Gaza War Diary 9 Wed. Jan. 4, 2017 Day 1216 9 1am
Dear Family & Friends,
Baruch Dayan Emet for Maj. Hagai Ben-Ari who died 2 ½ years after being shot in the head during the Gaza War. Hagai never recovered consciousness. For 2 ½ years he lay in a coma. Now he has returned to HaShem & his family can come in from a twilight zone to mourn him properly.
So, you see why I’ve never changed the name of these Gaza War Diaries. I didn’t know Hagai. I don’t know who else is still suffering from wounds & losses from the last Gaza War, 2014, or the other 2 Gaza Wars, or the Terror that the Arab Muslim Palestinians have hit us with. But, I know for sure that there are others here, suffering, as are their families. So, I’m sending you these Gaza War Diaries as often as I can turn them out – sometimes til 2, or 3, or 4, occasionally 5am. They are too long for sure, but consider them an encyclopedia of information, words of attribution, castigation, criticism, encouragement, words of ammunition for you to use & spread around in your own advocacy (now Public Diplomacy) for Israel & against our eternal enemies, whoever so chooses to be our enemies. We must all fight for our Sovereignty Now, Security, Peace & Happiness with our families & friends. We may be in a long battle to save the Jewish people & the Jewish State of Israel Schleima (whole) with her Eternal, Golden Capital of Jerusalem, but we can do it. If we fight to win!
The day today was beautiful – a light drizzle this morning & early evening, with sunny skies in between. Tonight a quarter moon. All the very best, Gail/Geula/Savta/Savta Raba x 2/Mom
Women in Green Press release: Don’t be satisfied with just Ma’aleh Adumim
The Women in Green movement wishes success to the campaign of beginning sovereignty in Ma’ale Adumim, but warns against a partial vision of sovereignty.
The Women in Green movement, that promotes the vision of sovereignty, congratulates the Land of Israel Lobby and along with it government Ministers and Members of Knesset promoting the implementation of Israeli law and sovereignty in Ma’ale Adumim, but along with this warns
against being satisfied with a partial vision of sovereignty.
The movement stresses that the implementation of sovereignty in Ma’ale Adumim becomes significant only if it represents a first step in a campaign towards the completion of the Zionist, historical and moral vision needed and called for – the implementation of the sovereignty of the State of Israel over all of Judea and Samaria.
“Let us not be satisfied with a partial vision of the implementation of a focused and regional sovereignty, which is likely to make us lose sight of the living and breathing connection between the people of Israel and all of the areas of its land, a connection of which sovereignty is an essential and required part”, say Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar, the movement’s heads, reminding us of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook’s famous call: “Where is our Hevron? Have we forgotten it?! Where is our Schechem [Nablus]? Are we forgetting it?! Where is our Yericho [Jericho]? Are we forgetting it?!”.
“During these days of the beginning of our standing upright and the strengthening of the call for sovereignty, which is gaining increasing support among Israeli’s citizens, we say clearly and remind everyone – we haven’t forgotten, not Hevron, not Schechem and not Yericho. All of these are the cradle of the birth of the Jewish people, and a foundation of the right of the Jewish people to its land. Our path leads to sovereignty over all parts of our land”, say the two who see the planning of sovereignty over Area C alone as nothing but “a surrender to the dictates of the Oslo Accords and the maps of the agreement that reaped a bloody harvest over many years, that must be stopped with a long range and complete plan for sovereignty over all parts of our land”.
“Consensus is not the determining factor of our borders, but rather the historical right of the Jewish people to its land, a right that is an obligation to inherit the land and to settle on it; we do not have a right to give away any part of it at all”, say Katsover and Matar.
For details: Yehudit Katsover +972 50 7161818 Nadia Matar +972 50 5500834
The Movement for Israel’s Tomorrow-‘Women in Green’
Maj. Hagai Ben-Ari, who was critically wounded during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, passes away two and a half years later. By Ben Ariel, Arutz Sheva 04/01/17 00:33
Hagai Ben-Ari & his 2 sons – by צילום: באדיבות המשפ
Maj. Hagai Ben-Ari, who was critically wounded during Israel’s counterterrorism Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in 2014, passed away on Tuesday night.
Ben-Ari, a resident of Nov, a religious Moshav in the Golan Heights, was wounded on July 21, 2014. He suffered a head wound from sniper fire as the forces he led came across Hamas terrorists in Rafah, a border town in southern Gaza near Sinai.
Since that time, Ben-Ari remained unconscious & unable to communicate with his surroundings. He leaves behind a wife and three children.
Ben-Ari will be brought to rest Wednesday afternoon at 12:00 p.m. at the Nov cemetery.
In an unusual & moving ceremony in October of 2014, then-Paratroopers Brigade Commander Col. Eliezer Toledano symbolically appointed Ben-Ari as commander of the Paratrooper Commando Unit.
Toledano, at Ben-Ari’s hospital bedside, said at the time, “Hagai, I want to tell you what I would have said if I could have there in Khan Younis in the battle as you fought and led the commando unit: that you know and I know that you love from the place you love the most important things in your life.
“You were in battle like you were as a young soldier in the (army) track, as a unit commander; you were upright, you were sure. You were professional during the fight and after you were wounded,” continued Toledano.
The Brigade Commander held Ben-Ari’s hands as his parents, wife and captains from the unit stood by, saying, “Here in this room at this moment next to your bed I ask your permission to add your name to the list of Paratrooper Commando Unit commanders, a unit that is the diamond in the crown (of the army).”
The PLO’s Zero Sum Game By Caroline B. Glick JPost.com
AERIAL view of Palestinian Authority’s Mukata presidential compound in Ramallah.(photo credit: Reuters)
New York, Jan. 3, 2017 The opportunity now upon us may be lost forever as the PLO comes back to win its zero-sum game against Israel. Since its inception in the late 1970s, the Israeli peace movement has been based on one thing: hope. Members of the peace movement hoped the PLO’s war with Israel could be resolved through compromise. Proponents of peace with the PLO hoped that Yasser Arafat and his terrorist minions weren’t truly committed to Israel’s destruction. The two-state formula was based on the hope that Israel could reach an accommodation with the PLO.
To wit, in exchange for parts of Judea & Samaria & Gaza (no one was talking about Jerusalem), Israeli peaceniks, who over time came to encompass all factions of the Left in Israel, hoped the PLO would bury the hatchet, build a state, or federate with Jordan & that would be that. In 1992, the peace camp took over the government. Under the leadership of then prime minister Yitzhak Rabin & then foreign minister Shimon Peres, hope became the basis for Israel’s national security strategy. That strategy was followed by every Israeli government since. The basic idea was clear enough.
In exchange for land & guns & legitimacy, Arafat & his goons would be domesticated. The peace camp’s hope was never based on evidence. Indeed, it flew in the face of the PLO’s track record. By the time the Israeli peaceniks began negotiating with Arafat & his deputies in the late 1980s, the PLO had already controlled two autonomous areas. In both Jordan & Lebanon, Arafat & his terrorists transformed peaceful areas into bases for global terrorism & launching points for massacres of Israelis and of victims from Africa to Europe to the Americas. The secret of the PLO’s success was that it didn’t simply kill people. It combined murder with political warfare.
The PLO’s political war had two goals. First, it aimed to make killing Jews politically acceptable a mere generation after the Holocaust. Second, the PLO devoted great resources to wooing the Israeli & Western Left. It sought to convince a sufficient core of leftists that the PLO wasn’t really committed to its goal of eradicating Israel. It actually was a peace movement in terrorist disguise.
Arafat & his deputies whispered in the ears of their gullible Israeli “partners” that they weren’t an implacable foe. They were partners for peace just waiting to be convinced that they could make a deal. The success of both political warfare strategies has been on prominent display of late. On December 23, the ambassadors of state members of the UN Security Council broke out in spontaneous applause after they unanimously passed Resolution 2334, which declares Israel an outlaw state populated by criminals & bereft of all rights to its capital & its historic heartland.
A week later, the PLO’s largest terrorist faction Fatah celebrated its founding day. The largest celebration this year reportedly took place in Bethlehem. Fatah was actually founded in 1958. But Arafat chose December 31, 1964 as its founding day because that was the day his terrorists carried out their first terrorist attack against Israel. In Bethlehem Saturday, thousands of Palestinian youths – starting at the age of four or five – marked the day with a march through town. This was no ticker tape parade. In classic PLO fashion, the young people – including the preschoolers – were clad in military uniforms & had their faces covered with sheets. They marched through the streets behind banners sporting the images of Fatah terrorists like mass murderer Dalal Mughrabi & pledged to complete their heroes’ mission. The message of the spectacle was straightforward enough.
Fatah remains utterly committed to eradicating Israel through terrorism & war. Covering the march for the Israeli media was Channel 2’s far-Left correspondent Ohad Hemo. In a manner comprehensible only to true believers, Hemo stared at the march & saw a reason for restored hope for peace. Speaking to masked grand masters, without a tinge of embarrassment, Hemo asked if they supported the two-state solution. Lo & behold, as they marched behind banners of Mughrabi, who led the PLO terrorist cell that massacred 38 Israelis including 13 children in 1978, Hemo’s minders told him that indeed, they support a two-state solution! Hemo was exultant.
Even with its choke-hold on the media & its control of the judicial system & state prosecution, the Israeli Left would have never been successful in maintaining this murderous joke without outside help. That’s where the American Jewish establishment came in. For more than 20 years, led by AIPAC, the American Jewish establishment has insisted that the two-state solution is the only option. That is, empty faith in a terrorist organization fully committed to Israel’s destruction is the only acceptable policy for Republicans & Democrats alike to follow in respect to Israel.
For 23 years, despite the ever increasing dubiousness of Republican leaders & a few Democratic lawmakers, the consensus view was maintained. The Jewish community’s slavish devotion to the PLO stemmed from two sources. First, by insisting that the PLO is a credible force, the American Jewish community has been able to keep peace in its ranks, which are populated overwhelmingly by Leftists. Second, by promoting a policy at odds with reality, communal leaders have been able to pretend that there is no qualitative distinction between Democratic & Republican support for Israel.
This claim, which has become downright implausible during President Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House, is vital for enabling American Jews to pretend that Israel is a voting issue for them and that they aren’t simply motivated by their Leftist world views. It would appear that the jig is up on this position. Obama’s lame-duck war against Israel & the rise of anti-Jewish forces in the Democratic Party led by Rep. Keith Ellison make it practically impossible to continue to claim that the Democratic Party is a home for pro-Israel forces in America.
On the other hand, President-elect Donald Trump’s full-throated support for Israel & promotion of advisers who openly oppose a PLO state has encouraged Republican lawmakers to abandon their half-hearted support for the PLO. Beginning this month, they may very well begin ending US recognition of the PLO & cut taxpayer funds to its terrorism-cultivating autonomy in Judea & Samaria.
In this state of affairs, American Jewish groups will either support Trump & the Republicans or lose their ability to influence events. In either case, for at least the next two years, they have lost their capacity to support the Israeli Left in a significant way. This is important for Israel to understand because the clock is ticking. Obama’s onslaught has made clear that the Democratic Party no longer supports Israel. Like the PLO, Obama & his advisers view the PLO’s conflict with Israel as a zero-sum game & they have cast their lots with the terrorists against the Jewish state. It is to be expected that under the leadership of former president Obama & Ellison, the Democrats will expand the openness of their hostility to Israel.
Under these circumstance, Israel has but two years – until the mid-term congressional elections when the Democrats may be empowered in Congress – to decide what it wants to do with Judea & Samaria. Last week the government signaled that its first step will be to apply Israeli law to Ma’ale Adumim. A bill to this effect is expected to be brought before the government shortly after Obama leaves office. While a good first move, our leaders must recognize that it needs to be quickly followed up by additional administrative changes.
The goal of those additional steps is to dismantle the military government which administers Area C – 60% of Judea and Samaria – by 2019 & transfer full administrative responsibility for the area, which includes Israel’s border with Jordan & all the Israeli communities of Judea & Samaria, to the government. The time has come for the government to move ahead boldly. In their post-Obama, post-2334 state, the Israeli Left & its American Jewish supporters are in no position to stop the government from doing what needs to be done. But, if the government fails to act now, when the Democrats return in two or four years, the opportunity now upon us may be lost forever as the PLO comes back to win its zeros-um game against Israel. [This article was published by JPost and may be found here.]
Elor Azariya found guilty of manslaughter
Military court hands down guilty verdict in case of IDF soldier who shot & killed Arab terrorist last March.
Elor Azariya in court – Flash90
A military court in the Kiryat army complex in Tel Aviv handed down a guilty verdict to Sgt. Elor Azariya Wednesday morning.
Azariya, accused of manslaughter after shooting a wounded terrorist in Hevron on March 24th, 2016, claimed that he opened fire on the terrorist as an act of self-defense, arguing that he feared the terrorist was attempting to detonate an explosive device.
Following the decision by the court, Azariya is expected to be transferred immediately from the court to prison, even before a final sentence is handed down. Azariya will likely receive his sentence in February. He could face up to 20 years in jail.
During the exhaustive two-a-half-hour explanation & reading of the verdict on Wednesday, Judge Maya Heller stated that in the view of the court, “there was no immediate danger from the terrorist lying on the ground,” rejecting the foundation of the defense’s claim. Heller added that in the court’s opinion, the defendant contradicted himself on several occasions.
“The accused opened fire against the [army’s] rules of engagement,” said Heller. “The terrorist was not a threat. The accused denied the claims against him & argued the terrorist did in fact constitute a threat. He argued that… there was a concrete threat to him & his peers due to concerns [the terrorist was armed] with a [concealed] knife or explosive device.”
Heller added that shouting heard at the scene of the attack, which included claims that the terrorist appeared to be concealing a bomb & exhorting those in the area to keep their distance, did not justify Azariya’s actions.
The ruling also touched upon the rules of engagement themselves, restricting the ability of soldiers in the future to open fire – even when they believe their lives to be at risk.
“Henceforth,” said Heller, “justifying opening fire [with intent] to kill based only upon suspicions [of threats] will be forbidden.
“Even if we were to accept the [defendant’s] version of the story regarding his suspicion [that the terrorist was carrying] a bomb, it would not justify shooting. There is no justification for shooting when there is only suspicion of a threat, [and not] definitive identification of a weapon.”
[Gail Sez: I saw the video with audio of the scene where the Terrorist was beginning to regain consciousness & move. Several people were calling out/shouting( in Hebrew): “Be Careful, he may have a bomb/suicide vest!” But, I never saw it broadcast over the regular television or on a YouTube link after that week. Only silent B’tselem video appeared on TV.]
The court also rejected testimony by Dr. Yehuda Hiss, former head of the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute, who had argued that the terrorist was not killed by the shot fired by Azariya, but had, in fact, already succumbed to injuries caused by the initial shooting which neutralized. [Gail sez: In the video I saw, the Terrorist was moving before Azaryia shot him.]
Outside of the court, hundreds of protesters demonstrated against the ruling, facing off against 350 police officers deployed around the Kirya compound.
Watch: Huckabee holds press conference in Jerusalem
A press conference was held this morning at the King David Hotel & Governor Mike Huckabee replied to reporters’ questions.
By Eliran Baruch, Arutz Sheva 04/01/17 13:25 In a press conference organized by the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce (OJC) at the King David Hotel this morning (Wednesday), former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee spoke on current events and answered reporter’s questions. Highlights:
Will the embassy move to Jerusalem?
Do I think the Obama administration has been pro-Israel? No! In a single word, NO! The least pro-Israel Administration. The Obama Adminstration took Israel out of the negotiations with Iran over their Nukes. Re: the Paris Peace talks? I don’t have a whole lot of hope from the international community for this Conference. How come the UN had 20 Resolutions against Israel & only 4 against the rest of the world? I don’t think you can even get your arms around that?”
Did Russia intervene in the elections as publicized?
John Kerry with popcorn By Jack Engelhard, 31/12/16 18:32 What to do with all those Hollywood movies based on the Bible & history that have no Palestinians?
Hollywood sign Thinkstock Jack Engelhard
I suppose Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments” will have to be re-spooled. So will a hundred more Bible-themed films.
With a simple abstention on the part of Samantha Power at the UN, the history of the world has been rewritten.
Jewish & Christian cultures have been cleansed out of existence…& will remain so until Donald Trump fixes this & brings the United States back to its senses.
Apparently the Bible got it all wrong & so did Hollywood, according to Barack Obama, John Kerry & Security Council Resolution 2334, which denies Jewish rights to Judea/Samaria & Jerusalem & instead hands all of it over to the Palestinian Arabs (who were invented in 1964, by the way).
So as of Friday, December 23, when that maneuver was passed by the UN, no Jews fit the picture. Only Arabs may answer the casting call as stars & extras.
DeMille made two versions of the Biblical Exodus, the first in 1923 & then again in 1956. Both times, using Jewish & Christian theologians as technical advisers, he used the Hebrew Bible as a blueprint – and both times those were Hebrews emerging from slavery in Egypt onward toward the Promised Land that was first Canaan & finally Judea/Israel.
The heroes were Jews. No Palestinian Arabs in sight.
So what’s to be done when we watch those films again? By which I mean Otto Preminger’s 1960s “Exodus” & Melville Shavelson’s 1966 “Cast A Giant Shadow” where now it’s about modern Israel being re-captured & still the heroes are Jews, principally played by Paul Newman & Kirk Douglas.
Can we still cheer? Can we still be entertained? Can we still learn? How – when everything has been turned upside down?
To moviegoers, is Moses still a hero? Is King David still a hero, as depicted in the 1951 film “David & Bathsheba,” starring Gregory Peck & Susan Hayward.
Again, no Palestinians in sight & no demands for a 2-state solution from either the Bible or Hollywood.
Are we to root for Yasser Arafat & Mahmoud Abbas when that movie comes out?
Arab terrorists — who last month tried to burn Israel to the ground — are the world’s heroes.
That’s where we are today, as Sci-Fi writer Richard Matheson imagined a world taken over by mutants.
So buy your popcorn & watch Yasser Arafat deliver the Sermon on the Mount, & behold Mahmoud Abbas divide the Red Sea.
There were no Palestinians anywhere near Jerusalem for King Vidor’s 1959 epic “Solomon & Sheba” starring Yul Brynner & Gina Lollobrigida. Solomon builds a Jewish Temple, in Jerusalem, to fulfill the oath from his father David & according to the measurements provided by Hebrew Scriptures.
Well, that will have to be revised & rewritten, won’t it, to please Obama, Kerry, Article 2334, & the 14 nations that voted to expunge Jerusalem from Jewish sovereignty going back to the Bible. Hollywood often goes back to the Bible & now Christianity has likewise been expunged.
In movies such as “Ben-Hur” & “The Robe” & “King of Kings” & “The Greatest Story Ever Told” – still no Palestinians.
All the action takes place in & around Jerusalem, which was ruled by the Romans but populated by the Jews.
But there were no Jews in Jerusalem, if you ask John Kerry…or even if you ask the entire United Nations.
Our story, as told through Hollywood for Christians & Jews, must now be told from a far different point of view.
Plus the old reliable classics, if they are ever to be shown again, will never be seen with the same eyes.
So buy your popcorn & watch Yasser Arafat deliver the Sermon on the Mount & behold Mahmoud Abbas divide the Red Sea.
The victors, as we know, write the history. The victors also write the screenplay.
But there are many more pages to go & do not bet on them having the final word.
The first & last Tycoon will not be found at MGM or Paramount Pictures or at the UN. He is keeping score & He has other plans.
New York-based bestselling American novelist Jack Engelhard writes a regular column for Arutz Sheva. New from the novelist: “News Anchor Sweetheart,” a novelist’s version of Fox News and Megyn Kelly. Engelhard is the author of the international bestseller “Indecent Proposal.” He is the recipient of the Ben Hecht Award for Literary Excellence. His award-winning post-Holocaust Montreal memoir Escape from Mount Moriah, plus Slot Attendant: A Novel About A Novelist. His website: www.jackengelhard.com
Philly Jewish Museum Posts Huge Sign Reminding Americans of Freedom of Religion By: JNi.Media JewishPress.com Published: January 1st, 2017
Photo Credit: Courtesy of NMAJH
The National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH), located on historic Independence Mall in Philadelphia, has installed new building signage asserting George Washington’s promise of religious liberty to the people of the United States.
Quoting Washington’s iconic letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island in 1790, the enormous banner reads:
“Happily the Government of the United States … gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.”
The Museum—a safe, open space for all—displays this text as a timely reminder of the ideals of inclusiveness on which this nation was founded.
Facing Independence Mall as it does, in the heart of historic Philadelphia, the Museum’s signage refers to one of the most significant documents in American history. George Washington’s letter, currently on view at NMAJH, was composed in August 1790 in response to a letter from the Jewish community of Newport. In it, Washington affirmed rights denied to Jews for millennia and underscored the nation’s commitment to respecting religious liberty and equality for people of all faiths. Washington described his vision of a country in which “every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree & there shall be none to make him afraid.”
“George Washington’s call for religious pluralism is especially powerful today, given the rise in expressions of bigotry and exclusion in recent months,” states Ivy Barsky, NMAJH’s CEO & Gwen Goodman Director. “Just as Washington fervently promised to preserve this nation’s acceptance of all people, the National Museum of American Jewish History remains committed as ever to our mission of inspiring a greater appreciation for the diversity of the American experience & the invaluable contributions to this country by immigrants.”
JNi.Media provides editors & publishers with high quality Jewish-focused content for their publications.
EU drone spying on Jewish towns crashes near Mt. Hevron
Shocking footage from crashed drone reveals EU spying on Jewish towns and IDF locations in Judea and Samaria
By Gary Willig, Arutz Sheva 02/01/17 21:18
A drone with a video camera which crashed in a wooded area on Mount Hevron revealed a European Union (EU) espionage operation intended to spy on & gather intelligence about Jewish communities in Judea & Samaria.
The footage from the drone was retrieved after it crashed in view of residents of the town of Ma’on in Judea, Channel 2 reported. The footage shows the drone flying low over residents before crashing next to a car. It was then retrieved by the residents.
The residents took the drone to the Regavim Movement for Preservation of State Lands, which examined the drone & was shocked to discover that it was sent by the EU, supposedly an honest broker, acting in conjunction with residents of Arab towns & villages to spy on Jewish towns in Judea & Samaria, some of which contain IDF bases & antennas. The drone contained many such espionage videos, the final one being of its crash.
The Regavim organization blamed the government’s failure to act against illegal construction of Arab housing by the EU for this brazen act of espionage against Jewish communities & IDF locations. Arab building in Area C without permits is against the Oslo Accords.
“What started as illegal construction continues & now is harmful to [our] security.” said Oved Arad, the head of the land division of Regavim. “For years the European Union was involved in illegal construction in Judea & Samaria. Now it turns out that EU officials, together with the Palestinians, are even documenting Israeli settlements & sensitive locations in Judea & Samaria. The Foreign Ministry must respond strongly & unequivocally against this activity, which crosses a red line & is very dangerous.”
EU drone spying on Jewish towns crashes near Mt. Hevron
The Real Illegal Settlements by Bassam Tawil, GATESTONE INSTITUTE
Massive illegal Palestinian construction near Shufat & Anata, on the northeastern outskirts of Jerusalem.
· While construction in Jewish settlements of the West Bank and neighborhoods of Jerusalem has long been carried out within the frame of the law and in accordance with proper licenses issued by the relevant authorities, the Palestinian construction is illegal in every respect.
· The Palestinian goal is to create irreversible facts on the ground. The sheer enormity of the project raises the question: Who has been funding these massive cities-within-cities? And why? There is good reason to believe that the PLO and some Arabs and Muslims, and especially the European Union, are behind the Palestinian initiative.
· The Jewish outpost of Amona, home to 42 families, is currently the subject of fiery controversy both in Israel and in the international arena. Apparently, settlements are only a “major obstacle to peace” when they are constructed by Jews.
· The EU and some Islamic governments and organizations are paying for the construction of illegal Palestinian settlements, while demanding that Israel halt building new homes for Jewish families in Jerusalem neighborhoods or existing settlements in the West Bank.
· The hypocrisy and raw malice of the EU and the rest of the international community toward the issue of Israeli settlements is blindingly transparent. Yet we are also witnessing the hypocrisy of many in the Western mainstream media, who see with their own eyes the Palestinian settlements rising on every side of Jerusalem, but choose to report only about Jewish building.
As the international community continues to slam Israel for construction in Jewish settlement communities, Palestinians are quietly engaging in massive construction of entire neighborhoods in many parts of the West Bank and Jerusalem. In addition to overlooking the Palestinian building project, the West has clearly been neglecting a crucial difference between the two efforts: while the construction in the Jewish settlements of the West Bank and neighborhoods of Jerusalem has long been carried out within the frame of the law and in accordance with proper licenses issued by the relevant authorities, the Palestinian construction is illegal in every respect.
In this behind-the-scenes endeavor, which does not meet even the most minimum standards required by engineers, architects and housing planners, the Palestinian goal is to create irreversible facts on the ground.
A quick tour of the areas surrounding Jerusalem from the north, east and south easily exposes the colossal construction that is taking place there. In most cases, these high-rise buildings are slapped together without licenses or any adequate planning or safety concerns.
The Jewish outpost of Amona in the central West Bank, home to 42 families, is currently the subject of fiery controversy both in Israel & in the international arena. In 2006, the High Court of Israel ruled that the outpost is illegal under Israeli law because it lies on private Palestinian land. In 2014, the High Court ordered the government to evacuate & demolish the entire outpost within two years.
In Israel, as Amona demonstrates, no one is above the law. Israel boasts an independent judiciary system that is second to none.
Yet as the debate in Israel intensifies over the fate of Amona, the Palestinians are making a mockery of laws and building regulations by embarking on massive construction of illegal neighborhoods and buildings. Apparently, settlements are only a “major obstacle to peace” when they are constructed by Jews.
In recent years and continuing to the present, the Palestinians, with the aid of Western donors for whom only Jewish construction is anathema, are working night and day to create irreversible facts in the form of not just single-family houses, but masses of giant high-rise buildings. The sheer enormity of the project raises the question: Who has been funding these massive cities-within-cities? And why? There is good reason to believe that the PLO and some Arabs and Muslims, and especially the European Union are behind the Palestinian initiative.
Ironically, this has been taking place even when it means that the Palestinians have been stealing land from our own people.
The Palestinian building is taking place mostly in what is called Area C of the West Bank, which, under the terms of the Oslo Accords, is supposed to be under exclusive Israeli control. Building has also been mushrooming in many neighborhoods-even in entire villages-surrounding Jerusalem from the north, east & south, leaving the city with only one option: to expand towards the west, thereby building a giant collar of cement effectively to surround & choke off Jerusalem from the Jews.
Recently, entire Arab neighborhoods with crowded high-rises have shot up around Jerusalem. Only a handful of steps separate some of the buildings, and most lack proper sewage systems. Apartment prices range from $25,000 to $50,000 USD. These are ridiculous prices compared with the real costs of apartments in both Arab and Jewish (legal) neighborhoods in Jerusalem. Today, it is almost impossible to purchase a three-room apartment in the city for less than $250,000 USD.
The new neighborhoods are located in Kufr Akab, Samiramis, Kalandya, Beit Hanina, Shufat, Ras Khamis and Anata in the north of Jerusalem.
In the southern and eastern parts of the city, new neighborhoods have emerged with noticeable suddenness in Ras Al-Amoud, A-Tur, Al-Zaim, Jabal Mukaber, Um Tuba and Jabal Mukaber. These areas fall within the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem. However, failing to halt the illegal construction and leaving the city besieged from north, east and south, Jerusalem Municipality officials admit that Israel will have lost the war against illegal Palestinian construction unless immediate action is taken.
Alarmed by the ongoing illegal construction, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat recently took the unprecedented measure of petitioning the High Court to allow the city to demolish 14 illegally built structures in east Jerusalem.
Most importantly, there is no housing crisis for the Arab population; it is not an Arab housing crisis that is prompting this spree of illegal Palestinian construction. Rather, the goal is political: to show the world that Jerusalem is an Arab, and not a Jewish, city. By and large, the apartments remain empty: there is simply no real demand.
Who is behind the unprecedented wave of illegal construction? According to Arab residents of Jerusalem, many of the “contractors” are actually land-thieves and thugs who lay their hands on private Palestinian-owned land or on lands whose owners are living abroad. But they also point out that the EU, the PLO and some Arab and Islamic governments are funding the project.
“They spot an empty plot of land and quickly move in to seize control over it,” said a resident whose land was “confiscated” by the illegal contractors.
“They tell you if you don’t like it, go to court, knowing that by the time the legal procedures are over they would have succeeded in building another tall building and even selling some of the apartments.
“Many Arab land owners feel helpless. They tell us that it is their national duty to build as much as they can on any empty land, otherwise the Jews would be building there.”
Palestinians estimate that in the past few years they have managed to build more than 15,000 illegal housing units in areas surrounding Jerusalem as part of a plan to encircle the city. The construction continues to this moment, unabated. Partial funding comes from the Palestinian Authority (PA) and some Arab and Islamic countries These countries include Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and other oil-rich countries in the Gulf. However, the Palestinians continue to complain that the Arab and Islamic funding is below expectations.
In Area C, a stretch of land accounting for 60% of the West Bank, the European Union, which bitterly condemns construction in Jewish settlements as illegal, openly funds illegal construction carried out by Palestinians. The EU argues that its support for Palestinian construction falls under the category of “humanitarian relief” and is permissible under international law.
The EU’s real goal is to help the Palestinians create these irreversible facts on the ground ahead of any possible future peace.
The New Axis of Evil (or Comedy): CAIR, JVP & Huffington Post