Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922

Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922
Jordan is 77% of former Palestine - Israel, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza comprise 23%.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Olmert's Unilateralism Undermines Unity

[Published April 2006]

"Convergence" is the buzzword used by Ehud Olmert and his slick Public Relations team to gift-wrap his policy on Israel's intended unilateral withdrawal from large areas of the West Bank to a defensive line behind the security barrier being presently constructed by Israel.

365,000 Jews today live in the West Bank -- roughly the size of Delaware -- among 2.3 million Arabs.

"Convergence" has already become entrenched in the international lexicon of the Middle East and in the media although no one had heard of the word just two months ago.

Yet the use of this word masks a multi faceted approach to singling out and victimising Jews on a scale not seen since the 1930's and 1940's.

"Convergence" is defined in the Chambers 20th century dictionary to mean, "coming nearer together, tending towards or meeting in one point or value"

"Convergence" as espoused by Mr Olmert will actually result in Jews being alienated from each other -- precisely the opposite of what he is suggesting -- since his policy will have the following consequences:

1. The forced removal of up to 70,000 Jews from their homes and businesses in the West Bank in breach of international humanitarian law embodied in the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to both of which treaties Israel is a signatory.

2. The abrogation of the right of present and future generations of Jews anywhere in the world to return and settle in the West Bank for the purpose of reconstituting the Jewish National Home in that area as was specifically conferred on them by the San Remo Conference and the Treaty of Sevres 1920, the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine 1922 and article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

How such outcomes can possibly be described as bringing people nearer together remains unexplained by Mr Olmert.

"Convergence" is in fact a repackaged version of Ariel Sharon's policy of "Disengagement" or "Evacuation" carried out last year in the Gaza Strip where 8000 Jews and the international Jewish community saw their legal and humanitarian rights trampled on in exactly the same manner.

Far from bringing Jews nearer together such "Disengagement" has created areas of resentment and frustration as well as breakdowns in family and societal relationships that are ongoing and serious.

The failure of the Israeli Government to meet its obligations to those it forcibly removed and whose livelihoods it destroyed could well lead to continuing tragedies on an unprecedented scale.

Ariel Sharon promised the Israeli public and the international Jewish community that no further "painful concessions" of this kind would be undertaken at least until a peace agreement was reached with Israel's neighbours in accordance with the Road Map compiled by the Quartet -- the US, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.

His Deputy Ehud Olmert has repudiated this assurance and now claims to have received a mandate to introduce more of the same medicine under the supposed guise of bringing Jews closer together within more defensible lines.

In fact, such policy will serve to further exacerbate the frictions and divisions in Israeli society caused by the Gaza withdrawal at a time when unity is needed more than ever to face the enemies that surround Israel.

Mr. Olmert's "Convergence" policy will have a harder time getting off the ground in the West Bank than Mr.Sharon 's "Disengagement" policy from Gaza for the following reasons:

1. 70,000 people will be affected this time, not 8000, and they will be fully aware of the manner in which those 8000 people in Gaza were left to fend for themselves.

2. Another 295,000 people living within a 30 minutes drive of those being tossed out of their homes and businesses will see this as the thin edge of the wedge. Failure by them to protest and prevent such "convergence" could well see them next in the firing line to be removed. Gaza was not in their backyard, but the areas to be vacated in the West Bank certainly are. They should not rely on their living inside the security barrier to guarantee they will not also be forcibly removed at some later date.

3. Those Jews allowed to remain in the West Bank will be subjected to ever increasing terror attacks as the recently elected Hamas Government and other Arab terrorist militias quickly move in to take control of and operate from the areas vacated by Jews.

4. Any Government promises of no such further unilateral withdrawals being undertaken will not be believed and with good reason.

Mr Olmert needs to stop and think long and hard before embarking on an expedition that threatens to destroy what little unity still exists in Israel.

He needs to ponder on the effect his policy will have on the strong and supportive relationship Israel enjoys with Jewish communities throughout the world who will have no say in his unilateral abandonment of their rights and those of future generations to live in the vacated areas of the West Bank -- the biblical heartland of the Jewish people

Mr Olmert can still unilaterally separate from the Arab residents living in the West Bank by withdrawing to defensible lines that will incorporate the overwhelming majority of those 70000 Jews without the necessity of moving them. This will allow Israel to retain those areas until a final peace treaty is achieved.

Sugarcoating a policy that can have catastrophic effects for the Jewish people with the imprimatur of "convergence" is doublespeak of the worst possible kind.

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