November, 20, 2019: Settling for legality

Readers of the Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Settling for legality
We learn in “W. Bank settlements not illegal, Pompeo declares” (November 19) that after a lengthy process of “carefully studying all sides of the legal debate,” the US has determined that there is nothing inherently illegal about Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.
The US declaration extremely distresses Arab and other anti-Israel activists whose arguments rest on questionable legal foundations and loaded terminology, such as “apartheid regime,” “illegal settlements,” “flagrant violation of international law,” “foreign colonial occupier,” “war crimes,” genocide and so on. Take away their gross exaggerations and big lies, and they are left with nothing to talk about and no way to express it.
The Pompeo announcement should not have been a surprise. Impartial international law experts have been explaining for decades why Israeli communities are legal.
The rabid reaction shows that those attacking the US announcement are desperately trying to cling to their anti-Israel libels and false terminologies. This was sadly predictable. Instead of expressing a logical interest in examining the legal work of the team of US experts who determined the legality of the settlements, they unleashed their wrath and condemnations – sight unseen. Truth, intellectual honesty and non-inflammatory speech, unfortunately, are not their strong cards.
The Trump administration deserves admiration for having the courage to speak out – almost a lone voice – for what’s right (especially after the last-minute stab in the back from Barack Obama). Let’s hope that the momentum now is for people to shift from knee-jerk vilification of Israel in ignorance and hatred to an embrace of fairness and coexistence.
Labeling goods and Jews
Euphemisms are useful to sanitize the depiction of people, events or behavior. Cutting through the legalese and the semantics, on November 14 the European Court, oblivious to the historical context and Europe’s shameful past, ruled that any fruit or vegetables grown by Jews, or goods or services exported by Jews from the West Bank, east Jerusalem or the Golan Heights, be labeled as exported by Jews (“Shame on Europe,” November 15).
Sounds familiar. We had a little bit of that in Limerick in Ireland in the early 1900s. We had a lot of that in Nazi Germany in the early 1930s and spreading out from there to contaminate large parts of Europe. Of course, I will be told by some European politicians and officials that the court’s focus was “settlers” not Jews. To so explicitly reference Jews would be egregious. It is merely a coincidence that “settlers” and Jews happen to be the same people.
It is a foreign policy objective of the European Union and of every EU member state to encourage peaceful resolution of the Israeli/ Palestinian conflict. It seems it has become an unspoken policy of the EU, embedded in the European Courts’ narrow perspective, that should violence ever end and should it prove possible for a two-state solution to be implemented as a result of constructive engagement between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, any united independent Palestinian State should be Judenrein. In a European context, such an aspiration for a state has a familiar ring to it. In a Middle Eastern context, it is an objective substantially achieved by all Arab states in the aftermath of Israel becoming a UN-recognized independent state in 1948.
A crucial step along the road to conflict resolution is encouraging Israelis and Palestinians to work together, engage across the divide, have greater understanding of each other’s problems and perspective. I have visited some of the Jewish people residing on the West Bank who are providing employment to thousands of Palestinians who would be otherwise unemployed or in low-paid jobs and talked to Palestinians there whose standard of living and job security have hugely improved. Labeling the goods they produce as demanded by the EU will make no positive contribution to reviving a moribund peace process, merely render such goods easy targets for a malevolent nihilistic boycott campaign and endanger Palestinian jobs.
What next? Perhaps Jews who reside in East Jerusalem, on the West Bank or the Golan Heights when traveling to an EU member state should be numbered and required to wear a yellow star. Now there’s something new for which the BDS fanatics could campaign. History dictates that such possibility is not far-fetched.
Former Irish minister for Justice and Defense
China’s irresponsibility
In “New energy in the friendship between China and Israel” (November 17), Chinese Ambassador Zhan Yongxin says China is taking up its responsibility as a major power. But Israelis regret that China never vetoes irresponsible anti-Israel resolutions in the United Nations Security Council – despite being one of five countries with veto power.
China routinely participates in condemning Israel, describing Israeli governmental activities in pejorative terms as having “no legal validity,” “constituting a flagrant violation of law,” and creating “negative trends.” China wrongly accuses Israel of “dangerously imperiling” the peace that Israel so assiduously seeks in this hostile region.
China denies Israel her right to build homes needed for natural growth of Israeli families. China enthuses over “land for peace” – which means Israel should give away land to the countries that are waging the wars. China insists Israel cannot be sovereign in Judea-Samaria, although the UN Charter’s Article 80 indicates the opposite.
The Israeli NGO that I represent has worked steadily working toward peace-for-peace since 1992, and hopes these concerns will be resolved. We have sent inquiries on these issues to Chinese diplomats; no reply has been forthcoming to date.
Mattot Arim (Israeli NGO)
Perpetuation the problem
Regarding “UN extends UNRWA’s mandate for three more years” (November 17), how sad. Now the poor Arab refugees will have to spend another three years in wretched camps in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and under Hamas and PA control in Gaza and Judea and Samaria, deprived of all civility, while the 30,000 members of UNRWA get paid well and their corrupt leaders grow even more wealthy.
This is not surprising. Everything under UN control is dominated by the 56-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation, whose aim is the overthrow of Western democracies and their replacement with a caliphate. The immediate goal is to siphon off as much money as possible from the developed world and transfer it to unelected co-conspirators.
That the refugees continue to languish is a blot on the UN.
That the useful idiots of the EU support UNRWA is a disgrace. Little wonder European cities are dangerous and their cultures in decline.
Author of Unfinished Work
Universal human rights?
According to “UN extends UNRWA’s mandate for three more years” (November 17) the “universal human rights of the Palestinian people” apparently are:
1) The right of Arab nations to initiate wars, causing people to flee their homes, and then trap those people and their descendants in perpetual refugee limbo.
2) The right of the leaders to enrich themselves by stealing funds donated (largely by the despised countries of the West) for the benefit of the people.
3) The right of the leaders to demand that Israel take in millions of people who’ve been raised in societies that highly honor and richly reward people who murder Jews.
Israel absorbed and uplifted 800,000 Jews thrust from their homes in the Muslim countries of the Middle East and North Africa, while rehabilitating Holocaust survivors, while recovering from damages inflicted in the Arab war waged in an effort to prevent Israel’s rebirth, and while dealing with terrorist incursions from lands held by Jordan and Egypt from 1948 to 1967.
The Palestine refugees and their descendants, living among people with whom they share language, ethnicity, and religion, should have been integrated into their countries of residence many decades ago. Arab insistence on using the plight of the refugees as a weapon in their war against Israel is denying funds desperately needed by the world’s current real refugees (many of whom have fled wars in the Middle East and Islamist persecution).
Will the nations of the world ever stop the charade and insist that Muslim countries take responsibility for their actions?
Atlanta, GA
People, not states, can be Jewish
The article “Americans believe religious influence is waning” (November 18) discusses the diverse opinions of Americans on the pros and cons of religious influence on the life of the country. Democrats and Republicans are largely split on most issues, including whether a decline of religious influence is a bad thing or a good thing.
The separation of church, synagogue, mosque and state is one of the great pillars of life in the USA. To be convinced, one has only to look at the demoralizing, destructive, polarizing and divisive influence of the Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox religious political parties in Israel. Some refuse to have their representatives serve in coalition government, others refuse to allow women to join their ranks, others reject the participation of their communities in defending the country or earning a living or educating their children in core subjects such as mathematics, English and science.
The ultimate oxymoron is the belief that somehow Israel can be a Jewish, democratic state. People can be Jewish; states cannot.
Messi business
Words cannot fully express the gratitude we in Israel feel toward those wonderful footballers from Uruguay and Argentina who came here to play for us their extraordinary brand of football (“Messi’s Mediterranean match,” November 19).
What a wonderful evening was experienced by all those lucky enough to be at the stadium and those of us who watched on the television. Much kudos goes to all those who arranged this game for bringing such joy and pleasure to everyone in this beleaguered country.
Mevasseret Ziyyon
Admirable strength and fortitude
A letter writer on November 18 criticizes Prime Minister Netanyahu’s handling of the recent “war” in Gaza for “being afraid of the consequences from the world were he to act like a leader, putting our people and country first and totally destroying our enemies, wherever they might be and without fear of collateral damage.” This is a viewpoint held by many others.
If only things were that simple. A disciple of Zeev Jabotinsky, Netanyahu realizes that change must come from within the people of a country and cannot be achieved by radical destruction from the outside. Jabotinsky wrote, “A living nation is ready for concessions on fateful issues such as these only when no hope is left for it to change the situation and when every breach in the ‘iron wall’ has been sealed.”
For us today this means that trial after trial of acts of terrorism must be foiled, attack tunnels destroyed, incendiary balloons and other flying objects obliterated, border infiltration and demonstrations shown to be ineffective, and so on, until it is finally realized that all resistance to the existence of the State of Israel is entirely hopeless.
Going in and simply “destroying them” would, on the long run, have the opposite effect. Unfortunately, this means that the admirable strength and fortitude shown by the citizens living on Gaza’s border, for which we must all be grateful, will continue to be required until the necessary change in attitude toward the State of Israel is achieved.
Flat in Jerusalem
In “Benjamin Netanyahu’s son is looking to rent in Jerusalem” (November 18), Hannah Brown says young people leave Jerusalem for the excitement of Tel Aviv.
Here is a truer version.
Young people born and bred in Jerusalem – lovers of the city – leave only because they cannot afford to rent, let alone buy a home in our Holy City. This is true for older lovers of Jerusalem as well.
Wake up, Jerusalem Municipality! Wake up, government of Israel! You are responsible. Legislate!
Diminish absentee owners – the obscenity of empty apartments – in Jerusalem. Ensure a growing presence in Jerusalem of vibrant young and old lovers of Jerusalem and strengthen the heartbeat of our nation!
Beit Shemesh
Address unknown
Regarding “154 UN nations call Temple Mount only by Muslim name Haram al-Sharif” (18th November), the government should simply ignore all documents that were sent with only the Muslim name, as “Unknown, return to sender” unless they also mention the Temple Mount.