Koch to Cameron: Judea and Samaria Essential to Israeli Security
Former New York Mayor Ed Koch has sent a letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron, asking him why his country chose to criticize Israel for approving new construction in Judea and Samaria.
Koch pointed out in the letter that the Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria is essential to ensuring Israel's security, especially in the wake of recent comments by Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal.
Mashaal, who visited Gaza for the first time last month, said in a public speech that the terror group reserves the right to use "resistance" - the Arab term for terrorism - to "liberate Palestine".
"Israel and the Palestinian Authority have not agreed to final borders and the Gaza government has said - the speech of Khaled Meshal is set forth in my commentary - that it will never recognize the legitimacy of the state of Israel and will continue to pursue violence against that state including the kidnapping of its soldiers," Koch wrote Cameron.
"The official head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, has refused for the last two years to come to the peace table to negotiate without preconditions," he added.
"You ask Israel to cease building settlements on the West Bank, which are intended not only to house Israelis, but to provide a defense bulwark when the Islamist armies of the surrounding states, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria - Assad or his opponents - and Iraq, again try militarily to crush Israel," wrote Koch.
"Will Britain come to Israel's aid? I recall when in one of those wars, Britain declined to deliver to Israel tanks it had purchased from your country. Britain under Chamberlain participated in the Munich sellout of Czechoslovakia. What you and your European colleagues are doing now is repeating the sellout, this time of Israel. The Czech Republic, mindful of what happened to it, is the only European country to vote no to Palestinian statehood. When one of your predecessors told the world that he offered 'peace in our time,' he wrote himself into history as a disgrace. How will history on this issue recall you?
"Why would you expect Israel to cooperate in its intended lynching?"
Israel recently approved the construction of homes in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and said it would promote construction in the area known as E1, which connects between Jerusalem and Maaleh Adumim.
The move caused outrage among Western countries which were quick to condemn Israel. Europe's four member states in the UN Security Council, Britain included, said they were “extremely concerned by and strongly oppose" Israel's construction plans.
"Israel's announcements to accelerate the construction of settlements send a negative message and are undermining faith in its willingness to negotiate," the four said.
"The viability of the two-state solution, that is key for Israel's long-term security is threatened by the systematic expansion of settlements. Settlements are illegal under international law and detrimental to any international efforts to restart peace negotiations and secure a two-state solution…. We call on the Israeli government to rescind these plans and recall that we will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties," it continued.
Britain also summoned Israel's ambassador to London for clarifications following the construction approval.