“Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.” Golda Meir
“I will never allow a single Israeli to live among us on Palestinian land.” Mahmoud Abbas
It was reported over a week ago that the European Union was planning a boycott against Jewish communities in Samaria, Judea, Eastern Jerusalem and even the Golan Heights. Guidelines were published in the EU’s Official Journal on the 19th of July, forbidding EU member states from funding or dealing with “entities in territories located beyond the 1949 Armistice Line.” The Preamble says in part, “The EU does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over… the Golan Heights, Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including east Jerusalem… and does not consider them to be part of Israel’s territory, irrespective of their legal status under domestic law.”
When Israeli officials voiced their concerns over the planned boycott, France’s Ambassador to Israel said that, “the new guidelines were a continuation of European policy on settlements.”
Legal experts say there is no legal basis because Judea and Samaria are not officially occupied territories as “the area was never defined as such [under international law] and therefore the EU’s continuous use of this terminology undermines the negotiations for a permanent [peace] deal. … The EU’s perception of the Israeli settlements’ illegality stems from various different interpretations of international law.” They added that the EU’s constant use of the term “1967 borders” has no legal basis as the “ceasefire agreement of 1949 between Israel and its Arab neighbors stipulates that the cease-fire lines cannot be construed as international borders.”
Mahmoud Abbas and others have stated publically that once a Palestinian state is established, it must be completely free of Jews and the EU knows this. Nothing about this boycott seems logical as Jews have been gone from Gaza for years, and the Golan Heights have never considered by others as “Palestinian”, but Syrian. The boycott would mean that over 500,000 business people, including Arabs will not be allowed to operate beyond the line with any European nation. Farmers, wine merchants, small manufacturers, teachers and scientists live in the territories, and do business with non-Israeli Arabs.
Others besides Israeli’s have been speaking out against the boycott, knowing it will not just be Israeli’s who will be hit hard by it. It will also be “disastrous economically and socially for the Palestinian community.” A senior PA official claimed, and added that the EU move will freeze joint projects between the two communities and force Israelis to stop hiring Palestinians. Unemployment is high for Arabs living in Judea and Samaria, about 20 percent. Over 22,000 Arabs are employed by Jewish communities, and earn a higher wage than others throughout the territories.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had strong words for the EU. “It hardens the Palestinian positions, it causes Israelis to lose confidence in the impartiality of Europe,” he said. “I think for years the Europeans have been whining about the fact that the Americans are not involved enough. Now that they are involved, this action actually undermines the American effort. It undermines the negotiations.”
This brings us to the next question: what of the Peace talks? It was reported that John Kerry announced in Amman, Jordan that “initial talks would resume in Washington very soon.”
According to the report, negotiations would “focus on attaining an interim peace accord” without determining final borders for establishing a Palestinian state in broad areas of the West Bank from which Israeli would withdraw and would be “subject to trilateral US-Israeli-Palestinian agreement on security arrangements and require some Jewish settlements to be removed.”
It was also reported that Obama will send Abbas a letter affirming U.S. recognition that the object of the negotiations is to establish a Palestinian state as the national home of the Palestinian people whose borders will be based on 1967 lines. He will send another letter to Netanyahu affirming that the negotiations must lead to the recognition of the state of Israel as the national home of the Jewish people, whose future borders will be based on the 1967 lines.
According to US News, former U.S. ambassador to Israel who served under Bill Clinton, Martin Indyk who is now at the Brookings Institute will shepherd the talks. Indyk also played a significant role in the failed 2000 Camp David peace talks
Prime Minister Netanyahu promised he would bring any agreement he reaches with the PA to a national referendum saying, “I believe this is necessary… I do not think decision like these can be reached – if an agreement is, indeed, reached – through some kind of coalition-related maneuver. Rather, this thing needs to be brought to the nation, for it to decide.”
Whatever happens in the coming days and months, it will be interesting to see if these talks can actually achieve what so many others have not. Days when Israeli children can go to school or to play without fear of rocket attacks.
This brings me to the last point about this whole peace process which has been going on for over 3 decades now.
Arab countries which border Israel are comprised of a total of approximately 1,877,439 square miles, and that’s only counting Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt. When you throw in Iran, Syria and Iraq, that total land size grows to 2,752,713 square miles. Consider that size, when thinking of Israel which is a total of 7951.6 square miles, or a size roughly the same as Rhode Island.
For religious history, consider the city of Jerusalem. Jerusalem is mentioned in the Old Testament 850 times and is called by the name Jerusalem, Salem, or the Hebrew word Zion, and Moriah. In the New, it is mentioned 142 times. Zion is the most Holy City on the face of the planet for Jews, and has been Israel’s capital since the time of King David. The Most Holy place, along with the Temple, which now is only the base called the Temple Mount. Even as the nation was scattered among other nations, the people always have longed for Jerusalem and have always turned toward Jerusalem to pray. Those who are in Jerusalem pray towards the Temple Mount. Archaeological history also supports Israeli claims to the land for well over 4000 years, and supports both Old and New Testament accounts of places and people of those times.
For Muslims, Jerusalem is considered the third holiest site for Islam, yet it is not mentioned one time in the Koran, except for a verse in Sura 17 which describes a dream of Mohammed, as follows: “Glory be to Him, who carried His servant by night from the Holy Mosque (in Mecca) to the further mosque (al-masjid al-Aqsa), the precincts of which we have blessed.”
The actual location of al-Aqsa (the “further mosque”) in Mohammed’s dream ride is never mentioned. Some early Muslims understood al-Aqsa metaphorically, or as a place in heaven. It is claimed that Mohammad made a night pilgrimage to heaven, his foot leaving the mount which is Mount Moriah.
The Dome of the Rock sits on top of much of what is sacred to Jews- the offering of Isaac by Abraham to God, the threshing floor of Ruth and Boaz, and the site of the first Temple built by their descendant, Solomon.
The land of Israel, and the surrounding territories was given the name Palestine by the Romans as a slur to the Jews and others living in region which was considered backwards and insignificant. Since the name Palestine was given for all the people who lived there, this would include Jews as well, not only Arabs, so the whole concept of a “palestinian race” is not supported by history.
The only true Jewish homeland is the State of Israel, in which Jews and Arabs live. One would think that with the millions of miles surrounding this one tiny parcel of land, Arabs would be able to assimilate in any of these surrounding areas. They will not however, because the goal of these Arab nations has always been the annihilation of Israel.
It is interesting that this one tiny nation is the most hotly contested piece of real estate in the world. People can argue to no end about the history of the Jewish people, who more than any other race of people have been in slavery, been persecuted and murdered simply because they are Jewish.
Although I pray for a peaceful solution as millions of others do, I see no end to it from man made plans. Not without a change in the hearts of the Arab people. There have been so called peace plans and “truces” which have always been recognized by Israel, but never for long from her enemies as they have answered those truces with rocket fire.