ZOA Urges Olmert Government: Drop Plans To Expel Jews From Judea & Samaria
September 4, 2008


Has Olmert learned nothing from Gaza?




The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has urged the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to drop plans to expel Jews from Judea and Samaria following an abrupt announcement from Olmert’s office that his government will be discussing such a plan on September 7. According to Olmert’s office, the plan has been coordinated by Vice Premier Haim Ramon and would involve the voluntary relocation and compensation of Jews living in Judea and Samaria (Dr. Aaron Lerner, ‘[Calling AG Mazuz’s bluff] Statement from PM’s Media Adviser: Gov’t to discuss relocation and compensation from Judea and Samaria next Sunday,’ Independent Media Review Analysis, September 3, 2008).


Recent Israeli polls showing public opposition to territorial concessions and uprooting of Jews:


·        A July 2008 Maagar Mohot Survey Institute poll shows that nearly three-quarters – 73% – of Jerusalem’s residents (including Israeli Arabs) oppose the division of the city with physical barriers, as opposed to only 27% who would be willing to support it (Israeli Arabs comprise roughly 30% of Jerusalem’s population).

·        An October 2007 Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research and the Evens Program in Mediation and Conflict Resolution of Tel Aviv University poll has shown that a clear majority of Jewish Israelis – 59 percent to 33 percent – oppose, even in return for a peace agreement, Israel handing over to the PA various Arab neighborhoods in the eastern half of Jerusalem.

·        A May 2007 Dahaf Institute poll for the Knesset Channel found 68 percent of Israelis oppose withdrawing from the Golan Heights and that 53 percent oppose withdrawals from Judea and Samaria, in both cases, even in return for a ‘real peace.’

·        A March 2007 INSS (previously Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies) poll showed that 72 percent of Israelis oppose uprooting Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. It also showed only 28 percent of Israelis support the ‘land for peace’ formula, 58 percent oppose it.


ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “Has Prime Minister Olmert learned nothing from the disastrous 2005 Gaza withdrawal or from any of the other negotiated withdrawals under Oslo, all of which led to the same thing: bringing Palestinian terrorism into the Israeli heartland, rendering Israelis more vulnerable and less secure than before? He does not appear to have realized that the conflict with the Palestinians is not over territory or resources, but over Israel‘s existence, as it has always been. Giving up territory, therefore, will not solve the problem – it will worsen it.


“It is not surprising but nonetheless deeply troubling that the Olmert government is proceeding with plans that are ill-advised, have enjoyed no public discussion and which lack the support of the Israeli public so far as every relevant poll on the subject is concerned. Only a little more than a year ago, nearly three-quarters of the Israeli public explicitly opposed the idea of uprooting innocent civilians from their homes, destroying their thriving communities and conceding the territory to the PA.


“As with the question of the Olmert government pursuing by secret diplomacy far-reaching, irreversible concessions to the unreconstructed terror-supporting Syrian regime, we can only ask how is it possible that a democratic government comes to far-reaching understandings on major concessions with a third party without any of this being subject to normal parliamentary scrutiny or public discussion.


“It is astonishing too that these moves can be undertaken by a government that is supposed to be transitional, in which its leader is imminently standing down and at a time when new elections are likely to be held. On any calculation, such a government is simply not empowered to make these decisions, even if these decisions were wise ones, which they are not. We urge the Olmert government to cease even discussing concessions and rewards to the PA until and unless the PA fulfils its Oslo commitments to end terrorism and the incitement to hatred and murder in its media, mosques, schools and youth camps that feeds it.”


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