If like me you have been fed a lot of misinformation about the ancient Israelite lands known since Biblical times as Samaria and Judea, and been deluged by anti-Israel campaigns, negative media reports and biased politicians at home and abroad, you may believe the area, commonly referred to as the “West Bank” or “Occupied Territories” is not part of Israel. Look again, and consider:
Jews come from Judea, Hebron in Judea may be the oldest Jewish city dating back 3000 years, and Shiloh is an ancient Jewish religious center in Samaria. Jordan and 4 other Arab armies invaded Israel in 1949 and illegally occupied Judea and Samaria until this land was liberated by the IDF in 1967. The area is on the West bank of the Jordan River, but is the Eastern side of Israel, and while held by Jordan, it remained undeveloped, unimportant; Jordan made no claim to it for “Palestine” nor claim that Jerusalem was especially holy or the future capital of any Arab country.
Jews and non-Jews often have an enormous bias, as did I, about this area, believing it is promised to another people, a people that has rejected an independent state at least 3 times, and while hundreds of thousands of Arabs living there may claim “refugee status,” that is a ridiculous concept because they live under the governance of their own, the Palestinian Authority, which has towns and villages, and service infrastructure. Arabs living there are living on land they claim as their own, so how can they possibly be “refugees?” Also, as they were given Jordanian citizenship when the area was held by Jordan, and then Jordan’s government stripped that away from about 200,000 people when Israel reunited Jerusalem and liberated the area, are they actually Jordanian refugees?
What is an Israeli “settlement?” Who are the “settlers?” Why have no new Jewish communities been built for many years despite Area C of the “disputed territories” being assumed to become part of Israel? What goes into establishing a new community? Until I visited Judea and Samaria and travelled its full length and breadth, I was ignorant of the people, geography, history, legality and politics. I am guessing the majority of our CAEF readers are also ignorant of life in this area and many may feel opposed to the “settlement movement” and may also misapply the word “settlement” when some communities are actual towns. It is time to visit and see for yourself!
CAEF is sharing this information as a service to our supporters, to aid you in assessing the situation for yourself.
Respectfully, Andria Spindel, Executive Director, CAEF
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