Obama, State Dept., EU, media concoct phony tempest in a Jerusalem teacup

Haaretz and other Israeli left-wing media concocted an anti-Israel gotacha piece a few days ago when they discovered that authorities were soliciting public comments on previously announced plans for construction of some 1,300 housing units in Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem.  Planning for this additional housing has been public knowledge for a long time and it may take several more years before any construction actually gets under way.

But this didn't matter to correspondents of the New York Times and the Washington Post, which saw an opening to portray Israel as hampering efforts to resume direct negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.  And, predictably, President Obama, the State Department and the European Union also let fly with condemnations of Israel -- without even first checking with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for some clarification.

What is utterly ludicrous about this concocted tempest in a Jerusalem teacup is that the bulk of the new apartment units are to go up in Har Homa, a Jewish neighborhood of some 12,000 residents in southeast Jerusalem.  Two thirds of Har Homa is on land purchased by Jews after the First World War.  The other third is owned by Arabs.  The entire existing Harm Homa neighborhood was built on Jewish-owned land and plans for additional housing units also are confined to this part of Har Homa.   None of this appeared in media reports or in the criticism leveled by Obama, the State Department and the European Union.

Nor did they bother to point out that, under any realistic scenario for a two-state solution, even with a division of Jerusalem, Har Homa will remain on the Israeli side.

With typical historical amnesia, these Israel-bashers also failed to point out that, during Israel's War of Independence, Jordanian forces attempting to eliminate the Jewish state used Har Homa as a vantage point from which to fire on the Old City of Jerusalem and other neighborhoods of the city.

In their cramped and selective sense of history, none of this matters.  Their historical perspective begins with the last day of the Six-Day War in 1967 when Israel prevailed over Jordanian and other Arab armies intent on destroying it, and in the process reunified Jerusalem.

Thus, Washington Post correspondent Joel Greenberg describes Har Homas as an "area of the West Bank annexed to Jerusalem."  New York Times correspondent Isabel Kershner, in similar vein, calls it a "Jewish residential development in southern Jerusalem in territory that Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 war, and then annexed."

So never mind that Har Homa has been on Jewish owned land from well before Jordan illegally occupied it in 1948, in clear violation of the 1947 UN two-state partition plan.

All that history is brushed aside.  What matters to the Times and the Post -- as well as to Obama, the State Department and the Europeans -- is their own brand of historical revisionism that ignores all Jewish ties and claims to Jerusalem for several thousands of years before the Six-Day War of 1967.
 
For his part, Prime Minister Netanyahu countered with a sharp retort to Israel's critics by treating them a post-1967 history lesson of his own.

"Jerusalem is not a settlement, it is the capital of Israel," he declared.  "Israel does not see any connection between the peace process and the policy of planning and construction in Jerusalem, which has not changed in 40 years.  For the last 40 years every Israeli government built in every part of the city.   During that period peace agreements were signed with Egypt and Jordan and for 17 yers direct negotiations were held with the Paletinians.  These are historical facts.  Construction in Jerusalem has never interfered with the peace process."
Haaretz and other Israeli left-wing media concocted an anti-Israel gotacha piece a few days ago when they discovered that authorities were soliciting public comments on previously announced plans for construction of some 1,300 housing units in Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem.  Planning for this additional housing has been public knowledge for a long time and it may take several more years before any construction actually gets under way.

But this didn't matter to correspondents of the New York Times and the Washington Post, which saw an opening to portray Israel as hampering efforts to resume direct negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.  And, predictably, President Obama, the State Department and the European Union also let fly with condemnations of Israel -- without even first checking with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for some clarification.

What is utterly ludicrous about this concocted tempest in a Jerusalem teacup is that the bulk of the new apartment units are to go up in Har Homa, a Jewish neighborhood of some 12,000 residents in southeast Jerusalem.  Two thirds of Har Homa is on land purchased by Jews after the First World War.  The other third is owned by Arabs.  The entire existing Harm Homa neighborhood was built on Jewish-owned land and plans for additional housing units also are confined to this part of Har Homa.   None of this appeared in media reports or in the criticism leveled by Obama, the State Department and the European Union.

Nor did they bother to point out that, under any realistic scenario for a two-state solution, even with a division of Jerusalem, Har Homa will remain on the Israeli side.

With typical historical amnesia, these Israel-bashers also failed to point out that, during Israel's War of Independence, Jordanian forces attempting to eliminate the Jewish state used Har Homa as a vantage point from which to fire on the Old City of Jerusalem and other neighborhoods of the city.

In their cramped and selective sense of history, none of this matters.  Their historical perspective begins with the last day of the Six-Day War in 1967 when Israel prevailed over Jordanian and other Arab armies intent on destroying it, and in the process reunified Jerusalem.

Thus, Washington Post correspondent Joel Greenberg describes Har Homas as an "area of the West Bank annexed to Jerusalem."  New York Times correspondent Isabel Kershner, in similar vein, calls it a "Jewish residential development in southern Jerusalem in territory that Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 war, and then annexed."

So never mind that Har Homa has been on Jewish owned land from well before Jordan illegally occupied it in 1948, in clear violation of the 1947 UN two-state partition plan.

All that history is brushed aside.  What matters to the Times and the Post -- as well as to Obama, the State Department and the Europeans -- is their own brand of historical revisionism that ignores all Jewish ties and claims to Jerusalem for several thousands of years before the Six-Day War of 1967.
 
For his part, Prime Minister Netanyahu countered with a sharp retort to Israel's critics by treating them a post-1967 history lesson of his own.

"Jerusalem is not a settlement, it is the capital of Israel," he declared.  "Israel does not see any connection between the peace process and the policy of planning and construction in Jerusalem, which has not changed in 40 years.  For the last 40 years every Israeli government built in every part of the city.   During that period peace agreements were signed with Egypt and Jordan and for 17 yers direct negotiations were held with the Paletinians.  These are historical facts.  Construction in Jerusalem has never interfered with the peace process."

RECENT VIDEOS