Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What Are Our Settlements in Judea-Samaria (West Bank)?

by Nadene Goldfoot

I dislike the use of the term, "settlements." We have villages, towns and cities already established in Judea and Samaria. A settlement, a synonym of village, also is a place or region newly settled. Village does not imply this. It only indicates the size of the community. A village is larger than a hamlet but smaller than a town. I believe "settlement" is being used politically to imply that this community is like putting up tents that can be taken down and moved easily. This is not the case. I abhor the term, "West Bank" Again, this is a political move to wipe out the connection of our Jewish history to the land. This term came from the Jordanians to describe the land west of the Jordan River. Evidently they couldn't bring themselves to use the Hebrew names for it. The same thing happened when the Romans took over Israel after 70AD. They renamed it Palestinia for the same political reasons. So I will continue to call the land by its original name, Judea and Samaria, each having its own historical story to tell.

The city of Ariel happens to have a population of over 16,700 and is the 4th largest city in Judea Samaria. It started in 1978, so is now 32 years old. This is about the same population that Pendleton, Oregon has which is 16,830.

Judea and Samaria happen to be the biblical homeland or heartland of Eretz Israel with Jerusalem, the City of David, at the center of that heart. This land reminds us of who we are and who we were. The history goes way back to our beginnings. Today 300,000 Israelis live in over 100 communities. Also sharing the land are 1.5 million Palestinian Arabs living in their communities.

Judea occupies the land where our ancient land of Judea had been with its capital which was Jerusalem.

Samaria happens to be on the land where Israel had been with its capital of Shomron.

It was under Jordanian occupation for 19 years. Jordan lost this in 1967 when Israel surprised everyone by defending itself under a horrible assault of all the surrounding Arab nations again and won this battle in 6 days. It has been under Israel's sovereignty for the past 43 years now.

"The Jewish right of settlement in the area," Rostow concluded, "is equivalent in every way to the right of the existing [Palestinian] population to live there." Furthermore, as Stephen Schwebel, a judge on the International Court of Justice between 1981 and 2000, explicitly noted, territory acquired in a war of self-defense (waged by Israel in 1967) must be distinguished from territory acquired through "aggressive conquest" (waged by Germany during World War II). Consequently, the provisions of the Mandate for Palestine, allocating all the land west of the Jordan River to the Jewish people for their national home, remained in force until sovereignty was finally determined by a peace treaty between the contending parties—now Israel and the Palestinians. Until then, the disputed West Bank, claimed by two peoples, remained open to Jewish settlement. So far, there is no peace treaty. The Palestinian Abbas is not coming to the table to talk.

"Netanyahu has said of Judea and Samaria, “But we will not freeze the lives of the residents of Judea and Samaria and we will not freeze construction.”Netanyahu imposed the freeze last November as a means of enticing the Palestinians back to the negotiating table. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas waiting until the very last minute to accept the gesture, and now insists extending the freeze is a precondition to continuing the renewed peace negotiations." Netanyahu is not buying into this. Building is in the plan but will not begin probably for years.


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