NEW YORK – Forget Palestinian terrorism. Put aside official Palestinian Authority incitement to violence against Israelis and the PA’s abject refusal to even begin negotiations leading to a Palestinian state.
The White House on Wednesday instead singled out Jewish construction in communities in the West Bank as posing a “serious and growing threat to the viability of a two-state solution.”
Reports the Jerusalem Post:
The White House lashed out at Israel over its announcement Wednesday of settlement plans, warning that such activity increasingly threatens the two-state solution.
“This is not the first time that we have heard an announcement like this from the Israeli government,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at a gaggle aboard Air Force One.
“This significant expansion of settlement activity poses a serious and growing threat to the viability of a two-state solution.”
“We have been quite unambiguous about the concerns that we have; and in terms of considering a different kind of response, I don’t think that is something that we would discuss publicly,” Earnest continued. “I think that we would start by having that conversation privately.”
What specifically aroused the ire of the White House?
The newspaper relates:
Earnest issued his statement in response to news that the Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria had met earlier in the day.
It authorized 50 settler homes, retroactively legalized 179 settler units just over the Green Line and advance plans for a 234-unit project for senior housing in Elkana.
In other words, the U.S. seeks to interfere with Israeli zoning decisions regarding Jewish construction in the West Bank.
The Palestinian Authority and much of the international community says Israel is occupying land beyond the so-called pre-1967 borders, meaning the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and eastern Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount. Israel refers to these territories as disputed.
However, Abbas’s Fatah party, Hamas, and other major Palestinian factions routinely refer to the entire state of Israel as “occupied” territory.
What the White House overlooks is that the future of Jewish communities in the West Bank is to be determined during final-status Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. And the Palestinians won’t come to the negotiating table. They also refused numerous generous Israeli offers to create a Palestinian state.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas has refused repeated Israeli offers to begin negotiations and has not responded to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s unprecedented gestures to jumpstart talks, including a temporary freeze on settlements – Jewish construction projects in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank – and the release of Palestinian prisoners.
Abbas also walked away from the offer of a state from then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2007. And Yasser Arafat rejected U.S.-mediated talks at Camp David in 2000, instead returning to the West Bank to launch an intifada, or terror war, targeting Israelis. The Camp David talks offered Arafat a generous state in Gaza, the West Bank, and eastern Jerusalem, including authority over the Temple Mount, according to reports.
Earlier today, I reported that the PA suddenly wants the Obama administration to broker a deal during President Obama’s final months in office, but it remains to be seen what will come of that request, which bypassed Israel.
Meanwhile, while lashing out against Jewish settlement activity, the Obama administration has been silent on rampant illegal Palestinian construction on Jewish-owned property in eastern sections of Jerusalem, including the construction of dozens of apartment buildings on about 270 acres in the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Qalandiya and Kfar Akev, and about 50 acres in a north Jerusalem suburb known as Shoafat. The land is indisputably owned by a U.S.-based Jewish group.
With regard to the future of Jewish communities in the West Bank, it is instructive to recall United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, the only binding resolution pertaining to the West Bank, which calls on Israel to withdraw under a future final-status solution “from territories occupied” during the 1967 Six Day War. The resolution does not call for a withdrawal from “all territories,” a designation deliberately left out to ensure Israel’s allowance under a future deal to retain some territory for security purposes.
The Jewish Virtual Library explains:
The Security Council did not say Israel must withdraw from “all the” territories occupied after the Six Day War. This was quite deliberate. The Soviet delegate wanted the inclusion of those words and said that their exclusion meant “that part of these territories can remain in Israeli hands.” The Arab states pushed for the word “all” to be included, but this was rejected. They nevertheless asserted that they would read the resolution as if it included the word “all.” The British Ambassador who drafted the approved resolution, Lord Caradon, declared after the vote: “It is only the resolution that will bind us, and we regard its wording as clear.”
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.