Please stay up-to-date on this important in-depth discussion about the latest developments regarding Eretz Israel. 107 House Democrats, including seven Jewish members of Congress, signed a letter criticizing President Trump’s Administration for its recent declaration that Israeli settlements are not illegal. The letter was sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Thane Rosenbaum, Mort Klein, Benjamin Anthony, and Mark S. Golub are dismayed at the lack of Jewish outrage in response to the letter.
This hot topic has received very little media attention and has hardly generated any response from the Jewish community. The issue in the news is a letter signed by more than 100 Democratic members of Congress and sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticizing the Trump administration for stating that American foreign policy recognizes there is nothing illegal about Israeli settlements on what is normally referred to as the West Bank and what is called the West Ridge since most of the territory is on a mountain range overlooking the State of Israel. And that is what it is called by many traditional Jews called Judea and Samaria since those are the biblical Jewish names for this land going back more than three thousand years to the days of the kings of Israel. But whatever you call the land west of the Jordan River, since 1967 when Israel took control of the land in a defensive war against Jordan, when at the time, there was no international recognition of Jordan’s right to that land ever since the Six-day War of 1967. Israel’s presence on the West Ridge has been a bone of serious contention and constant criticism. Israel’s establishment of communities and towns on the West Ridge has been considered by many to be illegal, an obstacle to peace, and a violation of the fourth Geneva convention. Although nothing related to Israeli control of West Ridge has anything to do with the import of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
After Donald Trump announced that the United States does not view Israeli communities to be illegal, Congressman Andy Levin of Michigan sponsored a letter criticizing this State Department decision and also suggesting the administration had engaged in other inappropriate acts including recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the closing of the Palestinian mission in Washington, halting US aid to the Palestinians on the West Bank and in Gaza, and remember, the Trump administration is refusing to fund the Palestinian Authority so long as it promotes pay-for-slay, the practice of the Palestinian Authority supporting the families of those who murder Israeli civilians. Congressman Levin’s letter goes on to say that the Trump administration has severely damaged prospects for peace and has endangered the security of America, Israel, and the Palestinian people. Some 107 House Democrats have signed this letter including seven Jewish members of Congress.
Where is the outrage?
Here are some of the names of the Signers, because you SHOULD know…
- Blumenauer, Earl
- Cicilline, David … Jewish Democrat, Rhode Island Rep.
- Cohen, Steve … Jewish Democrat, Tennessee Rep.
- Dingell, Debbie … Democrat, Rep.
- Doggett, Lloyd … Democrat, Rep.
- Haaland, Deb … Democrat, Rep.
- Kennedy III, Joseph P. … Democrat, Rep.
- Khanna, Ro … Democrat, Rep.
- Lee, Barbara … Democrat, Rep.
- Levin, Andy … Jewish Democrat, Michigan Rep. … sponsor of the letter.
- Lowenthal, Alan … Jewish Democrat, California Rep.
- McCullum, Betty … Democrat, Rep.
- Moore, Gwen S. … Democrat, Rep.
- Ocasio-Cortez, Alexandria … Democrat, Rep.
- Omar, Ilhan … Democrat, Michigan Rep.
- Porter, Katie … Democrat, Rep.
- Price, David … Democrat, Rep.
- Raskin, Jamie … Jewish Democrat, Maryland Rep.
- Rush, Bobby L. … Democrat, Rep.
- Sanchez, Linda … Democrat, Rep.
- Schakowsky, Jan … Democrat, Rep.
- Speier, Jackie … Democrat, Rep.
- Tlaib, Rashida … Democrat, Michigan Rep.
- Waters, Maxine … Democrat, California Rep.
- Watson-Coleman, Bonnie … Democrat, Rep.
- Welch, Peter … Democrat, Rep.
- Yarmuth, John … Jewish Democrat, Kentucky Rep.
- and more… … Democrat, Rep.
The original, final letter is below:
US Government’s Position on Legality of Israeli Settlements
The following is the full text of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement at the State Department regarding Washington’s shift in policy toward Israeli settlements, which declared them not “inconsistent with international law,” November 18, 2019:
“Turning now to Israel, the Trump administration is reversing the Obama administration’s approach towards Israeli settlements.
US public statements on settlement activities in the West Bank have been inconsistent over decades. In 1978, the Carter administration categorically concluded that Israel’s establishment of civilian settlements was inconsistent with international law. However, in 1981, President Reagan disagreed with that conclusion and stated that he didn’t believe that the settlements were inherently illegal.
Subsequent administrations recognized that unrestrained settlement activity could be an obstacle to peace, but they wisely and prudently recognized that dwelling on legal positions didn’t advance peace. However, in December 2016, at the very end of the previous administration, Secretary Kerry changed decades of this careful, bipartisan approach by publicly reaffirming the supposed illegality of settlements.
After carefully studying all sides of the legal debate, this administration agrees with President Reagan. The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law.
I want to emphasize several important considerations.
First, look, we recognize that, as Israeli courts have, the legal conclusions relating to individual settlements must depend on an assessment of specific facts and circumstances on the ground. Therefore, the United States Government is expressing no view on the legal status of any individual settlement.
The Israeli legal system affords an opportunity to challenge settlement activity and assess humanitarian considerations connected to it. Israeli courts have confirmed the legality of certain settlement activities and has concluded that others cannot be legally sustained.
Second, we are not addressing or prejudging the ultimate status of the West Bank. This is for the Israelis and the Palestinians to negotiate. International law does not compel a particular outcome, nor create any legal obstacle to a negotiated resolution.
Third, the conclusion that we will no longer recognize Israeli settlements as per se inconsistent with international law is based on the unique facts, history, and circumstances presented by the establishment of civilian settlements in the West Bank. Our decision today does not prejudice or decide legal conclusions regarding situations in any other parts of the world.
And finally, finally, calling the establishment of civilian settlements inconsistent with international law hasn’t worked. It hasn’t advanced the cause of peace.
The hard truth is there will never be a judicial resolution to the conflict, and arguments about who is right and wrong as a matter of international law will not bring peace. This is a complex political problem that can only be solved by negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
The United States remains deeply committed to helping facilitate peace, and I will do everything I can to help this cause. The United States encourages the Israelis and the Palestinians to resolve the status of Israeli settlements in the West Bank in any final status negotiations.
And further, we encourage both sides to find a solution that promotes, protects the security and welfare of Palestinians and Israelis alike.”
You may also be interested in:
- Read Rep. Andy Levin’s tweet here
- Rep. Alan Lowenthal, a California Democrat and a Jew, signed a separate letter denouncing Pompeo’s announcement.
- Latest news from the Republican Jewish Coalition
- Jewish model Elizabeth Pipko urges Jews to leave the Democratic Party