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ACCOMMODATION, NOT OCCUPATION

Letter to the Editor

The Wall Street Journal

Charles Levinson’s article, “Israeli Plans Add to Tension With U.S” (March 25) makes a serious error in referring to “Palestinian East Jerusalem” and the “Palestinian neighborhood of East Jerusalem. ” Jerusalem is NOT a divided city, but was unified in 1967 when Israel won its defensive war against the Arab nations pitted against it. There is NO part of Jerusalem that is “Palestinian,” just as there is no “Palestinian” people. The Arabs who call themselves by that name simply adopted it, and the world press has planted it in the minds of people everywhere, including Israelis, but it is a fabrication, NOT a people, and certainly not an “ancient” people who have any claim to Israel.

Understanding that helps us to see that the Obama administration’s “standoff over settlement construction” is based on falsehood. As PM Netanyahu clearly stated at the AIPAC conference, “Jerusalem is NOT a settlement,” and of course, “settlements” have a right to grow and build as their populations require. The entire idea of “freezing settlements” is dangerous and counter-productive on many fronts.

Levinson’s article deals in particular with the Shepherd Hotel which the Moskowitz family bought in 1985 and has been trying to renovate since then. I had the privilege of visiting the hotel in August, 2009, when I was traveling with Governor Mike Huckabee on a fact-finding mission in Israel. The hotel is located near the National Headquarters of the Israeli police, near the tomb of Shimon HaTzadik, and adjacent to the Hebrew University and Hadassah Hospital on Mt. Scopus. How is it possible to call this, “Palestinian East Jerusalem?”

Included in the Huckabee tour was a visit to Ma’aleh Adumim and the E1 corridor to Jerusalem. The mayor of the city explained that the population of 7,000 people provided 2000 jobs to Arabs, and that freezing construction meant putting Arabs out of work. It’s clear that when the “freeze on settlements” was implemented, no thought was given to the fallout regarding the myriad people and businesses that would be affected.

Critics of Israel need to start educating themselves from the beginning of the narrative. They might start with a wonderful book by Shmuel Katz, BATTLEGROUND. They will then learn what Governor Huckabee understands so well, “Israel’s government is one of accommodation, NOT occupation.”

Helen Freedman

Executive Director

Americans For a Safe Israel/AFSI

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