Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein released the following statement:
The Obama administration hit a new low yesterday when U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner “strongly condemned” Israel for approving plans to build 98 apartment units in the existing Jewish community of Shiloh in Samaria, Israel and falsely claimed that this constitutes a “significant new West Bank Settlement.” Toner also ominously added that Obama might rethink his policy of vetoing anti-Israel UN Security Council Resolutions even while saying the policy has not changed, stating: “With regard to the UN Security Council and any action at the UN, our position hasn’t changed. We’re always concerned, frankly about one-sided resolutions…within the UN, and we’re always going to oppose those kinds of resolutions… But we’re going to carefully consider our future engagement, if and when we reach that point, and determine how to most effectively pursue and advance the objective that we all at least claim to share, which is that of achieving a negotiated two-state solution.”(“Approval of New West Bank Settlement,” Press Statement, Mark Toner, U.S. State Dept., Oct. 5, 2016.)
By contrast, in reaction to Iran’s horrific terrorism and human rights abuses, Obama’s State Dept. merely expressed “concern,” saying: “I assure you that the Administration shares your concerns about Iran’s actions …including its destabilizing activities in the Mideast and its human rights abuses, its support for terrorist groups like Hezbollah…and its ballistic missile program.”
The Shiloh apartments would provide replacement housing to Jews who are slated to be evicted from their homes in Amona, Samaria. Shiloh is located near the important ancient Jewish city of Shiloh. Shiloh, established by Joshua, son of Nun, 3,500 years ago, was the site of the tabernacle for 350 years, and is mentioned several times in the Hebrew Bible. It was reestablished in 1979 and has almost 4000 residents. See Welcome to Shiloh, Israel Breaking News, Sept. 3, 2015.
In response, Israel’s Foreign Ministry accurately explained that:
“The 98 housing units approved in Shilo are not ‘new settlements’. The units will be built on state land, within the existing municipal boundaries of Shilo. . . . The real obstacle to peace is not the ‘settlements’, but rather the ongoing Palestinian rejection to recognizing Israel.”
(“Israel Rejects State Department Criticism,” Arutz Sheva, Oct. 6, 2016)
The ZOA notes that the U.S. administration is also ignoring the facts that Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas refuses to negotiate with Israel; and that the PA has turned down numerous opportunities for a negotiated Palestinian state. Instead, Abbas and the PA continue to promote, applaud and finance the murder of innocent Jews. The PA and PLO continue to pay pensions to reward terrorists and the families of murderers of innocent Jews: the more Jews killed, the higher the pension. The PA also continues to name schools, streets, sports teams and camps after the killers of innocent Jews.
The Obama administration’s baseless condemnation of Israel for building some apartments currently appears on the front page of the U.S. State Department website – while there is no posting there about defeating ISIS or Islamic terrorism, despite the fact that, in the last week alone, many dozens of innocents have been murdered by Islamist terrorists.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein added, ”Mr. Toner’s harsh condemnation and ominous talk about rethinking U.S. policy on vetoing anti-Israel Security Council resolutions simply reaffirms the Obama Administration’s anti-Israel bias, its preoccupation with Jews building homes and living in the biblical, legal and historical heartland of the Jewish people, and the Administration’s neglect of actual pro-terror, anti-peace conduct of Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA) and the ongoing massacre in Syria.
“It is also important to note that Israel has the strongest legal, religious, political, and historic claims to Judea/Samaria.
“The territory of Judea/Samaria (West Bank) was earmarked for Jewish settlement in 1920 at the San Remo Conference. This decision, enshrined in the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine entrusted to Britain 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.
“The Arab states rejected the 1947 UN General Assembly partition resolution that called for an Arab and a Jewish state to be established in the territory of the British Mandate. As a result, no agreement on statehood and borders was ever reached. Jordan, illegally invaded and annexed Judea/Samaria and eastern Jerusalem from 1948 to 1967, and Israel recaptured these areas from Jordan in 1967 in a war of self defense. Then Jordan formally relinquished its claim to the territory in 1988.
When the Arabs rejected UN Resolution 181 forming a Jewish and a Palestinian Arab State, Judea/Samaria legally reverted back to the Jewish State in accordance with the previous legally binding international agreements.
“In the absence of a peace settlement, Judea/Samaria may legally revert back to the Jewish State because of the League of Nations/Article 80 Law-but at a minimum it is unallocated international land.
“As a result Israel is not ‘occupying and settling Palestinian Arab lands; Israel can lawfully permit Jews to live, and build homes and communities in this territory to which Israel has the strongest legal, historical, religious, and political claims.
“The Oslo agreements do not prohibit Israeli residence and construction in these territories; to the contrary, the Oslo agreements provide for Israeli and Palestinian Arab building in zones under their respective control. Oslo also lists this as a final status issue, to be negotiated by the parties themselves, and Israel is entitled to assert its right for its citizens to live and build in these territories until such time as a peace settlement is reached.
“Israel has repeatedly sought direct negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (PA) without conditions. It is the PA which has refused, barring two meetings held in one week over six years ago, to negotiate at all with Israel in nearly eight years.
“Moreover, these Jewish communities in Judea/Samaria occupy less than 2% of the territory in question. Jewish communities do not crowd out Palestinian Arab ones.