The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has opposed the Obama Administration for funding Palestinian construction projects in Judea and Samaria while at the same time demanding and publicly pressuring Israel to stop all Jewish construction in the same areas. This is despite the fact that Israel is only building within the boundaries of existing Jewish communities, which comprise only 4%-5% of the disputed areas of Judea and Samaria.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has been financing Palestinian infrastructure projects in these disputed territories, including projects that involve the construction of PA municipal buildings, as well as roads and other infrastructure. A World Net Daily report indicates that by aiding Palestinian construction of infrastructure in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, the U.S. has effectively been helping the PA create facts on the ground that could push disputed neighborhoods toward becoming part of a Palestinian state, including areas where the land in question is wholly owned by Jews.
Last month the State Department inaugurated a USAID-funded Palestinian school in Beit Ijza, a neighborhood about five miles northwest of Jerusalem. Development with U.S. aid has also been extended to northern Jerusalem neighborhoods of Kfar Akeb, Qalandiya and Samir Amis, which are close to the Jewish neighborhoods of Neve Yaacov and Pisgat Zeev in Israels capital. (Kfar Akeb, Qalandiya and Samir Amis are located entirely within the Jerusalem municipality and were populated by Jews until the 1948 war). This represents a stepping-up of U.S. assistance to Palestinian construction projects over and above funding for Palestinian development in eastern Jerusalem over recent years.
In Kfar Akeb in Jerusalem, an official sign reads in English, Ramallah-Jerusalem Road. This project is a gift form (sic) the American people to the Palestinian people in cooperation with the Palestinian Authority and PECDAR. 2007. The sign bears the emblems of the American and PA governments and of USAID and was not present when last checked in 2006. In these neighborhoods, official PA logos and placards abound, including one glaring red street sign at the entrance to the neighborhoods warning Israelis to keep out (Aaron Klein, Double-talking on Israel: U.S. aids Palestinians? Obama demands Jews stop construction while building PA foothold in same areas, World Net Daily, October 10, 2010).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, It is disturbing that the Obama Administration is adopting Palestinian positions, effectively acting as the lawyer/negotiator for the Palestinian Authority, demanding that Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria be stopped in order to one day create a Jew-free Palestinian state and aiding the PA in building up its presence even in eastern Jerusalem.
The Obama Administration itself states that Jerusalem is a final status issue to be negotiated directly between the two parties. If that is the case, then the Obama Administration should be doing nothing to bolster the Palestinian position in Jerusalem, which creates facts on the ground and therefore prejudices the outcome of those negotiations, should they ever occur.
We note that part of the explicit rationale of the Obama Administration opposing Jewish construction is that it creates facts on the ground. Why then are they not opposing the creation of facts on the ground by Palestinians? Worse, why are they funding these efforts with U.S. taxpayer money? Consistency requires that it start opposing Palestinian efforts to change the facts on the ground and cease funding these efforts.
The ZOA calls upon the Obama Administration to cease funding PA construction projects. We further call upon the U.S. Congress to investigate whether funding PA infrastructure developments in disputed territories is even a permissible use of U.S. funds, especially in light of continuing PA sponsorship of incitement to hatred and violence against Israel.