Not at All Subtle: The US Attitude Towards Judea and Samaria
According to an AP report, the United States will “endorse a tougher tone with Israel” and will publish a report that “takes the Jewish state to task over settlements, demolitions and property seizures on land the Palestinians claim for a future state.” The Palestinian Authority also will be “chastise[d],” although “its primary focus will be a surge of construction in Jewish housing in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.”
This move, as AP has it, “marks a subtle shift.”
Anyone who follows the postings of the US Consulate General in Jerusalem knows well that the American attitude towards Jews living in the areas of the former Mandate for Palestine not currently under full Israel sovereignty is basically one of near total disregard and oblivion.
For example, its Facebook page is in two languages only: English and Arabic. Considering that the Israeli population under the consulate’s jurisdiction, Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria is over a million (Jerusalem 800,000+ and Judea and Samaria almost 500,000), that’s a significant overlook.
Besides consular services for US citizens, which number over 80,000 who are registered and who reside in the territory presided over, non-Americans also benefit from a variety of outreach programs the consulate provides. These include: exchange programs, Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), American Corners, speakers & specialists, Arabic book program, grant opportunities, cultural programs (music, art, sports, performances, exhibits, etc.), learning English and two America Houses in Jerusalem and Ramallah.
But if you research and review, you’ll notice that Jews, whether US citizens or not, who reside in communities in Judea and Samaria — which the US terms the “West Bank” — do not benefit from any of these activities paid for by American tax dollars. Arabs, both citizens and non-US citizens do, however. They even are visited by consulate officials.
Let’s check the FB page of the consulate for the most recent examples.
On May 8, there is this notice:
The U.S. agency for international development is working hard to support the Palestinian agricultural sector that the agency’s work now with almond growers and assist more than 160 Palestinian farmers grow crops again to increase production and sales. Click the link for the projects of agricultural agency.
What do you think is the most delicious product grown in the Palestinian Territories? Almonds? Strawberries? Tell us your preference in a comment! We are working hard to support Palestinian agriculture sector, that’s why USAID West Bank/Gaza is now working with Palestinian almond growers to help more than 160 farmers to push their production and sails higher. Check out USAID’s agriculture projects here.
We also read that
On April 21, we took 23 students from Gaza and West Bank on a tour of Jerusalem and Al Aqsa Mosque. The students all participate in our Abraham Lincoln program, which gives them the skills they need to pursue higher education in the United States. For some of the students, this was their first time visiting the holy city. Check out Amideast- West Bank’s website for more information on this program.
As part of the #NablusRd open days, the U.S. Consulate partnered with institutions in East Jerusalem to help women entrepreneurs from all over the West Bank and Gaza sell their arts and crafts at the three-day Nablus Road event. Check out these exquisite paintings drawn by a Palestinian woman from Gaza.
There is this, too:
Check out this video from the May 5th #Nablusrd activities and on May 6th there was the Women Bazaar, listening to Gospel music of the Texas Jones Family Singers and participating in many other activities.
You could bring your cameras or mobile phones to participate in the America House Jerusalem & Ramallah photo/ video contest.
“Settlers” are to be avoided, shunned.
Are lawmakers aware? Not many. I personally have informed some three dozen over the past few years. Consider, too, these press announcements to comprehend the impact the consulate has on the US attitude to Jews residing in their historical homeland:
U.S. Consul General hosts “Grown in Gaza” and Announces New Gaza Recovery Program (May 9, 2016);
Remarks of U.S. Consul General Donald A. Blome at the Grown in Gaza Event (May 9, 2016); An Open Letter to Palestinian Women: Be Bold! When Women Succeed, Societies Flourish. (March 31, 2016); Ambassador Sepulveda delivers remarks to Palestinian officials and businessmen on the impact of the 3G rollout. (February 3, 2016); Palestinian American Chamber of Commerce Celebrates Partnership with U.S. Consulate to Support Palestinian businesses (January 22, 2016) and American Consul General Travels to Nablus to Deepen Cooperation (January 21, 2016).
Jews resident in the area of Judea and Samaria face, for all intents and purposes, a policy of exclusion. Is it constitutional and legal that in the same geographical area under the jurisdiction of a consulate, there exist two separate and not equal populations: Jewish and Arab, whether Muslim or Christian? Is this policy in the spirit of the democratic foundations of American democracy? Can the consulate adopt exclusionary policies that separate between peoples based on race, nationality and/or religion in the same geographical area? Can it create the “state of the West Bank”?
I think these are questions a Congressional committee or sub-committee should look into. Or hold a session of survey over the activities and budget of the American consulate.
This policy is not at all subtle, by any means.
Yisrael Medad is a roving editor-at-large for Israel Affairs at The Algemeiner.