Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Love of the Land: Gilo--History and International Law Back Israel

Gilo--History and International Law Back Israel

Daled Amos
23 November 09

In an article in the Jerusalem Post, Maurice Ostroff writes about the status of Gilo--where plans to build 900 houses have caused a new uproar and claims that Israel is once again expanding settlements.

However, as Ostroff points out, the emotional reaction ignores the facts--both historical and legal.


THE REALITY is that Gilo is very different than the outposts in the West Bank. It is not in east Jerusalem as widely reported. It is a Jerusalem neighborhood with a population of around 40,000. The ground was bought by Jews before WWII and settled in 1971 in south west Jerusalem opposite Mount Gilo within the municipal borders. There is no inference whatsoever that it rests on Arab land.

The current building approval was not a deliberately provocative political decision by Binyamin Netanyahu as reported in some media. The plan was initiated a long time ago by the Israel Land Administration. Since Gilo is an integral part of the city, the approval was given by Jerusalem's Construction and Planning Committee and, as Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat said in a statement released by his office, "Israeli law does not discriminate between Arabs and Jews, or between east and west of the city. The demand to cease construction just for Jews is illegal, as in the US and any other enlightened place in the world. The Jerusalem Municipality will continue to enable construction in every part of the city for Jews and Arabs alike."

...In his video message to the November 8 Rabin Rally in Tel Aviv, US President Barack Obama urged Israel to pursue Rabin's legacy. It is therefore relevant to recall that Rabin had no intention of returning to the 1967 lines. In his last speech [view here] to the Knesset on October 5, 1995, Rabin said "The borders of the State of Israel, during the permanent solution, will be beyond the lines which existed before the Six Day War. We will not return to the 4 June 1967 lines....First and foremost, united Jerusalem - which will include both Ma'aleh Adumim and Givat Ze'ev - as the capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty, while preserving the rights of the members of the other faiths, Christianity and Islam, to freedom of access and freedom of worship in their holy places, according to the customs of their faiths...."

No less supportive of Israel's right to build the houses is International Law, which is often misquoted in an effort to condemn Israel:

(Continue article)

Love of the Land: Gilo--History and International Law Back Israel

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