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October 25, 2016 / 23 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘settlements’

Netanyahu: UNESCO Rewrites History

Sunday, October 16th, 2016

By Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel

On Friday I spoke with newly elected UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. I shared with him the outrage of all Israelis following Thursday’s UNESCO decision that once again denied the over 3,000 year old connection between the Jewish people and its holiest site in Jerusalem, the Temple Mount. This was the site of Solomon’s Temple described in book of Kings in the Bible. It was the site of the second temple built by Jewish exiles who returned from Babylon some 500 years later. It was this second temple that was refurbished by King Herod and visited by Jesus as recounted in the New Testament.

Decisions like this distort historical truth that Jews, Christians and most of humanity know to be fact. These decisions also do nothing to advance peace. On the contrary, they only fuel the Palestinian fantasy of a Land of Israel with no Israel. They falsely teach Palestinian children that the Jews have no history and no rights here and therefore there’s no need to make peace with them.

Yesterday the United Nations further demonstrated its moral bankruptcy when it comes to Israel.

The Security Council discussed what it calls “Illegal Israeli Settlements.” According to the UN concept paper, the very presence of Jews living in Judea and Samaria, the West Bank, “seriously jeopardizes” the viability of two states.

That claim only makes sense if you ignore thousands of years of Jewish history, as UNESCO did this week.

That claim only makes sense if you accept the anti-Semitic Palestinian demand for a state free of Jews as somehow essential for peace.

Over a million and a half Arabs live in Israel as full citizens. Does their presence constitute a barrier to peace? Of course not. That some Jews live in Judea and Samaria is no more a barrier to peace than that.

No matter how often lies about Israel are repeated, this doesn’t make them true.

The real barrier to peace is not the settlements but the persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize a Jewish state in any boundaries.

That’s why the Palestinians attacked the Jews for half a century before there was a single settlement and continued to attack Israel after it dismantled all the settlements and withdrew from Gaza entirely.

The real barrier to peace is the outrageous idea that Jews cannot live in their ancestral homeland and need to be cleansed from it. The real barrier to peace is terrorist regimes like Hamas that launch tens of thousands of missiles at Israeli civilians and call for genocide of all Jews.

But the UN, and the so-called peace groups that testified there on Friday, are too busy denying Jews our rights, spreading lies and distorting history to recognize and condemn the actual barriers to peace.

Until that changes, until the UN drops its double standards towards Israel and stops ignoring Palestinian terror and rejectionism, peace for Israelis and Palestinians will not come from the United Nations any more than security for Israel will come from the Security Council.

I said recently at the UN that there may be a storm before the calm in the coming months. We are in the storm. But I also said that “I have total confidence that in the years ahead the revolution in Israel’s standing among the nations will finally penetrate this hall of nations.”

It will take some time, but that too will come, when most of nations of the world will decide to stop using the UN as a platform for lies and hate and it will reclaim its noble mandate to advance truth and peace.

Jewish Press News Briefs

As B’Tselem, Peace Now Attack Settlements, US Tells UNSC Israel Sabotages Two-State Solution

Saturday, October 15th, 2016

In a move that appears to confirm Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu’s worst nightmare, Deputy US Ambassador to the UN David Pressman told a session of the UN Security Council on Friday that the US is “deeply concerned and strongly opposes settlements which are corrosive to peace,” blaming Israeli settlement activities in Judea and Samaria for creating ” a one state reality on the ground.”

The council meeting, titled “Illegal Israeli Settlements: Obstacles to Peace and the Two-State Solution,” was called by member states Egypt, Venezuela, Malaysia, Senegal and Angola. The meeting was pushed by the PA delegation, which earlier this year shelved an anti-settlement proposal in favor of a French-led peace initiative. Attendance was not mandatory and there was no vote, however, it was clearly a signal of things to come, with President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry preparing to go after Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria as soon as the Nov. 8 vote is cast.

Pressman pointed to the rise in the number of demolitions of illegally constructed Arab homes in Area C of Judea and Samaria as being of particular concern, and called on both sides to adopt policies that encourage rather than impede “implementing the two-state solution.” He also condemned Arab terrorism against Israelis, and argued that by inciting violence the PA is telling the world it isn’t interested in peace.

The Russian representative said the situation in the liberated territories is near “the moment of truth,” and insisted that “settlement construction must stop,” because it creates “Palestinian enclaves” which are disconnected from the world. “Israel needs security, but without the two-state solution, the threat to Israel will grow,”he threatened.

Hagai El-Ad, executive director of B’Tselem, and Lara Friedman, director of policy and government relations at the Americans for Peace Now, were the darlings of the special anti-Israel session. Friedman said that the Israeli investment in settlements shows the state is looking to thwart the two-state solution, and called on the UNSC countries to “send a message” to Israel.

Friedman told the council about an entire system inside and outside the Israeli government dedicated to constructing new settlements and expanding existing ones. She accused Netanyahu’s government of promoting the construction of 11,000 new settlement housing units between 2009 and 2015.

El-Ad complained that “Israel has systematically legalized human rights violations in the occupied territories through the establishment of permanent settlements, punitive home demolitions, a biased building and planning mechanism, taking over Palestinian land and much, much more.” He added that 2016 was the “worst” in terms of the number of illegal Arab structures that were demolished by Israel in Area C, which is under Israeli control according to the Oslo Accords.

Zionist NGO Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg addressed the remarks by El-Ad, saying, “As we have said all along, the term foreign-agent does not do justice to the disgraceful activities of B’Tselem against Israel, which is enabled by funding from foreign governments and the New Israel Fund. History will not forgive those who, in exchange for money, are willing to sell out their country, people, and land.”

Peleg added: “We expect the government to announce that it will cease providing National Service positions to B’Tselem. The organization should be distanced from all contact and cooperation with the IDF and government offices.”


Lessons from 5776, Optimism for 5777

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

As we take our leave from 5776, I would sum it up as the year that Israel discovered the correct paradigm for dealing with her adversaries.

In previous years, many believed Israel’s military superiority allowed and even obliged her to take “risks for peace.” Others believed that propping up the economies of Israel’s neighbors until they were on par with her own, while giving up land, would bring peace.

But in 5776, Israel discovered that the secret for a relatively peaceful status quo comes not from creating economic parity, giving away land or taking risks, but rather by creating economic dependence, along with the application of Israel’s military superiority.

It should be made clear that a peaceful status quo is a separate discussion from what Israel’s long term vision for the region should be — whether that solution be Israel applying phased or full sovereignty over all of Israel’s territories, a confederation with Jordan, or some other ideas not yet tested or considered.

It’s been repeatedly noted that only one of the terror attacks by PA Arabs in this recent terror wave was executed by an individual with an Israeli work permit.

Israelis have learned that no matter how much their neighbors may hate them (and by the way, not all of Israel’s neighbors close and far hate Israel), or how much incitement they absorb from Palestinian Authority TV and the Islamic preachers, their families and villages depend on the money they make from Israelis, and all of them, save one, would not dare risk that.

Which is why the Palestinian Authority tried its best to force these Arab workers to stop working in the settlements, and why it failed. (PA Arabs make three times more working for Israelis than they do working in the Palestinian Authority.)

Incidentally, Israel would probably help the future stability of Judea and Samaria by announcing it will guarantee PA police salaries should the Palestinian Authority collapse under the weight of its own incompetence and corruption or Abbas’ retirement or death.

There’s very little that creates more loyalty than a paycheck paid on time.

Despite the roadblocks set up by Israel’s High Court, 5776 concluded with Jordan signing a $10 billion gas deal with Israel, which a Jordanian official said will save Jordan $600 million a year. It’s a deal that might very well tie Jordan’s economic stability to Israel for the next 15 years, along with the fresh water that Israel provides them.

Besides natural gas, Turkey, Greece, various Arab countries, some African states, India, Russia and China are looking to purchase or enter business partnerships with Israel, to acquire Israeli technology, military experience and equipment, fresh water solutions, solar energy, agricultural know-how or simply gain access to Israeli projects.

As these countries and others become more reliant on what Israel has to offer, there will be a gradual, visible change in their public attitudes, voting in international forums, and policies towards Israel, as Prime Minister Netanyahu pointed out in his speech last month before the UN General Assembly.

On the military side, this past year, the IDF finally resumed its function in actively preventing terrorism, rather than restricting itself to a reactive mode. IDF soldiers have been raiding the hornet nests in the Palestinian Authority every night, to confiscate illegal weapons and ammunition, uncover weapons factories and erode the terror networks of Hamas, the PLO, and the various Islamic Jihadi groups which expanded operations under former defense ministers Ehud Barak and Moshe Ya’alon. And, surprisingly, these IDF actions hardly provoke any international condemnation, save for criticism from Haaretz.

It was also the year Israel has actively taken on BDS, and began to beat it down, state after US state.

Obviously, all was not rosy this past year.

Thanks to the Iran deal, a revitalized Islamic Iran has been expanding its terror operations. But as Iran and their client Hezbollah try to establish terror bases on Israel’s Golan Heights’ border, Syrian Rebels are fighting those Iranian and Hezbollah terrorists on the Golan — the same rebels who are reportedly receiving much-needed medical aid from Israel.

There has been an upswing in Israeli Arabs participating in terror attacks and joining ISIS due to Islamic radicalization, incitement and propaganda, but Israel is already learning how to deal with them.

Hamas is still destroying Gaza as it continues to prepare for another round of fighting with Israel.

In the spring of 5777, Israel will celebrate 50 years since the liberation of our ancient lands of Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem from the illegal Jordanian occupation. Expect the usual NGOs (under new names and old) and Israel haters to foment their venomous propaganda, and also expect fewer and fewer people, everywhere in the world, to pay attention.

There’s concern over Obama’s anticipated November surprise at the UN.

And, of course, there will be the new challenges that either candidate for US president will present to Israel.

At the JewishPress.com we believe we have reason to be optimistic.

Israel has made significant positive changes this past year, with strategic, long term ideas being implemented, already with noticeable results. 5777 will bring challenges, even difficult ones, but we believe Israel is ready for them.

Shana Tova – Have a sweet new year.

Stephen Leavitt

Obama: Israel Recognizes It Cannot Settle Palestinian Land

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

U.S. President Barack Obama offered one-line solutions to nations around the world Tuesday during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly.

Speaking of the decades-old dispute between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that evaded even Obama’s two-term attempts at peace-making, the American president offered this view:

“Surely Israelis and Palestinians will be better off if Palestinians reject incitement and recognize the legitimacy of Israel, but Israel recognizes that it cannot permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land.”

He had a lot to say about events in the Middle East in general:

“Just as force alone cannot impose order internationally, I believe in my core that repression cannot forge the social cohesion for nations to succeed.  The history of the last two decades proves that in today’s world, dictatorships are unstable.  The strongmen of today become the spark of revolution tomorrow.  You can jail your opponents but you can’t imprison ideas. You can try to control access to information but you cannot turn a lie into truth.”

He also had a great deal to say specifically about Syria, about the formation and evolution of Da’esh (ISIS) and the issue of radical Islamist terror, which he continued to refuse to label as such.

“We know that ISIL … depends on perpetual war to survive … Part of our job together is to work to reject such extremism that infects too many of our young people. Part of that effort must be a continued rejection by Muslims, of those who distort Islam, to preach intolerance and promote violence. It must also involve a rejection by non-Muslims of the ignorance that equates Islam with terror. This work will take time. There are no easy answers to Syria.”

Ultimately, he said, nations need to work together to prevent mass killings and torture.

“We also have to recognize that we must work more effectively in the future as an international community, to build capacity for states that are in distress, before they collapse.

“That’s why we should celebrate the fact that later today the United States will join with more than 50 countries to enlist new capabilities, infantry, intelligence, helicopters, hospitals, and tens of thousands of troops to strengthen United Nations peacekeepers.

These new capabilities can prevent mass killings and ensure that peace agreements are more than words on paper. But we have to do it together…. to establish security where order has broken down, and to support those who seek a just and lasting peace.”

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu Responds to UN Special Envoy’s Statement on the “Illegality” of Settlements

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

By Ilana Messika/TPS

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded on Tuesday to the statements made by United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov that the Israeli presence in Judea, Samaria, and East Jerusalem constitutes an impediment to peace.

“The UN envoy to the Middle East’s remarks to the Security Council distort history and international law and drive peace even further away,” Netanyahu claimed in a statement.

“Jews have been in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria for thousands of years and their presence there is not an obstacle to peace,” the prime minister stated. “The obstacle to peace is the unending attempt to deny the Jewish people’s connection to parts of their historic land and the obdurate refusal to recognize that they are not foreigners there,”

“The claim that Jewish construction in Jerusalem is illegal is as absurd as the claim that American construction in Washington or French construction in Paris is illegal,” Netanyahu continued. “The Palestinian demand that a future Palestinian state be ethnically cleansed of Jews is outrageous, and the UN must condemn it instead of adopting it.”

Mladenov had called upon Israel and the Palestinian Authority on Monday in a video briefing to the United Nations Security Council from his office in Jerusalem to “reverse the negative trajectory” of the peace process.

Mladenov also claimed that the recent recommendations by the Middle East Quartet report in July, 2016 had been grossly ignored. The report had listed continued violence, terrorist attacks against civilians, incitement to violence, settlement construction and expansion, and the Palestinian Authority’s lack of control in Gaza as the main threats at present to a negotiated peace.

The UN envoy declared that according to UN Resolution 446 of March, 1979, Israeli settlements in occupied territory have no legal validity and have since then constituted an obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in the Middle East.

“No legal acrobatics can change the fact that all outposts, whether ‘legalized’ under Israeli law or not, whether located on state land, absentee land, or private land, just like all settlements in Area C and in East Jerusalem, remain illegal under international law,” Mladenov insisted.

Mladenov reported that since July 1, Israel has moved plans forward for over 1,000 housing units in eastern Jerusalem—in Pisgat Ze’ev, Ramot, Har Homa, and Gilo—as well as 735 units in Ma’ale Adumim and other settlements in the West Bank, while allocating funding for more.

The terse exchange of statements between the UN envoy and the Israeli prime minister follows a recent diplomatic crisis faced by the UN and Israel last month when Waheed Borsh, an engineer employed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Gaza, was indicted on August 9 for using his position to funnel resources to the Hamas terrorist organization.

According to Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, Mladenov’s remarks hindered the peace process while further validating the UN’s hypocritical attitude towards Israel.

“His words are in complete isolation from the facts on the ground,” said Danon. “Israel will continue to build the eternal capital of Jerusalem, just as the nations of the world will continue to build capitals without checking in with the United Nations.”

“The UN should concentrate on solving the main obstacle in the area, which is the Palestinian refusal to condemn terrorism and to return to the negotiating table,” he concluded.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Jewish Settlements are Legal

Monday, August 29th, 2016

The misperceptions, misrepresentations, and ignorance surrounding the general attitude toward the legal status of Jewish settlements in the disputed area of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), reflects the general attitude toward the unique phenomenon of the reconstruction of the Jewish national home in the Land of Israel.

“Fidelity to law is the essence of peace” opined Prof. Eugene Rostow, a former Dean of Yale University Law School, Undersecretary of State and a co-author of the November 22, 1967 UN Security Council Resolution 242.

Rostow resolved that under international law: “Jews have the same right to settle in the West Bank as they have in Haifa.”
Prof. Rostow determined that according to Resolution 242, which he co-authored: “Israel is required to withdraw ‘from territories’, not ‘the’ territories, nor from ‘all’ the territories, but ‘some’ of the territories, which included the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Desert and the Golan Heights.” 

Moreover, “resolutions calling for withdrawal from ‘all’ the territories were defeated in the Security Council and the General Assembly…. Israel was not to be forced back to the ‘fragile and vulnerable’ [9-15 mile-wide] lines… but to ‘secure and recognized’ boundaries, agreed to by the parties…. In making peace with Egypt in 1979, Israel withdrew from the entire Sinai… [which amounts to] more than 90% of the territories occupied in 1967….”

Former President of the International Court of Justice, Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, stated:

“[The 1967] Israeli conquest of territory was defensive rather than aggressive… [as] indicated by Egypt’s prior closure of the Straits of Tiran, blockade of the Israeli port of Eilat, and the amassing of [Egyptian] troops in Sinai, coupled with its ejection of the UN Emergency Force…[and] Jordan’s initiated hostilities against Israel…. The 1948 Arab invasion of the nascent State of Israel further demonstrated that Egypt’s seizure of the Gaza Strip, and Jordan’s seizure and subsequent annexation of the West Bank and the old city of Jerusalem, were unlawful…. Between Israel, acting defensively in 1948 and 1967 ]according to Article 52 of the UN Charter[, on the one hand, and her Arab neighbors, acting aggressively in 1948 and 1967, on the other, Israel has better title in the territory of what was [British Mandate] Palestine, including the whole of Jerusalem…. It follows that modifications of the 1949 armistice lines among those States within former Palestinian territory are lawful….”

The legal status of Judea and Samaria is embedded in the following authoritative, binding, internationally-ratified treaties, which recognized that the area has been the cradle of Jewish history, culture, aspirations and religion:

(I) The November 2, 1917 Balfour Declaration, issued by Britain, called for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people….”

(II) The April 24, 1920 resolution, adopted by the post-First World War San Remo Peace Conference of the Allied Powers Supreme Council, incorporated the Balfour Declaration, entrusting both sides of the Jordan River to the Mandate for Palestine: “the Mandatory will be responsible for putting into effect the [Balfour] declaration… in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” It was one of over 20 Mandates (trusteeships) established following WW1, responsible for most boundaries in the Middle East.

(III) The Mandate for Palestine, ratified on July 24, 1922 by the Council of the League of Nations entrusted Britain to establish a Jewish state in the entire area west of the Jordan River, as demonstrated by article 6: “[to] encourage… close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands….” The Mandate is dedicated exclusively to Jewish national rights.

(IV) The October 24, 1945 Article 80 of the UN Charter incorporated the Mandate for Palestine into the UN Charter.  Accordingly, the UN or any other entity cannot transfer Jewish rights in Palestine, including immigration and settlement, to any other party.

The November 29, 1947 UN General Assembly Partition Resolution 181 was a non-binding recommendation – as are all General Assembly resolutions – superseded by the binding Mandate for Palestine. The 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and its neighbors delineated the pre-1967 ceasefire – non-ratified – boundaries.

According to Article 80 of the UN Charter, and the Mandate for Palestine, the 1967 war of self-defense returned Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria to its legal owner, the Jewish state.  Legally and geo-strategically the rules of “belligerent occupation” do not apply to Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria, since the area is not “foreign territory,” and Jordan did not have a legitimate title over the area in 1967. Also, the rules of “belligerent occupation” do not apply in view of the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty.

While the 1949 4th Geneva Convention prohibits the forced transfer of populations to areas previously occupied by a legitimate sovereign power, Israel has not forced Jews to settle in Judea and Samaria, and Jordan was not recognized, internationally, as its legitimate sovereign power.

Furthermore, the 1993 Oslo Accord and the 1995 Israel-Palestinian Authority Interim Agreement do not prohibit Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, stipulating that the issue will be negotiated during the permanent status negotiations, enabling each party to plan, zone and build in areas under its control. If Israeli construction prejudges negotiation, then Arab construction – which is dramatically larger – dramatically prejudges negotiation.

Finally, the term “Palestine” was a Roman attempt – following the 135 CE Jewish rebellion – to eradicate Jews and Judaism from human memory. It substituted “Israel, Judea and Samaria” with “Palaestina,” a derivative of the Philistines, an arch enemy of the Jewish people, whose origin was not in Arabia, but the Greek Aegian islands.

The campaign against legal Jewish settlements in the disputed – rather than occupied – area of Judea and Samaria is based on gross misrepresentations, fueling infidelity to law, which undermines the pursuit of peace.

{Yoram will be in the US in September and November, available for speaking engagements}

Yoram Ettinger

European Union Unhappy With Israel Over Gilo Housing Project

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

The European Union is, once again, unhappy with Israel about local municipal plans to move ahead with building new apartments in Jerusalem.

The city is proceeding with its routine to approve construction of some 770 housing units, barely a drop in the bucket for the average bustling municipality, let alone a growing metropolis.

Jerusalem is bursting at the seams and in desperate need of affordable housing.

The new project is to be built in the Gilo neighborhood, in the southern section of the city. However, this one little project has deeply upset the European Union, enough to issue a statement castigating Israel over the matter less than 24 hours after an elderly Catholic priest was murdered, his throat cut at the altar of his own church while serving Mass, by two Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists.

He was, in fact, ritually slaughtered on that altar before his flock, his blood flowing on to the steps while the radical Islamists yelled the traditional Islamic jihadist war cry “Allahu Akbar!” (God is Great!) and other unknown phrases in Arabic.

ISIS has vowed repeatedly over the past year to take its battle to the “Crusaders” of Europe and the Middle East. On Tuesday they fulfilled that promise — and yet the European Union somehow still believes it more important to focus its energies on scolding Israel for providing affordable housing for its residents in Jerusalem.

“Israel’s recent decision to advance plans for some 770 housing units in the settlement of Gilo, built on occupied Palestinian land in East Jerusalem, undermines the viability of a two-state solution,” said EU spokesperson David Kriss in a statement sent to media on Wednesday.

“It contributes to the establishment of a ring of Israeli settlements around the city, thus further cutting East Jerusalem off from the southern West Bank. “This announcement comes just weeks after the report of the Middle East Quartet called on Israel to abandon its settlement policy, which is illegal under international law.

“The decision raises legitimate questions about Israel’s long-term intentions, which are compounded by the statements of some Israeli ministers that there should never be a Palestinian state. The EU calls on Israel to reverse this decision and to cease its settlement activity,” Kriss said.

It’s amazing that after all this time, Europe is still unable to bring itself to make peace with the idea that Gilo, a neighborhood of some 40,000-plus that has existed well within the Jerusalem municipal boundaries for more than 35 years, is not going away.

Nor is it a “settlement” outside the city, which anyone can clearly see if they bothered to visit either in person or through a virtual swing through the neighborhood via the Google software.

As for the long-term intentions of the Jewish State, it might be far more constructive (excuse the pun) for the European Union to consider the long-term intentions of the Palestinian Authority rather than those of Israel.

The Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization from which it was born has from the outset cherished the dream of conquering the Land of Israel from “the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea.”

Hana Levi Julian

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