It’s hard for me to imagine that anyone who cares about Israel and sees what’s going on now could avoid being at least a bit sick. Heartsick, for sure.
Let’s start with a statement from the EU : "While recognizing Israel’s legitimate right to self defense, the European Council calls for an immediate end to all acts of violence."
Makes a lot of sense.
What’s really got the EU upset, however , is the question of settlements. A statement on this was issued after a summit of EU leaders:
"The EU reiterates that settlement building anywhere in the occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem, is illegal under international law.
"Settlement activity prejudges the outcome of final status negotiations and threatens the viability of an agreed two-state solution."
Well, there’s so much wrong with this statement that it’s hard to know where to start. But this provides me with an opportunity to provide some answers:
The area of Judea and Samaria is, under international law, unassigned Mandate territory. The Mandate for establishing a homeland for the Jewish people between the river and the sea (which called for encouraging close settlement of the land) has never been superseded in international law. Until such time as the area is assigned, Israeli presence is legal.
Israel is not an "occupier" in Judea and Samaria. This is a widely believed canard. "Occupation" refers to a situation in which one sovereign nation moves into the territory of another sovereign nation. This is not the case here at all.
The "territories" are not "Palestinian." The Arabs identified today as Palestinians never possessed this area. The myths are so prevalent that many people actually have some vague, and very erroneous, notion that the Palestinians "had" the land and then Israel took it away.
The land was controlled for centuries by the Ottoman Empire, and then (from 1918-1948) by the British. When the British pulled out and Israel had to defend herself in the War of Independence, the Jordanians moved into Judea and Samaria. There was never a demand by the local population that Jordan should pull out and give them the land.
In fact, the PLO specifically said in its founding charter , in 1964, that there was no claim on this land (or on Gaza as controlled by the Egyptians). The claim was against Israel within the Green Line. When Israel took over in 1967, the land was taken from the Jordanians, not the local Palestinian Arabs. It was only after Israel was in Judea and Samaria that the Palestinian Arabs decided that had a claim to this area. Please understand this clearly.
I would add that it is not so that the Arabs in Judea and Samaria were all there for centuries. Undoubtedly some families do trace their lines back that way. But many of the present "Palestinians" derive from migratory groups who entered the area in recent times — from other Arab areas — for purposes of grazing their animals or seeking work.
It is not the issue of settlements that is the stumbling block to peace. Yet another canard. It is the refusal of the Arab world to accept Israel’s right to exist here as a Jewish state.
The assumption is being made that everything beyond the Green Line "belongs" to a future Palestinian state. That’s what the Palestinians keep telling the world, and what the world has come to believe. But in point of fact, if (G-d forbid) there were to be a Palestinian state, its parameters would have to be negotiated.
The Green Line was never a border — it was an armistice line only. When the armistice agreement was signed between Israel and Jordan (note: Jordan, not the "Palestinians"), it was written in that this armistice line would not prejudice future negotiations regarding a final border.
It was assumed that the armistice line would not be the border.
This leads us to the significant issue of Israel’s right to secure borders, which has been acknowledged even by the UN Security Council. Israel frozen inside the Green Line was recognized as not having defensible borders — with a narrow waist of some 9 miles that could be traversed no time, cutting the State in two; lack of strategic depth against enemies approaching from the east; and high land in Samaria beyond the Green Line that made us — our major cities and our airport — vulnerable to being shelled.
The settlements were placed in Judea and Samaria at least in part as protection in this regard. The Gush Etzion Bloc protects Jerusalem from the south east and Ma’aleh Adumim protects her from the east.
And yet, everyone seems to think a return to the Green Line is what we must accept now, surrendering our protection. And surrendering it, no less, to an entity whose population is hostile to us. That’s because the international community is concerned only with Palestinian presumed rights, and no one is guarding or cares about Israel’s legitimate rights.
In April 2004, President Bush wrote a letter to PM Sharon, prior to Sharon’s plans to pull out of Gaza, praising him for his intentions. There were statements in that letter that Sharon claimed were a guarantee that we would be able to retain major settlement blocs in the advent of the establishment of a Palestinian state. The relevant portion of that letter, which alludes to the issue of secure borders:
"As part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338. In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities.
And yet, today, Bush, who was touted as our best friend ever, has totally reneged on this. Rice has explicitly made this clear on more than one occasion. We are being sold.
This is the true obstacle to peace:
Dr. Walid Al-Rashudi, head of the Department of Islamic Studies at King Saud University, Saudi Arabia, gave a lecture that was carried on Al-Aqsa TV on February 29, 2008, and has been translated by MEMRI:
"One of the important things that we must tell people is that what is going on in Palestine today is a real holocaust. This is the real holocaust. A holocaust is not the burning of 50-60 Jews in Germany or Switzerland, but the Jews continue to call it the Holocaust…
"So what are we supposed to say in the face of the Gaza holocaust? What compensation will satisfy us? By Allah, we will not be satisfied even if all the Jews are killed."
Even more, this is the true obstacle to human decency in its most essential nature.
According to the Washington Post yesterday , when Rice was here recently, and trying to get Abbas back to the negotiating table, she conferred with Egypt and then asked Olmert to make a statement: that if Hamas stopped launching rockets w
e would halt operations into Gaza. Craven coward that he is, he made the statement, even though it contravened what the Security Cabinet had just decided. Then Egypt was able to go to Hamas with this statement and convince them to stop.
It is no surprise to those of us who have been closely watching these events. Clearly, something was afoot. But now it has been reported.
Rice is due back here in 10 days, to push the "process" harder. This is in anticipation of Bush’s arrival in May.
Said one US official: "The president’s visit in May is intended to take action and achieve results, and therefore, the administration is interested in seeing some progress…Bush does not intend to act like a lame duck, so something has to happen on the ground by the time of the president’s visit."
Well, bully for Bush. Something "has to happen" before he comes? This is our timetable?
A meeting took place on Friday regarding implementation of the road map that was chaired by another of our enemies, US Gen. William Fraser, who is doing Rice’s bidding. PA PM Fayyad attended. Amos Gilad, of the Defense Ministry, represented Israel. The PA was critical of Defense Minister Barak for not attending himself. I’m no fan of Barak’s, but I salute this move, which was a deliberate snub.
My prediction hasn’t changed: At the end of the day, or the end of this ridiculous process, it will be the Palestinians who will save us. Because they won’t get their act together and won’t agree to any compromises.
Abbas, who is very weak, has Hamas breathing down his neck and has already been charged with collaboration with the enemy; he has to deliver on all demands or he can’t sign. They will find their way out of this because it doesn’t suit the radical vision of our destruction they still hold on to. There will be no peace agreement because there is no peace partner.
I just pray not too much damage will be done before this day arrives. There are still reports, for example, of Egypt’s attempts to arrange that ceasefire with Hamas.
The harder Bush and Rice fall on their faces in the end, with regard to their attempts to push us into something disastrous, the better I will like it.