Posts Tagged ‘West Bank’

EU Doesn’t Oppose Palestinian Statehood

I can never quite understand how seemingly intelligent, good-minded people cannot see the difference between good and evil. It seems to be a common problem, especially with politicians. I want to assume (perhaps erroneously) that policy makers are well-informed, which means they should be able to recognize the firefighters from the arsonists. Unfortunately, this typically does not seem to be the case. I suspect it has more to do with being dishonest to the public in order to accomplish some goal. Politicians are gifted with this ability.

Case in point: The Jerusalem Post has an article about the opinions of European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek regarding Palestinian statehood.

He wants to make it clear that the European Union does not oppose a declaration of Palestinian statehood by the UN General Assembly. He just thinks a negotiated solution is preferable, but he obviously supports Palestinian statehood either way regardless of the consequences.

“I never said that I or the European Union opposes a unilateral declaration,” Buzek said. “I said that it is better to negotiate the solution. It is much better to have a dialogue and understanding.”

“Unilateral declarations or decisions are not the best solution, but let me be frank,” he added. “Your [Israel’s] decisions about settlements are also unilateral, and have not been the best decisions. The Palestinians may not be making the best decision, but the settlements have complicated negotiations.”

Back to this old and tired strategy: affordable housing is an obstacle to peace.

The last “rightful owner” of Palestine was Great Britain when it seized the land from the defeated Ottoman Empire. With British approval, the land was divided by the United Nations into two portions: one for the Jews and one for the Arabs. The Jewish portion became Israel which was immediately attacked by the neighboring Arab nations. Israel survived and everyone within the borders of Israel was granted citizenship — Arabs included.

What happened to the other half of Palestine which was destined for the Arabs? It was seized and annexed by Jordan and became “the West Bank” of Jordan. Given this, I suppose it makes sense that those living in the West Bank of Jordan should have been given Jordanian citizenship. The point is that there never was an independent state of Palestine and, after losing the land to Israel in 1967, Jordan officially dissolved its link to the West Bank in 1988. So, exactly how is the land occupied if there is no rightful owner?

The simple truth is that the land is not “occupied” — the correct term is “disputed.” As a result, Israel has just as much right to build on this land as anyone else. In fact, Israel has a greater right.

For a very eloquent legal discourse on this topic, look here.

The fact that the settlements have complicated negotiations is certainly true, but there would have been no need for any negotiations (at any time) if the Arabs were not hell-bent on destroying the Jewish state. This problem exists 100% because of Arab aggression and blood-lust.

Buzek said that in his meeting with the Palestinians on Wednesday, the PA did not say they would recognize Israel as a Jewish state, nor did they discuss possible compromises over the refugee issue.

“We know there is a problem with refugees, and it should be solved in some way, but what is most important is that we should sit down and start negotiating without preconditions,” he said. “Sit down and start, and then we’ll see which problem is most difficult, which to start from, whether it’s the refugees or borders or Jerusalem.”

There is no point negotiating with someone who is not negotiating in good faith. Let’s start with what should be the simplest and easiest point: Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish state. If we cannot agree on this simple concept, then there is no point on additional discussions.

In my view, there is no point in discussing Jerusalem or refugees. Thankfully, Israel legally annexed all of Jerusalem and they are not entitled to any of it. Discussing refugees is really a discussion of allowing Arabs (and their children and their children’s children, etc.) to return to land within Israel. Why would Israel grant citizenship to people who openly express the desire to destroy her? It is a non-starter. Let’s allow the displaced American Indians to return to Manhattan. It sounds ludicrous even though the Indians don’t want to destroy New York, so how much more ludicrous is this? Besides, as I already mentioned, how is there any refugee problem? Everyone who was inside of the borders of Israel was already granted citizenship.

Buzek did not answer a question about the legality of European Parliament members joining the upcoming flotilla to Gaza, calling the humanitarian situation there “a sad story.”

Refusing to answer only means there is no way to spin it into a neutral sounding explanation.

“Observe how people in Gaza live. It looks horrible,” he said. “The humanitarian disaster is terrible; let’s solve it in the best possible way.”

It really is horrible these days in Gaza.  Check it out for yourself.

Gaza has malls and country clubs. Arabs were actually smuggling food out of Gaza and into Egypt several months ago. Give me a break.

The Europeans have a history of not being capable of telling the difference between the good guys and the bad guys. I think I can use two World Wars as evidence (with a third one brewing). Now is the time to put an end to this charade, but the EU will want to delay, and talk, and appease until it is too late.

Of course, the Europeans have their own self-made, Muslim immigration problems and their desire to appease probably has a lot to do with their own immediate safety.

Regardless, I think a UN declaration of Palestinian statehood might be a good thing. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has some thoughts (perhaps threats) on the topic.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a meeting with his EU counterpart Catherine Ashton on Friday that if the Palestinians unilaterally declare statehood, it will bring an end to the Oslo Accords.

“A move like that will be a violation of all the agreements that were signed until today,” Lieberman said. “Israel will no longer be committed to the agreements signed with the Palestinians in the past 18 years.”

All those years of terrible Israeli concessions eliminated in a single stroke.


Karnei Shomron

We visited the town of Karnei Shomron in Samaria last week during the holiday of Sukkot. Samaria is the northern part of the West Bank.

Karnei Shomron is one of those pesky Jewish settlements. These settlements cause all the trouble. If these West Bank settlements didn’t exist, Moslems would happily live side-by-side with Jews, world peace would sweep forth, and cotton candy would fall from the sky like rain. It would be wondrous, but you and your family cannot experience this because of Karnei Shomron.

Given all of this, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I did know, however, that to get to Karnei Shomron I would have to cross the Green Line into the West Bank and travel through two Arab towns. The first town was the “friendly” town. We were advised not to stop even though it probably was safe.

Here comes the "friendly" Arab town

Because I was driving, I missed the local action. I was surprised when several of the passengers shrieked. Apparently we drove by a butcher who was in the process of doing his job.  Clean up is a lot easier when you are near the road side.

Why are you shrieking? What butcher?

The settlement of Karnei Shomron is quite nice. It looks like a typical community in the south-western region of the United States. There is nothing temporary about these settlements. We had pizza at a local pizzeria and attended a barbecue with some friends. It was all very normal.

We also did some hiking which also seemed quite normal.  Finally, we visited a couple of Jewish outposts.  The outposts are not quite normal. They are temporary communities composed of a handful of families. The Jewish outposts are established to prevent Arabs from creating their own outposts. It is like a chess game to see these hilltops and the locations of Jewish and Arab settlements with outposts positioned to prevent the encroachment of the other.

An outpost guarding The Land

You often hear in the news about “illegal” Israeli outposts being dismantled. I found out something interesting about these “illegal” outposts. To set up an outpost, the settlers are supposed to present a plan to the Israeli government. After the plan is approved, construction can begin. Inspections are conducted as the construction reaches various milestones. Finally, when the construction is finished, the site is inspected again and there is a final approval by the Israeli government.

The construction is not “legal” until the final approval; therefore, it is “illegal” until that final approval. In other words, illegal outposts are not created by a few rogue troublemakers — they have an approved plan that (I guess for political reasons) is never given a final “legal” status.

The Jewish settlements and the Arabs villages are all built on hilltops — the better to see each other.

We visited one outpost located on the highest hilltop in the area. From this location, you can see both Tel-Aviv and Jordan. We also found a partially constructed building. It was going to be a synagogue for the community, but it could not be completed because of Obama’s wonderful construction freeze. Interestingly, the land is privately owned, but the building still could not be completed because of the freeze.

The construction freeze forces the halt of this shul on private property

Categories: Israel Tags: ,

Kohav Ya’ir

We had a change in plans on eruv Yom Kippur. My son had spent the night at a friend’s house and we were planning on picking him up. However, he called and asked if he could stay with his friend over Yom Kippur. We agreed, so we had to pick him up this afternoon.

However, the first thing each weekday is uplan. To the best of my knowledge, Israel is the only country in the world that actually knows how to start and end each week properly. Sunday is the first day of the week and Saturday is the last, so in Israel, the work days start on Sunday and the weekends are Friday and Saturday.

Anyway, today in ulpan (among other things), I learned how to ask about birthdays.

בן כמה אתה? אני חושב שאני בן ארבעימ וחמש.

That should translate to “How old are you? I think that I am forty-five”, but the literal word-for-word translation is strange: “Boy how much you? I think that I boy forty-five.”

Sixth grade cross guards

Enough Hebrew for now. After ulpan, I picked my daughter up from school. They put the 6th graders to work here in Ra’anana as cross guards at the intersections. They do a great job in the morning, but the afternoon shift can get a bid hot and boring.

I wanted to take some pictures of my daughter’s school, but the armed guard at the gate was not happy about photographs being taken. I can shoot with my camera and he can shoot with his sidearm, so I did a quick mental trade-off analysis and determined that the best option was to take no more photographs. As a result, I only have one distant photo from the school’s outer fence.

The Ariel Elementary School

This is part of the walk home.

Part of the walk from school to home

The trip to pick up my son was uneventful, but still a bit interesting. His friend lives in Kohav Ya’ir which is a small town to the north-east next to the West Bank. Since we are newbies in Israel, we were specifically told to avoid the shortest drive through the town of Tira, since it is primarily an Arab town.

Instead, we took a route that was only about 10 minutes longer. Along the way, we had a nice view of the city of Qalqilya which is definitely a primarily Moslem town. I know because I could not count all the minarets — there were just too many. Later, I looked the town up on Google maps and determined that it is in the so-called West Bank. The photo is terrible; there must have been at least 30 minarets that I could see from the road, but most of them cannot be easily seen in the photograph.

Minarets in Qalqilya

Kohav Ya’ir is a really nice, quiet town. Here are some photos of the drive through the town. Try to ignore all of the dirt on the windshield.

Categories: Israel Tags: , ,
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