Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Rice Considers Jerusalem Neighborhood a "Settlement" - Hilary Leila Krieger and Tovah Lazaroff
U.S. Secretary of State Rice told the Jerusalem Post on Monday that the U.S. does not consider it legitimate for Israel to build homes in some Jerusalem neighborhoods located beyond the "green line." Israel, which annexed eastern Jerusalem after the 1967 war, does not equate the capital's Jewish neighborhoods over the "green line" with settlements in the West Bank and does not believe that construction there is bound by its obligation under the road map peace plan. Rice said "the United States doesn't make a distinction" between settlement in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank. "Har Homa is a settlement the United States has opposed from the very beginning," she said. Traditionally, the U.S. refrains from describing Jerusalem neighborhoods as "settlements." (Jerusalem Post)

Are Israeli Settlements Legal? (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

  • Israeli settlements in the West Bank are legal both under international law and the agreements between Israel and the Palestinians. Claims to the contrary are mere attempts to distort the law for political purposes.
  • The various agreements reached between Israel and the Palestinians since 1993 contain no prohibitions on the building or expansion of settlements. As the Israeli claim to these territories is legally valid, it is just as legitimate for Israelis to build their communities as it is for the Palestinians to build theirs.
  • The Palestinians are demanding that every Jew leave the West Bank, a form of ethnic cleansing. By contrast, within Israel, Arabs and Jews live side-by-side; indeed, Israeli Arabs, who account for approximately 20% of Israel's population, are citizens of Israel with equal rights.
  • The settlements are not intended to displace Arab inhabitants, nor do they do so in practice. According to independent surveys, the built-up areas of the settlements take up about 3% of the total territory of the West Bank.
  • The right of Jews to settle in all parts of the Land of Israel was first recognized by the international community in the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine. The purpose of the Mandate was to facilitate the establishment of a Jewish national home in the Jewish people's ancient homeland. Indeed, Article 6 of the Mandate provided for "close settlement by Jews on the land, including state lands not required for public use."
  • Many present-day Israeli settlements have been established on sites that were home to Jewish communities in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) in previous generations, in an expression of the Jewish people's deep historic and religious connection with the land. Many of the most ancient and holy Jewish sites, including the Cave of the Patriarchs (the burial site of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) and Rachel's Tomb, are located in these areas. Jewish communities, such as in Hebron (where Jews lived until they were massacred in 1929), existed throughout the centuries. Other communities, such as the Gush Etzion bloc in Judea, were founded before 1948 under the internationally endorsed British Mandate.
Quick historical fact for Condi Rice (Elder of Zyion)
But Rice on Monday clarified that the US believes that portions of east Jerusalem are considered to be "settlements" and that Israel must stop building there as part of its commitment to implement the first phase of the road map.
The land that Har Homa is on was legally purchased by Jews from Sheikh Shehade al-Faghuri, through an Arab middleman named Ibrahim al-Dajani, in 1944. (source: Army of Shadows)

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