Jonathan Levy
​you shall love your neighbour as yourself" (Leviticus 19:18)

Watch out for the British

BBC news

In a flash of inspiration I decided to rewrite last night’s BBC article about Israel and thought it could serve as a good example of a “what if, Britain, really did support Israel.” It also highlights quite clearly how British attitudes are preconceived from the outset against Israel. I do not think this is solely an issue with the BBC, I think there is a societal bias in general and would challenge any readers to share with me a mainstream British press release yesterday that closely resembles my article below. Sadly from personal experience this culture inevitably rubs off on even members of the Jewish Zionist community.

The original BBC article can be found here. I wanted to post it in the original with my reviewed strikethrough copy I created in Word, however the blog platform does not allow me such licence so I will present my edited version below.

Please note that the West Bank historically for thousands of years was known to Jewish people as Judea and Samaria. For the sake of balance I have included both terms in the article so as not to preclude one side or the other.

Israel approves building of West Bank/Judea & Samaria region homes for Israelis and Palestinians

Israel has approved the construction of 6,000 new homes for Israelis and 700 homes for Palestinians in the West Bank/Judea & Samaria region.

The decision about new homes approved for building in existing Israeli villages further increases the total number of Israel homes built in the West Bank/Judea & Samaria region.

But it is Israel’s approval for Palestinian homes that is unusual.

Israeli villages in the West Bank/Judea & Samaria Region are interpreted as illegal under international law, however this interpretation is disputed principally by Israel as well as by others.

It is not clear whether the Palestinian homes would be new constructions or merely legal approval for 700 already existing homes in what is known as “Area C” of the West Bank/Judea & Samaria region – where Palestinian villages often lie close to Israeli villages, and where Israel has full responsibility for this particular region of the West Bank/Judea & Samaria.

The Palestinian leadership dismissed the announcement, saying it rejected any Israeli construction or controls over Palestinian construction in the West Bank/Judea & Samaria Region.

It said it was “evidence of the dark colonial mentality of the rules in Israel and which ignores all United Nations resolutions, international law and the signed agreements”. The Palestinian authority regularly claims the establishment of the State of Israel to be an illegitimate colonial exercise of Western origin.

Why now?

The move comes ahead of a visit to the region by US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who heads the White House’s attempts to broker a peace deal. Last month he hosted a summit with Arab leaders to attempt to look at the economic problems facing ordinary Palestinians in the West Bank/Judea & Samaria region, it is hoped that with time and a possible change in leadership these first of their kind conversations with Arab states may lead to a breakthrough in peace talks and normalisation of Israel in the region.

There is speculation in Israeli media that the announcement on homes is designed to help him bring Arab countries to a possible summit in the US.

The Trump administration has carried out a series of actions that have inflamed Palestinian opinion and generally pleased Israel.

In 2017 Mr Trump announced that the US recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, overturning decades of official US policy. US policy always recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; the recognition was merely not exercising a waver that had been in place since the Jerusalem Embassy Act 1995 holding back the official movement of the US embassy to Jerusalem.

Last year the US stopped contributing to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA), which has been supporting Palestinian refugees since 1949 but has been charged recently with endemic corruption at the highest levels and is also charged by many to be propagating the refugee status of poor Palestinians instead of looking to integrate and naturalise them in their countries in which they live (Jordan, Lebanon, Syria).

In March President Trump officially recognised Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. A strategic summit conquered by Israel in the aftermath of the Six Day War and now a key strategic asset in protecting Israeli civilians from terror from Syria and beyond.

Why are Israeli residential villages in the West Bank/Judea & Samaria region such an issue?

About 600,000 Israelis have chosen to live in villages and towns in the West Bank/Judea & Samaria region this includes 200,000 living in the Eastern part of Jerusalem, Israel’s capital. There are about 2.5 million Palestinians living in the West Bank/Judea & Samaria region.

Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank/Judea & Samaria Region, East Jerusalem and the unconnected Gaza Strip territory bordering Egypt.

What happens to the Israeli villages and those that live in them is one of the most contentious issues between Israel and the Palestinians – Palestinians say the presence of Israelis living in their own towns and villages makes a future independent state impossible.

Israel says the Palestinians are using the issue of Israeli villages and towns as a pretext to avoid direct peace talks. It says Israeli villages and towns are not a genuine obstacle to peace and are negotiable.

Peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians have been at a standstill since Oslo in the 1990’s a process now seen in retrospect to have been a naïve attempt at peace through concessions without guarantees of security or progress. Israel has suffered continual acts of terror and murder since then and continues to work day in day out to thwart attempts at killing civilian Israelis.

About the Author
Jonathan has been involved in informal youth and adult education for over a decade and in 2017 moved to Israel with his family from London. In his spare time he is an accountant.
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