E1 is a mountain…not a statement

E1 is a mountain, not a statement.

After a long day at work, I got a phone call from my mother who was upset about England, France and Germany condemning Israel and apparently threatening to withdraw their ambassadors over. And what is the world so upset about?

No, no, not Syria and the violence there. Not Afghanistan; certainly not Iran. They aren’t condemning Turkish television fining the Simpsons for mocking God; or a social club at Harvard University saying Jews need not apply. No, it isn’t about Hungary cataloging Jews as they would cattle and certainly nothing about Iranian warships sailing towards Sudan.

It’s all about a mountain that sits between Ma’aleh Adumim and Jerusalem between the city where I work and the home that I have made with my husband and children. YNET incorrectly claims that Israel building on E1 threatens to “bisect” the West Bank. I can’t help but wonder why they never took the three-minute drive out of Jerusalem to realize that was just nonsense.

Nevertheless, the news is filled with country after country condemning Israel for damaging chances for peace. Chances for peace? I can’t believe what I read. Hello? I want to shout. We were at WAR just two weeks ago. There are currently NO chances for peace on the table. In fact, there is no table.

No, no, no – what we have is a mountain – not a very tall one, smaller even than the ones next to it on three sides. That’s all E1 is – a mountain. It is barren, but for a road that snakes its way up to a midpoint where a large police station has been built. No one lives there – no one has. Some trees, a lot of rocks, a traffic circle at the base – that’s all.

And the history of this small piece of land? Like much of what some refer to as “the West Bank,” the land was once part of the Ottoman Empire – there were no villages, no homes, no dwellings. There’s no water there. Nothing. Sheep and goats sometimes graze on the lower areas of the hills, but that’s about it. Then the Ottomans were replaced by the British, and still nothing but the camels and the sheep and the goats and, perhaps, an occasional ground hog traversed the land.

In the 1920s, England cut off two thirds of the land that was called Palestine and gave it to the Hashemites – and thus Jordan was born. The remaining third was ruled by the British until 1947, including that land that today we call E1. In 1948, the Arabs chose war over peace, death over life. They attacked and lost – but they got E1 – the barren land between Jerusalem’s eastern border and the west bank of the Jordan River. And they got the West Bank and for 19 years. They did not create an independent Palestinian State.

In 1964, the Palestine Liberation Organization was founded to…to…well, if you believe their lies, it was created to fight the occupation that began in 1967 – what an incredible example of foresight, apparently.

In 1967, it was clear that Egypt and Syria were preparing for war – the signs were all there; the rhetoric loud and clear. Israel launched a preemptive strike and sent a message to the Jordanians. We have no quarrel with you; stay out of the fighting. We will not attack you. The Jordanians sent back their message in two ways – in words and action, the message was the same – we fight with our brothers…and so they did. They attacked, as they had in 1948, and the result was the same:  they lost.

This time, E1 came into our hands. State-owned under the Turks; state-owned under the Jordanians, and now state-owned under Israel. Never the home of Palestinians; never an independent nation. No villages there, no buildings but for the one we built a few years ago…and the ones we will now build.

The history of E1 is very simple. It is but a mountain that lies between Ma’aleh Adumim and Jerusalem. Arabs regularly travel on the highway between Ma’aleh Adumim and the Dead Sea – the highway remains. There is no bisecting, no blocking, no break in the passage. If you took the time to see the land, you would understand nothing because there is nothing there to understand. It is not an obstacle to peace. It is just a mountain, soon to be green and developed.

That is the history of E1, except for one huge point that the world forgets. Before the Jordanians, before the British, before the Ottomans, before the Romans, the land was – as it is today – ours. It was the ancient Land of Israel; it is the modern Land of Israel.

As for the countries of the world who say Israel threatens the peace – where were you two weeks ago when I ran with my children to our bomb shelter? Why did my son have to leave his wife to protect Israel’s south from a thousand rockets? That is what the world should be screaming about – three million Israelis coming under attack. Instead, they reward the Palestinians with a vote in the United Nations and threaten Israel with sanctions.

It is clear the world supports a Palestinian state, but it is Israel that must live with it. And so we shall – if we have to. But we will do it on our terms.

We will build and the world will scream. But we have learned that the world screams easily for that which is so minor and ignores that which really matters. Dozens died today in Syria as they did yesterday and as they will tomorrow – but yes, certainly, let’s discuss a barren hill across from my backyard on which Israel plans to build some homes, a community center, perhaps a school.

Can you imagine? We might build a school there! That is what the world finds today to scream about, to threaten and protest.

About the Author
Paula R. Stern is CEO of WritePoint Ltd., a leading technical writing company in Israel. Her personal blog, A Soldier's Mother, has been running for more than 5 years. She lives in Maale Adumim with her husband and children, a dog, too many birds, and a desire to write her thoughts and dream of a trip to Italy, Scotland, and beyond.