Posted by: ZOA Staff
August 29, 2016
News Press Release

ZOA Criticizes Obama’s Claim that Israeli Hebron Housing Policy “Corrosive” to Peace

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has criticized the Obama Administration’s condemnation of Israel for merely announcing approval of planning of new housing for Jews in Hebron in Judea as false, insulting and inconsistent with the way one ally speaks publicly of another, irrespective of whatever differences they might have on substantive issues.

The State Department spokesman Mark Toner, told reporters that the Israeli government approval for building new dwellings in a Jewish neighborhood of Hebron was “a deeply concerning step of settlement expansion” and repeated a recent intensification of condemnatory language on such matters when he said, “We strongly oppose all settlement activity, which is corrosive to the cause of peace. And we’ve said repeatedly such moves are not consistent with Israel’s stated desire to achieve a two-state solution” (‘Mark C. Toner, Deputy Spokesperson, Daily Press Briefing, Washington, DC, August 23, 2016’).

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “We find Mr. Toner’s statement to be false, outrageous, insulting and inconsistent with the way one ally speaks publicly of another, irrespective of whatever differences they might ave on substantive issues.

Jewish communities comprise a mere 2% of the entire Judea/Samaria area.

“The Obama Administration need not lose any sleep over the fidelity of Israel’s commitment to peace. It’s commitment is rock solid, now and always, and this has been demonstrated over the years by Israel’s making concessions, including unilateral concessions, and taking risks beyond what prudence and the prevailing realities would counsel.

“I remind the Obama Administration that, in the years since the 1993 Oslo Accords, more Israelis were murdered by terrorists than in the entire 45 years of Israel’s existence that preceded the Accords as a result of the concessions it made to the PA –– and to whom the Obama Administration is urging Israel to make still more concessions, despite the fact that the PA remains an unreformed, terror-promoting and glorifying, anti-peace regime.

“There is, of course, no legal or moral basis for Israel’s reputation to be harmed because of permitting and enabling Jews to reside in Judea/Samaria, which is occurring, in any case, on a mere 2% of the territory in question and poses no obstacle to Palestinian Arab development. This is not a case of Jewish communities crowding out Palestinian ones. In any future peace agreement worthy of the name in which a Palestinian state alongside Israel is genuinely peaceful, Jews should be able to live in a Palestinian state just as Palestinian Arabs live in Israel.

“Contrary to the oft-heard claim that it is a violation of international law for Israeli Jews to live in and build homes and communities in Judea/Samaria, the 1920 San Remo Conference which drafted the League of Nations Charter, specially earmarked the territory of what became the British Mandate of Palestine, which includes the territory of Judea/Samaria, for Jewish settlement. This international determination, enshrined in the British Mandate for Palestine that shortly followed, has never been superseded by an internationally binding agreement. To the contrary, it was reaffirmed by Article 80 of the UN Charter.

“To mention Jewish residence in the territories at all as an obstacle –– or worse, as ‘corrosive’ –– to peace is factually incorrect, morally indefensible, politically dangerous and counter-productive.

“One wonders about this intensified criticism by the Obama Administration. It can have nothing to do with promoting peace. If the Obama Administration was serious on that score, it would be condemning Palestinian pro-terror, anti-peace behavior that genuinely renders peace impossible –– refusing to accept Israel as a Jewish state, refusing a peace settlement that would encompass and end further claims and conflict; insisting on a judenrein future Palestinian state; refusing to disband Palestinian terror groups; continuing incitement to hatred and murder within  the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps; and seeking to intensify the conflict with Israel and obtain recognition of Palestinian statehood internationally while evading peace talks with Israel.

“Rather, the Obama Administration’s intensified condemnation seems to have only one purpose –– to signal to America’s European allies that the U.S. does not object to intensified criticism and isolation of Israel. President Obama seems determined to harm Israel’s international standing, without actually calling for this, while blaming Israel for these results.”

“The Obama Administration seems to be endorsing a discriminatory, anti-Semitic policy whereby Israeli Jews –– and only Israeli Jews, because they are Israeli Jews –– are to be banned from building homes and living in communities in Judea/Samaria.

“Palestinians, in any case, have refused statehood whenever it was offered –– by the 1937 Peel Royal Commission report, by the 1947 UN General Assembly partition plan, by the Clinton peace parameters in 2000 and the further concessions to the PA contained in then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s peace offer in 2008. They have further refused negotiations for nearly eight years (excepting two meetings in one week in 2010).

“In this vein, it is worth remembering that the late Yitzhak Rabin, Prime Minister, signatory of the Oslo Accords and Nobel Peace Prize winner for concluding these Accords, specifically stated shortly before his death that the Jewish communities in the Judea/Samaria (and in Gaza – since dismantled) would continue to be developed.”

“President Obama should devote the remaining months of his Administration to genuine efforts to achieve peace by pressuring the PA to cease its pro-terror, anti-peace acts –– not compromise such efforts and bring them into disrepute by officially recycling pro-Palestinian propagandist falsehoods about  the ‘corrosive’ obstacle to peace posed by Israeli Jews –– and only Israeli Jews, because they are Israeli Jews –– living in Judea/Samaria.”