclear reactor by suspending planned shipments of F-16 fighter jets to Israel and instructing his United Nations ambassador to condemn Israel at the UN.

● The president of the United States, in the course of what was billed as a major address on the Middle East, warned that “the Israeli people also must understand that… the settlement enterprise and building bypass roads in the heart of what they already know will one day be part of a Palestinian state is inconsistent with the Oslo commitment that both sides negotiate a compromise.”

Barack Obama? No, Bill Clinton – who during his presidency dispatched political operatives to Israel in 1996 (unsuccessfully) and 1999 (successfully) to work for a Labor Party victory, and came disconcertingly close to pushing a sitting Israeli prime minister into making serious concessions to a Yasir Arafat who had long since served notice that he had no interest in peaceful coexistence.

● The president of the United States, while meeting at the White House with the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, announced that “Israel should not undertake any activity that contravenes road map obligations or prejudice final status negotiations with regard to Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem. Therefore, Israel must remove unauthorized outposts and stop settlement expansion.”

Barack Obama? No, George W. Bush – who, in addition to making that statement in 2005, revealed in his post-presidency memoir, Decision Points, that he had approved a plan formulated by his secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, and Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert that “would have returned the vast majority of the territory in the West Bank and Gaza to the Palestinians, accepted the construction of a tunnel connecting the two Palestinian territories, allowed a limited number of Palestinian refugees to return to Israel, established Jerusalem as a joint capital of both Israel and Palestine, and entrusted control of the holy cities to a panel of nonpolitical elders.”

The point of these historical tidbits (and they just begin to scratch the surface) is that policy differences between the United States and Israel have always existed – even during the administrations of presidents widely acknowledged as being very pro-Israel – particularly over settlements and Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

And yet many in the Orthodox community act as though history started four years ago with Obama’s inauguration, and that his opposition to some Israeli policies and his sometimes rocky relationship with Netanyahu are unprecedented and frightening developments.

As a non-partisan observer who works and enjoys professional relationships with politicians on both sides of the aisle, I have watched our community’s shrill and even childish approach to the Obama presidency with not a little consternation. Let me make one thing perfectly clear: The relationship between the United States and Israel is as American as baseball and apple pie, transcending policy differences and personality clashes.

Perhaps support for Israel was once primarily a Jewish issue. Not anymore. Today, the vast majority of Americans identify with the Jewish state, especially evangelical Christians whose fervent love for Israel often puts American Jews to shame. This little country has undeniably emerged as a powerful presence, and its relationship with the United States is indestructible. We are, so to speak, joined at the hip.

Yes, Israel is surrounded by hundreds of millions of hostile neighbors who seek its destruction. And yes, when an American president tries to make U.S. foreign policy more inclusive of Arab aspirations and sensitivities, it can seem to many of us that his sympathies lie with the other side.

But international relations are not simple and the stakes are high. Our country’s policies need to be grounded in reality, and even the most instinctively pro-Israel American presidents engage in a constant balancing act in the Middle East.

Cabinet Appoints Scourge of Settlers as Deputy Attorney General

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

JERUSALEM, Israel, Sept. 9th–Israel’s cabinet approved today the appointment of Shai Nitzan to the position of Deputy Attorney General for Special Assignments.

Nationalist activists and politicians say that as Deputy State Prosecutor for eight years Nitzan had a left-wing, anti-settlement, anti-nationalist agenda.

Speaking with reporters after the decision, Minister of Science Hershkowitz (Jewish Home) criticized the appointment, saying that trust has to be restored to the legal system and “this appointment does not restore trust.”

Minister of Culture and Sport Limor Livnat (Likud), however said that Minister of Justice Ya’akov Ne’eman told the cabinet that Nitzan would not deal with settlement-related matters.

Such issues, which were under the jurisdiction of Mike Blass who is retiring, would now fall under the jurisdiction of Dina Zilber, whose appointment as Blass’s replacement was approved in the same meeting.

Things to Do During a Rally

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Jewish mother reading to her two children during a protest outside the Justice Ministry in Jerusalem on Thursday, against the planned evacuation of the Judea and Samaria outpost of Migron.

Established in 1999, Migron flourished, worry free, with its residents, mostly young professionals, secure in the future of their settlement in the Benjamin region. But in 2006 the Israeli anti-settlement movement Peace Now, aiming to eliminate all Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria, claimed that Migron was settled on privately owned Palestinian land, and the battle began.

The Palestinians who “owned” the land were scarcely aware of this until Peace Now instigated the petition in their behalf. And last year, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of Peace Now and ordered the government to evict the settlers.

The evacuation and dismantling of Migron is scheduled to take place this month.

Every time an outpost or a settlement or a scattering of homes, or an entire region of settlements are demolished in Jew on Jew violence, the Temple is destroyed a little more.

There are some acts which violate any rational person’s sense of decency.

The court’s decision was corrupt, and the government’s enforcement of it is even more corrupt, since on paper this government was supposed to be right-wing, pro-settlement, Jewish, if you will.

This government was elected with the votes of many Jews who vowed that the experience of Gush Katif would never happen again.

Never Again…

What a hollow slogan that one has become, when the very purpose of the original Nazis, to eradicate Jewish life from the planet, is being perpetrated, one Jewish enclave at a time, by Israel’s left, both on the bench and arguing before the bench.

Never Again? It doesn’t work with diets, you want it should work in politics?

Jewish Terrorists!?

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

http://haemtza.blogspot.co.il/2012/08/jewish-terrorists.html

I hope it isn’t true. But I suspect that it is. This is not the first time there has been settler violence against innocent Arabs in Israel. From the Jerusalem Post:

On Thursday at about 5:30 p.m., six members of the family were seriously wounded when their taxi, driven by a family member near the settlement of Bat Ayin south of Jerusalem, was hit by a Molotov cocktail in an attack that police suspect was perpetrated by Jewish extremists.

Jewish Extremists?! These are not extremists. These are terrorists. If it is shown that this horrendous acts was carried out by Jewish settlers in some sort of retaliation for Palestinian terrorism then they ought to have the book thrown at them.  This is no less than attempted murder. It is depraved. It is cruel. There is no excuse for it.

These people are no better than the arsonists of who set fires during the ’68 riots that followed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King . Then Mayor Richrad J. Daley gave police the green light to police to shoot to kill anyone seen attempting arson.

People who throw firebombs into cars are murderers. There is no justification for targeting innocent people. These terrorists ought to be treated accordingly. That no one died yet from that act is a miracle.

What makes me so angry is that many of these settler types are from the extreme right wing of religious Zionism. They think their acts are somehow religiously justified.

Making matters worse is that there are many mainstream Orthodox Jews who sympathize with these people. While not condoning it – they will say they understand it. They will point to things like the Fogel massacre and ask, can you blame them for wanting revenge? Can you blame them when the government refuses to back them up in their settlement enterprises?  Arab terrorism has caused so many Jewish deaths. Many of these people have lost loved ones or have loved ones that have been seriously and permanently injured because of Arab terrorism. So they are striking back at them in the same way they have been struck. Can you really blame them?

My answer is very simple: Yes! I do blame them. Revenge killings of innocent people is pure murder. Period.

And it does absolutely nothing to better their situation. If anything their situation will be worsened by it. As will the situation for the State of Israel. Even so called moderate Palestinians can now say, “Jews have their terrorists too!” And they will be right. How can we ever claim the moral high ground and justify our security fences if we do the same things they do?  Those who have been using moral equivalency arguments that compare what we do to what they do will now be justified in that claim.

If it turns out as suspected, that the arsonists are settler extremists, then I would – as I said – throw the book at them. Maximum sentences for all of them.

I would further feel it my obligation to stop these people at the core. It would be priority number one to dismantle every single settlement that harbors this world view and lives in close proximity to Arab villages! I would subsequently monitor all their actions round the clock. And send them to jail for the slightest infraction of the law that allowed for a jail sentence. No mercy. Because if they aren’t stopped, they could very well end up bringing about the downfall of the Jewish State and bring about the biggest tragedy since the Holocaust.

Yad Yair Refugees Recite Lamentations at the Ruins of their Homes

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

Tazpit reported that on Saturday night, Tisha B’Av 5772, some 50 men, women and children, members of the settlement nucleus of Yad Yair, together with the Benjamin Settlers Committee and residents of Gush Talmonim, mourned the destruction of Jerusalem, and shared their private grief over the destruction of their settlement more than three years ago by the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria.

The group read the book of Lamentations and recited mournful odes for the destruction of the Temple. In an atypical fashion, IDF forces did not interfere with the Jewish presence there, which lasted several hours.

The Jewish activists told Tazpit that they chose the ruins of their homes for the recitation of Lamentations in order to remember well the destruction of the Temple. They also emphasized the strategic importance of the place in blocking the spread of the city of Ramallah, and the fact that the place was bought at full price by Jews, and there are no questions regarding their legal ownership.

Ehud Amiton / Tazpit

Ehud Amiton / Tazpit

According to Hakol HaYehudi, more than twenty years ago, on 11 Nissan, 5751, March 26, 1991, Dolev resident Yair Mendelson was murdered, and local residents wanted to establish a new settlement in his memory. Then Defense Minister Moshe Arens did not approve the settlement, and after a political struggle a military base was built on the spot, with a park in memory of Yair Mendelson next to it. In 2004 the base was dismantled, leaving in the area only a civilian presence, which included an active synagogue and the park, where major events were held frequently.

After the army left the area, the synagogue and the park became subject to incessant harassments by Israeli leftists and by Arabs. Over the years the electrical system was destroyed, the synagogue was looted and set on fire, and the memorial stone was vandalized.

After it became clear to the residents of Gush Talmonim that the army is unable to prevent the looting and destruction of the place, it was decided to exercise the right of the Jewish landowners and establish a settlement. In 2008 left-wing activists, Arabs and journalists burned down the synagogue, and replaced the flags of Israel PLO flags.

In response, on the same day, Jewish settlement began in the place, which lasted four months, until Israeli government forces completely destroyed the place, removing the Yair Mendelsohn memorial stone. The evacuation was carried out by IDF commanders in the field in clear violation of a High Court order issued the same day.

Israeli Settlements an ‘Obstacle to Peace’?

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

One does not have to be an apologist for Israeli settlements in disputed areas to recognize that the constant criticism that has developed around them is unproductive in reaching a peace settlement between Israel and its Arab neighbors. The settlements may be a problem but they are not a serious one. Altogether, they occupy less than three percent of the area of the West Bank, and have a population of about 300,000 there, another 20,000 in the Golan Heights, and 190,000 in east Jerusalem, Israel’s capital. Whether some or many of these settlements will be evacuated by Israel should depend on the nature of the negotiated peace agreement.

In spite of the settlement freeze suggested by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2008, and the ten-month moratorium on new construction announced by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2010, the Palestinians still refused, for over nine months, to enter into peace talks.

The immediate problem is the question of who can legitimately claim sovereignty over the disputed areas of east Jerusalem and the “West Bank,” a term coined by Jordan when it controlled the area from 1949 until 1967. For over four centuries, these areas were provinces of the Turkish Ottoman Empire; after that, from 1922 until 1948, they were ruled by Britain under the Mandate given it by the League of Nations. The areas have never been under any Arab sovereignty.

Jordan declared it had “annexed” the West Bank after the 1948-49 War. Only two countries, Pakistan and Britain, ever recognized that claim; and Britain only de facto, not by full legal recognition. The Palestinians have never had a political state of their own and, when offered the opportunity by the United Nations General Assembly in November 1947, refused to create one. The Golan Heights, about 400 square miles, was ceded to Syria by a Franco-British agreement.

The boundaries of “Palestine,” and the decision about the exercise of sovereign power over it, remain to be determined in an overall peace settlement, as agreed to by all parties concerned in the UN Security Council Resolution 242 of November 1967.

As the West Bank and the Gaza Strip were unallocated parts of the British Mandate, the land held by Israel since the 1967 was determined not to be the accepted legal territory of any particular people or country. Moreover, Jewish settlement in the West Bank was never seen as an intrusion into alien territory as a result of war, nor as a violation of international agreements — either of which would have made settlements illegal.

International law gives no clear answer on the issue of Israeli settlements. The Fourth Geneva Convention does forbid government deportation or “individual or mass forcible transfers” of population into territory it occupies. This Convention was formulated because of the activities during World War II of the Nazi regime, and by inference the Soviet Union, in transferring population into occupied territory for political or racial reasons, or for colonization. As a result of those activities, millions were subjected to forced migration, expulsion, slave labor, and extermination. On this issue two factors are pertinent. One is that Israeli governments have not aimed at any displacement of the population in any of the disputed areas. The other is that neither the Geneva Convention nor any other law prevents the establishment of voluntary settlements on an individual basis, nor on their location, if the underlying purpose is security, public order, or safety, and as long as the settlements do not involve taking private property. It is absurd to suggest that the state of Israel “deported” or “transferred” its own citizens to the territories.

This conclusion was buttressed by a report, in July 2012, of the independent Israeli three-member committee, headed by former Supreme Court Justice Edmund Levy, which held that the classic laws of “occupation” do not apply to “the unique and sui generis historic and legal circumstances of Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria spanning over decades.” The committee held that consequently Israelis have the legal right to settle in Judea and Samaria, and that the establishment of settlements is not illegal.

Israel has made concessions in the hopes of peace, although scant recognition has been given to them. Israel withdrew all forces and settlers in Sinai after the peace treaty with Egypt in 1979. All 21 Israeli settlements, with 9,000 residents, in the Gaza Strip, as well as all Israeli forces there, were withdrawn by a unilateral Israeli decision in 2005, to give the Gaza Strip a chance to become a thriving independent area. This withdrawal did not, however, result in any positive response, and has not stopped Hamas, the ruling group in Gaza, from constant missile bombardment and missile activity against Israeli civilians in nearby cities.

The settlements in the West Bank, east Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights remain as a source of contention, whether regarded as illegal or merely ill-advised. Certainly there should be legitimate discussion about them and about the actions of the Israeli government in legitimizing unauthorized outposts in the West Bank. The government distinguishes between the settlements that have been officially sanctioned, and outposts, some on hilltops for security reasons, for example, that settlers built without permission. Between 1991 and 2005 about 100 hilltop outposts were built by activists who believed they were creating “facts on the ground,” but did so without government permits or planning approval.

Israeli authorities are concerned about abuses regarding settlements. The Israeli Supreme Court in June 2012 ordered the dismantling of an outpost named Migron , that contained 50 families, a settlement that had been built on private Arab land. Legal decisions have made clear that settlements were never intended to displace Arab residents of the disputed territories. The settlements have been established for a combination of economic, historic, and military reasons, not ever for purposes of colonialism, or even colonization. A negotiated peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians can easily decide their fate.

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org 

Does Freezing Settlements Help Peace?

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

The current US administration has been advocating the freezing of Israeli settlement activity in Judea and Samaria, and so have several global players involved in the peace process. Evidence on the ground, however, seems to suggest that freezing settlement activity only fuels radicalism and terrorism, encourages delegitimizing Israel, deprives Palestinians of decent livelihoods and works significantly against achieving the long-sought peace. On June 4, 2009, when President Obama addressed the Muslim world from Cairo, he said: “The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements” because they “undermine efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.” Since then, the U.S. has relentlessly been pressuring the Israeli government to freeze the construction of settlements, eventually resulting in a ten month freeze of settlement activities by the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. At one point, Netanyahu demanded that the Palestinian Authority recognize Israel as a Jewish state in exchange for Israel’s settlements’ freeze, an offer the Palestinian Authority had refused.

Pressure on Israel to freeze its settlement activity is also advocated by UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who earlier this year called on Israel to halt settlement activity as “goodwill gesture” to the Palestinians. Israel has given such “goodwill gestures” to the Palestinians before, but the reciprocal gestures were never as good-willed. In exchange for “goodwill gestures,” Israel gets concussions. After Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005, driving its own Israeli settlers from their homes by force, Hamas utilized the withdrawal for its propaganda, claiming it was a victory over Israel, and then started firing more Kassam rockets from Gaza into southern Israeli cities. After that, Hamas took over the entire Gaza strip by force from the Palestinian Authority and has been ruling there ever since.

It seems the concussions Israel keeps getting from its “goodwill gesture” in Gaza have extended to neighboring Egypt. In an article published by the Washington Institute in January 2012, seasoned Israeli journalist Ehud Yaari reports that since Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from Gaza, the Sinai Peninsula has become a major base for terrorists’ infrastructure, with the Bedouins becoming more radicalized and aiding Hamas with illegal trade. Arms smuggling into Gaza has risen to a record high, with “ever-larger sectors of the northern Sinai population becoming linked to Gaza and falling under the political and ideological influence of Hamas and the like.” All of this leads the inhabitants of the Sinai to think that they are entitled to become another terrorism forefront.

Concussion outcomes from Israel’s withdrawal from land are nothing new. When Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000, the Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah quickly expanded the presence of its militants in southern Lebanon to the point of launching an unprecedented rocket attack on Israel in 2006. Why wouldn’t an expansion of an Israeli settlements freeze or a total Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria only lead again to an explosion in terrorist activities as has been the case in other places? Precedents suggest the outcome will not be different.

What is strange is how casual the world has become about asking Israel to stop building settlements on its own land. For example, last May, German President Joachim Gauck called on Israel to make “a goodwill gesture” in its settlement policy. Considering the historical sensitivity between Germany and Israel, one would think the German president would be more cautious about undermining Israel’s right to build homes on its own soil. What can be seen is that the demonization of settlers and settlements has become so regular that it is reaching the point where the delegitimization of Israel is becoming legitimized — probably just what the delegitimizers were hoping for.

The question about the legitimacy or legality of the settlements by itself is puzzling: historically, Judea and Samaria are legitimate parts of Israel — you just have to look at the evidence. The Balfour Declaration by which the British government confirmed that it favoured “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people … and will use its best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object,” was incorporated into the Sèvres peace treaty with Turkey and the British Mandate for Palestine, which was legally commissioned to Great Britain by the League of Nations, the equivalent of today’s United Nations, thus making Israel’s control of the entire British Mandate for Palestine — including Judea and Samaria — an internationally legitimate right. Since the draft of the Mandate was formally confirmed by the Council of the League of Nations on 24 July 1922, it would seem to be in accord with international law.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/does-freezing-settlements-help-peace/2012/07/15/

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