While I support the right of Israel to exist and defend itself against enemies who seek to destroy it, I draw the line at efforts by Israel to prevent the Arab Palestinians from establishing their own state. How has Israel done this? By establishing Jewish settlements on the West Bank (which was supposed to be exclusively Arab territory). This after thousands of Arabs were driven out of the land that became Israel. So it is ironic that we find these claims defending the Jewish settlements on a Zionist website.
Why has Israel continued to expand settlements? Is this an obstacle to peace?
Israeli settlements in the so-called “occupied territories” are there for multiple reasons, including:
- The land is disputed. Both Arabs and Jews have claims and since there was no other sovereign authority, Israel, representing the Palestinian Jews, had as much right to settle people there as the Palestinian Arabs. The last internationally recognized sovereign was the Ottoman Empire, a distant and oppressive ruler. Israel captured the West Bank land from Jordan that had overrun the land in 1948 when it had just emerged from the British Mandate. Gaza was captured from Egypt who had overrun it in 1948. There never was a Palestine or other country that Israel invaded and “stole the land”
- There had been Jewish communities and dwellers in the West Bank long before 1967 or even 1948. In, for example, Hebron and Gush Etzion, both sites of massacres by Arabs in which large numbers of Jews were killed. Kfar Etzion and other villages in the Jerusalem-Bethlehem corridor, fell to Arab forces in May 1948 and those captured were massacred. Sons and daughters of Jews who lived there until 1948 were the first to return after the 1967 war. Why prohibit former residents or their families from returning?
- The land belonged to Jews. Near Jerusalem, for example, Palestinians describe Gilo as a neighborhood built on “West Bank land annexed to Jerusalem” that they consider an “illegal Jewish settlement”. Suddenly Gilo, an integral part of Jerusalem proper for years, seems subject to negotiation, at least in the public mind. As to the “illegality” of Gilo, the vacant land in the Gilo area was purchased, before World War II, by a group of young Jewish lawyers, including Dov Yosef, who later became one of David Ben Gurion’s most important advisors and government ministers. When the land was taken back from the Jordanians in 1967, it was returned to its owners.
- The so-called West Bank, according to the Bible and tradition, represents the cradle of Jewish civilization, and some Jews, driven by faith and history, wanted to reassert that link. The area was called Judea and Samaria, its name in the Bible, up until 1950 when Jordan, an Arab country created arbitrarily by the British out of 77% of the Mandate for Palestine, annexed it and called it the West Bank
- The Israeli government believed that certain settlements could serve a useful security purpose as a buffer against future attacks like the ones in 1948, 1967, 1973
- Some Israeli officials felt that building settlements, and thus creating facts on the ground, might hasten the day when the Palestinian Arabs, presumably realizing that time was not on their side, would talk peace
So basically what they are saying is that Arabs must give up most of their territorial claims, but Jews need not do the same. WRONG! If those arguments above are at all valid, then the Palestinian Jews who later formed Israel should not have accepted the plan offered by the United Nations in 1947 to divide Palestine west of the Jordan River. See here:
After the Israeli War of Independence (also known as the first Arab-Israeli War), Israel annexed much of the land that was intended for the Arab state, thus violating the original UN plan. Therefore, the founders of Israel broke their word. Of course, the Arab states surrounding Israel had been treacherous first in attacking the Jewish state as soon as it declared independence, but two wrongs do not make a right.
And now I have found a website with maps of Israel that don’t even depict the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, thus indicating ALL of Palestine west of the Jordan River as being part of Israel proper:
Could this be Israel’s ultimate goal? Sure seems that way! How else can you explain this?
And that is totally unacceptable to me. No wonder the UN only tolerates Israel now! When your state comes into existence because of a plan you agreed to, and then you undermine that original plan, that’s cutting off the branch you were sitting on. It is treachery equal to what the Arabs tried to do in 1948 and it must be stopped.