Jpost – Arab-Israeli Conflict
By HERB KEINON \12/28/2016
Not Israel, but the Arabs are responsible for “altering the demographic composition” of the West Bank by ethnically cleansing the area of Jews in 1948, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday, continuing his aggressive rhetoric against Friday’s anti-settlement resolution at the UN.
“The anti-Israel resolution that just passed in the UN Security Council is based on the argument that Israel is ‘altering the demographic composition’ of Judea and Samaria,” Netanyahu wrote on his Facebook page Tuesday.
“The United Nations has consistently ignored the fact that Jews were ethnically cleansed from these territories in 1948, which is why there were no Jews in the area until after 1967.”
The resolution, supported by 14 nations on the 15-nation Security Council, with the US abstaining but allowing it to pass by not using its veto, condemned “all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including east Jerusalem, including, inter alia, the construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions.”
Netanyahu pointed out that in 1929, it was the Arabs who massacred the Jews in Hebron; that in 1948, Jews were expelled and murdered in Gush Etzion, Kalya (near the Dead Sea) and Atarot, north of Jerusalem.
“The Arab Legion also ethnically cleansed the Jews who were living in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, and then blew up all of the synagogues there,” he wrote. “Not a single Jew remained in any of the territories conquered by the invading Arabs in 1948. The reaction of the United Nations to this reality? Silence.”
Pointing out that the League of Nations in 1922 ratified the Balfour Declaration that “awarded national rights to the Jewish people – and only the Jewish people – in the Land of Israel,” Netanyahu said that this was later adopted by the UN and “is a binding document under international law that defines the international legal status of the Land of Israel.”
The UN has no legal justification for its resolution on Friday, he wrote, “only ignorance and malice.”
Jerusalem, meanwhile, continued to take measures to express its displeasure with the 14 countries that supported the resolution, with Israel’s envoy to Angola, Oren Rozenblat, delivering a letter to the Foreign Ministry in Angola announcing that Jerusalem was terminating Israel’s international development programs with the country. While the immediate effect is insignificant, since currently only one Angolan student was due to attend a program in Israel, Foreign Ministry officials said there are a number of projects in the future that have now been frozen. The official did not say until when this policy toward Angola would be in effect. According to the official, Israel was especially disappointed by the Angola vote, since the country had informed Israel previously that it would abstain.
The steps against Angola were the latest in a string that Netanyahu initiated in response to the resolution, including recalling Israel’s ambassadors to Senegal and New Zealand; summoning in for protest the ambassadors and representatives of all the UN Security Council states; canceling the scheduled visit on Wednesday of the Ukrainian prime minister; and calling on his ministers to curtail visits to the 14 Security Council states that voted for the measure.
While Netanyahu did not continue his sharp criticism of the US on Tuesday, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avi Dichter (Likud) repeated Israel’s claims that the US orchestrated the vote.
“A delegation from the Palestinian Authority met with the [US] secretary of state 10 days before the resolution, including Saeb Erekat, [PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s] personal adviser and the head of their security apparatus,” Dichter told Israel Radio. “In addition, the American ambassador to the UN met with the Palestinian ambassador.”
Though the Egyptians pulled their resolution, the US “did not remain a widower” and found other countries to do the job, he added, referring to Cairo’s last-minute decision to retract the resolution Thursday under apparent pressure from US President-elect Donald Trump. Senegal, New Zealand, Malaysia and Venezuela then dusted off the proposal and brought it for a vote the very next day.
Israel’s Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer told CNN on Monday that Israel has clear evidence that the US was behind the move, and that this evidence would be presented to President- elect Donald Trump when he takes office on January 20.
But Dov Weisglass, who served as former prime minister Ariel Sharon’s chief of staff, expressed doubt over claims that the US was secretly behind the resolution.
“In my eyes, it is rudeness when an ambassador dares to poke his nose into the US decision-making apparatus,” Weisglass said of Dermer’s assertion.
“I would like to see what this evidence is,” he said in an Army Radio interview. “I think that this resolution was not at all unexpected, it is the traditional position of the administration.
I don’t believe that the administration initiated the resolution,” Weisglass said.
“To expect the administration to veto a resolution with a text in line with the US position over the last 50 years – there is a limit to how much they can appear to work in the service of Israel at any price and in all circumstances, including to use a veto on a position that is their own clearly stated position,” he added.
Weisglass characterized the response Netanyahu has taken against the countries that voted for the resolution as “ridiculous.”
“The attempt to create symmetry between us and the rest of the world and to punish the 14 countries that voted against us is actually making the Palestinian dream of isolating Israel internationally into reality,” he said.
Summoning of ambassadors to be reprimanded was a display of “rudeness” on Netanyahu’s part, he claimed. “To summon foreign ambassadors on a Sunday, especially on Christmas, is simply an elementary lack of manners. I think these reprimands are making people laugh in the foreign embassies involved. Even Senegal is not scared.”
He said that these steps were intended to please Netanyahu’s own political base at home.
Lahav Harkov and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.