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December 8, 2009: No Friends Here

April 13, 2010

The EU Council met in Brussels today, and when they were done they had passed a resolution on “The Middle East Process” that encourages the resumption of negotiations between Israel and the PA.  It further states that:
 
“The European Union will not recognise any changes to the pre-1967 borders including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties.”
 
What this says is that, while they are not in a position to impose a solution, the position of the EU is solidly with the PA demands. 
 
Understand that were we to return to 1967 lines in Jerusalem (G-d forbid), we would be relinquishing the Jewish Quarter, with the Kotel and Har HaBayit. And the Europeans care not a bit.  There is no concern for our needs or rights.  Not even a lame suggestion about sharing the holy places or putting them under international supervision.
 
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Is there any bright spot here?  Well, it’s not quite as bad as the original Swedish proposal — it doesn’t refer to “Palestine” or recognize a “Palestinian State” as a fait accompli.  And there is relief in Jerusalem in this regard. It additionally gives a nod in the direction of negotiations (see more on this below).
 
Other issues:
 
[] It calls for a complete opening of all crossings into Gaza.  As Aaron Lerner, in his IMRA commentary, points out, there is a recognition of Israeli security needs, but there is no acknowledgement of our right to act for the sake of those same security needs. 
 
[] It encourages the “reconciliation” of Palestinian Arabs, with support for Egypt’s effort in this direction.   While Hamas is not specifically mentioned, a unity government between Fatah and Hamas is clearly what is intended.  This is hypocrisy at its worst.  A government in which Hamas participates would increase security threats to Israel.  As the EU statement says peace negotiations should be based on all previous agreements, and as Hamas doesn’t recognize these agreements, I think the EU ministers have a bit of explaining to do. I frequently refer to Hamas as “the elephant in the room,” and that’s precisely what it is: Nations prefer to proceed as if it weren’t there.
 
[] One of the documents upon which this resolution says peace must be based is the “Arab Peace Initiative.”  This, formerly known as the Saudi plan, calls for “return” of refugees.  Not a good sign if the EU embraces this as a basis for negotiations.
 
[] One of the things it considers an “obstacle to peace” is “the separation barrier built on occupied land.”  Well, damn them. The land is not occupied. But let’s move beyond this to the reason for the barrier, which was to keep terrorists from killing innocent Jews.  Not even a nod to this. 
 
You can see the full document at:
 
http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/111829.pdf
 
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Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat, bless him, rejected the resolution out of hand.  There will be no division of Jerusalem, he says.  Dividing a city has never worked. 

 

 
Our Foreign Ministry released a statement charging that the EU position does not contribute to the renewal of negotiations. By taking the PA side so completely, instead of saying that only negotiations will determine the allocation of Jerusalem, it gives the impression that there is no need to negotiate — the international community will force Israel to relinquish everything.
 
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Netanyahu has insisted that the “freeze” would benefit us, putting us in a more solid position with the international community. And my guess would be that he would persist in this argument, pointing out that the original Swedish proposal was softened. But I myself would find this a pathetically small source of comfort.
 
The EU resolution says it takes “positive note of the recent decision of the Government of Israel on a partial and temporary settlement freeze as a first step in the right direction.”  A first step?  Sure enough. For then, “The Council urges the government of Israel to immediately end all settlement activities, in East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank and including natural growth.”
 
Is our prime minister ready to learn this lesson yet?  Caving does not bring rewards, it brings more demands.
 
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Let me share with you one illustration of how draconian that “first step” freeze is.  I learned today of a woman who lives in a community beyond the Green Line. She has a large family, and they frequently come to visit.  Because of this, she found the dining room overcrowded and had recently decided to enlarge the dining room and get a bigger table. Now with the freeze, she cannot do it.
 
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Defense Minister Barak made a statement yesterday that the settlers must “obey the law.”  And I wondered: is this declared freeze really law? It wasn’t passed by the Knesset, or by the Cabinet — which is the government.  It was passed only by a Security Cabinet, in which only some ministers participate.
 
And, indeed, the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel doesn’t think it’s a law.  In fact, the Forum has taken this to the High Court, asking that the freeze be overturned because it does not have a solid legal footing, and because it is prejudicial, as Arabs are not being restricted in their building, only Jews.
 
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The Forum — which includes some 400 lawyers now, most working pro-bono or for very little — is doing a fantastic job:
 
[] They are distributing cameras in Judea and Samaria to be used to record any violence on the part of the police, for use in court.
 
[] They are working to reveal the financial losses implicit in the freeze, which will be millions of shekels.  (More on this soon.)
 
[] They are providing legal aid to those hurt by the freeze, who do not have the ability to represent themselves at a hearing.  They are focusing on the basic civil rights of Jewish citizens in Judea and Samaria.
 
[] They are preparing to embark on a PR campaign to make known how great is the injustice and financial damage being done to individual citizens.
 
One more action is under consideration.  There are Jewish Israeli citizens who are also American citizens, and they are in some cases suffering deprivation of their rights, whereas there are American citizens who are Muslim, who are being permitted to continue as usual.  Because American citizens of Jewish heritage are being discriminated against, the Forum is considering securing American lawyers to represent them.
 
If you are an American lawyer, and would be interested in helping with this, should it be pursued, e-mail:
 
office@haforum.org.il  Program manager there is Einat. She speaks English.
 
If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to help defray the Forum’s legal costs, e-mail at the same address for further instructions.
 
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Tomorrow, hopefully, we will pick up with the profile of another community in Judea-Samaria, and more.  I am working on securing additional information for readers on how they might help with regard to the freeze situation. 
 
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In the meantime:
 
There will be a protest against the construction freeze
 
Sunday, December 13 
11:00 am to 2:00 pm

In front of the Israeli Consulate
42nd Street and Second Avenue, NYC
 
For more information, see:
 
http://www.facebook.com/n/?event.php&eid=338140430540&mid=188abcaG562c1d22G88a66cG7

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Let me end with something a representative of the Legal Forum said to me tonight.  I hope and trust that, as I am not identifying him, he will not mind that I share this:
 
“I’m frightened for Israel,” I told him.
 
“Don’t be frightened,” he said.  “Can a soldier going into fire afford to be frightened? We just have to keep on fighting to the very best of our ability.”
 
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I’m going to be running Dry Bones cartoons from time to time.  
 
http://info.jpost.com/2000/Supplements/DryBones/GALLERY.HTML
 
Cartoonist Yaakov Kirshen is bitingly on the mark and very funny. 
 
This is a “Golden Oldie” from 1999 that rings achingly true today:

 

(1999) Dry Bones cartoon: Israelis demonstrate against withdrawal from the Golan Heights. 

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http://arlenefromisrael.squarespace.com/current-postings/2010/4/13/december-8-2009-no-friends-here.html

 

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