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July 13, 2017 1:37 pm

US Consul in Israel Erases Jewish History

avatar by Stephen M. Flatow / JNS.org

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The West Bank. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.org – The US consul general in Jerusalem recently started the first leg of a 200-mile hike that will simultaneously promote one pro-Palestinian myth while inadvertently exploding another. That’s quite a “twofer.”

Consul General Donald Blome is an avid hiker. For some reason, he has decided to ignore Israeli hiking trails in Judea and Samaria, and instead is making his way across the “Masar Ibrahim Al-Khalil,” or the Ibrahim Path, an Arab trail that runs from northern Samaria to southern Judea.

The website of the US Consulate General in Jerusalem quotes Blome as explaining that “this journey is all about exploring the connection of the people with the land.” But he’s not talking about the Jewish people, who have a 3,000-year-old connection to the land through which he is hiking. Instead, Blome has in mind the “connection” of people who only started calling themselves “Palestinians” in the last century, and who — in many cases — are actually the descendants of Egyptian, Syrian or Lebanese Arabs who arrived in the 1920s and 1930s.

Blome began his hike in the Arab village of Rummana, north of Jenin, and will conclude in “the Old City of Hebron,” as he calls it. There will be no stops along the way at the sites that genuinely demonstrate the ancient connection between the Jewish people and the land — such as Shiloh, the first resting place of the biblical tabernacle and the center of Jewish religious life before the building of the First Temple. Nor will the consul general be visiting Beit El, where the patriarch Jacob had his famous dream of the angels ascending and descending to heaven.

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Blome appears to have forgotten that the Jewish presence in that “Old City of Hebron” is a lot older than that of the Muslims. The Jewish connection dates back to Abraham’s purchase of the Cave of the Patriarchs. Muslims did not show up in the area until more than 2,000 years later.

For some reason, the US Consulate is determined to wipe out Jewish history in the Holy Land. I suppose one could say that this is consistent with the recent decision by UNESCO to brand the Cave of the Patriarchs a “Palestinian” historical site. But it’s not the kind of behavior we were expecting from a representative of President Donald Trump’s administration. (Blome assumed the consul general post in July 2015, during President Barack Obama’s tenure.)

While promoting one myth, however, Blome has unintentionally exposed another.

Few Americans have heard of the “Ibrahim Trail.” Based on what they read in the newspapers — and what they hear from former US envoys such as Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk — the American public is led to believe that Israel “occupies” the Palestinians, “controls their movement” and “prevents their access” to neighboring communities.

Yet thousands of Palestinian hikers each year traverse the Ibrahim trail without interruption for 200 miles, proceeding “from the Masar Ibrahim Al-Khalil is a trail that runs through the West Bank from the Mediterranean olive groves of the highlands of the north to the silence of the deserts in the south, from the area west of Jenin to the area south of the Sanctuary of Abraham (known in Arabic as Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi) in the city of (Hebron),” as the US Consulate’s website describes it.

Where are all the Israeli “occupation” troops? Where are the checkpoints that supposedly make the lives of Palestinians miserable? Where’s all the persecution, oppression and humiliation that we’re always reading about?

They’re nowhere to be found. The hikers aren’t stopped by Israeli soldiers. They aren’t bossed around by an Israeli military governor. That’s because way back in 1995, then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin withdrew all of Israel’s troops from the areas where more than 98 percent of the Palestinian Arabs reside.

The hikers almost certainly won’t see any Israeli security checkpoints, because 26 of the 27 checkpoints are set up along Israel’s border with the Palestinian Authority (PA), not inside the areas that the PA controls.

Giving the PA control over so much land that is steeped in Judaism and Jewish history was an extraordinary sacrifice by Israel, one that few in the international community have ever appreciated. Perhaps that is something for Blome to contemplate during the long hours of quiet reflection that he will enjoy as he hikes across the land of Israel in the weeks ahead.

Stephen M. Flatow, a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, is an attorney in New Jersey. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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  • Hamanhanger

    Paul Winter has it exactly right. When our daughter was born in Israel in 1971, we went to the American Consulate in (East) Jerusalem to register her birth. We had to deal with Arab staffers only, and quickly learned that the consulate there was NOT there to deal with Americans living or working in Israel, and certainly not with Israelis. but only to deal with Arabs from the “territories” liberated by Israel in 1967. They sent us to the Embassy in Tel Aviv to get the birth of our daughter registered….
    As I started to work for the Jerusalem Post that year, I had occasion, from time to time, to deal with stories in which the consulate in East Jerusalem was involved, and what was my earlier personal experience became the real picture of what that consulate was there for: a State Department mission to the Arabs of “Palestine.”
    It is not just that Blome is an O’Bamba appointment there — all of the Consuls there since 1967 have been of the same fabric. I am not sure what it takes to make some serious changes in the State Department as a whole to reflect the Trump policies instead of continuing the O’Bamba misfortunes, but Secretary Tillerson can and should be making these changes ASAP — UNLESS HE HAS AN AGENDA THAT IS DIFFERENT THAN PRSIDENT TRUMP’S!!!

  • Zev Sero

    Why is Friedman allowing him to participate?

  • Thought is Free

    Mr Flatow is right, this is a great demonstration of the Jewish connection to the land, even if Mr Blome is too stupid to see it.

  • Paul Winter

    Stephen, you almost certainly know better than I, that the Consulate-General in Jerusalem reports not to the USA’s Embassy (insultingly located in) Tel Aviv, but directly to the State Dept. It is in effect the USA’s embassy to the PA. It shuns Jews, employs only Arabs of the “Palestinian” variety, and shows contempt for Israel by ignoring its rights – the rights it endorsed under the Road Map – by snooping around Area C. Blome’s silly walk is no surprise. What is a surprise is that neither Israel’s nor the USA’s Jewish leadership has raised this matter with Trump.

  • Lia

    Perhaps this American will be converted on Abraham’s route?

  • Efram Paul

    Why is President Trump permitting this piece of garbage to continue in his position?

  • watsa46

    GET RID OF HIM.

  • obamasminionsmustgo

    Consul General Blome had better start looking for a new job SOON!

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