The grassroots "Cities of Israel" organization has issued a strong message to Europe. It says that in light of how Europe treats Nazi-stolen Jewish property, it has no right to demand that Jews give up land in Judea and Samaria.
In a letter to Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon, the Raanana-based grassroots organization wrote on Sunday, Holocaust Memorial Day, "The injustices of the Holocaust [Shoah] have ramifications on Arab land claims of the present." The groups says it is time to put an end to the "judicial trend" of allowing Arabs to claim ownership of land from before 1967, with or without proof, and throw out Jews who have lived there for years.
"The Arab claims are supported monetarily and morally by, of all bodies, European governments," the letter states. "Such hypocrisy! Europe has not compensated the Holocaust victims for the properties that were taken from them, and certainly has not dreamt of returning the actual properties themselves."
"The Shoah victims' land claims have not received even a fraction of the attention that the European governments demand of the IDF regarding the Arabs of Judea and Samaria," COI states. "There is no justification whatsoever for violent evictions of Jewish residents from lands claimed by Arabs, unless the European governments, at some time far off in the future, volunteer to carry out the same 'justice' they demand of us regarding the property of their Jewish victims."
COI acknowledges that Germany has paid and continues to pay reparations to Jewish victims, but explains the following "fundamental facts:"
"The reparations were for suffering, not for the property that was stolen. When Jews did claim their property the European governments took the position that the current 'users' have rights as well [which they are not saying about the Jews in Yesha, ed]. The fact that any compensation was paid shows that Europe feels the best way to deal with such problems is by paying, and not by forcefully evicting the occupants – as happened just recently in an orchard in Susia in southern Judea."
COI states that Israel should announce its willingness to pay compensation for landsproven to be owned decades ago by Arabs, but not to evict Jews from barren lands that were never or barely ever actively worked in the past.
This payment must be contingent upon several other issues, COI says, such as resolving whether the payment must be made by those who started the wars and thereby caused the Arabs to leave their properties.
In addition, the group says, it must be ascertained whether the payment should be "canceled out" by the debts of the Arab countries to the hundreds of thousands of Jews they expelled in the State of Israel's early years.
Another question is whether other countries, particularly in Europe, live up to the same standards of justice. "Israel need not be the only 'righteous person in Sodom' [a common Hebrew expression, ed]," COI says, "particularly when its own rights are trampled upon."
COI concludes, "Land claims by Arabs in Judea and Samaria should not be treated as simple civil property disputes, and should certainly not lead to violent eviction of Jewish pioneers. This is a question of international justice with far reaching political and strategic ramifications."