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December 3, 2016 / 3 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘settlements’

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

The American Jewish Community has Already Embraced BDS Against “Settlements”

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website, Elder of Ziyon}

On Tuesday, I visited the newest university in Israel, Ariel University.

It is a beautiful campus with 15,000 students. Over a dozen buildings are being constructed right now as it expands. I was shown the robotics lab and spoke with an expert in making wine from grape varieties that have been proven to have been used in First and Second Temple times. (I plan to write about that in the future.)

Ariel University has the only free electron laser particle accelerator in the Middle East.

The campus has hundreds of Arab students.  Student groups foster dialogue between Jewish and Arab students. It also attracts students from around the world. (Most of the lectures are in English.)

It is building a hospital which will be available for all residents of the region, with the aim of building a medical school as well. Ambitious plans to add more dormitories and more research centers are bearing fruit.

It has what may be the only college-level program in the world to mainstream students on the Aspergers’ spectrum. I met one very polite young man in that program who said that he had been rejected from every school he applied to before Ariel accepted him and he is soon to graduate with a degree in Middle Eastern studies.

Ariel U is centrally located, easily accessible via Highway 5 which goes directly there from Tel Aviv. From Ariel University’s “upper campus,” on a clear day, you can see Israel’s entire coastal plain.

Ariel University is a Zionist success story, in the edge of a bustling and beautiful town of 20,000 residents.

But when American Jewish groups visit Israel, nearly all of them avoid visiting Ariel University.

Jewish Federation trips to Israel do not go to Ariel University (with very few exceptions.)

AIPAC doesn’t visit.

Even Birthright won’t visit – left-wing or right-wing trips avoid it.

Because Ariel University is across the Green Line.

American Jewish organizations, afraid of criticism from the Left, have decided that Ariel does not exist and it should not be visited. It is too controversial.

But here’s the thing. Virtually every Israeli politician from left to right considers Ariel to be non-negotiable in any peace plan,

If you visit the community you know why. It is a large town and strategically situated. It is part of Israel in every real sense. The idea of uprooting the town is unthinkable.

Amazingly, J-Street U has visited Ariel to see what it is like and what their ideological enemies are up to. Yet groups that are unabashedly Zionist do not want to visit.

Christian groups love to visit the university when they go on Israel trips. But Jewish Israel missions almost all will avoid it.

This is outrageous.

The same people who say that BDS is terrible, even when practiced against Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, are effectively engaging in BDS themselves by avoiding visiting the incredible, and very Zionist, accomplishments of Ariel and Ariel University.

They cannot argue that Ariel is dangerous. (That is Birthright’s official reason.)  It isn’t. There were no incidents since the knife uprising began last September. Hamas rockets never reached Ariel. It has been far more dangerous to visit Jerusalem than Ariel over the past year.

They cannot argue that Ariel University is filled with messianic right-wing Jews. It isn’t. Some professors there are leftists, even Meretz-voters. Arab students can and do write their theses on the “Nakba.” Yarmulkas are the exception, not the rule.

At the very least, these American organizations that tell their participants that they are going to learn about both sides of the conflict are completely ignoring the biggest settlement, and only Israeli university, that is in the territories not adjacent to the Green Line.

If anyone is going to claim that they are well-educated on the conflict, shouldn’t they at least visit Ariel?

To have Jewish groups – liberal or conservative – essentially boycott Ariel sends a message that American Jews are out of sync with what most Israelis believe would be part of any peace agreement.

If you are planning a mission to Israel for your Jewish group, ask yourself why you shouldn’t visit a miraculous, modern and liberal campus that could teach most so-called “pro-peace, pro-Israel” groups a lot about real co-existence and peace.

Elder of Ziyon

Survey: Majority of Israeli Jews Favor Keeping Judea and Samaria, Israeli Arabs Favor Keeping Large Settlement Blocs

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

“Sometime after the Six Day War the settlement enterprise began to develop. In your opinion, from a perspective of 50 years later, has the settlement enterprise contributed to or damaged Israel’s national interest?” was one of the opening questions in a June survey comparing the attitudes of Israeli Jews and Arabs on the liberated territories.

The survey found that 52% of the Jewish public thinks the settlement enterprise has contributed to the national interest.

And so the survey noted that “some claim that over the years Israeli governments have invested many resources and monies in developing the Jewish settlements and infrastructures in the West Bank/Judea and Samaria, and previously also in Gaza, at the expense of other areas and populations in Israel that are disadvantaged and would have needed these resources and budgets. Others claim that there is no connection between the two because one does not come at the expense of the other.” Then it inquired, “With which claim do you agree?”

49% of the Jews said there is no connection between the two; 45% say the investment in the territories comes at the expense of budgets for deprived areas and disadvantaged populations.

In the Arab public, a two-thirds majority considers the investments in the territories a detraction from investments in deprived areas and disadvantaged populations inside green line Israel.

The Peace Index is a project of the Evens Program for Mediation and Conflict Resolution at Tel Aviv University and the Guttman Center for Surveys of the Israel Democracy Institute. The June survey, conducted by phone on June 28-29, 2016, included 600 respondents — 500 Jews, 100 Arabs, who constitute a representative national sample of the entire adult population of Israel aged 18 and over. The maximum margin of error for the entire sample is ±4.1%.

The survey also found that a majority of the Jewish respondents do not know for sure the size of the Jewish or of the Palestinian population in the West Bank/Judea and Samaria. Asked how many Jews live in these territories (not counting the neighborhoods of expanded Jerusalem such as Gilo or Pisgat Ze’ev), about 25% underestimated the figure to be 100,000-250,000, 30% answered correctly that the number is 250,000-500,000, 13% gave an overestimate of 500,000-750,000, 3% thought the correct number was 750,000 to a million, and about 25% did not know at all.

As to the Arab population in Judea and Samaria, not counting Jerusalem, the estimates were: 24%—half a million to a million, 36%—one to two million, 10%—two million to three million, and 3%—over three million. 27% did not know.

The fact is that no one really knows how many Arabs live today in the parts of Judea and Samaria governed by the Palestinian Authority, and so, in this instance, there is no wrong answer.

59% of the Jews and 73% of the Arabs favor holding a referendum on Israel leaving the territories. As to how the respondents would vote in such a referendum, 52% of the Jews reported that in the existing situation they would vote against a withdrawal, while 36% answered that they would vote in favor.

Among the Arabs 69% said that if a referendum were to be held today, they would vote in favor of leaving the territories while retaining the large settlement blocs.

Only 51% the Jewish respondents believe all the citizens of the state would be entitled to participate in such a referendum. 44% believe that only the Jewish citizens of the country should be entitled to participate.

David Israel

UPDATE: Gaza Qassam Rocket Badly Damages Sderot Kindergarten

Saturday, July 2nd, 2016

A Sderot kindergarten building was badly damaged and two Israelis were treated for shock late Friday night after Gaza terrorists launched a Qassam rocket attack at the southern Israeli city.

About 15 seconds after residents were awakened by the wail of the Red Alert rocket alert, the “boom!” that comes with a rocket impact was heard — and felt — in the Gaza Belt city.

Families in Sderot and the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council district, and in Sapir College were forced to “wake up and run” for safe spaces late Friday night when the siren activated at 11 pm.

The rocket landed just a few seconds later.

Although religious observant families were wrapping up the Sabbath night meals and getting ready for bed at the time, many other secular Jews with young children were already fast asleep. Parents were forced to tear their children from beds to make a run for the bomb shelters — an exercise that has become second nature to many, and which triggers a flood of fear in too many more.

The kindergarten building that sustained a direct hit — badly damaged — was empty at the time, and no one was physically injured in the attack.

But medics from the Magen David Adom emergency medical response service treated two people who were near the impact site, both for shock.

Police units were deployed to the scene.

At the time of this writing — prior to the start of the Sabbath in New York — officers were ordered to remain on site.

damaged kindergarten in Sderot

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/red-alert-rocket-siren-wakes-up-sderot-gaza-belt-towns-friday-night/2016/07/02/

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