“This land is ours,” says Israel’s top diplomat, citing religious texts

Tzipi Hotevely

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Tzipi Hotovely, Israel’s new deputy foreign minister, vowed to continue building Jewish-only settlements across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in a recent speech to ministry employees.

Hotovely is a member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline Likud party which returned to power in Israel’s 17 March elections at the head of one of the most right-wing coalition governments in the country’s history.

Because Netanyahu is presently serving as acting foreign minister, Hotovely is the highest ranking diplomat for the time being, Associated Press reports. “This land is ours,” she said. “All of it is ours. We did not come here to apologize for that.”

Announcing that she intends to seek international recognition of Israeli settlements, she said: “We expect as a matter of principle of the international community to recognize Israel’s right to build homes for Jews in their homeland, everywhere.”

Considered illegal under international law, more than half a million Israeli settlers live in colonies across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

“We sought to present arguments that would play well diplomatically, but currently it’s important to be right. We need to get back to the basic truth of our right to this land,” Hotovely also said, according to Israeli daily Haaretz.

Annexation

Hotovely cited a number of religious texts to justify her claims to Palestinian land. “Rashi says the Torah opens with the story of the creation of the world so that if the nations of the world come and tell you that you are occupiers, you must respond that all of the land belonged to the creator of the world and when he wanted to, he took from them and gave to us,” she said, citing medieval scholar Rabbi Shlomo Ben Yitzhaki by his abbreviated name. 

Hotovely’s statements are nothing new, and she has in the past been outspoken about her expansionist designs. In 2013, while serving as deputy transportation minister, she accused her colleagues in the Likud party of exhibiting what she called “schizophrenia.”  

Denouncing negotiations towards a two-state solution between Israel and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, she reasserted her support for annexation, stating “Members of our movement [Likud] never agreed to found a Palestinian state.”

“The existence of Jordan is a historic compromise,” she added, recycling a frequent Zionist talking point that Jordan should serve as a national homeland for Palestinians. “Whoever believes in the Greater Land of Israel has never been prepared to give parts of our homeland away for any purpose, not even for peace.”

“I’m a Jewish racist”

Objecting to Hotovely’s plan to annex the whole West Bank and to force Palestinians to accept Israeli citizenship, her fellow Likud member Eli Hazan said: “I’m a Jewish racist, and I’m not embarrassed to say I want a Jewish state with a Jewish majority.”

Hazan’s comments reflect a common argument among many liberal and, to a lesser extent, right-wing Zionists who cite Palestinian birthrates as a “ticking time bomb” or “demographic threat” that could undo Israel’s Jewish majority.

Yet, in response, Hotovely said she is “unafraid of Israel becoming a binational state, rather than a Jewish state, as the government would also declare Jewish immigration as a national goal,” as the right-wing Israeli daily The Jerusalem Post reported at the time.

In order to offset the demographic balance, Hotovely proposed a government plan to bring a million Jews from across the world to Israel, The Jerusalem Post added.

Following the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli youths hitchhiking in the occupied West Bank last summer, Hotovely likened Palestinians to “Nazis” and called for the death penalty against Palestinians convicted of armed activities against Israel.

In 2013, when Palestinian member of the Israel’s parliament Jamal Zahalka spoke out against plans to recruit Palestinian citizens of Israel into civic service, Hotovely lashed out at him for supposedly encouraging them “to be freeloaders, to take as much as they can without giving anything to the country.”

Not alone

Regarding her expansionist designs and anti-Palestinian views, Hotovely is not alone in the new Israeli government.

On “Jerusalem Day,” an Israeli holiday celebrating the 1967 military occupation of East Jerusalem, Netanyahu promised to “continue to build and nurture [Jerusalem], to expand her neighborhoods,” referring to the city as the “eternal capital” of Jews alone.

“I have a clear position — we build in Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu also appointed the Jewish Home (Habayit Hayehudi) party’s Ayelet Shaked as justice minister. Shaked – internationally notorious for a Facebook post last summer endorsing genocide of Palestinians – and her party support unilaterally annexing Area C of the West Bank. Compromising some 60 percent of the territory, Area C is under full Israeli military control and is home to more than 300,000 Palestinians, according to a 2014 United Nations estimate.

Uri Ariel, the new agricultural minister, also has a long history of promoting the unilateral annexation of the West Bank. A prominent figure among Israeli settlers, Ariel as far back as 2012 urged Israel to annex the West Bank and give Palestinians the “status of residents,” +972 Magazine noted at the time.

From 2013 till 2015, Ariel served as Israel’s construction minister and oversaw the expansion of settlements in East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank.

Netanyahu also put Silvan Shalom, a Likud politician who supports settlements, in charge of negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, Haaretz recently reported. While touring the occupied West Bank in 2014, Shalom referred to Jewish-only settlements as “the bullet proof vest of the State of Israel.” In effect, Shalom seems to be saying that Israel views settlers as human shields.

Earlier this month, Israeli settler leaders expressed optimism over the composition of Israel’s new government. “There is a pretty permanent reality in Judea and Samaria, one that is almost irreversible,” Yigal Dilmoni, the spokesman for the settler group the Yesha Council, told the Associated Press, referring to the West Bank using Israel’s terminology. “We are optimistic but not power drunk.”

Plans implemented 

Plans to continue the colonization of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are already being implemented at a breakneck pace under the new government.

Netanyahu approved the construction of 900 new settler homes in Ramat Shlomo, a colony in East Jerusalem, earlier this month.

Israel also ordered the demolition of Abu Nuwwar, a Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank, to make way for the expansion of the Maaleh Adumim settlement, according to Ma’an News Agency. That plan will cause dozens of Palestinian families to be forcibly relocated to a nearby planned township.

As part of Netanyahu’s coalition agreement with the ultra-nationalist Jewish Home party, his government will seek to retroactively recognize Israeli “outposts” – West Bank settlements built without the government’s permission.

In addition to the more than 150 settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, around 100 outposts are scattered throughout the territory.

Despite the new government’s clear intentions to expand existing settlements and build new ones, the United States has warmly welcomed the new coalition.  

President Barack Obama sent “congratulations” to Israel’s new government, according to a White House statement published in early May. “President Obama looks forward to working with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his new government,” the statement read.

The Obama administration also approved a deal to provide Israel with $1.9 billion in weapons as “compensation” for the US-Iran nuclear deal. 

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Tzipi Hotovely, Israel’s new deputy foreign minister’s speech in which she claims all the ‘holy land’ belongs to Israel is making the rounds in the media. Good that the media is showing these appalling claims, but it is also the responsibility of the media (now Western mouthpiece media) to explain realities as well. The ancient Land of Canaan which was known as 'the crossroads of the ancient world' (its importance was in the centrality of it - the corridor, the passageway, the sea outlet - a place where surrounding nations had to come to in order to fight each other and win or lose in battle) was and has always been home to Cannanites (present day Palestinians. For well over 5000 years ago, in spite of conquest by Egyptians, Turkish, Assyrian, Persian, and Jewish (David and Solomon and the Ten Tribes of Israel), the land belongs to Palestinians according to the Atlantic Charter (self governing right) as the Canaanites were the first, which gave them priority; their descendents have continued to live tehre, which gives them continuity; and with the exception of the 800,000 refugees, they continue to live there. The Canaanites are the Palestinians or the Arab population of today. The legal occupants of the land and certainly not the Jews/Israelis. Putting aside human laws, even if one does believe in God's land to the Jews as claimed, Abraham did not promise the land to the Jews alone. When Abraham made a covenant with God through circumcision, all the land of Canaan was promised to him as 'an everlasting possession'. When the Bible says the word 'to thy seed', it included Arabs. Both Moslems and Christians can claim descent from Abraham through his son Ishmael. Moreover, when the covenant of circumcision was made with Abraham (Genesis xvii), and the land of Canaan promised as 'an everlasting possession,' it was Ishmael who was circumcised - Isaac had not been born yet.

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Soraya:
... but did David exist?
If he did exist, then why are the Israeli authorities
digging, digging, digging ... digging under Palestinian land,
digging under Palestinian homes, digging under (wanting to!)
Al-Aqsa mosque???
The digging is so frantic, desperate, that one begins to wonder
if they are looking for what does not exist - but fob off historians
by saying "we're digging, we're investigating, we'll get there"...
"we'll get there": ... when and if they find Adam's birth certificate?

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Furthermore, on every Jewish festival, Jewish voices say: “Umipnay chatoenu golinu mayartsaynu" - "Because of our sins we were expelled from our land". It is believed that at a predestined time, God will send the Jews the Messiah and they will be able to return to the Promised Land. Jews are to accept exile and not attempt to force their way back. They stayed away from Jerusalem for 2,000 years because their religion forbade them from returning, not because they could not return. Yet today, those who are violating the laws of man and lay claim to ‘Eretz Yisrael’ as God’s land promised to them, are the ones who are betraying the very God they pretend to worship. So it seems that both Atlantic Charter and the "holy" writ are irrelevant when it comes to Israeli genocide and expansion. Shameless murderers and even more shameless those who support them.

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Perhaps so, and I do wish that those Jews who care about their future but who now follows this Zonist race cult would read even their tribal "sacred book," the Torah (or the Western Church's version, the Old Testament). The original Christianity indigenous to the Middle East, some of whose communities still speak Syriac (a dialect of Aramaic, the language of Jesus) in Syria, Iraq and Cyprus, has never accepted the Zionist "Jewish"-centered race myth,m which basically emerged from the anti-papal Reformation in Europe.

The study of history in Western Europe (a novelty for it, as it had no notion of history outside of the Bible before the Renaissance) emerged from Reformation theology and new interpretations of the Bible. Despite his book's many shortcomings, Israeli historian's Shlomo Sands was spot on with his reference to "the invention of the Jewish people." It is essentially a very recent invention, a "promised myth" that has justified the destruction of a whole galaxy of Native cultures, Boer-Afrikaaner Apartheid, and now most potent of all the ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people.

So, the Zionist movement had somehow to fit the real Jews (not the Western invention of them) into this fool's narrative like hand in glove. After WWII, it movement was able to convince most Jewish communities around the world to accept this ready-made racial fantasy as the true justification of their planned "Jewish" settlement in the land of Israel.

Not surprisingly, though, almost seventy years of Israelis existence have produced no Jewish historical, archaeological or genetic connection to Palestine. Yet, the imaginary Zionist interpretation of history persists and continues to inform the present Western worldview and stances on this historic conflict.

The question at this moment of destiny for the present Zionist race colony has become: Who cares about your tribal myths? Judging by Westerners' recalculations of their interests, the Zionist experiment is doomed.

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This is why religion should not be public policy. God 'gave' you that land? Can you bring him to court, sit him in the docket, and question him? Can he communicate in any way that is clear to those who aren't co-religionists?

No? Ridiculous question?

Then the claim is equally assinine, and shouldn't be credited. Enough, already. Nothing, not law, not archaeology, and especially not religion gives you the right to kill and maim and dispossess a people who have been there longer than your religion has existed.

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Sharon:
Indeed, "the Bible is not history".
JHWH (G-D) cannot be brought to court.
Read: Micah 6:1-5 - JHWH brings Israel to court!
... and the sentence! Micah 6: ...16.
This court scene is, in fact, JHWH's "farewell" to Israel
for its infidelity to the Alliance.
Goodbye, Israel.
Hullo, New People.

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You quote Hotovely as saying that "Transjordan is a compromise". You then explain that this refers to a Zionist opinion that Jordan is the place Palestinians should live. I think you are mistaken. To reward Abdullah Hussein with an emirate, Britain cut away 77 percent of its League of Nations mandate over Palestine earmarked for Jewish settlement and gave it to Abdullah in 1922, creating the new country of Trans-Jordan or Jordan, as it was later named. Zionists of Hotovely's viewpoint consider that the promised Jewish state INCLUDED Jordan. The "compromise" for them is not pursuing that territory IN ADDITION TO the west bank of the River Jordan. The scope of the land claim of that tendency of the Zionist movement is therefore more extensive than you suppose.

Patrick Strickland

Patrick Strickland's picture

Patrick O. Strickland is an independent journalist and frequent contributor at The Electronic Intifada. He is presently working on his first book for the London-based publishing house Zed Books. See his in-depth coverage for EI.