Monday, April 10, 2017



Government House Jerusalem 1930’s Israel State Archives
After ruling vast areas of Eastern Europe, South-western Asia, and North Africa for centuries, the Ottoman Empire lost all its Middle East territories in World War One. The Treaty of Sèvres of August 10, 1920 abolished the Ottoman Empire and obliged Turkey to renounce all rights over Arab Asia and North Africa. It was replaced by the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923. The status of the former possessions was determined at a conference of the Allied Supreme Council (comprising of Britain, France, Italy and Japan) in San Remo, Italy on April 24-25, 1920 with the United States having observer status. Syria and Lebanon were mandated to France while Mesopotamia (Iraq) and the southern portion of the territory (Palestine) were mandated to Britain, with the charge to implement the Balfour Declaration.
These conference's resolutions were confirmed unanimously by all fifty-one member countries of the League of Nations on July 24, 1922 and they were further endorsed by a joint resolution of the United States Congress in the same year. Subsequently in the Anglo-American Treaty on Palestine, signed by the US and Britain on December 3, 1924, the text of the Mandate for Palestine was incorporated. The treaty protected the rights of Americans living in Palestine under the Mandate and more significantly it also made those rights and provisions part of United States treaty law which are protected  under the US constitution. The League of Nations was the first international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. Its primary goals, as stated in its Covenant, included preventing wars through collective security and disarmament and settling international disputes through negotiation and arbitration. On 19 April 1946, the League Assembly decided to dissolve the League and to transfer its services, mandates, and property to the United Nations (UN) 
When High Commissioner Herbert Samuel was appointed in 1920 he made his headquarters in the 1910 constructed German Augusta Victoria building on Mount Scopus. His successor, Lord Herbert Plummer, detested the German building and requested a substitute be found. British architect, Austen St. Barbe Harrison, a relative of Jane Austen, was given the commission and commenced the design in 1927 for a new Government House. Construction was undertaken by the Italian construction company, Ernesto D. A. Da Faro, employing 400 workers including highly skilled craftsmen from the whole of the Middle East. The complex’s location was selected due to its symbolic and strategic basis on the high ground, south of the Old City, overlooking the valley of Hinnom, the Old City, David’s City and beyond that to the Mount of Olives and the distant mountains of Moab. The complex was completed in 1933 and was at that time the most magnificent building in Jerusalem. The interior was designed in Arabic style, clearly reneging on the Mandate to establish a Jewish State (1).
The British High Commissioner, Sir John Cunningham, departed from Government House at 8.00 a.m. on the morning of May 14, 1948. Dr. Dov Joseph, who was the Israeli Military Governor of Jerusalem in 1948, provides concise details of events that took place subsequent to the departure of the British High Commissioner (2). 
In January 1948, British Mandatory Officials invited the International Red Cross to help minimize suffering in the conflict on a humanitarian level.  The delegation arrived in March 1948 headed by a Swiss Red Cross Official, Mr. J. de Reynier.  On April 22, 1948 the IRC announced it was setting up security zones known as “Geneva Houses” for women and children under the Red Cross flag.  These “Geneva Houses” were to serve as refuges for non-combats when fighting took place in their vicinity.  The houses were located in the King David Hotel, Terra Sancta and Government House.  These locations were remote from highly populated Jewish areas and as such no Jewish women or children found shelter in these zones.  The Jewish authorities had requested that these “Geneva Homes” be set up in exposed places in highly populated Jewish areas. At the time, the impression was gained that the British had an interest in ensuring the three designated buildings did not fall into Jewish hands and that de Reynier was prepared to collude to this.  Irrespective, the Arab forces under the leadership of the Arab Legion commanded by John Glub, disregarded the presence of the said zones when they bombed the city.  On July 18, 1948, de Reynier demanded that Israeli forces move out of the King David Hotel, which they had moved into as the United Nations had moved out.  De Reynier, on the refusal of the Israeli authorities to hand over the King David Hotel, advised he was intending to discontinue the Red Cross working in Jerusalem.  Dov Joseph advised him that it appeared that the Red Cross wished to give up the Security Zone as well as the YMCA building opposite and as there were no residents in the immediate vicinity so there was no need to maintain the hotel as a refuge for non-existent refugees.  On July 22, 1948 the flag of the IRC was lowered from its office in the YMCA building and Josef’s view was that the IRC had neglected their duty to help the women and children, non-combats, in Jerusalem.  It appeared to him that the IRC were making efforts to place Jerusalem under their control which were the exclusive prerogative of the UN.  The IRC then directed its efforts into setting up security zones but whilst maintaining control of the zones they did not provide help to the refugees there. 
Upon refusal to return the King David Hotel the IRC withdrew into Government House. 
At the end of September 1948 the IRC suddenly departed from their zone around Government House and from the whole of the City of Jerusalem.  Josef relates that the IRC gave no prior notice of their intention despite the assurances given by de Reynier that the area would not be evacuated without prior notice to both sides.  When de Reynier was challenged regarding rumors of the intention, his response was, he had not been instructed to lower the IRC flag.  When pressed for clarification, this was not provided. Josef, as Israeli Military Governor of Jerusalem, wrote to him with regard to previous correspondence from the IRC which indicated the IRC did not intend to leave the building.  No response was forthcoming.
On September 30, 1948 the IRC left Government House without prior notification, as had been promised by them.  Without any consultation with the Israeli Authorities, they handed over Government House to the United Nations Observers who put up the UN flag as the IRC flag was lowered.  Josef met the head of the UN Observers, Colonel Millett at 6:00 p.m. to discuss the Red Cross Zone but Millett didn’t mention the IRC would be leaving.  In Josef’s mind it appeared that the IRC had a secret agreement with the UN and Josef advised Shertok (Moshe Sharett) to issue a formal protest to IRC in Geneva regarding this conduct which was deliberate deception. 
Bernard Wasserstein (3) advises that De Reynier had at an early stage called for Jerusalem to be turned into a Red Cross City.  However, the British High Commissioner simply responded, “He would, until May 15, have authority and the power to take the decision that seemed best to him.”  The IRC plan was reported to the Security Council three days later and the Russian delegate, Gromyko, dismissed it with scorn stating, “Who has ever entrusted the administration of any city or country?  No one could ever have conceived such an idea. And yet we have before us a proposal to make the Red Cross master of Jerusalem.  Needlessly to say this would obviously be tantamount to making two or three countries the masters who would use the IRC as their instrument to establish in Jerusalem the regime they considered necessary.” 
Wasserstein states that the area around Government House had been partly occupied by Egyptian troops who repulsed the unsuccessful attack by Israeli forces.  Subsequently, both Arab and Israeli forces on September 4, 1948 agreed to withdraw from the area and on  September 30 the UN took over the Red Cross zone around the High Commissioner’s residence that subsequently became a UN zone outside the jurisdiction of any state.  Initially, it was guarded by two detachments of the Arab Legion and Israeli soldiers prior to the arrival of UN guards.
Thus the UN area became part of no man’s land in the 1949 Armistice Agreement between Jordan and Israel. A demographic analysis of the location of Jewish populated areas in Jerusalem in 1947/48 (4) clearly shows that “Geneva Houses” were NOT in the vicinity of these areas and hence there is evidence that the IRC had ulterior motives not commensurate with its humanitarian goals.
Documentary evidence relating to ownership and status of Government House complex under the UN between 1948-67 is unclear but it is clear that according to the Armistice Agreement between Israel and Jordan signed at Rhodes in 1949 the area was designated as a demilitarized NO-MANS LAND. Following the Six Day War in 1967 subsequent developments clarify it is not UN property. At some stage prior to ‘67 the UN also erected a structure on the opposite hill, south of the complex on which was located a huge radio transmission mast –Antenna Hill. This being outside the boundaries of Government House complex.
At 11:25 on the June 5, 1967, without provocation and despite messages from Israel to keep out of the war, the Jordanians attacked and occupied the Government House Complex.
According to UN yearbook 1967(5) “ Despite assurances received from Israel and Jordan by the Chief of Staff of UNTSO that they would respect the inviolability of the UNTSO headquarters in Jerusalem, Jordanian soldiers had occupied the garden of Government House and an exchange of fire had begun between them and Israeli soldiers. The Secretary-General said that he had sent an urgent appeal to the King of Jordan for the immediate removal of Jordanian troops from the Government House compound. The Chief of Staff of UNTSO had reported that the Jordanian soldiers in the Government House compound had been attacked and later driven out by Israeli troops, who had subsequently forcibly occupied Government House and that he and his staff had been escorted into Israel.” That day the UN Secretary General sent the following cable to Israeli Prime Minister Eshkol.
“His Excellency Mr. Levi Eshkol Prime Minister of Israel Jerusalem (Israel) "I understand that Israeli forces have now displaced the forces of Jordan in the Government House Compound in Jerusalem. Whatever the circumstances leading to the Israeli occupation of Government House and its grounds, its continued occupation by Israeli troops is a most serious breach of the undertaking to respect its inviolability. "I therefore request the Government of Israel to restore the grounds and buildings of the Government House Compound urgently to exclusive United Nations control. When this has been done I propose to seek a formal undertaking from both sides to respect UNTSO's occupation of Government House in the future”
In the battle to displace the Arab Legion from Government House 21 IDF soldiers made the supreme sacrifice.
On July 10, 1967 Israel set up a committee what to do with the Government House Complex (5). In the summer when Israel decided to annex Jerusalem, Government House posed a problem. Moshe Dayan told his fellow ministers, we can’t say we’re the sovereign in Jerusalem without behaving as a sovereign, and that includes agreeing with the UN on the status of their building in our sovereign territory. Justice Minister Shapira recognized the UN was hardly about to sign an agreement with Israel accepting the building for its use, since this would entail UN recognition. Eventually they wrote to UN Secretary General that Israel was putting the building and gardens (not the surrounding area) at the UN’s disposal and would not insist on a contract or even official communication. Begin insisted the letter should state specifically that Israel was putting “its building” at the disposal of the UN but lost the vote the next morning. A week later on 14 July 1967, Government House Complex was registered at the Israel Land Registry (Tabu) Reference 445/67 with the status of State Land belonging to the State of Israel.

In April 1971 The UN Secretary General (7) reported there had been an exchange with Israel concerning the status of Jerusalem and the UN premises at Government House. A reply from Israel on March 8, 1971 to UN Secretary General of January 26, 1971 in which it stated “the Government of Israel wishes to place on record its reservations to the various legal and considerations advanced in these two notes, and more particularly to the references in them to claims of the UN “to the occupancy and possession of the whole of the premises ‘of Government House. On the April 12, 1971 the UN Secretary General responded with respect to the January 26, 1971 requesting the return of the whole of the UN premises at Government House as constituted on June 5, 1967, the Secretary General notes that the reply contains no direct response to this request. The Secretary General then reiterated his request for the unreserved return to the UN of the remainder of its Government House premises.
However, the people in Israel did not agree with the decision and this has been a thorn in the side of the state since in essence it gives de facto recognition that the UN rules Jerusalem by staying on the commanding southern heights overlooking the ancient city without any title deed to the property. The buildings were de jure British Mandate property that should have been handed over in 1948 to Israel and not the IRC which illegally passed them over to the UN. This was the duplicity of the UK government which hoped for a ‘Corpus separatum’ according to the UN Partition plan of 1947.
On 31 July 1988, King Hussein announced the severance of all legal and administrative ties with the West Bank that Jordan had illegally occupied from 1948-1967. As such the UN presence in Government House Complex no longer had any legal validity or geopolitical reason save to act to overrule the Jewish right of Jerusalem.
In 1973 the UN constructed a dirt track outside the original Government House Complex (44.5 dunams) extending the area by an additional 33 dunams. Two years later they began using this "annexed" area, for container storage and vehicle parking. By 1990 the first permanent building was constructed in this area. In 1994 the existing and extended area was surrounded by a new fence. Twenty years later a large hanger type building was erected in the extended area. Subsequently, in 2015 a new building was erected in the original area of the Government House Complex to be followed last year by yet another building not far from the western entrance gate to the Complex. In the last year the UN has undertaken work to modify the original Government House structure, externally and internally.
There are no Jerusalem Municipality records regarding applications by the UN for any building permits and no records of the issuance of building permits. In addition, the Jerusalem Urban Planning Scheme delineated a delimitation line for public buildings on the site, and five buildings have been identified as being built outside this demarcation line. Furthermore, as these are historic buildings no modification can take place without the authorization of the appropriate institution of the State of Israel. The organization, Regavim, has in the last two weeks applied to the Israel Supreme Court challenging the inaction of the appropriate government and municipal institutions to take appropriate actions for the UN to comply with the law. Below is an aerial view of the complex, the inner line is the original area and the outer is the extended as current.

2. Dov Joseph “The Faithful City” (Siege of Jerusalem 1948) Simon & Schuster NY 1960
3. Bernard Wasserstein “Divided Jerusalem” (The struggle for the Holy City) Profile Books London 2001
4. Martin Gilbert “Jerusalem” (illustrated Historical Atlas) Board of Deputies London 1977
5. UN Yearbook 1967
6, The English Language Blog of the Israel State Archives (extracted from files 7910/30-א and 12796/12-ג)

7. UN Security Council Document S/10124/Add.1 20 April 1971

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Open letter to Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Areyh Stern

21 July 2016                                                                                                                        טו  תמוז  תשע"ו

Dear Chief Rabbi Stern,

I was pleased to learn that you had been able to persuade the Mayor of Jerusalem, Barkat, that it was an affront for Gay Parade flags to be displayed in Rechov King George outside the Great Synagogue.

However, I am concerned that you appear to be unable/unwilling to persuade the Mayor to enforce the State Law that requires Rechov King George to be closed during the periods of Tefillah in both the Great Synagogue and Yeshurun Central Zionist Synagogue on Shabbat and Chagim. I have sent you numerous requests since your appointment but have never received any form of response.

I understand that the Jerusalem Police are closing the roads commencing at 14.30 till the end of the parade after 18.00 including streets on the route of the Gay Parade March including Rechov King George and Keren Hayasod as well as adjacent streets.  This period of closure will result in traffic chaos in the city as well as the disruption of public transport.  Furthermore, numerous law enforcement personnel will be employed including police, border guards and the shabak – at great public expense – to ensure these people are permitted to openly express in public, their free will. 

However, when it comes to Shabbat and Chagim, it would appear that the respective authorities refuse to openly allow expressions of Orthodox Judaism in public by closing Rechov King George from Kikar Paris to Rechov Maalot, as laid down in the State Law.  It should be pointed out that the disruption on Shabbat and Chagim would not affect public transport on these streets since, fortunately, public transport currently does not run on Shabbat and Chagim.  To enforce the Law would not require the use of the mammoth number of Law Enforcement officials as the Parade.

It appears that the Jerusalem Mayor and Police are far more sensitive to offending Muslims than they are with Jews.  On Yom Yerushalaim the Annual Yom Yerushalaim Flag March through the Old City via Shaar Shechem was initially refused by the Jerusalem Police, on the grounds that it would offend the sensitivities of the Muslims prior to the start of Ramadan.  Eventually a compromise was reached whereby the march was permitted but all participants had to be through Shaar Shechem by 18.15.  If the authorities can deem it their prerogative to enforce such draconian measures on the expression of Jewish Nationalist pride, surely it is time that the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem ensured that the Law Enforcement Authorities and the Municipality were sensitive to the sanctity of Shabbat and Chagim so as not to offend the observant Jews who reside in the area adjacent to the Great and Yeshurun Synagogues.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Open letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister's Office Kiriyah Jerusalem Dear Prime Minister, Detention of Meir Ettinger under Administrative Detention Orders After a period of six months in Administrative Detention the State of Israel has failed to level charges against Meir Ettinger. If the respective security apparatus is unable to have sufficient evidence of his potential guilt, then there can be no plausible reasons to keep him imprisoned. Two weeks ago he began a hunger strike to protest his innocence and about his imprisonment without reason. Yesterday it was reported that he had lost consciousness. This detention resembles that applied to his late grandfather, Rabbi Meir Kahne, in the late 1970's specifically to remove him from the limelight because he spoke out against the government's policy of the day. Accordingly Ettinger's detention contravenes Articles 9 of UN International Covenant on Civil and Political General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December 1966 that came into force 23 March 1976. The legal basis for Israel's use of Administrative Detention is the British Mandate 1945 Defense (Emergency) Regulations . A complex of 147 regulations enacted by the British Mandate and was intended to provide the British High Commissioner in Palestine with additional powers to suppress Jewish resistance to British rule, it has remained largely intact during subsequent decades, except on those occasions when the Knesset decided to replace a few of its provisions with new legislation. This included amendments in 1979 to form the current Israeli Law on Authority in States of Emergency However, whilst Administrative Detention is applied to those of nationalist Zionist views it does not appear to be enforced with respect to those Israeli citizens on the far left who are opposed to the state, publically speak out against the government both here and abroad and side with our enemies who wish to destroy the country. Should they not also be in Administrative Detention and if not why not? Furthermore, cognizance should be taken of the effect on the younger generation of Israeli Jewish youth who have lived through the evacuation of Jewish homes in Gush Katif, Homesh, Migron etc., for nothing more than pie in the sky promises of a peace that has failed to materialize. Similarly with the release of Arab terrorists with Jewish blood on their hands. They are being daily alienated against the authorities as a result of seeing that the removal of Jewish homes has not brought peace and security but has resulted in the current violence and barbaric murder and maiming of Jews by both Arab Israeli citizens and those from PA/PLO areas, that the government is unable to control. One well recollects recently when an Arab prisoner who went on hunger strike and was reportedly close to death was subsequently released and never charged – don’t let Ettinger get to this point. It is time that Ettinger was released or charged. If after six months charges cannot be leveled against him despite all the efforts of the respective security agencies then there is no reason to hold him. He is innocent until proven guilty! I look forward to confirmation of you authorizing his immediate release.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Open letter to Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Dear Rabbi Sacks, The British Campaign for the Release of Jonathan Pollard have over the last 22 years of your office appealed to you to make a formal public appeal to the USA President for clemency for our brother Jonathan Pollard, but such a statement has NEVER been forthcoming. Even when approached publically you maintained that you could not disclose what you were doing as you adhered to the principle of “quiet diplomacy”. This latter path achieved absolutely nothing. As you now approach the last few hours of your role as Chief Rabbi it would be appropriate for you to publically add your name and that of those you represent who accept your authority to the many tens of thousands of other Rabbonim, religious leaders, parliamentarians, politicians, academics, professionals and all those who cherish ethics and morals, to call for the immediate release of our brother Jonathan Pollard – this mitzvah of Pidyon Shvuim is regarded by some of our sages as the highest form of mitzvah. Even those of the US administration who at one time were against his release have now added their names to the petitions to President Obama for Pollard’s immediate release. You have been in office for 22 years, Mandela was in detention for less than 27 years, but Pollard has been in prison for over 28 years, more than 10, 140 days, in conditions that were more appropriate for barbaric murderers rather than for a white collar crime for which he publically expressed remorse. Yet all this time you have shirked your responsibility and publically ignored this issue. With all the books you have written, newspaper articles, radio and TV interviews, public lectures, you never ever mentioned the plight of our brother Jonathan who has suffered far more than the depression you experienced. You have achieved international fame and recognition as a leader of world morals, far more than you ever expected when you studied philosophy at Cambridge. You claim you were influenced by the Lubavitch Rabbi – one wonders what he would have said about how you never raised the plight of Jonathan in public. We at BCRJP demand that as you terminate your office as Chief Rabbi you provide the reasons why you have never made a public stand for Jonathan Pollard. You have an opportunity on this coming Motzei Shabbat when you deliver you valedictory sermon before the midnight Selichot prayers, to give a full explanation to us all.

Friday, March 22, 2013


Dear President Obama, How strange was your visit to Israel.On the tarmac of Ben Gurion Airport you publically stated this was yor THIRD visit to Israel, but the following day you visited the Israel Museum Shrine of the Book, which contains Hebrew scrolls over 2000 years old.These attest to and suplement the Bible with respect to Jewish claims to the entire Land of Israel as given to the Jewish People over 3000 years ago. No people on earth can have a better historical record and claim. Those throughout the millenium who have sought to destroy the Jewish nation have dissapeared into oblivium - something you should take to heart. Our Holy Scriptures clearly define that the Jewish people must NOT make treaties with those who inhabit the land or they will be a thorn in our sides and could result in the destruction of the Jewish Nation. So your address yesterday to a bunch of hand picked Israeli students was nothing but a sham - designed to push US interests above those of the Jewish Nation. Their reaction to your speech was only because you selected those who had the same ideas but you did not invite any students of the University of Ariel, situated in the heartland of Judea and Samaria as you knew they would object to your views - seems as if you have learnt from the former USSR. Save your breath - you are not our saviour. Any visitor to Israel from the West treats a visit to the Shrine of the Book as a must on their first visit to Jerusalem - how strange therefore you never visited before - this I think sums up you real intention. You selected to come on the eve of Passover causing disruption to the daily lives of the citizens of Jerusalem as they go about their preparations for Passover - you were badly advised and should have come at another time. Your whole visit has been one big sham - I followed every aspect of your visit and not once did you show any humility as a couragous President, you slapped backs and shook hands, praised your friends,muttered a few words in Hebrew but in reality as you leave our land you have failed to show that alll men are equal - you ignored all the pleas to release Jonathan J Pollard despite this being within your ability to do so. You are not honest.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


10 January 2011

Dear Mr. Hague,

The UK Ambassador to Israel Hon. Matthew Gould

I was amazed to learn that the British Ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, on the 2 January 2012, made an unwarranted press statement condemning Israel based on false information provided by a UK FCO funded Israeli NGO, Ir Amim.

There are several aspects of this matter which are unacceptable:-

1. The fact that the British Ambassador relied upon information that had not been corroborated by any Israeli authoritative source and had not appeared in the Israeli media.
2. The Ambassador clearly made no attempt to obtain confirmation from either internal or external Embassy sources before issuing this condemnation
3. The Ambassador on behalf of HM government made such a statement without first consulting with his superiors in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
4. The Ambassador relied solely on information provided to him by an Israeli NGO, that itself is supported by the FCO slush fund distributed in Israel direct from the UK Embassy in Israel based on recommendations of the Ambassador ( in this case the NGO in question has been funded since 2004 to the tune of £357,985 to the financial year 2009/10)
5. The information had been previously released during the planning stages by the various Israel Planning Committees and Ir Amim deliberately released this information, as if it was new, to coincide with the renewed preliminary Quartet talks in Amman, Jordan, taking place that day, so as to cast the Israeli Government in a bad light and acting in bad faith.
6. The condemnation was subsequently relied upon for the French President to follow suite.
7. No such statements are made about any actions of any other country by the accredited UK Ambassadors, even when gross denial of human rights takes place as well as the cold blooded murder of law abiding citizens as is happening in places as far apart as Syria and Sudan
8. The Ambassador’s attempt to back track when it was discovered he had made a faux pas only exacerbated the situation
9. The stated purpose of funding Ir Amim according to the answer to a question by Robert Halfon MP to Alistair Burt MP of the FCO on the 6 September 2010 was “To influence the nature and quality of public policy debate and ultimately Israeli policy in line with political options for a sustainable two-state solution.” (See extract from Hansard 6 September 2010 Column 219W enclosed). Well they certainly did not follow this objective on this occasion.

I have enclosed background information which was obtained from the Jerusalem Post and the Editorial clearly sums up the untenable position of HM Ambassador in Israel.

I should therefore like to enquire of HM government and the Foreign Secretary in particular, why the Ambassador has been permitted to act in such a fashion, shooting his mouth off in public, and what action HM government will take to immediately stop the funding to Ir Amim. If a decision is made to continue the funding the reasons why.

Yours truly,


UK envoy slams, retracts criticism of J'lem building

The only problem is that there was no new announcement of a new construction project beyond the Green Line.

British ambassador Matthew Gould took Israel to task Tuesday for announcing new building projects beyond the Green Line in Jerusalem, but then retracted the criticism after learning there had been no such declaration.

Gould, at a briefing with journalists, said the announcement of new construction beyond the Green Line was “unhelpful” on a day when Israeli and Palestinian officials were meeting in Amman.

RELATED: Tenders issued for 1,028 units beyond Green Line J’lem committee to discuss Silwan tourism center UK slams 'provocative' J'lem building plans

“This is unhelpful and a disappointment to those who want to see the sides turn a corner,” the ambassador said to the reporters, who were unsure of what projects he was referring to. Gould said the announcement of a new construction project in the settlements “took the shine off” the Amman meeting between Yitzhak Molcho and Saeb Erekat.

The only problem is that there was no announcement of a new construction project beyond the Green Line. What there was, however, was publication by the Israel Lands Authority (ILA) of tenders for 312 housing units in Pisgat Ze’ev and Har Homa. These tenders were already announced a week ago.

After his initial condemnation, Gould clarified the matter and issued a statement saying that the Israeli government “has made clear to us that there has been no new announcement of tenders for building in east Jerusalem today, and that reports of such new tenders were incorrect. This is a welcome reassurance.”

One official said this incident reflects confusion over how the country’s planning process works, with the same project – which must go through numerous steps on its way from initial design to final approval – often being condemned at every new station along the way as an “announcement of a new settlement project.”

A British embassy representative said Gould based his initial condemnation on a statement put out by Ir Amim, a left-wing NGO that monitors building in Jerusalem.

According to that statement, “Today, January 3, as Israeli and Palestinian representatives meet in Jordan at the behest of King Abdullah in order to restart negotiations, the Israel Lands Authority published tenders for 312 units in east Jerusalem – in Har Homa B and Pisgat Ze’ev. The timing of this notice is a slap in the face to Jordan...”

The tenders published by the ILA represent the last step in the complicated approval process for construction in Israel, which can take up to a decade to complete.

The Har Homa and Pisgat Ze’ev projects have passed all of the approval steps from the Jerusalem municipality and the Interior Ministry, and have already been condemned by many in the international community.

After the ILA publishes these types of tenders, different contracting companies submit bids to build the projects. In special circumstances, including politically sensitive situations, the Prime Minister’s Office can ask the ILA to halt the publication of a specific tender, said ILA spokeswoman Ortal Tzabar.

Tzabar said there were instances in the past when the Prime Minister’s Office has intervened to stop publicizing the tenders, including in the Har Homa and Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhoods.

Tzabar called Gould’s comments “cheeky,” and added that the ILA considers Har Homa and Pisgat Ze’ev part of Jerusalem.

“There are people outside of Israel that really don’t understand [the process], and just follow whatever the Arabs are saying,” she said.


Yesteryear’s aggression shouldn’t determine today’s legalities.

As it turns out, UK Ambassador Matthew Gould’s righteous indignation last Tuesday was uncommonly instructive.

At a press briefing he hauled official Israel over the coals for supposed new building projects in beyond-Green-Line Jerusalem. Subsequently, however, his severe censure proved a tad embarrassing as it emerged that no new plans had been announced, no new tenders issued and no new pretexts for disapproval furnished. Gould’s blunder, of course, isn’t the heart of the matter.

What’s compellingly enlightening is the exceptional opportunity he afforded Israelis (and fair-minded observers everywhere) to peek into the actual mechanisms of demonization. By rushing to judgment, Gould (followed a day later by France, although the farce had already been exposed) showed all and sundry precisely how Israel is condemned, facts notwithstanding. Israel can apparently only do wrong – even when it does nothing.

Contending that new housing permits were publicized that Tuesday for Pisgat Ze’ev and Har Homa, Gould waxed irate: “This is unhelpful and a disappointment to those who want to see the sides turn a corner.” This, he charged, “took the shine off” that day’s Amman meeting, geared to restart moribund negotiations.

In other words, there’s already a designated culprit –Israel – for whatever might go awry. Even after Gould’s halfhearted retraction, the gist remains – Israel is in the dock, potentially guilty. And, as France showed, slander sticks.

This episode too, as in other cases in which Israel is besmirched, was instigated by an Israeli NGO’s alacrity to telltale. In this instance it was Ir Amim – Jerusalem’s left-wing, self-appointed monitor of Jewish construction, which reportedly enjoys EU/British financial largesse.

Ir Amim unequivocally proclaimed that new construction tenders were issued just as Israeli and Palestinian representatives convened in Amman. The timing, asserted Ir Amim’s communiqué, “is a slap in the face to Jordan.”

Gould evidently treated this unverified “revelation” as gospel. Ir Amim’s word alone sufficed to trigger a harsh rebuke of Israel. Presumably, checking up on the NGO’s claims was not warranted, to say nothing of the fact that Israel regards all of Jerusalem as its unified capital under its sovereignty. Israel isn’t even granted the indulgence accorded other democracies, where no venture is decreed overnight by a despot’s whim but where bureaucratic due process dictates the slow, labored implementation of any policy. Nonetheless, here, too, urban development isn’t the product of erratic impulses. We are an orderly society, bound by red tape and regulations galore.

Yet in our case we’re chided anew for each plodding step along the arduous road from blueprint to formal authorization. The projects that so peeved Gould (and France) were in the works for an extended period before construction tenders were published – way before Gould’s hullabaloo. Such tenders constitute the culmination of complex approval procedures for construction in Israel. These take up to 10 years to complete and aren’t under the government’s direct or constant supervision or control.

Although during his briefing Gould hotly denied an inherent anti-Israel bias in London and other European capitals, his knee-jerk eagerness to scold Israel powerfully indicates otherwise. The pattern is undeniable: first comes the stern supercilious admonishment and only later – perhaps – an unenthusiastic examination of whether the upbraiding was justified.

We may be forgiven for doubting that this is the order of things when Britain approaches other countries and other conflicts. Equally as disturbing was Gould’s retraction, which characterized the absence of new tenders as “a welcome reassurance.”

(Subtext: Israeli construction in parts of the Israeli capital remain intrinsically illegitimate. Gould thereby underscored his fundamental displeasure with Israel’s presence in given Jerusalem neighborhoods.)

Even if one doesn’t accept our attachment to the whole of Jerusalem – where an overwhelming Jewish majority existed since the first 19th-century census – plain decency should command the British envoy to at least portray it as disputed territory rather than as outrightly occupied. Media Eye comment – so much for HMG Ambassador’s ascertain of being a proud Jew and how delighted he was that his daughter was born as a Sabra!!!!!

After all, it was the Arab Legion in 1948 – under British leadership and active assistance – that conquered east Jerusalem, expelled its Jews and occupied it for 19 years in brazen contravention of 1947’s UN Partition Resolution. Yesteryear’s aggression shouldn’t determine today’s legalities.
Israel: Expenditure
Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department paid to (a) B'Tselem, (b) HaMoked, (c) Yesh Din, (d) Ir Amim, (e) Bimkom, (f) the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, (g) the Israeli Committee Against House Demolition, (h) Gisha, (i) Association for Civil Rights in Israel, (j) Peace Now, (k) Mossawa and (l) Breaking the Silence in each financial year since 2005-06; for what purposes those payments were made; and what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of his Department's spending on each such programme or project undertaken by each such organisation. [11499]
Alistair Burt: The tri-departmental Conflict Pool and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Bilateral programme funds support the Government's aim of reducing conflict in the middle east and North Africa region in order to help safeguard British national security. Our Conflict Prevention programmes in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories are jointly managed by the FCO, the Department for International Development and the Ministry of Defence. They work to improve the political environment in support of the peace process, including tackling difficult issues such as settlements and alleged human rights violations on both sides. Our Bilateral programme strengthens our relations with countries in the middle east and North Africa region. We work with both the Palestinian Authority to enhance their capacity for tackling violence and with Israeli institutions and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Many of the initiatives we support work to promote equality and human rights, build trust between communities, reduce violence inside the Occupied Palestinian Territories and advance peace. The NGOs we work with have helped to raise awareness of Israel's obligations under international law with regard to settlement activity and human rights violations. They also work to ensure due legal process is adhered to by Israeli authorities. Regular
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monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of all programmes is a requirement for all our funding commitments. Since we began supporting these programmes there have been a number of changes to Israeli civil and military judicial practice and decisions, and increased public debate on these issues.
A vibrant, independent and diverse civil society is one of Israel's great strengths and we believe that continuing British support will assist in strengthening democratic processes. By raising awareness and creating an environment where people are able to learn more about the situation and realities on the ground, the projects we support play a crucial role in creating sustainable conditions for peace.
Of those NGOs referred to in my hon. Friend's question, the following have been funded through our Conflict Prevention programmes (the Middle East and North Africa Conflict Pool-MENA CP):
Project purpose: Using film and video documentation as a tool for accountability to improve the human rights situation in the west bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. Funding: 2010-11-£135,000 (provisional allocation).
B'Tselem & HaMoked (jointly)
Project purpose: To support freedom of movement for Palestinians in the Occupied Territories through legal and administrative action, advocacy and public education. Funding: 2005-06-£140,000, 2006-07-£150,000.
Yesh Din
Project purpose: (2006 to 2008) Using legal action and public advocacy to challenge and ensure compliance with due process within Israeli military courts.
Project purpose: (2008 to 2010) To challenge Israeli settlement construction and increase Palestinian access to lands in the west bank through legal actions and public advocacy. Funding: 2006-07-£55,529, 2007-08-£74,256, 2008-09-£125,000, 2009-10-£142,000, 2010-11-£83,755 (provisional allocation).
Ir Amim
Project purpose: To influence the nature and quality of public policy debate and ultimately Israeli policy in line with political options for a sustainable two-state solution. Funding: 2005-06-£70,000, 2006-07-£100,133, 2007-08-£60,000, 2008-09-£127,850.
Project purpose: (2006 to 2010): To provide comprehensive information on the planning situation of Palestinian villages in Area C, to support the prevention of house demolitions and improve living conditions of residents. Funding: 2006-07-£11,366, 2007-08-£45,956, 2009-10-£22,978.
Project purpose: To use legal actions and public advocacy to support free movement and access to goods, and to document human rights violations in Gaza. Funding: 2008-09-£70,010.
Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)
Project purpose: (2006 to 2008) To raise awareness of Israeli obligations under international law to safeguard the rights of Palestinians in Hebron, through public advocacy and legal actions.
Project purpose: (2008-2009) To raise awareness of Israeli obligations under international law to safeguard the rights of Palestinians and to reduce incidents of violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms of Palestinians in the west bank through public advocacy and legal actions Funding: 2006-07-£42,000, 2007-08-£36,742, 2008-09-£73,000.
Peace Now
Project purpose: To record, highlight and challenge settlement expansion activities, through legal action, public advocacy and dialogue with Israeli officials. Funding: 2006-07-£109,990, 2007-08-£52,696, 2008-09-£117,000, 2009-10-£100,000, 2010-11-£93,000 (provisional allocation).

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Breaking the Silence
Project purpose: To raise international and Israeli public awareness of human rights violations in the Hebron area. Funding: 2006-07-£19,144, 2007-08-£32,856, 2008-09-£26,701, 2009-10-£56,455, 2010-11-£74,434 (provisional allocation).
Two of the NGOs referred to were supported by our bilateral programme funds. They were:
Project purpose: (2005-06): To investigate planning considerations of the route of the Separation Barrier and assist Palestinian communities to raise concerns. Funding: 2005-06-£30,000.
Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI)
Project purpose: To increase legal aid and advocacy work in cases of alleged torture and to support adoption of a human rights-based agenda. Funding: 2006-07-£15,000, 2007-08-£29,955.
Israeli Committee against House Demolition (ICAHD) and Mossawa have not been funded by either the MENA CP or the FCO Bilateral programme fund.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


9 MAY 2011/ 4 IYAR 5771
HE Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Prime Ministers Bureau
Rechov Kaplan
By Fax 02-6496659

Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu,

Jonathan Pollard, Gilad Shalit
In January this year you wrote to President Obama regarding the plight of Jonathan Pollard who has been incarcerated in a USA jail for over 26 years as a result of providing Israel with information with regard to Iraqi Chemical Weapons. Those who have spied for non-friendly nations against the USA with similar life sentences were freed within a few years of being sentenced as a result of pressure being exerted on the USA administration by the spies’ home country. In contrast your plea, those of the Knesset, President Peres and numerous former US executive and governmental officials and US Jewish religious and community leaders, have all been ignored. Pollard served the interests of the citizens of Israel and the Jewish people and is still suffering for this positive action which was performed without considering his own position. Surely, it is incumbent upon you during your visit in the forthcoming weeks to President Obama, to once and for all obtain a clear unequivocal positive response from the President. Your predecessors failed miserably and their actions only serve as a warning to Jews in the Diaspora not to take any actions on behalf of Israel because the State will NOT give them any support and be readily abandoned by it.

In addressing the issue of the release of Gilat Shalit, captured by terrorists from sovereign Israeli territory as a result of IDF incompetence. For the past weeks the media has not stopped in pushing the issue to the public’s forefront, day after day. But for some peculiar reason have decided to completely ignore the plight of Pollard. Even the rabbinical leaders do not recite Teffilah for Pollard but constantly do for Shalit.

You cannot justify considering releasing hundreds of Arab murderers with Jewish blood on their hands to be used as a bargaining chip for Shalit, irrespective of what documents they sign not to engage in terrorism anymore. Indeed, as a result of the tragic event at Itamar it must now be incumbent upon the government to introduce capital punishment both for this terrorist act and make it retrospective for past terrorist acts.

On this day of Yom Hazikoron I appeal to you to ensure that we must not forget or abandon Jonathan Pollard and that you will unequivocally during your visit to the USA put Pollard first on your public agenda with both the President and the media. You must bring home Pollard when you return from your visit.