March 22nd, 2012 – the U.N. Human Rights Council decides to accept a resolution presented by Pakistan which calls for an international investigation into the settlements, or houses that contain Jews in the land of Judea and Samaria, otherwise known as the West Bank.
Normally, one would rejoice at this news. An international investigation? Perhaps the world will finally understand what the Fogel family murder represents! However, this is a probe launched by the U.N. Human Rights Council, which was described by U.S. ambassador Susan Rice as possessing “excessive, ugly bias against Israel.” In the same statement, she condemned the resolution (the U.S. was the sole country that voted against the resolution).
Indeed, it was the U.N. Human Rights Council who sent a “fact finding” mission in regards to Operation Cast Lead. This mission produced the famous Goldstone Report, which criticized Israel unfairly and wrongly. The mission relied largely on testimony by Palestinians and NGO’s who have an agenda against Israel, and consisted of a panel of investigators who had previously made remarks demonstrating their hatred for the world’s only Jewish state.
It was a pre-written report. The investigators were phonies – there was no true investigation when hatred clouded their ability to report fairly and unbiased. Judge Richard Goldstone, who headed the commission, later retracted the report and stated that much of what the report says is probably not true. The report was also heavily criticized and subject to fierce rebuttals.
The same will apply to this probe. In the “Human Rights” Council, there is an automatic majority against Israel at the hands of Arab countries. In regards to the probe, the Syrian ambassador delivered a speech on human rights and settlements. Correct, the Syrian ambassador, representing the country that has killed thousands and thousands of protestors, is discussing human rights.
Some of the worst regimes that have violated human rights, such as Saudi Arabia, sit on this council. Three resolutions have been passed against Syria, and one against Iran. Against Israel, 39 have been passed. The council has passed a total of 91 resolutions.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summed up the council correctly when he called the council a “hypocritical council with an automatic majority against Israel. One only had to hear the Syrian representative speak today about human rights in order to understand how detached from reality the council is.”
People describe the U.N. as a theater of the absurd – but more fittingly, the U.N. is a circus of the absurd.
The fact finding mission will be anything but a mission to find facts. In response to the mission, I have compiled a fact sheet about communities in Judea and Samaria. Obviously, it is difficult to fully discuss this topic within an op-ed, but these facts do provide an overview of the ‘settlements’.
If the circus chooses to use facts, then that would be most welcoming. If not, that doesn’t make the facts disappear.
FACT: Judea and Samaria – the “West Bank” – was won over in a defensive war against genocidal dictators. If you don’t hold this view, then you should refer to it as disputed territory.
“Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel.” —President Nasser of Egypt, May 27, 1967.
“With the closing of the Gulf of Akaba, Israel is faced with two alternatives, either of which will destroy it; it will either be strangled to death by the Arab military and economic boycott, or it will perish by the fire of the Arab forces encompassing it from the South from the North and from the East.” —Cairo Radio, May 30, 1967.
“Jordanian artillery co-ordinated with the forces of Egypt and Syria is in a position to cut Israel in two at Kalkilya, where Israeli territory between the Jordan armistice line and the Mediterranean Sea is only twelve kilometres wide.” —El Akhbar Newspaper, Cairo, May 31, 1967.
“The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified. This is our opportunity to wipe out the ignominy which has been with us since 1948. Our goal is clear – to wipe Israel off the map.” —President Aref of Iraq, May 31, 1967.
These are just a few quotes from Arab leaders in 1967, who set out to destroy Israel after a false rumor from the Soviet Union stated that Israel was planning to invade Syria. All it would take was to fly a plane near the Syrian border and observe that Israel had no such plans, but the Arabs had desperately wanted to destroy the country that humiliated them with defeat in 1948.
Their goal was clear – genocide. Throw the Jews into the sea. Israel couldn’t tolerate this, and launched a pre-emptive strike. The result of the Six Day War was the capturing of the Sinai Peninsula, Gaza, Judea and Samaria, and the Golan Heights.
Israel gave the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt in return for peace, although it has been a cold peace. In 2005, Israel destroyed all the communities it had built in Gaza and uprooted Israelis living there in the hopes of peace. (Israel has annexed the Golan Heights, although this is a different topic).
As for Judea and Samaria, Jordan had been previously occupying it since 1948, and their annexation wasn’t recognized by any countries besides Britain and Pakistan. And there was never an independent country called Palestine ruled by a group called the Palestinians.
If Jordan was occupying it from 1948-1967, and the land area was never an independent Palestinian state, then who did it belong to when Israel captured it in 1967? Israel’s position is that they won a defensive war against genocidal leaders and thus captured the territory, which is vital for its security (as the 1967 war illustrates).
Other officials, such as Danny Ayalon, simply refer to it as disputed territory, and control over the territory is to be left for final negotiations.
FACT: Jewish communities constitute about 1% of the total land mass of Judea and Samaria, or the “West Bank”.
According to chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, they constitute 1.1%, while the NGO B’tselem (which is highly critical of Israel, and contributed to much of the libels in the Goldstone Report) states they constitute 0.99% (Page 12, Table 3).
Wow! 1%. That’s the total land mass that the settlements take up? 45 years of construction and only 1% of the land contains houses for Israelis. That’s why we hear anti-Israel haters shouting about settlers continuously stealing land? Give me a break. If there was a policy of actively stealing land since 1967, it is safe to assume that the “settlements” would take up a lot more than 1% of the land.
1%. It is over 1% that Mahmoud Abbas refuses to negotiate with Prime Minister Netanyahu. This is a ridiculous excuse, and it is necessary to expose Abbas as hiding behind an excuse in order not to negotiate.
If we use Erekat’s figures, then 98.9% of Judea and Samaria does not contain any Jewish or Israeli residents. If we use B’tselem’s figures, then 99.01% of Judea and Samaria does not contain any Jewish or Israeli residents.
Still, we often hear claims that Area C (the area under Israeli control) constitutes about 60% of Judea and Samaria, which is over half of the land. Which brings us to our next fact.
FACT: The Palestinians agreed under the Oslo Accords that Area C – 60% – would remain under Israeli control.
Under the Oslo Accords, Area A was given over to the Palestinian Authority to govern. Area B is controlled partially (security) by Israel. Area C is controlled by Israel, and contains the only Jewish communities there. It is ludicrous when the Palestinian Authority complains about Area C and demands that Europe uses taxpayer money to help fund Palestinian projects in Area C.
Quite simply, they agreed to certain terms, and now they’re upset. But they’re not upset that they agreed to the terms, but rather feign ignorance about the agreement and instead complain that Palestinian infrastructure isn’t set up in Area C. Israel hasn’t added any more land to Area C than that which was given to it in Oslo, nearly 20 years ago, with the full agreement of the Palestinian political leadership.
What exactly is to be done with all this land? While Israel controls 60% of it, only 1% actually has communities, houses and apartments!
Our next fact…
FACT: Almost all of Area C is unpopulated land that can be transferred to a future “Palestinian state”.
If the Palestinian Authority decided to engage in serious negotiations with Israel and lay the groundwork for a future state, there is much land in Area C that could, in my opinion, be transferred to this state. The Oslo Accords were NOT meant as a final agreement, and as such, gave Israel 60% of the land, thinking that more negotiations would continue and eventually a final deal would be reached. And then, once peace was achieved, everyone could dance around a campfire holding hands and singing Kumbaya.
Unfortunately, a series of events derailed the peace process, including the assassination of Yitzchak Rabin, suicide bombings, and the Second Intifada (launched by Yassir Arafat, who received the Nobel Peace Prize).
FACT: Israel promised the United States in 2003 not to create new “settlements”, but rather to limit settlement construction to existing settlements.
In 2003, Israel promised the Bush administration to limit construction to expanding existing communities. This was also done in the hopes of peace. This is an example of the Israeli government taking upon itself to limit Area C construction in order to please the Palestinian Authority in the hopes that it would negotiate.
It is true that since 2003, some new communities have been created. These are referred to as “illegal settlements,” and are a source of hot controversy in Israeli society, as the story of Migron illustrates. The government of Israel is required by the Supreme Court to demolish these “outposts,” as they are referred to, since they were not acquired legally. Many have been demolished, and whether you support this or not, it further highlights the Israeli government’s commitment to the agreement with the United States and the Oslo Accords.
This is also happening while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose political views lean towards the right, is in office. Whether a leftist or rightist government is in office, the state of Israel is committed to upholding agreements with other parties and respecting the rule of law.
FACT: Prime Minister Netanyahu froze all “settlement” construction for 10 months in the hopes of peace.
We constantly hear from the Palestinian Authority how the “settlements” are an obstacle to peace. Can it really be that homes on 1% of an area are an obstacle to peace?
Give me a break. If there was a policy of actively stealing land since 1967, it is safe to assume that the “settlements” would take up a lot more than 1% of the land, which is all they take up.
No matter. They whined enough times, and Prime Minister Netanyahu decided to accept their demands. He froze all construction there for 10 months, which was an unprecedented move that no prime minister had done before. Even leftist prime ministers encouraged building during early days.
But did Mahmoud Abbas negotiate? Of course not. Instead, he compiled another bucket list of demands and preconditions before he would negotiate. Did you ever hear of such a thing? Preconditions before you negotiate? That doesn’t make for serious negotiations and peace. Just sit down and make peace – that is, if you’re serious about it, which Abbas is most clearly not.
In other words – the “settlements” are not the issue, nor are they an obstacle to peace. On the contrary, the Palestinian leadership and their recalcitrance are an obstacle to peace!
FACT: 97% of Palestinian Arabs in Judea and Samaria live in Area A.
Almost all of the Palestinian Arabs in Judea and Samaria live under full control by the Palestinian Authority. Most are not ruled by Israel.
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By Andrew Hersh
The writer is a leader of the Israel Awareness Commission, which helps to promote pro-Israel advocacy, counter bias, lies, half-truths, hypocrisy, and slander against Israel on college campuses in the U.S. and across social media platforms.► More from this writer