"I think that in five years there will be 550,000 or 600,000 Jews in Judea and Samaria, rather than 400,000 (now)," Uri Ariel, a member of the hard-line Bayit Yehudi party in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's conservative coalition government told Tel Aviv radio station 102 FM, using a biblical term for the West Bank, which many Israelis see as a religious birthright and security bulwark.
AFP, the French news service, reported last year
that Israeli anti-settlement group Peace Now had accused the government of
encouraging Israelis to move into Jewish settlements.
Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) who later was the 26th president of the United States, wrote in the opening chapter of his 1889 book, 'The Winning of the West:'
There were of course people in "the world's waste
spaces" and it took until Dee Brown's book, ‘Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee’ in
1971 for a rare eloquent platform to be available for the voices of the vanquished, in this case
a chronicle of the sweeping injustices and official betrayals experienced by the
original settlers from Asia, in North America.
The creation of the state of Israel in 1948 is a historical fact and General George C. Marshall, then secretary of state, opposed President Truman's decision to recognise the new state. The general made an interesting observation on the presence of Clark Clifford, a domestic adviser, at a crucial meeting in the Oval Office in May 1948: "I don't even know why Clifford is here. He is a domestic adviser, and this is a foreign policy matter. The only reason Clifford is here is that he is pressing a political consideration."
US domestic politics and Israel remain entwined to this day and while Israel withdrew settlements from the Gaza Strip in 2005, its policy since capturing the West Bank region in 1967 has been to ignore the rights of Palestinians in the name of security while expanding Israeli enclaves on their lands.
Various US presidents have begged Israel to stop expanding settlements but after temporay halts, the Americans are always ignored - - the latter fearing domestic political consequences.
Netanyahu's goal to destroy Hamas could well suceed but history shows that Netanyahu's iron fist will only promote more violence, at a huge human cost.
It's an extraordinary situtaion where the once opressed people encourage foreign-born people of Jewish origin to claim Arab land as if the world hasn't changed since the years of Roosevelt or 1917 when the British government in the Balfour Declaration, could promise to support the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, then ruled by the crumbling Ottoman Empire, without any regard to the then majority population living there.
In the 1990s, I lived in the area that is called the 'Middle East' for five years -- the term is said to have been coined by Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840-1914), an American admiral and historian.
Robert Fisk, the British journalist, has written of turning up at the Saudi embassy in Beirut and handing his visiting card to the press counsellor. "Robert Fisk, Middle East Correspondent" was printed in English and Arabic. And the English-speaking diplomat looked at him quizzically. "What is 'Middle East'?" he asked.
It's a place people in the West need to know about - - in particular Americans.
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