Illegal Settlements

“Let me emphasize now that the position of the United States is that we consider now, and have always considered, the settlements to be illegitimate.” [John Kerry]

Following the Oslo 11 Accords, Area C of the West Bank, which was largely unpopulated and of strategic importance to Israel and the Jewish settlements, would permit the retention of full Israeli responsibility for security and public order. The PA Council was to assume all those civil responsibilities not related to territory, such as economics, health, education, etc. This area allows the construction of settlements and “forbids Palestinian construction in most of the area.”

Eighty seven percent of the area of the Jordan area is defined as Area C. “The Jordan Valley itself takes up almost a third of the area of the West Bank.” [March 5, 2014; Haaretz]

On December 6, 2016, United With Israel published Bassam Tawil’s, “Op-Ed; The REAL Illegal Settlements are PALESTINIAN”. This is a wide ranging explicit expose of what is little known and puts to shame the everpresent Obama-Hillary Clinton-Kerry demands for Israel’s retrenchment of territory gained in a defensive war.

Tawil draws attention to the ongoing pressure from┬áthe international┬ácommunity led by those named above to cease construction in Jewish settlement communities while “Palestinians are quietly engaging in massive construction of entire neighborhoods in many parts of the West Bank and Jerusalem.” He notes that Jewish building is carried out within the frame of the law and in accordance with proper licenses issued by the relevant authorities, while the Palestinian construction is illegal in every respect [clearly] “the Palestinian goal is to create irreversible facts on the ground.”

BassamTawil is not given to engaging in generalities As such, he points to Palestinian stealing land from their own people and names the new neighborhoods located in Kufr Akab, Samiramis, Kalandya, Beit Hanina, Shufat, Ras Khamis and Anata in the north of Jerusalem. He refers to new neighborhoods in the southern and eastern parts of Jerusalem in Ras Al-Amoud, A-Tur, Al Zaim, Jabal Mukaber, and Um Tuba. He even queries who has been funding these massive cities within cities and why? He feels that there is good reason to believe that the PLO, some Arabs and Muslims and especially the European union are behind the Palestinian initiative.

Tawil notes that by failing to halt the illegal construction and leaving Jerusalem besieged from north, east and south, Jerusalem Municipality officials admit that Israel will have lost the construction war. According to his sources, Palestinians estimate that in past few years, they have built more than 15,000 illegal housing units in areas surrounding the city.

The reality is such that the EU and certain Arabs and Muslims are funding the construction of illegal Palestinian settlements, while demanding that Israel halt building new homes for Jewish families in Jerusalem neighborhoods or existing settlements in the West Bank.

To Tawil, the hypocrisy is blatant and blindingly transparent. Not only does he find disgust in the EU and the international community at large, but is struck by the actions of the Western mainstream media whose dozens of correspondent are able to view with their own eyes all that is happening but selectively only report on Jewish building.

By way of current events, we observe how forty-two Jewish families in Amona have the world riveted, “but what does the world think about the Palestinian land-grab?” Surely, it is time to emphasize this treachery ,this illegality and double-standard, whose objective is “to pre-determine the outcome of any future peace deal.”

Even as a senator, back on June, 2008, Obama evoked great concerns. Barry Rubin , a well known and respected Mideast expert and academic evoked was given to state that Obama’s victory would precipitate “the most dangerous crisis facing the world” and “not the candidate of the [moderate] Arab states, but the candidate of the Islamists, whether he knows it or not.” At the time, Obama viewed the key challenge in the Mideast to be the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while his opponent John McCain considered it to be Islamic extremism. American Jews who were unable to discern Abbas as an “Arafat in a western suit” and desperately in guilt ridden fashion desired an African American as a president, could not realize that Obama was considerably more motivated by Islamic ideology than Africa.

Charles Krauthammer, a syndicated columnist, author, political commentator, and non-practicing physician penned a piece, “The Settlement Myth”, in the Washington Post June 5, 2009 edition. His opening remarks draws attention to Barak Obama’s differing position on the established understanding of past administrations as regards Israeli settlements. Specifically, any final peace treaty would involve Israel retaining some of the close-in settlements, while entertaining some land swops.

Krauthammer points to Obama’s cynically discarding past American assurances to Israel by questioning judgment on whether the peace process is being considered moribund “because a teacher in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem is making an addition to her house to accommodate new grandchildren?” How absurd when Gaza is run by Hamas terrorists dedicated to a permanent war with Israel and when Abbas, having turned down every one of Ehud Olmert’s peace offers, bracingly declaring that he is in a waiting mode. And what is he waiting for? A moderation in both Hamas and Israeli positions!

Only the day before, when Obama speaking in Cairo and ostensibly addressing the “Muslim world” declared the Palestinian people’s “situation” to be intolerable, he did so without any historical reference. To this, Krauthammer responded:

[a] The “situation” was the result of 60 years of Palestinian leadership that gave its people corruption, tyranny, religious intolerance and forced militarization.

[b] A leadership that for 3 generations rejected every offer of independence and dignity, choosing destitution and despair rather than accept any settlement not accompanied by the extinction of Israel.

Krauthammer insightfully points to the “grandfather” of the Palestinians, Haj Amin al-Husseini, Hitler’s comrade-in-arms, who chose war rather than a two-state solution in 1947, as did Arafat in 2000 and Abbas in 2008, rejecting an extraordinary magnanimous offer from Olmert.

What had been achieved in the 16 years since the Oslo Accords, when the West Bank and Gaza had been turned over to the Palestinians? Their leaders built no roads, no courthouses, no hospitals, none of the fundamental state institutions which would relieve their people’s suffering. What had they done instead? They created an infrastructure of war and terror, all the while depositing billions [from gullible Western donors] into their Swiss bank accounts.

Returning to Obama’s Cairo speech, he blamed Israel for a failed “peace process” and in particular announced a new American policy; “The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.”
Apparently Obama either is not knowledgeable on Middle East history or elects to ignore it, since the settlement movement which has reunited the Jewish people to the land, dates back thousands of years. In modern times it gained momentum with the British Mandate Declaration of September 1922. After being ratified by the League of Nations, calling for the creation of “a national home for the Jewish people” in the territory west of the Jordan River, including Judea and Samaria, it manifested itself in the 1947 UN Partition Plan.

This plan was accepted by the Jewish community in Palestine, but rejected by the Palestinian Higher Committee and by the states constituting the Arab League. In consequence of the defensive War of Independence, Jordan seized control of Judea and Samaria and parts of Jerusalem, but its sovereignty over these areas was never recognized by the international community. After the Six Day War, when Israel’s enemies failed to wipe Israel off the map, as intended, the victor found itself in control of Judea, Samaria and Gaza together with the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights.

During 1988, Jordan ceded its claims to the West Bank to the PLO. However their so-called claims were less substantial than Israel’s for a number of reasons. [1] The British Mandate never recognized Jordan’s right to the land west of the Jordan River. [2] Jordan seized the territory in an aggressive offensive against the fledgling Jewish state. [3] Judea and Samaria represent the cradle of Jewish civilization and statehood from the biblical era. [4] UN Resolution 242, which introduced the “land-for-peace formula, calls on Israel to withdraw from “territories” in exchange for peace with its neighbors, but not all territories.

Despite all fallacious arguments created by Israel’s enemies, the Jews are the only indigenous population to have occupied and settled Western Palestine legally. The works by Professor Eugene W. Rostow and Judge Stephan M. Schwebel speak volumes to the subjects of “settlement and “occupation”. Former Israeli Ambassador Yoram Ettinger references a synopsis of their contributions in the August 18, 2016 edition of Israel Hayom.

That President Obama and his two “useful idiots”, Hillary Clinton and Kerry have obsessed over Israel’s defensive actions for almost 8 years without contributing any useful ideas defies all reason-ability. Forever setting up meetings without recognizing that the only position they considered would never solve the problem, brings to mind he famous expression attributed to Professor Einstein – “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” For their edification, this is what the US Congress felt about the Jewish desire to reclaim and rebuild their Homeland in Palestine:

“Palestine of today [1922], the land we know as Palestine, was peopled by the Jews from the dawn of history until the Roman era. It is the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people. They were driven from it by force by the relentless Roman military machine and for centuries prevented from returning. At different periods various alien people succeeded them but the Jewish race had left an indelible impress upon the land.

“Today, it is a Jewish country. Every name, every landmark, every monument and every trace of whatever civilization remaining there is still Jewish. And it has ever since remained a hope, a longing, as expressed in their prayers for these nearly 2,000 years. No other people has ever claimed Palestine as their national home. No other people has ever shown an aptitude or indicated a genuine desire to make it their homeland.”

US Congressional Record,
1922 House of Representatives

About the Author
Alex Rose was born in South Africa in 1935 and lived there until departing for the US in 1977 where he spent 26 years. He is an engineering consultant. For 18 years he was employed by Westinghouse until age 60 whereupon he became self-employed. He was also formerly on the Executive of Americans for a Safe Israel and a founding member of CAMERA, New York (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America and today one of the largest media monitoring organizations concerned with accuracy and balanced reporting on Israel). In 2003 he and his wife made Aliyah to Israel and presently reside in Ashkelon.