The Issue is Israel´s Existence, Not Jewish Settlements

Today, when Arafat and other Palestinian Authority officials address Arab audiences, they state openly that their goal is the destruction of all of Israel, not just the dismantling of settlements or the conquest of the 1967 territories.<br/>

Contributing Author,

Writing on the wall: Death to Jews
Writing on the wall: Death to Jews
The State Department's demand that Israel prohibit all Jewish construction in Judea-Samaria-Gaza and parts of Jerusalem ignores the crucial fact that between 1948-1967, before a single "settlement" existed --and before any Jew could set foot on the Temple Mount-- there was constant Palestinian Arab terrorism, three Arab wars against Israel, an Arab boycott of Israel, constant Arab incitement to hatred and violence against Jews, and ceaseless demands to let millions of Arab "refugees" enter Israel. The issue was never settlements; it was the existence of the Jewish state of Israel.

Moreover, the opposition to Jewish construction is based on an outrageous double standard. They demand that Jewish construction cease--yet they ignore the massive illegal Palestinian Arab construction in those same territories--even though, according to the Israeli government, the Arabs in the territories "have more than 10 times the number of buildings under construction at the moment than those approved for the [Jewish] settlers." There are even uninhabited clusters of Arab housing in some parts of the territories that were created as "sumud [Arabic for steadfastness] neighborhoods," established solely to strengthen the Arab hold on the territories, even though they presently have no utilities or inhabitants.

In 1920, 1921, 1929 and 1936-1939, when there were no Jewish settlements nor even a State of Israel, there was still no peace. In those years, the Arabs repeatedly launched pogroms, massacring hundreds of Jewish civilians. From the establishment of Israel in 1948 until the 1967 war, Israel did not control the "occupied territories" of Judea, Samaria, Gaza, the Golan Heights, Sinai, or eastern Jerusalem--the Arabs did. Nor were there were any Jewish settlements there. Yet there was no peace then, either. The Arab states waged war against Israel in 1948, 1956 and 1967, and sponsored hundreds of terrorist attacks in addition. Their openly declared goal was the annihilation of Israel. When the Arabs established the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), in 1964 (before there were "occupied territories" or "Jewish settlements"), the "Palestine" that they were trying to "liberate" was Israel itself, including Tel Aviv, Haifa, and the rest of Israel proper.

It was the Jordanian invasion of Israel in 1967 that resulted in Israel capturing those territories and administering them. There were no "settlements" in those days, yet King Hussein ordered his troops to "Kill the Jews wherever you find them, kill them with your hands, your nails, your teeth." After the war, the Israeli government (a Labor Party government) permitted the Arab residents in the territories to expand their settlements, and allowed Jews to live in the territories as well.

Today, when Arafat and other Palestinian Authority officials address Arab audiences, they state openly that their goal is the destruction of all of Israel, not just the dismantling of settlements or the conquest of the 1967 territories.

The official maps, school atlases, and stationery published by the PA define all of Israel as "Occupied Palestine." The songs taught to children in the PA's schools and summer camps speak of "returning" to cities such as Haifa and Tiberias--cities within pre-1967 Israel. The campers' t-shirts show maps of all of Israel labeled "Palestine." The official web site of Yasir Arafat's Fatah movement continues to feature the unchanged PLO National Covenant, calling for Israel's destruction. Arafat himself regularly assures Arab audiences that he still adheres to the "Strategy of Phases" --first gain some of the territories, then use them as a springboard to invade and destroy the rest of Israel.

From a legal standpoint, the Judea-Samaria region is, at the very least, disputed territory, not Arab territory. It was never legally part of Jordan. The Jewish claim, which is deeply rooted in history, religion, and law is stronger than that of the Arabs. The very word "Jew" is derived from "Judea," because the land of Judea was the national Jewish homeland for so many centuries. Judaism's sacred sites, which are thousands of years old, are nearly all located in the those territories, including the Temple Mount and Western Wall in eastern Jerusalem, the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, the Tomb of Rachel in Bethlehem, the Tomb of Joseph in Nablus (biblical Shechem). From the standpoint of international law, the League of Nations (precursor of the U.N.) affirmed the Jewish right to Judea-Samaria back in 1922, and that right was continued (in 1945) under Article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

The Jewish communities in the territories do not obstruct peace. The only thing they obstruct is the Palestinian Arab effort to promote ethnic segregation in Judea and Samaria; indeed, the Israeli government has in the past described the Palestinian Arabs' goal as "apartheid." The real obstacles to peace are Arafat's constant violence against Israel, and the culture of anti-Jewish hatred in the Palestinian Authority's official media, school text books, summer camps, speeches, and religious sermons. Arafat's racism, terrorism, and education for war are the true obstacles to peace.

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