Monday, September 01, 2014
Ridiculous To Criticize Israel's 'Appropriation' Of Vacant Land In Judea
The latest cause for criticism of Israel has to do with its declaring 4,000 dunams of vacant land (about 1.54 square miles) in the Israeli bloc of communities known as Gush Etzion to be public land, and thus available for building.
The response from the usual suspects was predictable.
“We have long made clear our opposition to continued settlement activity,” a US official told Reuters. “This announcement, like every other settlement announcement Israel makes… is counterproductive to Israel’s stated goal of a negotiated two-state solution with the Palestinians.”
“We urge the government of Israel to reverse this decision.”
Someone should tell this man (not that he'd listen) that the 'negotiated two-state solution' ship sailed a long time ago. That was before Mahmoud Abbas partnered up with Hamas. And even if it was still viable, Israel isn't going to give up the area in question anyway and retreat to the kind of borders John Kerry and Barack Obama envision
The British and French, with all those restless Muslim voters to appease were even stronger in their language.
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said in a statement "The UK deplores the Israeli government's expropriation of 988 acres of land around the settlement of Etzion."
"This is a particularly ill-judged decision that comes at a time when the priority must be to build on the ceasefire in Gaza. It will do serious damage to Israel's standing in the international community."
Really, Mr. Hammond? Are you guaranteeing that Hamas will disarm if Israel doesn't build a few houses on vacant land it controls? And why is the ceasefire a priority for Israel, rather than for Hamas? Wouldn't disarming Hamas do a lot more to 'build on the ceasefire?'
France also rebuked the Israeli announcement on Monday, with spokesman Romain Nadal saying that France "condemns" the action and "calls on the Israeli authorities to reconsider their decision."
The UN, of course, also weighed in, saying it was 'alarmed by yesterday’s announcement by Israeli authorities to declare as so-called ‘state land’ nearly 1,000 acres of land in the Bethlehem area of the West Bank."
The wording of the UN statement is revealing. Actually, the area in question is adjacent to Gush Etzion, a bloc of Israeli communities with almost 100,000 people in it rather than Bethlehem, a small town of 25,000 now controlled by the Palestinian Authority. The biased language is obvious.
It's good to know with the region on fire, the UN, Obama Administration, UK and France have their priorities in the right place!
The Hamas/Fatah unity government known as The Palestinian Authority was predictably florid in its rhetoric.
Chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, formerly the right fork of Yasser Arafat's tongue was in overdrive.
“The Israeli government is committing various crimes against the Palestinian people and their occupied land,” he told AFP. “The international community should hold Israel accountable as soon as possible for its crimes and raids against our people in Gaza and the ongoing Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.”
The response from the Arabs whom refer to themselves as Palestinians can be discounted, since they're essentially a hostile entity to Israel. But let's look at what the other actors are saying.
The biased, hypocritical nonsense spewed by the UN, the Obama Administration and other members of 'the international community tells you everything you need to know. Their idea of the perfect solution to everything is for Israel to retreat to the indefensible pre '67 borders and hand Mahmoud Abbas and his Hamas allies the keys. They have the outcome of any 'negotiations' all worked out in advance and then get upset when Israel doesn't go along with the program of its own extinction.
The area in question is vacant land adjacent to Gush Etzion. That puts it in Area C, a part of Judea and Samaria that is under Israeli sovereignty anyway according to the Oslo Accords and the Road Map, both of which the United States was a signatory to as well as Israel and the Palestinians. Since there are no counter claims of ownership, there was no reason for Israel not to make it public land, and they had every right to do so.
Moreover, they had a compelling reason to do so. Among other things, this is a response to the kidnapping and murder in June of three Israeli teenagers in the Etzion Bloc by Mahmoud Abbas's good friends and partners Hamas.That heinous crime set off Operation Brother’s Keeper, the huge search effort to locate the teenagers and a crackdown on Hamas operatives in Judea and Samaria that put hundreds behind bars.
This new land will be an extension of a community in Gush Etzion known as Gvaot, home to a number of families and a well known winery. Now, it can become a city.That's the appropriate response to what happened. They destroy, Israel builds.
And actually, this is one of the more intelligent things the Netanyahu government has done, and I hope it continues.
After each attack on Israel, whether its terrorism, lawfare or diplomatic, put some more land under Israeli control and then annex it. Trust the Land. Build on it. Let a thousand bulldozers sing..
Just like a recalcitrant puppy that continues to make on the rug, providing real world consequences for bad actions will send a message soon enough that better behavior is called for. That is what may actually bring about realistic negotiations in the end, if it happens at all.