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December 10, 2016 / 10 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘settlements’

An Open Letter to Secretary of State John Kerry

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

I’m going to address this status to John Kerry directly, in the hopes he’ll somehow read it.

Mr. Secretary, you were recently videotaped saying, “I have this map that shows all the sectors where the violence has been in-in Israel…in-in-in…and in the territories, and you will see that it’s where the settlements are.”

Let’s examine this sentence, shall we? There’s a lot to unpack, so please bear with me.

First of all, it’s good you have maps, Mr. Kerry. As Secretary of State, I’d say ‘having maps’ is much better than ‘not having maps.’ You clearly do not fall into Ms. North Carolina’s category of people who can’t find the Iraq, and, such as.

Hey, if you’ve got those maps you just said you do, could you specify where it is you’re referencing? I was under the impression that the United States State Department (your department, if I’m not mistaken) is of the opinion that Judea and Samaria, or “the territories,” are not part of Israel. Your stammering in this sentence leads me to believe that it’s difficult for you to distinguish between the two. Why do think that would be? Why would it be difficult to intellectually separate Israel with areas it acquired legitimately in a defensive war? Why would it be hard to differentiate between the Jewish State and areas which contain within them the bulk of Jewish history in the area? Maybe you just needed a drink, I don’t know.

You know, I have maps myself, and if you take a look, you’ll see that the areas hit by rockets fired by Hamas are nowhere near any settlements. I mean, they’re closer to settlements than, say, Las Vegas or Tokyo, but in terms of their relative proximity within Israel itself, they’re not even close. Rocket fire still counts as “violence,” right? So, are you NOT talking about Israel? Just the territories, then? Help me out, I’m confused here.

Next, I’d like to talk about your intent. It seems clear that your intent was to lay the blame of Israel/Arab violence on the settlements. But there’s a problem with that. The overwhelming majority of terrorist attacks in the territories has been agains Jews. I don’t have the statistics in front of me, but I would feel comfortable saying over 95% of all the violence in the territories is aimed against Jews. Do you know where those Jews live? You guessed it: in the settlements. Saying that the majority of violence is where the settlements are is like saying most traffic accidents take place on roads. Sure, every now and then a car will smash into a house or something, but usually traffic accidents happen on roads because that’s where the cars are. An Arab looking to kill a Jew isn’t going to try to find one in Wadi Nis or Abdallah Ibrahim; there aren’t any Jews there. He’s going to go to a settlement, what Maverick and Goose would refer to as “a target-rich environment.”

Which brings me to my final point. Since the Jews in settlements being attacked is the reason your map shows that’s where the violence is, this does not mean the settlements are the reason for the violence. That’s called ‘victim-blaming.’ Change the words “violence,” “Israel and territories,” and “settlements” with the words “rape,” “America,” and “women” respectively. Would you be comfortable making that statement? I sure as hell wouldn’t. The victim cannot, as a matter of definition, be the cause of the violence in any situation.

So, Mr. Kerry: thank you for reading this. I hope you now know how to interpret your map correctly. Now be quiet.

Yoni Berg

US Secy Kerry Asks Saban Forum: What’s Your Vision of a Unitary State?

Monday, December 5th, 2016

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry looked tired Sunday afternoon (Dec. 4) as he sat down with lead columnist Jeff Goldberg of The Atlantic to address an Israeli-American audience at The Saban Forum in Washington, D.C.

Israel, he said, “is moving in the wrong direction.”

The United States, meanwhile, has “never ever shied away from vetoing a resolution or standing up against an unfair and biased resolution at the UN, at the Human Rights Council, at UNESCO, you name it!” Ever a loyal ally, America stands strong for Israel — but there is “no status quo” and as a friend who feels “genuinely passionate about Israel,” John Kerry felt duty bound to try to help Israelis correct course if possible.

The Secretary begin speaking at the time stamp 44:08.

“I have to share with you facts,” Kerry told the participants, after running down the list of benefits Israel had enjoyed under the administration of President Barack Obama. “I come to you as somebody who is concerned for the safety and the security of the State of Israel, for the long-term ability of the State of Israel to be able to be what it has dreamt of being, and what the people of Israel, I believe, want it to be.”

Apparently, Israel’s electoral process, its legislative branch via the Knesset, its parliament, and its judiciary via the High Court of Justice and its Supreme Court, apparently aren’t relevant as a reflection of that desire.

“I’m here as someone defending Israel’s need for security,” Kerry went on, adding, “The questions I raise about Israel are not because I don’t care about Israel, but because we do care,” suddenly switching to the magisterial “we” form.

“It’s because we want to be able to see this thing develop into the full-blossomed beacon that Israel has the potential of being,” he continued, listing the numerous fields in which Israel is leading the way, such as agriculture, technology and finance, pointing out how Israel could be “sharing with Egypt, with Jordan… (could it be that Mr. Secretary has forgotten Israel has peace treaties and natural resource agreements with both of these nations?) … with the Emirates, with Saudi Arabia, with all of these countries.”

But, he said, the issue is: “Where are we going?

“Let me tell you,” he warned, “There.will.be.no.separate.peace.between.Israel.and.the.Arab.world.

“I want to make that very clear to all of you,” he emphasized. “The Arab world is in a very different place now. There will be no advance and separate peace with the Arab world without the Palestinian process and without the Palestinian peace. Everybody needs to understand that. That is a hard reality.

“There is a basic choice that has to be made by Israel. Are there going to be continued settlements.. or is there going to be separate and the creation of two states?”

Kerry began a long discussion about the Oslo Accords, explaining their origin and sketching out a quick review of their progress and what he believes was the outcome. But the Secretary skipped over some parts, mixed up the timeline and didn’t mention all the terror attacks and violations by the Palestinian Authority that led to the Oslo Accords never quite being carried out the way the script was originally written.

“Now, when Oslo was signed in 1993, … there were 110,000 settlers in the West Bank. Today there are 385,000 settlers… about 90,000 settlers living outside of the barrier, and the barrier, I want to remind everyone here, was established by Israel. It’s a line — not a border, but still a line, established by Israel. There are 129 settlements, and there are about 100 outposts, and outposts, as you all know, are illegal,” Kerry said, his voice beginning to rise with outrage.

“Many of these outposts are built on what is considered to be private Palestinian land,” he stated, without offering a shred of proof, documentation, or even one source for the claim.

“Since Obama became president, the population outside of the barrier in the West Bank has increased by 20,000 people,” he said.

“Leaders, again, in Israel — certain leaders — are fond of saying, “well, the settlements aren’t the reason and the cause for the crisis. No, they’re not. I’m not pretending they are. I’m not here to tell you that the settlements are the reason for the conflict. No, they’re not. But I also cannot accept the notion that they do not affect the peace process. That they aren’t a barrier to the capacity to have peace.

“And I’ll tell you why I know that. Because the Left in Israel is telling everybody they are a barrier to peace and the Right that supports it, openly supports it, because they don’t want peace.

“They believe it’s the greater Israel. They are pursuing a policy of Greater Judea – Samaria, building out into the West Bank, because they believe it belongs to them, and they want it to block the peace!

“Because they want those places to belong to Israel. That’s the history of the settler movement, my friends.

“Out of the mouths of ministers in the current government come profoundly disturbing statements publicly, to whit: Naftali Bennett, said a few days ago, weeks ago, This represents the end of the era of the two-state solution. And, more than 50 percent of the ministers in the current government have publicly stated they are opposed to a Palestinian state, and there will be no Palestinian state.

“So this is the predicament. This is where we find ourselves… Let me give you the alternatives here, folks.

“What is your vision of a unitary state?

“Are you going to run the schools? Are you going to continue to have these roads that are completely checkpointed and blocked that lead to this little island all by itself of the settlement? And the Palestinians are going to live over here? (With this, the Secretary swept his hand over to the other side, a gesture to show isolation; a gesture that showed his frustration and angst.)

“Are they going to vote? And if they’re a majority of the population, are they going to have a Palestinian prime minister of Israel?

“Is it going to be a Jewish State?” Kerry asked. He sounded close to despair.

Hana Levi Julian

Report: Trump Circle Furious over Liberman’s Leftward Pull on Settlements

Friday, November 18th, 2016

President Elect Donald Trump’s associates are enraged over a statement Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman made this week, suggesting Israel must cool its heels over Trump’s election and approach him with modest proposals regarding settlement construction. Speaking to political reporters on Wednesday, Liberman said, “If we receive confirmation of the Bush-Sharon understandings, we should grab it with both hands.”

The Bush-Sharon understandings recognized the need for construction to support the growth of the existing population in Judea and Samaria inside the settlement blocks — but no launching of new settlements.

According to Makor Rishon, Trump’s people were aghast at the very fact that Liberman was shooting his mouth off before meeting, never mind coordinating anything with them. And they were even more upset for the fact that the defense minister chose to “pass Trump on the left,” as one Trump aide put it.

Several key Trump officials have said that the Israelis have not yet digested the window of opportunity the last election has opened, adding that, should Israel ask for it, the new administration would even consider supporting annexing those settlement blocks, never mind building there.

Shomron Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, who supported Trump’s election and is in contact with the transition team, warned that Liberman is “drying out 200 thousand residents who live in areas outside the settlement blocks.”

“The message the defense minister has delivered to the new administration is horrendous, especially since any first year Poli-Sci student knows that the Trump people or on the outs with the Bush line of the Republican party,” Dagan added. “The Bush family didn’t vote for Trump, and contrary to them, the Trump people support a united Jerusalem and construction across Judea and Samaria.”

“This is why the president elect’s people pulled their hair out when they heard what Liberman said,” Dagan noted.

David Israel

Finkelstein Loses It in J-TV Debate with Ken Spiro [video]

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

J-TV tried to run an intelligent debate between Norman Finkelstein and Ken Spiro discussing if Israel is held to double standard or not.

It quickly degenerated into Finkelstein quoting out-of-context cherry-picked facts, and then just losing it completely when confronted, until he eventually hung up.

The segment was a short one, and unfortunately was not set up to answer all the claims that Finkelstein made, but we found his mention of Theodor Meron very interesting, such that we wanted to discuss it further.

Theodor Meron was a legal advisor for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1967.

The cover letter version is that Meron, in a top secret document, apparently gave his legal opinion to the government that Israeli settlements on the Golan Heights and the West Bank would be in violation of the 4th Geneva Convention, though the entire issue is complex from a political and legal point of view.

And Finkelstein ran with that, claiming that Israel knew that settlements were illegal under international law, and purposely ignored international law.

Putting aside for the moment that Meron was only just one legal opinion, and other government legal advisors held different legal opinions, it’s interesting to point out that Finkelstein chose to only wield the part of Meron’s response that he agreed with.

Reading Meron’s complete response we learn that he also advised the government, based on his legal position, how the government could set up settlements legally .

Furthermore, and perhaps more interesting to this discussion, Meron legally opined that Israelis could return to live in Gush Etzion (and Hebron and eastern Jerusalem, by definition) and it would be difficult to claim it was a Geneva Convention violation, and those Israeli settlements would not be illegal — as Jews inhabited those areas before 1948.

“With regard to Gush Etzion, settlement there could to a certain extent be helped by claiming that this is a return to the settlers’ homes.”

Finkelstein was happy to selectively quote Meron’s general opinion to use it against Israel, but ignored the parts of what Meron wrote that he found unacceptable.

If Finkelstein accepts Meron’s opinion, and we have to assume he does as he was using Meron to prove his point, then Finkelstein has to also accept that there are no illegal Jewish settlements in Gush Etzion, Hebron and eastern Jerusalem.

Imagine how apoplectic Finkelstein would have gotten if Spiro had pointed that out.

J-TV is a new, global Jewish YouTube channel featuring weekly segments on Jewish Wisdom, Current Affairs, Movers & Shakers, Jewish Food and more.

Video of the Day

State Dept on ‘Illegal Settlements’: Jews Bad, Arabs Good

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

This will soon change, you know, but for now it was fascinating to watch how State Dept. Press Office Director Elizabeth Trudeau, at a daily press briefing, November 14, 2016, was able to describe the exact same construction issue as against and for peace, depending on the religion of the people involved.

A reporter said: “Yesterday, Israel’s ministerial committee for legislation unanimously approved a law to retroactively legalize the illegal outposts. Do you have any comment on that?”

Trudeau responded: “We’re deeply concerned about the advancement of legislation that would allow for the legalization of illegal Israeli outposts located on private Palestinian land. … If this law were enacted, it could pave the way for the legalization of dozens of illegal outposts deep in the West Bank. … Our policy, as you know, on settlements is clear. We believe they are corrosive to the cause of peace.”

Next question, without an interruption, hardly a break for air:

“Also, a couple of days ago the Israelis made a Palestinian family of 12, or a number of families, demolish their own homes in East Jerusalem. I wonder if you have any comment on that.”

Trudeau: “We’ve spoken before to this practice of demolition. … We believe that any actions like that raise tensions are counterproductive to peace.”

To conclude: building Jewish homes in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem without legal authorization is “corrosive to peace,” while building illegal Arab homes in the same territory is not only a good thing, demolishing them is also corrosive to peace.

Spoken like an honest broker.

David Israel

Amona ‘Regulation Law’ Passed Unanimously by Ministerial Committee for Legislation

Sunday, November 13th, 2016

Despite an effort by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to prevent its passage, members of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation unanimously voted to approve the ‘Regulation Law’ on Sunday evening.

Passage of the bill in committee means the law now goes to the Knesset, where it still must pass three readings in order to make it into law.

Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit has said there are legal problems with the law, which may be in conflict with international norms. He has told the committee he is not willing to defend the measure in Supreme Court on behalf of the government, should it be challenged.

The law calls for the government to financially compensate Palestinian Authority Arabs who claim private ownership of land on which Jewish towns have been built.

The law would retroactively legalize the status of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and would prevent the demolition of the town of Amona. It would also stop the destruction of nine homes in the town of Ofra.

The proposed bill was sponsored by Likud Knesset member Yoav Kish, along with two Bayit Yehudi Knesset members, Shuli Muaelem Refaeli and Bezalel Smotrich.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked praised the decision. This government will normalize the settlements in Judea and Samaria, even against efforts by the far-left to engage in ‘lawfare’. The way to influence [policy] on the settlement map of Judea and Samaria is through elections, not through the improper means utilize by these groups today,” she said.

Hana Levi Julian

Trump’s Chief Israel Adviser: ‘He Does Not Define Settlements as Obstacle to Peace’

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

Donald Trump’s chief Israel adviser Jason Greenblatt on Thursday told Army Radio that his boss “does not define settlements as obstacle to peace, and he would prove this by pointing to the situation in the Gaza Strip, where the Jewish settlements were evacuated and peace still has not arrived.”

Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Greenblatt suggested that “Trump thinks Israel is in a difficult situation and must defend herself. Peace must arrive through a bilateral initiative and he has no plan to get involved in it.”

Regarding the UNESCO resolution ignoring the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, Greenblat said the President Elect recognizes the right of the Jewish nation to its eternal capital Jerusalem and is disgusted by the resolution.

To keep things balanced, Army Radio also interviewed former US Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, who said, with noted condescension, “If the Israeli right knows what Trump position regarding Israel is, I believe they know more than Trump does.”

Indyk urged Israelis to take the President Elect’s promises with a grain of salt, since his position on Israel “is quite unclear, he says different things to different groups. We simply don’t know.”

According to Indyk, Trump will follow all past presidents who promised to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. “He is not the first presidential candidate to promise this, which is why I won’t be surprised if he doesn’t do it,” Indyk said.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/trumps-chief-israel-adviser-he-does-not-define-settlements-as-obstacle-to-peace/2016/11/10/

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