Shock horror: Jews build homes. Arabs get upset.


By mattpryor
January 14, 2011
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It's the same old story. We've heard it countless times before. Jews build homes in the Jewish State's capital city. Arabs complain about it. The EU, the US and the UK jump on the anti-Israel bandwagon and issue condemnations and describe such developments as an "obstacle to peace". Israel's enemies in the UK are emboldened. After all they have the might of the political establishment on their side. Reasonable and fair minded people are sidelined and labelled as extremists for daring to question this bizarre assessment of the situation.

What amazes me about this is that no-one seems to ask the obvious question, which is this: Even if Israel does agree to turn half of Jerusalem over to a future Palestinian State, on what moral, legal or ethical basis can that state then demand that it is cleansed of Jews? For this is the logical conclusion of demanding that Jewish families cease building homes in any parts of Jerusalem - whether or not those parts currently have an Arab majority. To me this seems a complete travesty, an outrage, something that anyone of fair mind should be really, really angry about. And yet our political leaders are nodding their heads and agreeing to such demands. What has led to this unconscionable betrayal of the Jewish people?

Let's put aside the issue of whether the demolition of a Jew-murdering Nazi sympathiser's former home, and the construction of schools, homes and hospitals for Jews represents an "obstacle to peace". Clearly it does not. The ONLY obstacle to peace is, and always has been, the Palestinian Authority's refusal to engage in direct negotiations for statehood. Israel's position is quite reasonable to anyone that has been paying attention, i.e.:

- We support Palestinian statehood in principal
- Core disagreements such as the status of Jerusalem, security, refugees etc must be negotiated in a civilised fashion
- Both parties must be committed to lasting peace and reconciliation if future bloodshed is to be avoided.

This is essentially what Benjamin Netanyahu has said, again and again, to western leaders, to Arab leaders, to Israelis and to Jewish organisations abroad. His position has remained entirely consistent. Yes we are prepared to endorse Palestinian Statehood - but only if it will be a state that is at peace with us. We are not prepared to commit national suicide and we are not prepared to accept preconditions to negotiations.

It's worth comparing this to the position adopted by the Palestinian Authority and its Arab interlocutors, which is presented to Western audiences as this:

- We want our own state with Jerusalem as the capital
- We are only willing to negotiate if the Israeli government uses force to stop Jews from building homes in the areas of Israel which we covet for our state and accepts our other demands.

Amazingly Netanyahu, who is known for his hawkish opposition to a Palestinian State within Israel, agreed to this and implemented a ten month "freeze" on Jewish construction in disputed areas - it was made perfectly clear at the time that this was a one-time offer, it would not be extended, and if the Arabs wanted to negotiate on this conditional basis then this would be their only opportunity for it. I am not sure whether this represented an ideological shift or whether this was in response to American pressure. But the fact that he did it, and managed to sell it to his government colleagues, is astounding and utterly unprecedented. And, as things turned out, it was all in vain.

Once the Arabs understood that all they had to do was make demands on Washington and Washington would obligingly pressure Israel with the same demands, they no longer saw any need for negotiation with Israel. So they could afford to sit and play the waiting game and let the Obama administration lobby Israel on their behalf. This was a huge strategic error on Obama's part, because it should be remembered that it was Washington, not Abbas, that first raised the issue of settlements on the international stage. As a consequence, rather than being an "honest broker" for negotiations, the US found itself in the position of advocate for one side - and it wasn't Israel's. The clock ticked, the months passed, and no talks were forthcoming. Until, that is, the last few weeks of the freeze, when Mahmoud Abbas finally agreed to direct negotiations - only to pull out again after a mere two weeks.

"Renew the freeze!" the Arabs demanded. Which was odd, since for ten months they'd said that although construction had been frozen, it hadn't been frozen enough. But now they wanted it renewed all the same. They cried to Washington about the nasty Jews building schools and homes. Washington, predictably, took their side and echoed their increasingly shrill demands. But Israel did not relent. We gave you ten months, they said. If that wasn't enough, nothing will be.

Incidentally, according to a recent YNet report, it was Washington that abandoned plans for an extension on the freeze, not Israel. Netanyahu has said that he would have been willing to extend the freeze if the Palestinians wished to negotiate in good faith, however the US decided that it would be a pointless exercise. This makes Hillary Clinton's recent condemnation of the redevelopment of the Shepherd Hotel especially puzzling.

Of course the Arab position makes no sense without understanding the real motives behind their public stance. To understand that one has to listen to what they say to each other, for example at the recent Fatah convention, when they repeated their assertion that all of Israel represents "occupied territory". While the West continues to pursue a "two-state" solution, the "moderate" Palestinian Authority is still working towards a "one-state" solution in which Jews are at best a minority under Islamic law.

Where does this leave western foreign policy, and where does it leave residents of Jerusalem? Should Israel bar Jews from living in any areas of Jerusalem while the US continues to try to force a square peg into a round hole and while Muslims are free to build whereever they wish? How long will this situation last? Three months? A year? Five years? It is patently ridiculous. The issue is not whether Jews should be allowed to live in Arab areas of Jerusalem, but what will happen to Jerusalem in the long term. Until that is decided it is unfathomable to expect the government of the Jewish State to limit Jewish freedom of movement and residence.

While the EU and the US envisage a divided Jerusalem, with the eastern half being Juhdenrein, the Arab leadership envisions all of Jerusalem being Juhdenrein and will accept nothing less. It is high time that our politicians recognise this fact and deal with the reality of the situation, not what they would like the reality to be. Furthermore, they see "dividing" Jerusalem into an Israeli half and an Arab half to be a neat compromise, but what is the point of a compromise that pleases no-one other than foreign politicians? The most important people to consider are the people that actually live in Jerusalem - and according to recent opinion polls there is very little support for dividing the city, and a significant percentage of Arabs have expressed a wish to remain citizens of Israel:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postpartisan/2011/01/_one_of_the_givens...

It is time for our leaders to stop pandering to extremist demands and to stop pursuing abstract political goals that will not make life any better for anyone in the region. It is time for Britain, the EU and the US to start behaving like honest brokers for peace, not partisans for an extremist cause. Their current path betrays both Arabs and Jews, destroys our reputation, and only serves to embolden hard-liners. The consequences will be disastrous.

COMMENTS

Watchful Iris (not verified)

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 15:50

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-5 points

Is East Jerusalem the capital city of Israel? Who knew?


jose (not verified)

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 15:51

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4 points

Since the 'Palestinians' are engaged in unilateral moves, I suggest Israel does exactly the same, finishes the security fence and annexes those parts beyond the green line that happen to be on the good side of the fence.


jose (not verified)

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 15:52

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4 points

Is East Jerusalem the capital city of Israel? Who knew?

Apparently you don't know that there is no such city as "East Jerusalem".
But there is indeed a city of Jerusalem that is the capital city of Israel.


jose (not verified)

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 15:56

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4 points

As Matt perfectly stated, the only obstacle to peace is that there is only one peace partner: Israel. The 'Palestinians' are unable to make peace between themselves, let alone with Israel.


Watchful Iris (not verified)

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 15:59

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-3 points

Oh sorry, Posner. I've been misled by the entire world. I wish I had come to you in the first place.


mattpryor

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 16:00

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3 points

By "East Jerusalem" I presume Watchful Iris means the bit of Jerusalem that the Hashemites occupied between 1949-1967. The bit where Jews were barred from, and they turned synagogues into public toilets.

Nice people those Jordanians!

Or are they called Palestinians now? I get a bit confused.


mattpryor

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 16:01

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3 points

Jose thank you for reading my essay and for your supportive comments.


Armchair Quarterback

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 16:02

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-3 points

Posner maybe you should try to explain it to Iris in native French and if that doesn't work maybe try native Spanish ?


jose (not verified)

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 16:04

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3 points

Oh sorry, Posner. I've been misled by the entire world. I wish I had come to you in the first place.

Thanks for your antisemitic comment. Myopic just stated that she thinks normal that the rest of the world dictates what city is the capital of Israel.

Now, Myopic, tell us of one other case of such diktat...

Double standards are a sure sign of antisemitism.


jose (not verified)

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 16:06

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3 points

Posner maybe you should try to explain it to Iris in native French and if that doesn't work maybe try native Spanish ?

Where is Posner, Wheelchair? Try first to speak native English! LOL!


jose (not verified)

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 16:12

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3 points

So Israel, and Israel alone, decides what city is its capital. And it always was and is Jerusalem, except for the time it was occupied and ethnically cleansed by Jordanians (an ethnic cleansing that escaped the radar of Myopic and all those who apply antisemitic double standards).
"East Jerusalem" has never been the capital of any state, much less of a never-existing state of 'Palestine'.


Yoni1

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 16:33

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2 points

"Is East Jerusalem the capital city of Israel? Who knew?"

Well, you don't, since you are comprehensive ignorant and thick.

There is only ONE Jerusalem. Part of it (the eastern part, for the benefit of idiots) was occupied illegally by Jordan for a number of years. Then they got kicked out.

How about trying to restrict your posts to things you have a clue about, Myopic?


amber

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 18:03

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4 points

Yes iris, clearly, you have been misled - and allowed yourself to be misled. You have obviously never been to Jerusalem - there is no "East Jerusalem" but an Old City and a New City. The Old City contians the Jewish and Armenian Quarters, and it is news to me that they are, or ever were, Arab.


jose (not verified)

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 18:53

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2 points

The Old City contians the Jewish and Armenian Quarters, and it is news to me that they are, or ever were, Arab.

But amber, how can the UN be wrong? ;)

And for the Myopic Iris that might have forgotten Obama's promise:
http://www.rfi.fr/actuen/articles/103/article_1089.asp

"I continue to say that Jerusalem will be the capital of Israel," he said. "I have said it before and will say it again... but I've also said that it is a final status issue that has to be dealt with by the parties involved."

Obama's declaration that Jerusalem should be the undivided capital of Israel has angered Palestinians [sic].

So Jerusalem is and will be the capital of Israel, according to Obama, now president of the United States. And even if he doesn't do a second term, the one who will come after him is even more likely to confirm that statement.


Armchair Quarterback

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 18:56

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-3 points

Posner says...."So Israel, and Israel alone, decides what city is its capital."

Well I am sure Posner wouldn't deny the same right to every other country otherwise that would be double standards which as we know are a sure sign of...

Well how cool Ireland has always fancied having Paris as it's capital and the French aint got chit say in the matter


amber

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 18:58

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2 points

An excellent and eloquent post Matt, thank you. No rational person could refute this. It exposes the hypocrisy and racism behind the West's pressure on Israel.


amber

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 18:59

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2 points

armchair, you are clearly stephenb.


jose (not verified)

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 18:59

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2 points

Myopic Iris still has to give us an example of the rest of the world dictating to one country what should be its capital city. Has Myopic ever said that the rest of the world should tell the French that their capital city is Marseille or Trifouilly-les-Oies?

When someone holds Israel to a different standard than all the other countries in the world, what should we think about that person?


amber

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 19:03

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2 points

Exactly Jose - well, the UN got it right on Rwanda, didn't they? And as for putting Libya in charge of human rights and Zimbabwe in charge of economic development, who could possibly argue with such wise and moral decision making?


jose (not verified)

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 19:05

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2 points

Posner says...

Where is Posner, Wheelchair?

Well how cool Ireland has always fancied having Paris as it's capital and the French aint got chit say in the matter

Well, it seems that you don't understand the argument. That is exactly what Myopic Iris is saying: the rest of the world should dictate Israel what city is its capital and the Israelis don't have their say.

It was not my argument, Wheelchair. But as your reading comprehension is zero...

Of course, the Israelis (that is, me included) decide that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. When the 'Palestinians' will have their state, they will decide which city will be their capital (Ramallah, Nablus...). So they better negociate sooner than later, otherwise, there will be nothing left to negociate.


jose (not verified)

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 19:08

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2 points

And as for putting Libya in charge of human rights and Zimbabwe in charge of economic development, who could possibly argue with such wise and moral decision making?

And Saudi Arabia for women's rights! Wasn't that wise?
Myopic Iris cannot but agree with that, right?


jandrsimonson (not verified)

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 19:13

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-3 points

Jerusalem is one city in a physical contiguous sense.But as watchful Iris implies the world regards it as two cities in a political sense. The western half Israel can do with as it pleases.East Jerusalem the world has ear marked as the capital of a Palestinian state.

The world, including the US will get what it wants and increasingly wants, i.e. a viable two state solution which necessarily means East Jerusalem being the capital of the State of Palestine.

And Israelis can jump up and down and stamp their feet as much as they want, and have as many wobblers as they want and throw as many of their toys out of the pram as they want but the world won't change it's mind

It would greatly benefit Israel and everyone else if it would come out of denial about this sooner rather than later


jose (not verified)

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 19:20

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3 points

which necessarily means East Jerusalem being the capital of the State of Palestine.

Can you ever give me an example of a capital city divided in the world? No? So what makes you think this stupidity is the recipe for peace, when everyone with a brain knows it is a recipe for war and destruction?

but the world won't change it's mind

And you are the spokeperson for it, right? Well let me tell you that: first the US recognises that Jerusalem will be the capital of Israel, whatever happens. The rest depends on negociations but is not in the hands of the world. Just in those of Israelis and 'Palestinians'.


jandrsimonson (not verified)

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 19:25

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-2 points

Where is the US embassy located JoseAnth ?


jandrsimonson (not verified)

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 19:27

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-2 points

And by the way there is no " c " in " negotiations "


Armchair Quarterback

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 19:31

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-2 points

( And by the way there is no " c " in " negotiations " )

It's hard to say whether this is the native French speaker or the native Spanish speaker coming out in him


Yoni1

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 19:38

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1 point

More spectacularly dumb screeching from Simonson:

"Jerusalem is one city in a physical contiguous sense.But as watchful Iris implies the world regards it as two cities in a political sense. The western half Israel can do with as it pleases.East Jerusalem the world has ear marked as the capital of a Palestinian state"

Get it through your skull:
1. It's none of the world's business.
2. You don't speak for this absurd 'the world'.
3. In fact, there is no such thing as 'the world'. Individual countries push their own interests. These interests change. For example, at one time the USSR was supportive of Israel. Then it wasn't.
4. In this horse-trading, countries demand the maximum. Then they compromise. So France or Russia can scream all they like. When they realise they won't get what they want, they change their tune.
5. Only antisemites attempt to impose their will on Israel. And antisemites have had little success in recent years in telling Jews what to do. For quite ba while now, the Jews have told them to piss off - and will continue to do so.

Hence, Simonson, you can continue with your adolescent wet dreams about Israel knuckling under. It won't.


jose (not verified)

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 19:41

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3 points

Where is the US embassy located JoseAnth ?

Where is JoseAnth, stupid? The US embassy is where is chose to settle. What has that to do with the FACT that Jerusalem is the capital city of Israel? And you saw that Obama endorses it.
Please try to come up with arguments, not fairy tales.

And by the way there is no " c " in " negotiations "

Just to show how conscious you are that you lost the argument.

It's hard to say whether this is the native French speaker or the native Spanish speaker coming out in him

Well, we have some difficulty telling if you are really an native English speaker. As for me there is no doubt I'm not, but speaking fluently three languages, I am clearly and undoubtedly intellectually superior to you. "There is no glory in easy victories" as the French saying goes...


Yoni1

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 19:43

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0 points

"I am clearly and undoubtedly intellectually superior to you"

That's not saying much ...


jose (not verified)

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 19:51

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2 points

"I am clearly and undoubtedly intellectually superior to you"
That's not saying much ...

That is exactly what I said: "There is no glory in easy victories" as the French saying goes...


jandrsimonson (not verified)

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 20:27

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-3 points

"For quite ba while now, the Jews have told them to piss off - and will continue to do so."

I assume that by Jews you mean Israel

such arrogance but let's put that to one side

It's a bit simplistic to say that Israel has for quite a while told the world to piss off

It has been more a case of, give us your money, your armaments and your diplomatic support and then piss off

And the world , like any wise parent faced with a child having a tantrum, has smiled indulgently and rolled with it.

But eventually enough becomes enough


Yoni1

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 20:38

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1 point

More drivel from Simonson.

EVERY country looks after its own interests. If you don't know this, you are stupid. If you think only Israel isn't entitled to do this, you are an antisemite.

The world is a 'wise parent'?
Now I know you are stupid.


amber

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 23:21

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2 points

simonson, the arrogance is your - claiming to speak for "the world" - wow, such a grandiose view of yourself. By the way, the US maintains its embassy in Tel Aviv - but NOT because it regards the Old City (what you ignorantly call East Jerusalem - clearly you've never been there either) as Palestinian. They regard Jerusalem as disputed (and are wrong to do so). They do NOT call Tel Aviv Israel's capital, but keep their embassy there pending final agreements about Jerusalem.

So you're wrong.

In addition, I'd like to see anyone try to kick the Jews out of the Old City. Tell me simonson, in your ignorance and folly, what do you think should happen to the ancient Jewish quarter of Jerusalem? Should the Jews be kicked out?

Answer that specifically.


mattpryor

Sat, 01/15/2011 - 00:43

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2 points

Yes please jandrsimonson, Amber's question is a good one. Please answer it.

And why do you think Israel is a child, and who do you think is the parent? The US? UK? Russia? Tunisia?

You seem to think that you know what's best for Israelis better than they do! I think that's a bit weird!


mattpryor

Sat, 01/15/2011 - 00:47

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1 point

A side note to Brits: Apply what jandrsimonson says above to an Argentinian lecturing you about the Falklands! Interesting exercise.


jose (not verified)

Sat, 01/15/2011 - 05:53

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2 points

And arrogance might be on the world's side, by the way. Telling some other country what should be its capital city is an unheard of attitude.
And how arrogant it would be of the world to now behave like a parent to a child (Israel), when they failed the first duty of a parent: protect their child.


Armchair Quarterback

Sat, 01/15/2011 - 14:39

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-2 points

The first thing good parents have to protect a child from is itself That is of course what we are,admittedly belatedly, trying to do


jose (not verified)

Sat, 01/15/2011 - 15:21

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2 points

The first thing good parents have to protect a child from is itself

Well, that is easier. But they can't protect it from others. They already failed their duty as supposed parents.
Therefore they have no right to tell their non-child how to protect himself from the enemies the non-parents could not handle themselves. So bye-bye, Wheelchair!


amber

Sat, 01/15/2011 - 16:43

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2 points

Of course simonson doesn't answer - what a surprise.

More aimless waffle from armchair/stephenb.


Yoni1

Sat, 01/15/2011 - 17:33

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2 points

"That is of course what we are,admittedly belatedly, trying to do"

Is that the royal 'we', quarterbrain?


jose (not verified)

Sat, 01/15/2011 - 17:41

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2 points

By the way, "parents" that would always blame their "child" and not protect him from external attacks and never blame the attackers, what should they be called? "parents"? Or just plain "enemies"?


Yoni1

Sat, 01/15/2011 - 18:18

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2 points

I vote for 'antisemitic scum'.


stellasolomons

Sat, 01/15/2011 - 20:31

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1 point

the EU! - why do Jews need the EU? seriously.


Armchair Quarterback

Sat, 01/15/2011 - 20:47

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-2 points

Stella which jews do you have in mind ?


jose (not verified)

Sat, 01/15/2011 - 21:00

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2 points

Stella which jews do you have in mind ?

Who cares, Wheelchair? Still failing to tell who has a right to tell which is the capital city of Israel? And don't repeat "the rest of the world" since there is no other case of such 'right'. Besides, as I showed, USA thinks also that Jerusalem should be the capital city of Israel. So does most of the democracies.

But the capital city of Israel is determined by Israel itself. And only an imbecile would say it is Tel Aviv, just because some embassies are there. I remember the time when embassies refused to emigrate from Rio de Janeiro to Brazilia, when the latter became the capital city. Get that, gringo?


stellasolomons

Sat, 01/15/2011 - 23:19

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0 points

This is the Jewish Chronicle. Jews are its polemic.


amber

Sat, 01/15/2011 - 23:24

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4 points

armchai, which Jews do YOU have in mind?


jose (not verified)

Sun, 01/16/2011 - 05:59

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3 points

Maybe Wheelchair is same as Nasrallah: he thinks about ALL Jews, want them in Israel so he doesn't have to hunt them around the world.


Yvetta

Sun, 01/16/2011 - 15:18

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1 point

See http://muqata.blogspot.com/2011/01/israeli-arab-leader-demands-remove-ol...

Sheikh Raed Saleh is demanding all mezuzot be removed from the gates of the Old City.

The New Israel Fund (which the JC has been plugging lately) has a key affiliate called the Adalah organization, which has expressed support for Sheik Raed Salah.


Yvetta

Sun, 01/16/2011 - 15:18

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0 points

See http://muqata.blogspot.com/2011/01/israeli-arab-leader-demands-remove-ol...

Sheikh Raed Saleh is demanding all mezuzot be removed from the gates of the Old City.

The New Israel Fund (which the JC has been plugging lately) has a key affiliate called the Adalah organization, which has expressed support for Sheik Raed Salah.

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