Israel is building homes on the edge of Jerusalem. This has rankled many in the international community, particularly in Europe. They claim it will damage the peace process. It is not surprising to hear voices of protest emanating from European capitals. What is disturbing is that liberal Jewish organizations in the US have joined the bandwagon. They challenged Israel’s building of homes for Jews near Maale Adumim, a suburb located just a few miles from Jerusalem.
The argument of these leftist groups is that Israel is making peace impossible: “You can’t have a Palestinian state if Jews are living in the area.” Strangely, these same groups do not protest when Arabs build in this territory. We must ask if a Jew can build a house in Beverly Hills, why can’t he build one in the historic heartland of his homeland? Would these liberal groups be silent if a group of whites in Mississippi decided that blacks should not build homes in their state? When it comes to Jews why do they have a double standard on rights of the Jewish people?
I am not talking about seizing land. It’s building on land owned outright by Jews who have purchased it, or building on state land that is empty. Beyond this is a greater question. Who is being helped by their protests? Are they empowering Palestinians, who will say “look, American Jews agree with us,” to be more demanding of Israel?
Crucial facts are being ignored by the Jewish left. Israel has offered compromise already on numerous occasions. In 1948 the historical homeland was split into two states, one for Jews and the other for Arabs. In a series of negotiations with Prime Ministers Barak and Olmert, Israel offered the Palestinians some 98 percent of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Nothing was good enough; they rejected every offer.
Personally, I fear that another Palestinian state on the West Bank will be a severe blow to Israeli security. Israel already has created two terror states by making unilateral withdrawals. It left, and Lebanon and Hezbollah stepped in. It removed dozens of Jewish communities from Gaza, and Hamas seized control. Each of these states is a mortal danger to Israel. A third state could prove disastrous. Instead of missiles raining down on Ashkelon, they will be hitting Israel’s heartland in Tel Aviv. Imagine that if one missile hits the international airport near Tel Aviv, airlines would cut off service, and Israel’s connection to the world would be severed.
Even if you accept the premise that another Palestinian state will bring peace, why can’t Jews build now if Arabs are doing the same? If there is a state one day, those Jews can live as a minority under Arab rule. If Arabs can live in Tel Aviv, why can’t Jews live on the West Bank ? Currently, the Palestinian Authority, as well as Jordan’s punishment for selling land to a Jew, is the death sentence. One would hope with a peace deal this law would be rescinded.
Jewish leadership demands Jewish responsibility. When you speak out, you must calculate the impact of your words and whether they could give strength to nefarious forces. I think liberal groups should ponder this seriously. Will their words embolden radical Arabs with ties to terror to be more demanding? And what is different between Beverly Hills and East Jerusalem? Jews should be able to build anywhere. Α