Media Mention of Ghaith al-Omari in The Examiner - November 19, 2009 - 1:00am

The government of Israel is in process of approving 900 new houses in the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem, on land acquired in 1967.

The U.S. calls this “expanding a settlement.“ The White House press secretary “was ‘dismayed” and asking both parties to avoid unilateral actions that could ‘pre-empt or appear to pre-empt negotiations.’”

“Disagreements over settlement building are in large part the reason that the negotiations, which have been stalled for months, have not resumed.”

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) is seeking support for statehood without negotiation. The State Department disapproves of that route.

Abbas said he has “no option but to try a different course.” (Isabel Kershner, NY Times, 11/18, A6.)

The comparable Wall St. Journal article mentions that Israel annexed the area.

U.S. officials said “The U.S. also objects to other Israeli practices in Jerusalem related to housing, including the continuing pattern of evictions and demolitions of Palestinian homes.”

Former P.A. negotiator Ghaith Al-Omari said, “Both sides understand it’s in their interest to return to negotiations.” Some Mideast experts fear that both sides will harden their positions “even more.” (Jay Solomon, 11/18, A10.)

Hardened? The P.A. has raised its demands, whereas Israel has lowered its demand for no pre-conditions by acquiescing 90% on housing, by not approving any new housing in the Territories. I call that softening. It is just anti-Israel propaganda to try to rip away that last shred of Israeli dignity, and for what? To protect the new P.A. demand to pre-condition negotiations? It is a double standard not to blame just the P.A., for raising new demands as the obstacle to negotiation. Of course, the negotiations won’t cover the cause of the conflict, which is not territorial but existential for Israel because Islam insists on dominating people of other faiths.

Another double standard is the U.S. saying it asks both sides not to pre-empt negotiations, referring to Jews building houses but not Arabs. Another double standard is U.S. objection to Israel applying the rule of law on eviction and demolition. The eviction is because Arabs won’t relinquish property owned by Jews. This puts the U.S. in a Jim Crow position of contending that Jews may not own property in that part of town. The demolitions are of houses built illegally. The U.S. objection to that is objectionable. What is the significance of Israel’s annexation of eastern Jerusalem, which included the Old City and mostly vacant tracts for normal municipal growth? Was the annexation legal? Yes, because: (1) Israel is paramount heir to the Palestine Mandate, incorporated into the UN Charter, and which requires “close settlement of the land by the Jews,” and the area was part of the legally unallocated territories of the Mandate; and (2) Victims of aggression may annex areas needed for national security. Protecting the capital from the nearby P.A. would protect Israel from a third invasion from Palestinian Arabs, the other two being from Jordan, the Palestinian Arab state.

Therefore, to call a neighborhood in Israel’s biggest city a “settlement” is absurd. But since the term is pejorative, it is used and exclusively against Israel, despite extensive construction by Arabs, often illegally.

One problem is that first the Arabs coin a loaded term, then the Left adopts it, and finally it becomes politically correct. Then when people use it, they assume facts that do not exist. Another double standard is in equating the two sides, as in asserting that both sides should want to return to negotiations. Israel repeatedly has offered to negotiate. The Arabs refuse.


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