PM Bennett Needs to Ignore U.S. Pressure
Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein released the following statement:
We are deeply concerned by the revelation this week that during President Biden’s meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Bennett on August 27, 2021, Biden pressured Israel to show “restraint” regarding building in “settlements” (meaning Jewish homes and communities in Judea/Samaria and Jerusalem). Further, the reports revealed that the Biden administration has similarly pressured Israel every week ever since the August summit. Such U.S. uncalled-for bullying and pressure on our ally Israel drives a wedge between our countries; undermines Israeli (and hence U.S.) security; will hinder – rather than help – peace; grossly interferes with Israel’s sovereign rights in her lawful historic Jewish land; and impedes Israel’s ability to house the thousands of Jews who are fleeing to Israel from sky-rocketing worldwide antisemitism and/or making Aliyah to realize the Jewish dream of returning to our homeland. Further, freezing building Jewish homes constitutes blatant anti-Jewish discrimination.
Unfortunately, the Biden administration’s wrong-headed demands are not surprising, in light of the long list of major Biden appointees who are enormously hostile towards Jews and Israel. These hostile-to-Israel Biden appointees include: Biden’s Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs Reema Dodin – who justified and encouraged suicide bombings against Jews, organized anti-Israel rallies, and spread Medieval-style anti-Israel blood libels; Biden’s USAID Chief Samantha Power – who enabled the passage of extreme anti-Israel UN Security Council Resolution 2334, and called for the U.S. to give the Palestinian Authority terror regime a “protection force” against Israel; and Biden’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israeli-Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr, who wrote that he “was inspired by the Palestinian intifada” (the Palestinian-Arab terror war in which Arab terrorists murdered or maimed 10,000 Jews); Maher Bitar, member of the NSC, who supports BDS and ran a seminar on how to demonize Israel – to name just a few. See much more on ZOA’s Biden Appointments Watch webpage.
It is also extremely concerning that Israeli Prime Minister Bennett appears to be appeasing the Biden Administration’s demands, including by offering to limit building in Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria, etc. to “natural growth” and by delaying meetings to complete approval processes for building 2,000 Jewish homes (along with 1,000 Palestinian Arab homes). PM Bennett’s Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked condemned former PM Netanyahu’s for appearing to bow to similar pressure from the Obama-Biden administration, as a “disgrace.” ZOA urges PM Bennett and his government to stand strong against harmful pressures, and to move forward with building much-needed Jewish homes.
Impeding Jewish Building Is Blatant Religious, National Origin and Antisemitic Discrimination: The Biden administration is engaging in blatant discrimination by demanding that Jews cannot build homes in the Jewish homeland areas of Judea/Samaria and Jerusalem–while Palestinian Arabs can do so. This sort of antisemitic discrimination is illegal in the U.S. For instance, under New York’s human rights law, demanding that Jews cannot live in any neighborhood is prohibited housing discrimination. See, e.g., N.Y. Exec. Law, Art. 15, § 296.5.)
Jewish Building Freezes Hinder – Rather Than Help – Peace: Jewish building freezes simply whet the Palestinian leadership’s appetite for more unilateral Israeli concessions, end up hindering, rather than helping peace. For instance, in November 2009, as a result of pressure from the Obama-Biden administration, then-Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed to a 10-month settlement freeze. The freeze was supposed to jump-start Israel-PA negotiations. Instead, Palestinian Authority/PLO dictator Mahmoud Abbas refused to even meet for nine months; then met once or twice without offering anything substantive or helpful; and then walked out and demanded yet another freeze.
Building Freezes Impede Housing Jews Fleeing from Worldwide Antisemitism and/or Realizing the Dream to Return to the Jewish Homeland: Far more building is needed in the Jewish homelands of Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem, to house Jews who are escaping from dramatically increasing worldwide antisemitism, and/or finally realizing the dream to return to the Jewish homeland. In 2020, more than 20,000 Jews moved to Israel from 70 foreign countries. Aliyah in 2021 is record-breaking – including an increase of 42% from the U.S.
Pressuring Israel to Freeze Building Interferes With Israeli Sovereignty and U.S.-Israeli Relations: Israel has the sovereign right to Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem under binding international law, including the Mandate, the San Remo Resolution, and treaties to which the U.S. is a party (e.g., the Anglo-American convention and United Nations Charter), and has the legal, moral and historic right to build homes in these areas. Jews have lived in these areas for thousands of years, and Jewish kingdoms reigned here for hundreds of years.
Indeed, the Trump administration acknowledged that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, and that Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are legal. (See “ZOA Strongly Praises Pres. Trump, Sec. Pompeo Repudiating Orwellian Anti-Semitic Lie That Jews Building in Judea Samaria is Illegal,” Nov. 18, 2019.)
Building Jewish Homes in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem Assures Safety: As of now, Judea and Samaria are the safest areas for avoiding Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza and Hezbollah rocket attacks from Lebanon. Indeed, the mayor of a town in Judea mentioned several years ago that plans existed to evacuate civilians in northern Israel to Judea in the event of a massive rocket attack from Hezbollah.
In addition, building in the E-1 corridor, and thereby connecting Jerusalem with the Jerusalem suburb of Ma’aleh Adumim, would save lives by preventing Arabs from continuing to use this corridor to attack Jews traveling back and forth to their homes.
Moreover, as the “Protectors of Israel” (Bithonistim) movement of over 2,400 Israeli security and military professionals has explained, Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria is right, just and essential for securing Israel’s defense and quiet with her neighbors.