Asked and Answered


By Advis3r
March 23, 2011
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Unfortunately more histrionics and obfuscation appear on this site regarding the settlements. A definition of toxic is “causing serious harm or death”. Bloggers on this website would have you believe that Jews exercising their right of self-determination are the cause of harm and death. But is this not what the Nazis said of the Jews of Germany when they compared them to rodents. The use of vituperative adjectives when discussing fellow Jews living in Judea and Samaria should be condemned. As I have said argue the merits and legalities but do not follow the path of our enemies and resort to vile language to make a point – it only exposes the hollowness of whatever case you may think you have.
Jews have lived in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and the Gaza Strip throughout recorded history, until the 1948 War of Independence, when they were forced to flee the invading Arab armies.
Is it toxic for Jews to live in Golders Green or Borough Park? Then why should it be toxic for them to live in what was the cradle of Judaism?
In Hebron, the Jewish community existed throughout the centuries of Ottoman rule, until the massacre during the Arab rioting of 1929. Such settlements as Neve Ya’acov and the Gush Etzion block were established under the British Mandatory Administration, which allowed Jewish settlement in these areas. Even though British Mandate Authorities, particularly in the latter period of the Mandate, were not sympathetic to the Zionist cause, they nevertheless permitted the establishment of Jewish settlements in all areas west of the Jordan River, implementing the League of Nations Mandate.
As I have pointed out Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria 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. Contrary to the claim that the settlelements hindered the war in 1973 they slowed down the Syrian advance in the Golan. Evacuating civilian populations in times of war are common whether those civilans be in forwaerd positions or in the centre of population concentrations adjacent to strategic assets which might come under attack. One might just as well say the civilians in Tel Aviv pose a problem for the Army to be able to deploy as it wants.
• 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
In most parts of the world it is not considered a disaster if someone new comes to town and buys a farm or a dwelling. Only in Arab parts of the Middle East is it an unacceptable affront for a Jew to arrive with plans to stay. And “world opinion” only accepts this sort of behavior when it is the Jew who is being rejected. If a black person is denied the right to buy a house in the community of his choice, it is considered racial discrimination. If a Catholic can’t move into a Protestant neighborhood it is religious discrimination. And Americans, including Jews, are very careful to avoid any appearance of discrimination against Muslims. But if a Jew wants to buy a place to live in the West Bank, it is considered a brutal Israeli invasion.
By violently rejecting Jewish settlement, the Palestinian Arabs are exhibiting behavior which is unacceptable, even despised in the civilized world. In this they echo most other Muslim countries that have a prohibition on Jews living there, where land transfers to a Jew can carry the death penalty. These practices should be universally condemned and rejected. Arabs insist it is unacceptable for a few hundred thousand Jews to live among millions of Arabs while Israel’s Arab citizens are almost 20% of Israel’s population.
The settlement communities did not exploit any Arab ownership or displace any Arab community or farm. The Jewish settlements have been established only on:
• Land in pre-existing Jewish communities, or
• Land that was unowned (that is, was previously controlled by Jordan and had no private owner), or
• Land purchased from established owners.
The propagandistic idea of Palestinian Arabs being “forced out” is not the case. Much land was still empty or underutilized. Many Jews bought the land or dwelling they moved to. As I have previously blogged when public land was involved, Israeli settlements were established only after an exhaustive investigation process, under the supervision of the Supreme Court of Israel, designed to ensure that no communities were established on private Arab land.
Far from being toxic the settlements are part ofthe lifeblood of Israel.

COMMENTS

Leah

Wed, 03/23/2011 - 10:34

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Very well said indeed.
Unfortunately, every nation at war has its share of quislings.


Joe Millis

Wed, 03/23/2011 - 11:01

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The only ones I see playing into Hamas's hands and helping those opposed to Israel as a democratic Jewish state are the people who support the toxic, wasteful and hate-fuelled settlement enterprise. If I were given to banding about Nazi terminology like Holocaust revisionists, they are the true Quislings. But I'm not, so I just think they are poor, abused, misguided and self-delusional pawns.


Joe Millis

Wed, 03/23/2011 - 11:05

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Jews have every right to self-determination as a nation, as do the Palestinians. Self-determination for the Jewish nation in Israel, where they can be at least a 80 per cent majority. Self-determination for the Palestinians in Palestine, on the West Bank and in Gaza.
So for the future of both peoples, let's bring the settlers home to Israel, as olim chadashim with full rights and perks, so they can fulfil their potential where Israel really needs their energy and idealism -- the Negev and Galil.


Leah

Wed, 03/23/2011 - 12:15

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And as we know, there are NO Jewish settlements in the Negev and Galilee, at all at all ...


Advis3r

Wed, 03/23/2011 - 14:13

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I keep being told that I should come home. Believe me or not I consider that as compared Jews living in the diaspora I am more at home, in the sense of belonging, where I am now than where you are now. What if I do not want to live in what you call Israel - you have not defined what you include in that country, and rather I wish to stay in what you call my toxic settlement, after all many settlers have invested many years of their lives in this lawful enterprise and besides which they have an attachment for what is our ancestral home and the cradle of our religion, not things to give up lightly I would suggest. However let us for one (frightful) moment allow for the Palestinians to exercise a "right of self determination" in the West Bank where under the auspices of the UN they set up a peaceful democratic state called Palestine which they have told everyone they would do if given the chance. Please explain why, therefore, if Jews may freely live in England or France or even Russia with its long history of anti-Semitism those Jews wishing to remain in their toxic settlements (which would then be encompassed within this utopian Palestinian state we have for argument sake just created) should thereafter be forbidden from staying there - which is what the leader of the PA has vowed? Would this not be the ethnic cleansing of which the Arabs so frequently and unjustly accuse us of perpetrating against them?


Leah

Wed, 03/23/2011 - 14:46

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Keeping J&S Judenrein would, indeed, be ethnic cleansing.


Joe Millis

Wed, 03/23/2011 - 14:48

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Leah, there aren't enough Jews in the Negev or Galil, because too much of Israel's resources have been wasted on the West bank.


Joe Millis

Wed, 03/23/2011 - 14:53

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Advis3r, you are closer to home, indeed. However, if you live in a West Bank settlement, you aren't in Israel, which is what the country controlled before the 1967 war. Maybe sometime in the future, when a couple of generations have passed and learned to live with each other Jews can live as good neighbours in the Palestinian state. Unfortunately, now, the atmosphere has been made toxic by the settlers.
I feel sorry for my brother and sister settlers for having been duped into investing so much of their hopes and dreams, not to mention heavy government subsidies, in the occupied territories. But for the sake of achdut, of Jewish unity, they must return to Israel, so that we may all return one day, beyameinu, bekarov.


Leah

Wed, 03/23/2011 - 16:52

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"there aren't enough Jews in the Negev or Galil"

In your opinion. Plenty of people disagree.

"too much of Israel's resources have been wasted on the West bank"

In your opinion. Plenty of people disagree.

"the atmosphere has been made toxic by the settlers"

Never mind the antisemitic Fatah and Hamas: to this Israel-hater it's always the Joos, the Joos, it's the Joos wot done it.


Harvey

Wed, 03/23/2011 - 17:07

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Millis

Ad Nauseum . The settlements are not the root cause of the conflict. There was no occupation and no settlements on the West Bank and Gaza prior to 1967 . This did not prevent Arafats PLO from launching countless terrorist attacks on Israel killing hundreds of civilians between 48 and 67

You need to understand that nothing has changed except for the fact that now the Palestinians need to find a way to return to the original starting blocks having taken 10 steps back following the 67 War .

The root cause is Arab failure to accept Israel as an independent Jewish state and in particular ,the Hamas imperative to create an Islamic Waqf from the River to the Sea . This is non negotiable as far as they are concerned .

Should Israel withdraw from the West Bank as you suggest , Hamas would fill the vacuum in weeks if not days which would effectively leave Israel with Iran and its proxies within easy reach of Tel Aviv and of course a missile away from Ben Gurion .

But you know this already .


Lukas

Wed, 03/23/2011 - 17:11

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The simple fact - despite all the clever words and obfuscation, is that Palestinians were living in Palestine. They were expelled (ethnically cleansed, call it what you will) and have been resisting further expulsions and occupation ever since.

One has to admire their tenacity, courage and patience.


Joe Millis

Wed, 03/23/2011 - 17:25

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Leah, there aren't enough Jews in the Negev and Galil. In fact, there is already a non-Jewish majority in Galil and close to one in the Negev, because successive Israeli governments were busy diverting resources away from those areas, which could have been -- and still can be -- developed as centres of industry and excellence and relieve pressure on the overcrowded centre.
Since the occupation began, 40 billion dollars at least have been spent on the settlement enterprise. How many schools, hospitals, high-speed train links to the north and south would that have paid for?
The settlements have been mainly toxic for Jews and Israel. They have poisoned discourse and now they have created a generation of messianist Jews who listen to hate-filled rabbis, not from the sovereign state.
I don't care about Fatah or Hamas, they have their own little helpers and those who support the settlements play into their hands.


Joe Millis

Wed, 03/23/2011 - 17:27

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Harvey, we are living in the here and now, not before 1967. Now we have the opportunity to right an historical injustice, caused mainly by the Arabs, and to ensure Israel continues to be a Jewish and democratic state. Or would you rather have an isolated state sliding towards apartheid?
Creating a single entity between the River and the Sea is an affliction that affects not only Hamas.


Leah

Wed, 03/23/2011 - 18:27

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"The simple fact - despite all the clever words and obfuscation, is that Palestinians were living in Palestine. They were expelled (ethnically cleansed, call it what you will) and have been resisting further expulsions and occupation ever since"

Amazing. Every single word that Lukus writes is a fabrication, including 'the' and 'and'. Must be some sort of record.
1. There are no 'Palestinians'.
2. There isn't such a thing as 'Palestine'.
3. They were not 'expelled' ...
4. ... let alone 'ethnically cleansed' *)
5. Arabs have not been 'resisting', but carrying out non-stop mass-murders of Jews, simply for being Jews.

No wonder that Lukus admires the profound racism exhibited by his friends, Hamas.

*) There are more Arabs in Israel now than in 1948, genius.


Leah

Wed, 03/23/2011 - 18:29

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JM thinks that by repeating the idiotic word 'toxic' ad nauseam, he will sell his big lie to the ignorant. Not on this blog, babe.


Leah

Wed, 03/23/2011 - 18:31

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"I don't care about Fatah or Hamas, they have their own little helpers"

And on this thread, that's you and Lukus.


Harvey

Wed, 03/23/2011 - 18:57

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Millis

The problem is that the here and now is the carnage of Jerusalem bus station today and the massacre in Hebron in 1929. It is one and the same and it will not be relieved by Israels withdrawl from the West Bank. It will only be solved by Palestinian acceptance and recognition of the soverign status of Israel as a Jewish homeland and by the dismantlement and disarmament of all Palestinian terrorist militia .


Joe Millis

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 12:08

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No, Leah, those who do Hamas's work for them in the UK, apart from those in PSC, SWP and their ilk, are the people who think that Israel can do no wrong and that it must hold on to the West Bank and subjugate the Palestinians therein. They lead people to believe that all people who support Israel back all of its government's actions against the Palestinians irrespective, thus giving themselves absolutely no credibility.
True supporters of Israel -- real believers in the Jews' right to a national homeland in the Middle East - tell it that it cannot continue its slide towards apartheid and at the same time remain a Jewish democratic state of which we can all be proud and with which we can all identify.


Joe Millis

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 12:09

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The problem, Harvey, will be solved when Israel ceases to delude itself that it can continue with its arrogance and with the occupation and subjugation of another people.


Joe Millis

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 17:01

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Leah, people who think that Israel can continue to occupy the West Bank and subjugate the Palestinians are doing Israel absolutely no favours, however well-intentioned their motives.
I'm sure that you think you are supporting Israel, but honestly you aren't. You are helping it with its self-delusions, telling it what it ,strong>wants to hear rather than what it needs to hear.


Advis3r

Fri, 03/25/2011 - 11:33

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Just a point of information Mr Millis does the Saudi Information Ministry pay you by cheque or credit transfer?


Joe Millis

Fri, 03/25/2011 - 11:35

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Advis3r, I was wondering the same about those who believe Israel should hold on to the occupied territories. They are, after all, doing the anti-Zionists' work for them.

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