Dissecting the U.S. Policy Shift on Jewish West Bank Communities

(Media Line-Jerusalem Post) Charles Bybelezer - The U.S. policy change regarding the legality of Jewish communities in the West Bank was the subject of a conference on Wednesday in Jerusalem organized by the Kohelet Policy Forum. U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman emphasized that the U.S. policy change did not "obfuscate the very real issue that 2 million or more Palestinians reside [therein]," who deserve to "live in dignity, in peace, with independence, pride and opportunity. We [the U.S.] are committed to finding a way to make that happen, but the Pompeo Doctrine says clearly that Israelis have the right, Jews have the right, to live in Judea and Samaria, and it calls for a practical, negotiated resolution of the conflict that improves the lives of both sides." Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked the U.S. for "recognizing that we [Israelis] are not foreigners in our own land....We are not occupiers of our homeland." Dore Gold, former Foreign Ministry director-general and current Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs president, said it was "obscene" that the Geneva Convention discussion of the Nazis' forced deportation of Jews to death camps was now being used against Jews who wish to build homes in their ancestral homeland. The settlements started as an Israeli security measure to prevent invasions, and UN Security Council Resolution 242 explicitly authorized Israel to remain in control of portions of the disputed West Bank land, Gold said. Prof. Eugene Kontorovich, head of the International Law Department at the Kohelet Policy Forum, said, "I think peace is much more possible now that the notion that settlements are illegal has been taken off the table because the notion that the Palestinians were entitled to an area equivalent to everything that Jordan and Egypt took in 1949...made negotiations impossible." "By making Palestinian claims detached from supposed legal entitlements, now the sides can negotiate based on reality, based on facts on the ground, based on what can actually be - not based on a unique and illiberal claim of a Jew-free state."

2020-01-09 00:00:00

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