by Yehudit Shier Weisberg
In this last part of the series, I will discuss three additional and common terms that need to be challenged at every opportunity. For not only do these terms support Arab propaganda, they presuppose a “solution” that would result in the destruction of Israel!
No matter what “solution” one calls for, giving up land or not, we must affirm, over and over again, that Israel is NOT an occupier. Article 80 of the UN charter clearly states that rights gained through a mandate will not expire as a result of the expiration of the mandate. And these rights, according to the Mandate for Palestine given to the Jewish people, include the territories of Gaza, Judea and Samaria.
In part two of this series, I discussed the continuous Jewish habitation of these lands for thousands of years, until the Arabs slaughtered and expelled every last Jew. The occupation by Jordan lasted only 19 years. This did NOT turn Judea and Samaria into Arab land. In addition, according to international law, in order to be an occupier one has to seize land from a previous sovereign entity; however, the Jordanian occupation and annexation of Judea and Samaria were never recognized and accepted by the international community. Calling Judea and Samaria “Palestinian territories” is even more absurd: there was never any Palestinian sovereign entity.
Some pro-Israel people refer to Judea and Samaria as “disputed territories”. I disagree with this label. The Arabs have NO valid claim to this land. Although Israel has not exerted sovereignty over these areas, they are legally defined as Jewish land and called Judea and Samaria.
According to the Mandate whose terms have not expired (see above), Jews are allowed to settle ANYWHERE west of the Jordan River “on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.” No Jewish communities, even un-authorized ones, were knowingly built on “private” Arab land (including land given by King Hussein during Jordan’s occupation to private Arabs). No Arab homes were destroyed, no Arab residents were expelled, and no Arab farmland was seized in creating any of these Jewish communities.
Each report by an anti-Israeli NGO of the percentage of “privately owned Arab land” on which the Jewish settlements are built gives a different percentage figure, sometimes there are even two contradictory figures within one “report”, and not even one document in support of these statistical claims is presented.
Jews living in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria live in suburbs, communities, towns, cities, while the term “settlements” has taken on a negative connotation. Interestingly, the term “illegal settlements” does accurately portray illegal Bedouin and Arab land grabs in the Galilee, the Negev and Judea and Samaria.
“the two-state solution”:
This term implies two things – that the two states should be west of the Jordan River, and creating an additional Arab state in this area would be a SOLUTION to the conflict. It is enough to cite two quotes from the PA leadership to dispel the notion that they view this as a solution. On July 19, 2013, on the eve of the renewed “peace talks” with Israel, PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash, in the presence of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and broadcast on official Palestinian Authority TV, said that when PA leaders signed agreements with Israel, they knew how to walk “the right path, which leads to achievement, exactly like the Prophet [Muhammad] did in the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah.”.
As a reminder, Muhammad signed a 10-year truce at Hudaybiyyah with the tribes of Mecca, but two years later he attacked and conquered them. In December 2013, a senior Palestinian Authority official told Syrian TV “You can relax. We find ourselves united for the first time. Even the most extreme among us, Hamas, or the fighting forces, want a state within the ’67 borders [sic]. Afterward, we [will] have something to say, because the inspiring idea cannot be achieved all at once. [Rather] in stages.” Thus, according to the Arabs, having two states west of the Jordan River would not provide a solution to the conflict.
When the term “two-states” is used, we should question the speaker – the original two states, or the newly proposed one? For, as I mentioned in part one of this series, the land that was part of the Mandate for Palestine was already divided between the Jews and Arabs, with the Arabs receiving over 77% of this land! Anyone looking at the topographical map of Judea and Samaria in relation to the rest of Israel cannot but understand that unlike the flat Gaza Strip, the limestone hills that comprise Judea and Samaria dominate the urbanized Coastal Plain, together with much of Israel’s vital infrastructure, its only international airport, vital centers of civilian government and military command – and 80 percent of its population and commercial activity. We know what happened when Israel left Gaza. Calling for a “two-state solution” west of the Jordan River is calling for Israel’s destruction.
In this three-part series, I have discussed how certain terms that are commonly used reinforce Arab propaganda and harm Israel and the Jewish people. I encourage you to purge these terms from your vocabulary, and stand up for justice and truth.