Ernst writes that the West Bank of the Jordan River and East Jerusalem are, in fact, not located in Israel. They are located in the ancient provinces of Judaea and Samaria, originally inhabited by the Jews, who were subsequently invaded and dominated under the rule of the Persians, the Greeks and the Romans.
He attempts to make a case for the “occupation” by Israel of East Jerusalem after the 1967 War. From 1948 to 1967, in fact, East Jerusalem was illegally occupied by Jordan. Jordan expelled all Jews from this area and desecrated its Jewish holy sites. Having been attacked in 1967, Israel annexed East Jerusalem, it having been won in a war of defense by Israel for its very survival.
Ernst states that approximately 720,000 people were “forced” to leave their homes in the 1948 war for Israeli independence (the number of refugees was estimated independently and more accurately at 200,000 to 300,000 by several authorities, including some officials of Arab nations). The reasons for the large numbers of refugees are complex and varied; however it is safe to conclude that had not five Arab nations attacked the new state of Israel in an effort to annihilate it, there would be few to no refugees from the nation.
There is no current occupation of Palestinian lands by Israel. In 2005, Israel completely withdrew from the Gaza Strip. Since 2006, Gaza has been governed by Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization. The charter of Hamas consists of 36 articles, all of which promote the goal of the physical destruction of Israel and the killing of Jews.
Ernst labels Israeli settlements in the “West Bank” as “colonial.” However, Israel has historic, legal and security claims to the West Bank. The settlements do not violate UN Resolution 242 of 1967, which calls for negotiations to establish borders; nor does it violate the Oslo Accords. The West Bank is governed by the Palestinian Authority, with its militaristic branch, Fatah, responsible for terrorist actions through the years.
He conveniently omits the fact that close to 300,000 Jews were expelled from Arab countries in 1948 as an act of retribution for the birth of the Jewish nation. Another 600,000 Jews fled Arab countries in fear.
Israel has bent over backward, time and time again, attempting to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians. Ernst’s letter is a collection of cherry-picked observations, providing no cause and effect, and does not differentiate between acts of aggression and acts of self-defense.
Saul AshHampton Bays
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