Video #24: The misperceived Jewish settlements
YouTube 6-minute-video on-line seminar on US-Israel and the Mideast, November 11, 2016
1. Jewish settlements have existed since Biblical time in the mountain ridges of Judea & Samaria, the cradle of Jewish history, religion, culture, holidays, ethos, language and yearnings.Judea (Yehudah in Hebrew) is the origin of the term “Jew” (Yehudi in Hebrew). From time immemorial, the real name of the region has been Judea & Samaria, renamed “the West Bank” following its illegal April 1950 annexation by Jordan.
2. The term “Jewish settlements” was coined in the Bible, the Book of Numbers , Chapter 34, verse 4, commanding Jews to inherit and settle the Land of Israel. In fact, the preamble and articles 6 and 11 of the 1920 British Mandate for Palestine stipulated: “….In favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people….The Administration of Palestine [on both sides of the Jordan River] shall facilitate Jewish immigration… and shall encourage close settlement by Jews on the land…. The desirability of promoting the close settlement and intensive cultivation of the land….”
3.Following the 1967 War - triggered by a mobilized intra-Arab military force, threatening Israel with destruction - modern day Jewish settlements were established on the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, which over-tower Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Israel’s only international airport and 80% of Israel’s population and infrastructure in the 9-15-mile-wide sliver along the Mediterranean, which was the bulk of pre-1967 Israel.
4. The post-1967 settlements reestablished Jewish communities which were eradicated by Arabs during the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. For instance, the Gush Etzion Bloc and Hebron, the 2nd holiest Jewish city - mentioned 62 times in the Bible – was King David’s capital city, the home of Caleb, and the burial site of the Jewish Patriarchs and Matriarchs, including Jacob, whose second name was Israel.
5. Are the Jewish settlements an obstacle to peace? Jewish communities in Judea & Samaria were erected after the 1967, 1956 and 1948 wars, the 1964 establishment of the PLO, the August 24, 1929 decimation of Hebron’s Jewish community, and the uprooting of the Jewish communities of Gush Etzion in the 1920s, '30s and '40s.
6. The Palestinians are not concerned with the size – but with the existence – of the Jewish state. It is reflected in their education system, which defines the “infidel” Jewish presence in pre-1967 Israel as an “illegal settlement” to be uprooted, as specified in the 1964 Covenant of Mahmoud Abbas’ PLO and the August, 2009 6th Convention of Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah urging “to eradicate the Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence."
7. Would the uprooting of Jewish settlements in Judea & Samaria moderate the Arab-Israeli conflict? In September 2005, Israel uprooted 25 Jewish communities from Gaza and Samaria. Gaza became Judenrein (“clean of Jews” in Nazi terminology), in order to, ostensibly, promote peace and security. However, the dismantling of the Jewish communities was perceived by Arabs as an erosion of Jewish tenacity, escalating Palestinian hate-education, terrorism, the shelling of Jewish communities all the way to Tel Aviv, paving the road to the 2009, 2012 and 2014 Israel-Hamas wars, and the rise of Hamas’ intra-Muslim stature.
8. Every square inch of land ceded by Israel has been transformed into a platform of hate-education and terrorism.
9. The 2000-2002 unprecedented Palestinian terrorism (Intifada’) was ignited by Prime Minister Barak’s hasty withdrawal from Lebanon, and his unprecedented proposal of full withdrawal to the 1967 lines, including the re-division of Jerusalem. It was perceived as submission to pressure, especially in the inherently intolerant, violent Arab Middle East, which respects posture-of-deterrence, but not concession-driven entities and initiatives, and certainly not an “infidel” Jewish State in the supposedly abode-of-Islam.
10. Peaceful coexistence on the one hand and the uprooting of Jewish, or Arab, communities on the other hand constitute an oxymoron. If 400,000 Jews, among 1.75MN Arabs in Judea and Samaria, constitute an obstacle to peace, are the 1.75MN Arabs, among 6.6MN Jews, within pre-1967 Israel, an insurmountable boulder to peace?! The 1.75MN Israeli Arabs among 6.5MN Jews have reflected peaceful coexistence, as should be considered the 400,000 Jews among 1.75MN Arabs in Judea & Samaria. The rejection of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria reflects the Palestinian/Arab counter-peaceful strategic goal. Opposition to the presence of 1.75mn Arabs in pre-1967 Israel must not be tolerated, but the opposition to the presence of 400,000 Jews in Judea and Samaria should be? Israel’s legal system prohibits the expulsion of Arabs or the expropriation of private Arab land.
11. The 1993 Israel-Palestinian Oslo Accord does not prohibit Jewish or Arab settlements in Judea & Samaria. Singling out Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria – while ignoring the much more extensive Palestinian construction – emboldens Arab terrorism, prejudges the outcome of negotiations and forces Arabs to be more radical than the West. It is perceived, by Arabs, as an appease – not a peace – process.
12. The next video will highlight international legal aspects of Jewish settlements.
For more data on Jewish settlements: