Today is June 7th. On June 7th, 1967, the Israel Defence Forces liberated the Old City of Jerusalem from the yoke of the illegal Jordanian occupation. In Israel, we celebrate this according to the Jewish calendar, on 28th Iyyar. I already blogged about it a few weeks ago, so why am I mentioning it again today? Because of the EU threat yesterday to back the “Palestinians” at the Hague, if Israel doesn’t freeze building in the so-called “occupied territories” including “Arab East Jerusalem”.
First of all, let’s be clear about one thing. Jerusalem was a Jewish city long before the Arab invaders swarmed all over the Middle East and North Africa, imposing Islam at the point of the sword. Not only was it “a” Jewish city. It was “the” Jewish city, our capital, our political and religious centre. During the long years of alien occupation, although political sovereignty was lost to us, it remained the heart and soul of the Jewish people, who prayed (and still pray) three times daily for its liberation and renewal. During the illegal Jordanian occupation between 1948 – 1967, not a single Jew was allowed to visit the Jordanian-occupied part of the city, let alone live there. Do the Europeans, who allowed the Holocaust to happen, and who never protested at the denial of Jewish rights in Jerusalem, really think we are going to cede our rights in our Eternal Capital?
Secondly, even if we were ready to cede some rights, this is a matter for negotiation with the “Palestinians”. That’s what negotiations are for – to negotiate. If the Europeans force us to accept a building freeze prior to negotiations, what incentive have the “Palestinians” to negotiate? All they need do is to impose more and more pre-conditions and wait for the Europeans to pressure us into accepting them.
Thirdly, let’s say that a building freeze is no more than a goodwill gesture to kick-start the stalled peace talks. We’ve already seen this movie! In November 2009, Netanyahu imposed a 10-month building moratorium in Judaea and Samaria, as a goodwill gesture (one of many, unilateral, goodwill gestures Israel has made over the years). Does anyone remember any “Palestinian” goodwill gestures? I thought not.
For the next ten months, the “Palestinians” came up with excuse after excuse not to return to direct peace talks. When the ten months were finally up, they refused to negotiate unless the building moratorium was extended. Hallo! Been there, done that! Why should we extend the building freeze (which wasn’t justified, in any case), when it’s clear that even that won’t bring the “Palestinians” to the negotiating table.
But, beyond all that, there is the question – why should continued Israeli building be considered “a barrier to peace”? After all, Israel has demonstrated, in the past, her willingness to uproot whole cities, in her search for peace. Remember Yamit and Ophira, anyone? All that was as a result of direct negotiations. But the “Palestinians” don’t want to negotiate. This is nothing but an excuse. The only way Israeli settlements in Judaea and Samaria can be considered “an obstacle to peace” is when we remember Abu Ma’azen’s declaration that not a single Jew will be allowed to remain in the “Palestinian” state.
And finally – can one really trust the EU to support Israel even if we do surrender to this outrageous and unjustifiable demand? Czechoslovakia once put her faith in the European powers. I can almost picture Catherine Ashton waving a piece of paper and promising “Peace in our time”.