Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Hillary, Who Should You Talk To About Jericho's Conditions?

Nadene Goldfoot                                                               

                                            Jordan Valley where Jericho is

Hillary Clinton commented in her new book, Hard Choices, some slamming comments about Israel in their conduct with the city of Jericho.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accuses Israel of being an occupying force in her new memoir  and claims that the Jewish state denies “dignity and self determination” to Palestinians in the West Bank.
Clinton recalls being surprised by what she termed “life under occupation for the Palestinians,” "  “When we left the city and visited Jericho, in the West Bank, I got my first glimpse of life under occupation for Palestinians, who were denied the dignity and self-determination that Americans take for granted,” Clinton writes."

Year she went through? 1981  Who was she with on this trip?  Husband Bill Clinton  Ronald Reagan was president then.   It made me stop to check Jericho out, since that seems to be what she is basing her case upon; one city.  The people of Jericho were denied dignity and self determination by Israel?  Really?  And Israel is at fault?  As I remember, Israel had just had to fight a war in 1973, the Yom Kippur War when attacked when everyone was in a synagogue and fasting for over 25 hours.  It was the most sacred day of the year when Jews were asking for forgiveness.

 Judea-Samaria are not "Occupied Territories"today.   Besides that, the 1967 War determined that the land belonged to Israel being they had been attacked and then surprised everyone by winning.  This little fact is not accepted by the West, even though it's a legal fact of international law.  It's because they invision a 2 state solution and that's it.  No matter what.  They don't care if the Palestinians goal is to destroy Israel.  There is no sign of any peaceful decisions from them.

 This is a city I've gone through many times back in the 80's when I lived in Haifa and Safed and would drive from there to Jerusalem.  The highways goes through Jericho. It was 92.46 miles from Safed to Jericho.   From Tel Aviv, Jericho it is only 65.244 miles.  From Jericho to Jerusalem is 15 miles, but the road isn't straight and so takes a longer time to drive.

It's a Palestinian city in the southern Jordan Valley and is unique because it is 82 feet below sea level. Jericho is in Judea-Samaria and is only 6 miles from the Jordan River, making it a favorite for Christians.

 "The modern Jericho, occupied in the 1967 Six Day War, was one 
of the land swaps for the sake of peace and came under the 

jurisdiction of the Palestinian authority in 1994.  But the beginning 

of the 2nd intifada in 2001changed everything, as one would guess. 

Israelis were, and remain prohibited from entering Jericho as 

well as all other areas under sole Palestinian jurisdiction."

Jericho was a part of the Gaza-Jericho discussions.   "A Gaza-Jericho entity could benefit from wealthy expatriate Palestinians investing in new and "existing" industrial (and service) establishments. Lately there have been moves to organize these wealthy expatriates to invest in the West Bank and 
Gaza; but there was a dispute within the Palestinian leadership as to whether economic development was desirable prior to political progress. Now it is assumed that it is, as the leadership has accepted Gaza and Jericho.  First, it will encourage economic development, on condition that it does not weaken the Palestinian claim to the rest of Judea-Samaria (the West Bank)."

 Jericho is one of the oldest settlements in the world.  It first traces back to the Neolithic Period of 5,000 BCE and was inhabited from the Chalcolithic and Canaanite times until it was destroyed by Joshua as told in Joshua 6 in the Tanakh/Bible.  Remember the song, Joshua and the Battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho?  And the walls came tumbling down.    The area was left desolate. Archeological excavations in the mound started in 1906 and continued regularly from 1930.

When the Jewish King Ahab ruled Israel from 870 BCE to 853 BCE, Hiel the Bethelite, as found in Kings 16:34, revived the city.  When King Herod ruled, the city was transferred from its former site near the spring to another one further away.  There Herod built himself a palace where he died.
Jericho was destroyed by the Romans in 68 CE and later rebuilt at its present location.  It depends on the finances from surrounding plantations which have been irrigated by streams from the Judean mountains since the Hellenistic Period.  It has become a center of balsam groves.  It used to be known as the City of Palms, and is now surrounded by orange groves and banana plantations.

One of Jericho’s primary sources of income is Christian tourism. A cable car takes Christian pilgrims up the hill to the Mount of Temptation, topped by a Greek Orthodox monastery with panoramic views of the region.
In 1994, Israel and the Palestinians signed an economic accord that enabled Palestinians in Jericho to open banks, collect taxes and engage in export and import in preparation for self-rule
In 1995 the Oasis Casino opened up and was the only legal gambling place in the area.  2,000 people came daily and 99% of them were Israelis.  In the year 2,000 is was shut down due to the terrorists.  They were using its roof to shoot at Israelis and Israeli sites.  In 1998, a $150 million casino-hotel was built in Jericho with the backing of Yasser Arafat.  It looks like Jericho was going to be the Las Vegas of the Palestine Strip.  
Since things have changed since 2007 with Hamas taking over Gaza and Fatah left to live in Ramallah and Judea and Samaria, they have ignored Jericho. 
 In 2010, Jericho, with its proximity to the Dead Sea, was declared the most popular destination among Palestinian tourists.The Jericho Agro-Industrial Park is a public-private enterprise being developed in the Jericho area. Agricultural processing companies are being offered financial concessions to lease plots of land in the park in a bid to boost Jericho's economy.

In 1925, Christian friars opened a school for 100 pupils that became the Terra Santa School. The city has 22 state schools and a number of private schools

In 1946 the population was 3,000.  Arab refugees entered in 1948 and by 1961 had 61,000 living there. Demographics have varied widely depending on the dominant ethnic group and rule in the region over the past three thousand years. In a 1945 land and population survey by Sami Hadawi, 3,010 inhabitants is the figure given for Jericho, of which 94% (2840) were Arab and 6% (170) were Jews Then most of the refugees fled over the Jordan River before Israel's troops arrived during the Six Day War of 1967.  The census in 1967 showed that 8,500 were living in Jericho and 2,000 lived in its vicinity.  In the first census carried out by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), in 1997, Jericho's population was 14,674. Palestinian refugees constituted a significant 43.6% of the residents or 6,393 people.  The Christian community makes up around 1% of the population.
In the 2007 census by the PCBS, Jericho had a population of 18,346
May I remind Hillary that Israel has been shot at since 2001 from Gaza and what has she done to give Israelis the right of freedom to allow their children to go to school without fear of having 15 seconds to enter a bomb shelter when the siren screams the warning of incoming missile?  This year alone, the southern part of Israel has had 108 rockets fall into their little part of the world.  
The Palestinians are governing Judea-Samaria.  It's up to them to provide their own dignity.  Dignity comes from good accomplishments, good deeds.  You can't give people dignity.  They must earn their own.  They all voted in the Hamas terrorists to govern Gaza.  Israel had left Gaza. Do you expect Israel to honor them for such a decision?   Dignity is the state of being worthy, honored or esteemed.  
 Are a people worthy of being honored by Israel when they keep trying to kill Israelis with suicide bombing, rockets, missiles and mortars?  They are a people first led by the PLO terrorists who have now decided to follow Hamas terrorists.  Their government will be led by Hamas.  Left alone, Jericho was doing well before 2001 with the Casino.  They were making money off of the Israelis.  They had their dignity then, but the rest of their people certainly took it away and stopped a good thing-a connection between Jews and Arabs in business.  
Hillary, I don't know what you saw to make such a judgement, but if you saw and talked to the people and found them unlike Americans, it's because they aren't.  They don't think like Americans or Israelis.  They don't solve problems in our same ways.   They're living with their own decisions now, and perhaps they wish it was different.  Hindsight is now better than foresight.  
I'm disappointed in you.  You are damning Israel by your words, and it doesn't take much to put more stones on their backs.  One fly-by through Jericho in 1981, 33 years ago when I lived in Safed,  and you're being nasty towards Israel, and that city is not Israel's responsibility to make happy, now is it!   

Resource: The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia


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