NEW YORK – The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has protested the Bush administrations double standard of penalizing Israel for its construction activity in Judea-Samaria and large parts of Jerusalem, while refraining from penalizing the Palestinian Arabs for their illegal, and much more widespread, construction in those areas.
The Bush administration announced (N.Y. Times, Sept.17, 2003), that it will be withholding part of the loan guarantees that it promised Israel, to punish Israel for building in areas beyond the 1967 border meaning in Judea-Samaria as well as many sections of Jerusalem, including the Jewish Quarter, French Hill, Ramat Eshkol, and the Mount Scopus area where Hebrew University and Hadassah Hospital are situated. Israeli construction in those areas is not prohibited either by international law or by the Oslo accords.
The Palestinian Arabs in the territories are building at more than ten times the rate of the Israelis, according to an Israeli government spokesman. (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 21, 1996)
A Jerusalem Municipality official said recently: Thousands of houses have been built [in eastern Jerusalem] without permits, sometimes with the help of the Palestinian Authority and some Arab countries. (Jerusalem Post, August 19, 2003) An internal Israeli government study (quoted in the Jerusalem Post, April 21, 1998) found that Illegal Palestinian construction is rampant in the territories, and that the Palestinian Authority is encouraging illegal Palestinian construction in an attempt to predetermine final status talks on the future of the territories.
Yet the Bush administration is going ahead with its plan to give the Palestinian Arabs $215-million in aid this yearmore than double last years amount, which was $100-million.
For a copy of the ZOAs new report, Palestinian Arab Construction in Jerusalem and Judea-Samaria, please call the ZOA at 212-481-1500. ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: To penalize Israeli construction while turning a blind eye to the much larger issue of illegal Palestinian Arab construction, constitutes a deplorable double standard.
A poll carried out by John McLaughlin & Associates among a scientific sample of 1,000 American adults earlier this year, found:
* 61% Say Jewish Construction in Territories Should be Permitted: Asked if both Jews and Arabs should be allowed to build in the territories, as they do now, or if Jews should be prevented from building there (as the Road Map proposes), 61.5% said both Jews and Arabs should be allowed to build; only 13.5% said that only Arabs should be allowed.
* 63% Say Jews Should Be Allowed to Live in Territories: Asked if both Jews and Arabs should be allowed to live in the territories, as they do now, or if only Arabs should be allowed to live there, 63.3% said both Jews and Arabs should be allowed; only 9% said that only Arabs should be allowed.
* Only 10% Say Settlements Are Main Obstacle to Peace: Asked what is the main obstacle to peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs and given four choices the ongoing Arab violence; Palestinian Arab non-recognition of Israel; Israels anti-terror tactics; and the existence of Jewish communities in the territories only 10% blamed the Jewish communities as the main obstacle to peace.
* 64% Oppose Expelling Jews from the Territories: Asked if Jewish residents of the territories should be expelled (as the Palestinian Authority and the Road Map propose), 64.1% said they disagree or strongly disagree with expulsion. Only 16.5% somewhat agree or strongly agree with the idea of expelling them.
* Almost 2-1 Say Jews Have Strongest Historical Claim to Land: Asked whether the Jews or the Arabs have the strongest historical claim to Judea-Samaria and Gaza, 31.1% said the Jews; only 18.8% said the Arabs (the remainder were undecided or declined to answer).