The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has applauded the Anti Defamation League (ADL) for taking out a full-page advertisement in todays New York Times to tell President Barack Obama, Mr. President, The Problem Isn’t Settlements, Its Arab Rejection of Israel.
In its advertisement, the ADL said, The obstacle to peace is not Israel. The settlements are not the impediment. The issue is simple: the Arab and Palestinian rejection of Israel’s right to exist, including through violence and terrorism, for over 60 years. Israels right to exist is undeniable and is based on its right to self-determination in its historic homeland. The path to peace is clear. With recognition, Israel has said again and again that everything is on the table without preconditions. Mr. President, it’s time to stop pressuring our vital friend and ally. Its now time to direct your attention to the rejectionists who refuse to recognize Israel and negotiate an end to the conflict (The Problem isnt Settlements, Anti-Defamation League, August 4, 2009).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, We commend the ADL for taking the step of publishing a prominent advertisement to convey the message one that would enjoy the support of the majority of Israelis, as recent polls indicate that Jews living in and moving to Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem are not obstacles to peace; rather, Palestinian Arab refusal to accept Israel as a Jewish state, to fight and end terrorism and to end the incitement to hatred and murder against her is the reason peace has not been achieved.
It is both factually wrong and a moral travesty to argue that people, simply because they are Jews, should not be allowed to move into Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem. It would be a strategic error for Israel to agree to a construction freeze, because it would lend credence to the utterly false notion that Jews living in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem pose an obstacle to a peace agreement with the Palestinians while achieving nothing for the cause of peace.
The efforts to stop Jews from living in or moving to these territories assists Palestinian and Arab propaganda efforts to distract focus from the real issue of Palestinian extremism and non-acceptance of Israel which are the root of the conflict. It disseminates the idea that Jews have no right to live in these areas, the historical and religious heartland of the Jewish people. And it lends credence to the false notion that peace can be built by making these territories judenrein.
Peace has not been achieved because the Palestinians have not fulfilled their nearly 16-year old obligations under the Oslo agreements and 2003 Roadmap peace plan to arrest anti-Israel terrorists; outlaw terrorist groups and end incitement to hatred and murder against Jews and Israel in their media, mosques, schools and youth camps. Instead, they continue to glorify terrorists by naming schools, streets, sports teams and colleges after them; disseminate heroic posters of suicide bombers throughout Arab towns and exclude Israel from their maps, atlases and school texts. Abbas Fatah partys new emblem shows all of Israel covered with an Arab headdress, next to a large rifle, with Arafat in the middle. Above all, they have not educated their public for peace and acceptance of Israels legitimacy as a Jewish state.
We also must recall that there were no Jews in these territories when they were under illegal Jordanian occupation (1948-67), yet there was no peace and no Arab acceptance of Israel.
Jewish growth in Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem has a fundamental legitimacy and poses no obstacle to a true peace if Palestinians are ready for one, so the Obama Administrations insistence on a construction freeze would remain inappropriate even if the prospect of genuine peace negotiations with a truly peaceful Palestinian partner were possible.