Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired back at Sky News, stating that Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) are part of the Jewish “ancestral homeland” to which Jews have been attached for 3,000 years and the notion of banning Jews from settling in those areas is the true “obstacle to peace,” after the British news outlet attempted to depict the territories as “occupied” lands.
In an interview with Britain’s Sky News on Friday, Netanyahu defended accusations that Israel was violating international law regarding the presence of Jews residing in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).
“Figures show that over 7,000 settlement homes have been advanced under your government since the start of the year, and these are widely criticized internationally, publicly and privately, to you,” said British journalist Alistair Bunkall, claiming that they “contravene international law.”
“You have said in interviews I’ve seen in the past that it’s the Palestinians that are the obstacle to peace,” he added, “[Yet] as the Secretary of State Andrew Blinken said this week, it’s settlements that are the physical obstacle to peace.”
“I think that’s not true and it’s not new that I disagree with it,” Netanyahu objected, noting that the area is part of the ancient homeland of the Jewish people.
He also expressed disagreement that Israeli policy opposes international law because, in his words, “there’s never been an international decision that says the Jews cannot live in Judea — that’s where we come from.”
Citing Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Sky News Middle East correspondent claimed that “an occupying force cannot build on the land,” to which Netanyahu immediately corrected him.
“No, [it says it] cannot ‘transfer’ people,” the Israeli PM said.
“And ‘build’ on the land,” Bunkall replied.
“‘Transfer’ people,” Netanyahu retorted, stating people may “build on the land if it’s your disputed territory, which it is.”
“You call it occupied, we call it disputed,” he explained. “It’s part of our ancestral homeland. I mean, we’ve only been attached to it for, I don’t know, 3,000 years.”
The Israeli premier then noted the historical connection of Jewish residents to the land, as he slammed the notion that Israel was an occupying force on foreign territory.
“King David established our capital here in Jerusalem ‘only’ 3,000 years ago,” he stated. “We’re not the Belgians in the Congo or the Dutch in Indonesia. For God’s sake, this is the land of Israel. It’s our country.”
“So I completely disagree with that,” he added, noting that “the Palestinians are here and we’re not going to push them out [and] we’re here and they’re not going to push us out.”
However, Netanyahu pointed out, the presence of settlements is “not the reason that successive governments were unable to make peace.”
“After all, they weren’t building [settlements], they were freezing [construction],” he said, highlighting the several Israeli prime ministers “left of the Likud [Party] and left of me before me and after me [who] couldn’t make peace with the Palestinians.”
According to Netanyahu, their failure to achieve peace despite their left-wing stances can be attributed to the fact that the Palestinians “unfortunately, have been commandeered by a leadership that doesn’t want peace with Israel.”
“They want a peace without Israel,” he stated.
“They don’t want a state next to Israel, they want a state instead of Israel,” he added, explaining that the “real” issue is “the persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize the Jewish state and any border — [even] the 1967 border.”
When Bunkall attempted to turn to the issue of Israeli settlement construction, Netanyahu immediately objected.
“No, no, no,” the prime minister protested. “Don’t run away from what I’m saying…”
The interviewer then claimed that if Netanyahu’s counterpart Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas had been present, he would “obviously scrutinize him and his decisions and his policy” in the same way.
“No, you wouldn’t,” Netanyahu insisted, with a smile. “The answer is you wouldn’t. I’ve watched the Western interviews with Abbas and they’re very courting.”
Bunkall, noting he had never held an interview with Abbas, admitted “you’ll have to take my word for it,” before citing the State Department’s recent reproval of building in the West Bank as “violating Israel’s commitment to the Biden administration.”
“It doesn’t violate any commitment; that’s completely false,” said Netanyahu.
But Bunkall maintained that the US State Department declared the matter as such a violation.
“Well it happens to be wrong; I can disagree with them,” Netanyahu stated.
However, he noted, “the important thing is what you’re saying is that if a Jew buys private land and wants to live in the areas next to the Palestinians — that is a criminal action.”
“We have to sanitize the area,” he added. “We have to make it ethnically cleansed.”
The Israeli PM then challenged the interviewer, suggesting he consider his hypocrisy by imagining the situation reversed.
“If I said to you that Jews cannot buy land anywhere in the world, in London or Paris and so on, you would go and you would be outraged,” Netanyahu said. “But the idea here is that private land in disputed areas that have not been determined yet what their political future is, that Jews should not live there because it obstructs the peace?”
“Why?” he asked.
Furthermore, Netanyahu pointed to the double standard concerning the presence of Jews in Judea and Samaria.
“Why do [two] million… Arab citizens of Israel, live inside Israel, and we don’t say that that’s not possible?” he asked.
“On the contrary, I think they’re allowed to live anywhere, they should have all the civic rights [and] equal rights,” he added. “But the idea that Jews will live next to Palestinians that obviates the peace?!”
Netanyahu called such a conception the “danger to peace.”
“We’re going to have to live next to each other; we’ll have to find a political arrangement how to do so,” he argued.
“But the idea that the presence of Jews in their ancestral homeland — which has been our homeland for the last 3,000 years — that Jews should not live there?! It should be Judenrein — Jew free?! I think that’s the obstacle to peace,” he concluded.
The interview comes as Israel continues to sustain bogus attacks from the left and various mainstream media outlets.
Last month, it was reported that CNN would receive a formal letter of complaint from Israel after host Christiane Amanpour claimed murdered members of the holidaying Dee family were “killed in a shootout.”
“The mother and two Israel-British sisters – they were killed in a shootout,” Amanpour said in her report, seemingly implying there was a two-way exchange of gunfire rather than a Palestinian terror attack on unarmed civilians.
According to @CNN‘s Christiane Amanpour, three members of the Dee family “were killed in a shootout.”
A shootout is two sides firing at each other.
— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) May 11, 2023
The Israeli Foreign Ministry confirmed it was working on a complaint to the broadcaster after a source saw a draft of the letter, the Jerusalem Post reported.
As Breitbart News reported, 48-year-old mother of five Lucy Dee and her two daughters were on a holiday drive through northern Samaria to visit the city of Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee when terrorist gunmen ambushed their car, forcing it off the road and then raking it with bullets.
Also last month, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) objected to a bipartisan trip to Israel, claiming that “apartheid” Israel “was born out of violence and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.”
In March, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) defended Netanyahu, following harsh criticism from President Joe Biden over reforms to Israel’s judiciary.
Prime Minister Netanyahu is an Israeli patriot, statesman, and most importantly, a great friend of the USA.
Free societies have vigorous and open debate. Israel is no exception.
I support @netanyahu, and America’s support for Israel’s strong, vibrant democracy is unwavering.
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) March 30, 2023
“Prime Minister Netanyahu is an Israeli patriot, statesman, and most importantly, a great friend of the USA,” he stated. “Free societies have vigorous and open debate. Israel is no exception.”
“I support @netanyahu, and America’s support for Israel’s strong, vibrant democracy is unwavering,” he added.
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