Wednesday, May 29, 2013

U.S. Angry at Israel for Building Homes

The United States government is angry at Israeli leadership -- again. Why this time? Because of the announcement on May 29, 2013 that the building of 300 additional new homes in the Ramot neighborhood of Jerusalem which would place these new dwellings beyond the U.N. “Green Line” is back underway. Just one note: Ever notice how often the U.S. publicly shows its anger at its ally but when and if it ever is angry at the Palestinians it doesn’t make itself as overtly vocal about it?

This “Green Line” was established during the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan after the beating they took from the less than a year-old fledgling State of Israel. This same line was used to demarcate the areas recaptured after two thousands years when the 1967 Six-Day War had concluded, again, a war begun by the Arab States surrounding Israel and attacking them for no other reason than Israel existed.

It should, however, be understood that this so-called “Green Line” while agreed to by the U.N. was never established as internationally sanctioned or was it to be viewed by anyone - the world, the Arab States or Israel as a permanent border. At the time the UN came up with this idea Stephen Schwebel, the deputy legal advisor to the United States State Department made it very clear to one and all that “the armistice agreements of 1949 expressly preserved the territorial claims of all parties and DID NOT PURPORT TO ESTABLISH DEFINITIVE BOUNDARIES BETWEEN THEM.” (emphases mine)

It should also be made clear that the decision and approval to build these homes was granted and set into motion back in November 2012, well before the current peace climate now active in the region and fostered by now U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. It was also spurred on by the Palestinian Authority’s ambitious move to go after independent Statehood apart from negotiation with its Israeli partners in the initiative which was already underway. Basically Mr. Abbas in the West Bank went around the talks, including those being fostered by the U.S. and Jordan to assure a Palestinian State and thereby mudding the waters, causing further delays in the process and setting back the efforts of peace at that time. And while Abbas got something from the U.N. for his effort, an unofficial nod from the U.N. as a non-member observer state, it never-the-less set back Secretary Clinton’s peace effort and put it on the back-burner until it was revived again in 2013 by Mr. Kerry, Jordanian King Abdullah and all other parties involved.

The issue of home building has always been a sticking point with the PA, however, as it concerns Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Israel, many are of the opinion the PA has no claim or right to be disgruntled and certainly a third party such as the United States certainly has no reason to have its feathers ruffled. The U.S. may not publicly or officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital but in reality that is exactly what it is and as long as the American government continues to ignore this fact for the sake of appearing unbiased then it will always find itself in the position of someone who looks like it is speaking out of both sides of its mouth. After all, if the Prime Minister of Israel wants to come to the U.S. and meet with the American President he doesn’t meet him in some podunk town somewhere in the country. No, he comes to Washington D.C. the internationally recognized capital of the United States of America. It is time for the U.S. to take a final stand on this issue. Either recognize the reality that it goes to Jerusalem in order to do business with the Israeli government and it is therefore Israel’s capital, or it should unequivocally state that it does not and therefore can no longer participate with the government of the State of Israel anywhere within the borders of Jerusalem, ipso-facto making our two nations allies in name only.

It would be a fool’s errand to ever think the PA in the West Bank or the Hamas-led government in Gaza will ever recognize an undivided Jerusalem as the sole capital of the State of Israel. Hamas doesn’t even recognize Israel’s right to exist at all much less its government in Jerusalem. That being the case Israel has no need to even take into account what they or the PA thinks about them building more homes in Jerusalem just because they may fall on the other side of the non-definitive borders of the Green Line. Jerusalem belongs to Israel and they can build within their capital wherever the hell they want.

One last point on this issue. Some on the Palestinian side of this issue say that Israel’s continued building in the region is one of the main factors and roadblocks to peace. Yet during the many times Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and those who have held that job in the past have ordered freezes to Israeli construction projects in order to woo the Palestinians back to the peace negotiating table the PM’s efforts were spat on by the PA and they would refuse to come to the table even after promising to do so once the construction was halted. If the Palestinian leadership could not be trusted to stand by their own promises so many times in the past, and we are talking recent past not something decades ago, then why would anyone, especially those within the Israeli government halt construction of homes that can house their growing citizenship today?

Finally, the last who should be angry that Israel is building in Jerusalem is the United States. Are the leaders of America that dense to think they can appease the PA by siding against Israel on this issue just in the hope that President Abbas may be happy with their decision to put on the public face of animosity against its democratic ally? Well, knowing this current administration perhaps he does have cause to think this way.

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