Netanyahu Standing Firm

On the day after the United Nations General Assembly passed the resolution recognizing Palestine as an observer state, including East Jerusalem and borders based on the pre-1967 lines, Israel announced plans to build additional housing in and around Jerusalem and in the West Bank. The Obama administration responded quickly with a series of condemnations. Several European countries, including France, Britain, Spain, Sweden and Denmark, summoned the Israeli ambassadors to their countries to protest Israel’s decisions. Blind to the implications of the General Assembly’s full-throated endorsement of the Palestinian Authority’s maximalist position on all major issues that were supposed to be negotiated bilaterally under the terms of the Oslo Accords, the international community rose up in anger against Israel for supposedly jeopardizing the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution.

In addition to claiming that building more housing in Jerusalem and the West Bank would “set back the cause of a negotiated peace,” as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton put it last Friday, what apparently upset the Obama administration and European governments the most was Israel’s announcement that it would proceed with preliminary zoning and planning preparation for possible housing construction in a mountainous location known as E1. This 4.6 square mile area connects Jerusalem and the West Bank settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim that is located about four miles to the east of Jerusalem. E1 is mostly empty today, with some Bedouin inhabitants but no major Palestinian population centers.  A district headquarters of the Israeli Police Department has been located there since 2008.

Actual construction within the E1 area would not take place, if at all, for several years. However, just the mention of E1 sets off alarms in Washington and European capitals. They see it as a red line that could derail prospects for a two state solution for good, because major Israeli construction on land linking the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement directly with Jerusalem would prevent Palestinian construction between what the Palestinians claim to be their capital – East Jerusalem – and Ramallah. It would not, however, cut the West Bank into two non-contiguous areas as some have claimed.  With a series of bypass roads constructed by Israel, Palestinians will have access to East Jerusalem and north-south contiguity in the West Bank.

Israelis see the development of E1 as strategically important to defending the security of Jerusalem, because it gives them the high ground to protect their citizens below. Israel’s enemies have repeatedly used higher ground they controlled to terrorize Israeli civilians. It would also provide Jewish citizens living in the suburban Jerusalem settlement with safe contiguous access to the city of Jerusalem.

Nevertheless, Israel has held off building residential housing on E1 for more than a decade in response to U.S. and international pressure.

As noted, the pressure again is mounting after the Israeli government’s latest announcements.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner stated on Monday that the United States opposed  “all unilateral actions, including West Bank settlement activity and housing construction in east Jerusalem.” He singled out Israel’s announcement regarding E1 as “especially damaging to efforts to achieve a two-state solution.”

In conjunction with summoning the Israeli ambassador for a tongue-lashing, Laurent Fabius, France’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, issued the following statement:

The Israeli ambassador was reminded that France condemns Israeli settlement activity in all its forms. Settlement activity is illegal under international law, undermines the trust necessary for the resumption of dialogue and constitutes an obstacle to a just peace based on the two-state solution.

Construction in the E1 area would seriously undermine the two-state solution by isolating Jerusalem, which is destined to become the capital of both states, from the West Bank, and by threatening the territorial contiguity and viability of the future Palestinian state.

We urge the parties to the peace process to refrain from any gesture that might complicate the swift and unconditional resumption of the negotiations, which we’ve been calling for.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is standing firm this time, in spite of international pressure once again to back down. Israel has had enough of the international community’s hypocrisy.

An official in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office, who was not authorized to speak to the media on the record, explained that the international community had guaranteed the Palestinians’ agreements with Israel that were violated by the General Assembly Palestinian status resolution approved by the international community. “Israel will continue to stand by its vital interests, even in the face of international pressure, and there will be no change in the decision that was made,” he said as quoted by the Washington Post.

When Palestinians and international community interlopers refer to “East Jerusalem,” they are including the old portion of Jerusalem (the Old City), where ancient holy sites of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are located. In voting to adopt the General Assembly resolution last week upgrading the Palestinians’ status in the UN to an observer state, France and 137 other member states of the international community voted yes on the resolution’s declaration that “East Jerusalem” is to be part of the Palestine state.  In other words, the permanent division of Jerusalem into two parts, with Palestine obtaining full control of the holy sites, would be a done deal under the resolution they approved. So would the setting of the border between Israel and Palestine at the pre-1967 armistice lines.

Jerusalem was historically an undivided city until Jordan illegally seized control of the eastern portion in 1948 and annexed it.

When Jordan was in control of what then became known as “East Jerusalem,” the Jordanians immediately expelled the Jewish residents there. Virtually all Jewish synagogues were destroyed. Access to the holiest sites of Judaism was denied to Jews who simply wanted to worship there. Snipers on the Old City walls fired on residents of Jewish neighborhoods below.

After 1967, Jews returned to their homes and to their holy sites, but worshipers of other faiths were also given full access to their holy sites which were administered by representatives of those faiths. The Temple Mount, which, despite being the holiest site in Judaism, remained under the administration of a Muslim council. Meanwhile, the Arab population in Jerusalem has increased. And a poll conducted in late 2010 indicated that more Arabs living in East Jerusalem would prefer to be Israeli citizens than citizens of a Palestinian state.

Israel has every right to fear what will inevitably ensue if the Palestinians are rewarded with East Jerusalem as their capital. The Palestinians have already indicated that, if and when they gain sovereignty over their “capital” of East Jerusalem, they will take steps to de-Judaize it. That is a code word for re-playing the ethnic cleansing that Jordan practiced, and denying Jews unimpeded access to their holy sites. Israeli civilians living in the western portion of Jerusalem will once again become targets of snipers, as well as of the rockets launched from Gaza by Hamas.

What is left to be negotiated under the arrangement the international community endorsed last week at the General Assembly?  Limited visiting hours to pray at the Western Wall? How many synagogues will be razed?  How fast Israeli families who returned to their homes after the 1967 War or who purchased their homes from Arab owners must evacuate or be evicted?

By its actions last week at the United Nations, the “international community” once again turned its back on the right of the Jewish people to live securely on the sliver of land that is their historic home.  Israel has every legal and moral right to respond accordingly.

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  • AdinaK

    Being as deep in the Israeli scene as this blogger is, don't take out your party hats – just yet.

    Consider this first –

    then this –

    But do take heart..this blogger points one and all to her favorite 'go to' address – the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies, Dr. Martin Sherman's policy center, for the urgent strategic policy prescriptions needed to keep our state from imploding –

    FULL DISCLOSURE – yours truly works side by side with their efforts!
    Adina Kutnicki, Israel –

    • WildJew

      So long as Israel's leaders depend on America for their security, they will cave. Israel must work toward more self-sufficiency, no matter what it takes. Rely less on the United States.

    • JacksonPearson

      Israel and Netanyahu need to flip off world threats and opinion, and do what any responsible nation would do to protect their sovereignty, survival, and citizens. On the West Bank, the Israeli government should give the PLO a 30 day eviction notice. Move ALL government offices into Jerusalem. Bulldoze the Dome of the Rock…PERIOD

      • Guest

        Our ONLY true ally in the Middle East and we turn our politically correct backs to them? You are so righ Mr. Pearson…they cannot depend on America any longer. Our present adm. seems to side with the enemy. Both hillary and barry have dined with the new dictator of Egypt…just sent him a few more billion of the tax payer's dollars without our permission. We saw during bubba's stint in the White House who he chose to honor, terrorist Yassar Arafat, communist chinese leaders. We spit on our friends and bow to our enemies. It's a good thing that Israel has a strong Prime Minister and a well trained populace, we might be needing THEIR help very soon.

  • Mary Sue

    East Jerusalem as a Palestinian capital? They've pretty much turned it into East St. Louis already.

  • crackerjack

    Let's wait and see how far the Israeli Right can lead the country into confrontation with its last remaining allies. With trade sanctions on the table, what price is the Israeli population willing to pay to "stand firm" behind Netanjahu's additional settlement construction. Up untill now, the Palestinians have payed the price. It remains to be seen if the Israeli electorate is ready to accept total international isolation and economic turndown to forward the Rights settlement plans.

    • ziontruth

      “Let’s wait and see how far the Israeli Right can lead the country into … It remains to be seen if the Israeli electorate is ready to accept total international isolation and economic turndown…”

      Haha, how cute, a post describing the state of the Israeli Jewish public in the 1990s.

      Cracky, this is 2012. The majority of the Israeli Jewish public is the Israeli Right. And what it doesn’t accept is the tiny remaining Israeli Left leading Israel to international isolation by making it the doormat of the world through concessions galore.

    • yesjb

      What exact price have the Palestinians payed?
      Oh yes, they feel betrayed because they told the Jews to jump, those pesky Jews didn't say, "How high".
      Tsk tsk.
      Its clear that the Pals and their running dogs believe their own mythologies and Goebbels' dictum of repeating lies often and loudly enough that people belief them.
      And in today's world when it comes to Israel and the Pals, only Israel's comments get "fact checked" with disdain and the Arabs are given a free pass!
      The only way to defeat this creeping deceit is to hang tough and loudly proclaim Israels position.

    • Ghostwriter

      Well,how are the Israelis supposed to feel,crackerjack? They've been promised peace but all they get are missiles everywhere. How would you like it if someone fired a missile at your home? How would you feel about that?

    • Mary Sue

      cracky, you're cracking up. It's Hamas that's made Palestinians pay the price, not Israel.

  • ze-ev ben jehuda

    Jerusalem as a whole is the capital of the state of Israel. And for the Palestinians? there
    is enough room in Jordan or for that matter,on the righthand side of Mr Morsi's throne.

  • pierce

    Continue to stand up and stand tall, on your own two feet. The world is opposed to what you are doing, but if you believe you are doing the right thing, do not back down.

    • Les H

      The world is not opposed to what Israel is doing, only the Marxist left, France, the UK and the rest of the countries that have already been islamitized including the USA. People with any backbone support, Isreal, liberty and freedom.

  • Asher

    Israel has a right to defend herself…the settlements are part of just that…AND, IT IS GOD'S LAND TOO, something that will be abundantly clear at some time in history when Jesus comes back and stands on the Mount of Olives!

  • Stern

    The true irony is that by supporting the Palestinians at the UN, the countries that now scream bloody murder at Israel are the ones most responsible for the breakdown in the peace process. They have demonstrated to the Palestinians that there is no need to negotiate anything with Israel. They have taught Abbas to stand firm on his demands and to turn to them instead, because they are determined to see him get everything he demands.

    Think about it. If you were Abbas, would you sit down at a table with Netanyahu where you would be expected to make some concessions? Or would you rather sit back and let the "civilized" world do all it can to get you everything, absolutely free?

    The other bit of total and utter hypocrisy comes from the fact that Oslo and the Wye agreement both specifically prohibit unilateral actions like the one the Palestinians took last week. Both also are perfectly clear about settlements and borders being matters for final status negotiations.

    So the "international community" gives Abbas a free pass when he openly and deliberately breaks the agreements with Israel, and instead, castigates Netanyahu for doing something that is not prohibited in any way. Nice.

  • Ar'nun

    TO HELL WITH ALL THOSE SCUM-BAG EURPEANS and the American Left. 2 State Solution is only parroted by morons who are too stupid to know their rear-end from their elbow. There is only one solution to stop the Human Rights atrocities in Palestine; a one state solution where Israel is forever the one and only Government in Israel. These Jihadists are evil incarnate and as long as they are legitimized by the slow minded leftists, there will be no peace. Even if they are successful in destroying the Jews and cleansing them from Israel, the day after two different Moslem Warmongering groups will then start fighting each other. And if Peace ever does come, it will be under the boot heel of a murderous dictator like all the other Moslem Countries.

  • Attila The Hun

    The latest UN vote is another iteration of 2000 years old war against the Jews. The Europeans have been trying for 2 millennia to cleanse the world from dirty Jews. It's up to us to stand up and the tell them to go to hell, we are here to stay. When we say never again IT IS NEVER AGAIN.
    We should also remind The Europeans that for 1600 years The Christians and Muslim have been killing each other without The Jewish state. Even if we were not around the Muslims will not let the Christians live in peace.

  • mdp

    God help Israel and the U.S.

  • ziontruth

    Is it not glorious, the way those who most strongly deny the truth of the Torah are the same ones doing the utmost to prove its truth through their single-minded, exclusive focus on the Jewish nation and their state? Israel is far from the only state having population centers on disputed territory, yet we never hear from this crowd about, say, the Han Chinese settlements in Tibet. We never hear how, say, the conflict in Sri Lanka demands the entire world's attention because world peace depends on its solution. Truly the Jews are a nation apart, and none prove it so much as the enemies of the Jews and of the nation-state of the Jews.

    For it is prophesied (Ezekiel 20:32–33): "And that which cometh into your mind shall not be at all; in that ye say: We will be as the nations, as the families of the countries, to serve wood and stone. As I live, saith HaShem God, surely with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out, will I be king over you." The fury poured out on the Jewish nation on account of a few buildings, while there are genocides going on elsewhere in the world (like in Syria, for example), is proof of the divine hand behind history. Those who hate us will repent or they shall pay! Not the Jews' threat but God's promise.

    • Night life


  • Raymond in DC

    Those obsessing about "contiguity" of a future Palestine apparently couldn't give a fig about Israeli territory being contiguous. Regarding E1 and Maalei Adumim, a little historic reference might be in order.

    From the 1949 armistice until 1967, Mount Scopus – then home to the Hebrew University – was an island of Israeli territory separated from western Jerusalem by wasteland. Israel had to build a new campus at Givat Ram. After 1967, Israel proceeded to build the neighborhoods of Ramat Eshkol and French Hill, reestablishing the link to Mount Scopus, which was further developed as an extension of Hebrew University. (In the 1970s I took the #9 bus along that route.)

    Does the White House seriously think Israel will accept 40,000 citizens living isolated from the rest of Jerusalem, or are they contemplating ethnic cleansing of that populace from what they erroneously deem "Palestinian land"?

    And no, northern "Palestine" won't be cut off from southern if Israel builds in E1; they'll simply go around from the east as some 25 kilometers to the Jordan would remain in their hands. Meanwhile Israelis traveling from, say, Beersheba to Haifa or Tiberias go around to the west, but traversing a yet narrower (15 km) waist near Netanya.

    Most serious is any insistence that Jerusalem be divided. Put aside the fact that there's no record *ever* of a single city serving as the capital of two countries. A divided Jerusalem, with one section ruled by a hostile party, will prove unlivable for Jews. And such a triumph could, as Dore Gold describes, lead not to peace but to more acts of terror, because Islamists will take this great achievement as a sign they are "winning".

  • AL.
  • Bartemais

    The final controversy of an unbelieving world with the God of the Bible will be over Jerusalem. See Zechariah 12-14. The world seems to be already aligning itself for the final showdown.

  • Ghostwriter

    I don't blame the Israelis for being angry. Who's there for them to make peace with? The only thing most Palestinians want is to kill Israelis. End of story.

    • Lan Astaslem

      they do a pretty good job of killing each other too

  • Donald DaCosta

    None of us in the west have rockets firing accross our borders threatening the lives and limbs of our women and children. Further, making demands on the Jews is not met with violent reprisals, Jews rioting in the streets, and it is this, in my view, the fear of what the Islamic supremacists have shown themselves willing and capable of doing when their will is challenged, that permeates the western subconscious, including the United States, inducing a delusional paralysis. Repeat after me, "Islam is a religion of peace."

    Islamic supremacism is a virulent, increasingly dangerous threat that the west studiously avoids and refuses to acknowlege what may be inevitable; a bloody, violent, war against 7th century religious zealotry. Israel is at the front lines facing these zealots and, given nothing but critical condemnation, has no choice but to vigorously defend itself, sometimes with military force or, as in this case, strengthening a strategic perimeter.

    Western condemnation is not considered, effective diplomacy, it is cowardly appeasment of a resurgent and violent religion .

  • joy

    I know I am just a middle aged housewife in middle America, with limited public education. But I know my Bible well enough to know that my heart will always be with Isreal's right to have the home God gave them. They have worked hard to be true to Him and have so little of the land God original promised to them. How would we feel if Mexico decided they wanted the south western states back? Can you imagine if other nation of the world decided for us that we should let them have it back? Can you see us willing to humble ourselves and give up part of our country. At least God promised the land to Isreal. The promise from God we have is to bless Isreal and be bless, or to curse Isreal and be cursed!
    I wish our leaders were a bit more careful about throwing around the name of our country when they spew contempt against Isreal for defending themselves. Not all of us that make up this country agree with what they say.

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