“Area C,” which comprises some 60 percent of the West Bank, also known as Judea and Samaria, is making news these days. This time, the hot button issue is illegal Palestinian settlements sprouting across the region, shredding the last vestige of the Oslo Accords, which, for a generation, propelled the “two-state solution.”
Most observers of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis are accustomed to hearing talk of “illegal Jewish settlements” on slivers of land comprising one to two percent of the West Bank, mostly near the green line of Israel proper. But, attention now focuses on an explosion of thousands of illegal Palestinian constructions: village clusters, agricultural tracts, water networks, roads, and general infrastructure crisscrossing Area C of the West Bank. All of this violates the 1993 and 1995 Oslo Accords, which specify full Israeli administrative control in Area C. Under the international agreement, only the Israeli Civil Administration can authorize new construction in the zone—for Israeli and Arab alike. However, continuous waves of recent Palestinian settlements are being established without permits—often without even bothering to apply. One senior official of the Israeli security apparatus called it “the wild west.”
According to Israeli activist watchdog groups, such as Regavim, in the past half-decade, illegal Palestinian settlements and infrastructure have sprawled across more than 9,000 dunams in more than 250 Area C locations, supported by more than 600 kilometers of illegally constructed access roads and more than 112,000 meters of retaining walls and terracing. This massive works project is being conducted in broad daylight, often heralded by tall announcement placards and proud press releases.
When questioned, various Israeli government officials did not dispute the Regavim numbers. In exasperation, one military spokesman close to the Area C files located at Bet El estimated “close to 10,000” illegal construction efforts are now underway—adding they felt “powerless to stop them.” The rapid build-up is funded by hundreds of millions of euros annually, funneled by the European Union and individual European nations into scores of building and infrastructure projects.
Understanding the tortuous history that created the current sovereignty vacuum in Area C can be daunting and confusing.
Leaving out 99 percent of everything … the indigenous Israelites of Canaan were expelled starting in 70 C.E. by the Romans, who renamed the region “Syria-Palaestina”—or Palestine,for the Philistine sea invaders from the Greek Islands. In about 637 C.E., the Islamic invasion swept up from the Arabian Peninsula to conquer and convert. For about four centuries, the Turkish Ottoman Empire governed until its 1918 defeat in World War I. After WWI, the Allies dismembered Ottoman colonies throughout the Middle East and concomitantly encouraged self-determination for ethnic peoples across the Levant. The League of Nations, in association with 51 countries and competing nationalist groups, eventually established five modern Arab countries: Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, modern Hejaz (Arabia) and post-colonial modern Egypt, plus one democratic and pluralistic Jewish State in Palestine. The original 1920 “Mandate” boundaries of the modern Jewish State extended from the Mediterranean Sea across the area now known as Jordan—a country which then did not exist.
The Arabs were shortchanged by the French in their quest for an Arab Kingdom in Syria. So, in recompense, the British modified the Palestine Mandate in September 1922 by virtue of an official memorandum, carving off some 70 percent of the intended Jewish nation to invent Trans-Jordan (now Jordan)—the territory extended from the Jordan River east to the borders of Iraq and what is now Saudi Arabia. For decades, co-existence between Arabs and Jews in the former Turkish colony could not be achieved. In 1947, the non-binding UN Resolution 181—known as Partition—recommended side-by-side Jewish and Arab states. In those days, the identity of the two peoples was “Arab” and “Jewish,” as local Arabs did not adopt the identity of “Palestinian” until about 1964.
Israel accepted Partition, but the Arabs refused. The surrounding League-created Arab nations attacked the newly declared Jewish State. In 1948, Jordan (created by the British memo) illegally invaded and annexed the area west of the Jordan River, including East Jerusalem, thus coining the new term, “West Bank” for the still-disputed former Turkish colonial provinces.
In 1967, when Israel fought its preemptive Six Day War, expelling Jordan, the Jewish State occupied this same disputed former Turkish colonial region, still called the West Bank. In 1988,Jordan rescinded any claim of sovereignty, deepening the sovereignty vacuum.
In 1993 and 1995, after years of diplomatic wrangling, Israel and the avowed terror group Palestine Liberation Organization signed the Oslo Accords, envisioning a peaceful two-state solution. Under the complex Oslo Accords, and subsequent modifications at Wye, Sharm el-Sheikh, and elsewhere, the “West Bank” is divided into three separate administrative zones, Areas A, B and C.
Area A is reserved for Palestinian civil and administrative control and seats the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. Area B is governed by Palestinian civil control under a joint Israeli-Palestinian security apparatus.
Area C —also called Judea and Samaria—comprises roughly 60 percent of the West Bank. It more closely resembles the Biblical and original international demarcation of a Jewish State during the initial League of Nations mandate—but is now considered occupied by the international community. The majority of Area C residents are Israelis—an estimated 325,000 alongside some 300,000 Arabs. In essence, Oslo normalized and structured the Israeli occupation and administration of the disputed former Turkish lands.
But by virtue of a cumulative multibillion-euro effort, European capitals are working hard to destabilize the last pillars of the Oslo Accords. Thus, these countries seek to create a Palestinian state along the 1948 armistice line — also known as the 1967 lines— without further consulting the Jewish State. This ensures the Palestinian Authority knows it need not negotiate with Jerusalem—even as the United States and Gulf countries make a daring dash to achieve peace.
As the urgency of Area C is becoming clearer, still murky is the source of the diverse European funding that enables this conflict and the routes those billions of euros take across the Mediterranean. What’s more, there is widespread fear that millions in funds are continuously funneled through entities openly accused of being affiliated with established terrorist organizations.
Menachem Begin in December 1942 wearing the Polish Army uniform of Gen. Anders’ forces with his wife Aliza and David Yutan; (back row) Moshe Stein and Israel Epstein
(photo credit: JABOTINSKY ARCHIVES)
During the inauguration of a memorial to the victims of the Siege of Leningrad in Jerusalem’s Sacher Park on January 24, 2020, before the climax of Holocaust remembrance events at which Russian President Vladimir Putin was given a central platform, we were stunned to hear a rendition of The Blue Kerchief (Siniy
Giant figures are seen during the 87th carnival parade of Aalst February 15, 2015
The annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium, is expected to take place on Sunday with even more antisemitic elements than in previous years.
Aalst’s organizers have sold hundreds of “rabbi kits” for revelers to dress as hassidic Jews in the carnival’s parade. The kit includes oversized noses, sidelocks (peyot) and black hats. The organizers plan to bring back floats similar to the one displayed in 2019 featuring oversized dolls of Jews, with rats on their shoulders, holding banknotes.
Pope Francis waves as he arrives at the Basilica of Saint Nicholas in the southern Italian coastal city of Bari, Italy February 23, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Remo Casilli.
Pope Francis on Sunday warned against “inequitable solutions” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying they would only be a prelude to new crises, in an apparent reference to US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace proposal.
Francis made his comments in the southern Italian port city of Bari, where he traveled to conclude a meeting of bishops from all countries in the Mediterranean basin.
Palestinians walk past a shop selling fruits in Ramallah, Feb. 20, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Mohamad Torokman.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have reached an agreement to end a five-month long trade dispute, officials said on Thursday.
The dispute, which opened a new front in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, began in September when the PA announced a boycott of Israel calves. The PA exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank under interim peace deals.
Antisemitic caricatures on display at the annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium. Photo: Raphael Ahren via Twitter.
Disturbing images emerged on Sunday of the annual carnival at Aalst, Belgium, showing an astounding number of antisemitic themes, costumes, displays and statements.
Israeli journalist Raphael Ahren documented people dressed as caricatures of Orthodox Jews, a fake “wailing wall” attacking critics of the parade, blatantly antisemitic characters and puppets wearing traditional Jewish clothes and sporting huge noses.
Feb 02, 2020 0The remarks from the US official came in wake of the Palestinian decision to reject the administration’s peace plan. US PRESIDENT Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrive to...
The stench of anti-Semitism always hovers over Switzerland’s Lake Geneva when the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is meeting there. The foul emanations reached a new nadir last week with UNHRC’s publication of a “database” of companies doing business in the disputed territories in Israel.
Following the publication of the list, Bruno Stagno Ugarte, deputy director for advocacy of NGO Human Rights Watch, stated, “The long-awaited release of the U.N. settlement business database should put all companies on notice: To do business with illegal settlements [sic] is to aid in the commission of war crimes.”
One of the many things that annoys me about politicians is how sure they are of themselves. Everything is black and white. Every idea is good or bad. Take globalism, for example. You either love it or hate it. It works or it doesn’t.
Another thing that annoys me is how so much of a politician’s life revolves around power: Do everything you can to get it, and everything you can to keep it.
Why am I ranting? Because, while our politicians have been consumed with power and the media with the fights over power, a threat to our nation has been virtually ignored.
Blue and White Party leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid are establishing their diplomatic credentials in the immediate run-up to Israel’s March 2 election with an insult to a U.S. administration that has arguably provided Israel with more diplomatic gains than any previous administration.
The Times of Israel reported that at a campaign stop in front of English-speaking Israelis, Gantz accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “of neglecting bipartisan ties in favor of exclusive support from U.S. President Donald Trump’s Republican Party,” under the headline “Gantz pledges to mend ties with U.S. Democrats if elected.”
Bipartisanship was in short supply at the State of the Union address earlier this month—with one notable exception.
Nancy Pelosi had been looking dyspeptic, shuffling the papers she would later rip to shreds, when President Donald Trump reminded his audience that “the United States is leading a 59-nation diplomatic coalition against the socialist dictator of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro.”
Suddenly, the House Speaker applauded. Trump then introduced “the true and legitimate president of Venezuela: Juan Guaidó.”
The law professor Alan Dershowitz has thrown a legal hand-grenade into America’s political civil war by claiming to have evidence that former President Barack Obama “personally asked” the FBI to investigate someone “on behalf” of Obama’s “close ally,” billionaire financier George Soros.
He made his cryptic remark in an interview defending U.S. President Donald Trump against claims he interfered in the prosecution of his former adviser, Roger Stone.