Somebody Please Buy The State Department A Map
Much whooping and hollering in the diplomatic circles this week over the approval of a tender to build 900 homes in Gilo.
"It doesn't advance the peace process," was the oft-heard complaint.
Neither does the Palestinians' juvenile rejection of every offer that doesn't meet their maximalist demands, but no one says anything rude about that.
The State Department and its elite allies amongst the diplomatic aristocracy of western Europe start with the faulty premise that Gilo was built on captured Arab lands. Any number of sources report that contrary to this canard, the majority of Gilo is built on land legally purchased by Jews prior to 1948, and it has been an "open secret" in Beit Jala that Jabra Hamis, former mayor of Beit Jala, sold Israelis the land on which parts of Gilo are built.
In the 1948 war, Jewish lands in Gilo were captured and confiscated by the Jordanian government, as were the Jewish lands of Atarot, the Old City (which was majority Jewish), Sheik Jarrah, Silwan, Kfar Etzion, and countless other places in what is now referred to by the politically correct as "Occupied Palestinian Lands."
Sorry, useful idiots -- many of those lands were Jewish to start with. We just got them back, is all.
From 1948-67, during the illegal occupation and annexation of everything over the Green Line by Jordan, Jewish landowners did not relinquish ownership of their land in Gilo, ( or in Har Homa, for that matter, where land was also purchased by Jews prior to 1948) and when Israel recaptured the land in 1967, Gilo was built -- not because of war victories, but because of longstanding legal land purchases.
Also, we're not idiots. Gilo sits on one of the highest points overlooking Jerusalem--which the Jordanian and Egyptian armies recognized and capitalized on, placing artillery batteries on the hills and shelling the Jewish population under their guns at will.
We're not giving up the high ground again so that during the next disagreement with our neighbors, they can shoot from the high ground.
Besides, calling Gilo a "settlement" conjurs up this image of hilltop caravans, or in the case of France 24, mendacious stock footage of a desolate spot with some rebar and concrete prefab going up -- when in fact, Gilo is a thriving suburb (see picture) that looks a lot like any suburban neighborhood around here. There are over 40,000 people living in Gilo, on Jewish land, and the fact that the Municipality approved a housing tender which has been in the pipeline for years in order to alleviate a severe housing shortage, is really none of State's business.
It's just Left-Wing Grandstanding, "settlement" being the incitement.
And by the way, idiots, Gilo is not in "East Jerusalem." Somebody get these people a map.....Gilo isn't even within walking distance of East Jerusalem. It's at the very southern edge of the city, right before you bump into Beit Jalla, which abuts Bethlehem to the south.
There has been this absolutely Orwellian transformation of truth in that everything that was once over an armistic line which for 50 years the Arabs adamantly refuse to acknowedge is now suddenly referred to as "borders" (which they never were--it was an armistice line--borders have never been determined) which the Arabs now equally insist are sacrosanct. This is the same armistice line that the Palestinians and their Arab state backers refused to acknowledge for decades on the grounds that Greater Palestine was the goal, and to acknowledge anything demarking the Jewish state from Greater Palestine from-the-River-to-the-Sea was tantamount to treason. This same sudden insistence on the "1967 borders" (Arab propaganda for the 1948 armistice line)has also brought with it a new gospel that every plot of land over that armistic line is "East Jerusalem" even when it's northwest (Givat Ze'ev) or southwest (Gilo) of Jerusalem. Or more amazingly, the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. Never mind that Jews have lived in the Old City for at least a millennia, and constituted the majority of the Old City's population in 1948--suddenly that is "Palestinian territory" because the Jordanians conquered it, occupied it, annexed it, settled it and killed or expelled the Jewish population.
The fact that the Jordanian Army marched across the Jordan River like conquistadores, stole Jewish lands and houses, ethnically cleansed the Jewish population, destroyed Jewish holy sites, illegally annexed and occupied those lands over the Green Line, and settled thousands of their own people on that land, does not automatically translate into "everything-over-the-Armistice-Line-is-Palestinian."
That's what this peace process is supposed to be all about--deciding where the borders go, and what the two nations will be.
Saeb Erekat and Co. ominously promise to declare unilateral statehood. Go ahead--and watch us declare a unilateral annexation. You don't want to negotiate borders? You don't want Olmert's offer of 97% of the West Bank plus land swaps equaling 100% You don't want a land bridge to Gaza? You refuse half of Jerusalem because now you're demanding it all?
Don't make us do this. You've finally got most of the Israeli population, including Netanyahu, believing that a Palestinian state can be worked out. Don't assume that because we're meeting you half-way that we're "weak" or that you can now in bad faith demand more. Listen to the Saudis--they were right when they told you to take Olmert's offer. That offer is off the table now, but maybe you can get something almost as good if you choose to negotiate in good faith unstead of posturing for the street.
You might be able to sell the false chimera of "settlement" victimhood to State, but you won't sell it to Israel. And we're the ones sitting in the disputed territories, not Hillary Clinton. It's time to get real in Ramallah.
*photo credit of Gilo to RomCri at Jerusalem Shots