City of Ariel

Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

Happy Holidays from Ron Nachman

In Ariel City on December 24, 2012 at 10:10 am

The mayor of Ariel, Ron Nachman, would like to wish all of Ariel’s friends the happiest of holidays.

Hanukah message from Mayor Nachman

In International, Letters on December 21, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Dear Friends,

Today we celebrate.

The first day of Hanukah is a time for us to consider just why the City of Ariel is so important. The message of witnessing miracles “in those days, and in these times” resonates with us. To fully appreciate why, we need to take a look at the greatest challenge that Israel faces today.

Yes, Iran is building up a nuclear program that threatens Israel and the entire free world. True, the so-called “international community” consistently attempts to find fault in Israel. Indeed, Prime Minister Netanyahu is condemned by the United Nations for building homes for Jews in our ancestral homeland. The list goes on and on. But there is an even more profound challenge that we face.

The greatest danger that we face today is the transformation of Zionists into Israel’s greatest adversaries. It’s sad but true. As time goes on we see the impact of the anti-Israel propaganda campaign hitting harder and harder. For the first time, growing numbers of Jews are proud to be critical of Israel. They are fed not only by the general anti-Israel media bias, but by a small but vocal group of extreme leftwing Israelis who fight Israel from within. Politicians such as Yossi Beilin, who cannot influence Israeli politics due to lack of domestic support, opt to apply international pressure on Israel through foreign governments and organizations. Our greatest challenge is our very own people.

As opposed to other holidays when we celebrate the survival of the Jewish Nation, on Hanukah we celebrate the survival of the Jewish soul. The Greeks waged a spiritual war against the Jews, attempting to strip us of our culture and our faith. The Greeks were extremely successful, with significant numbers of Hellenist Jews adopting the Greek culture and its anti-Israel perspective. Ultimately, it was a small group of Jews who successfully resisted the Greek Empire. Their message was simple; the spirit of the Jewish People cannot be extinguished. Our light will live on, forever.

As disturbing as it is to see just how many have fallen into the anti-Israel camp, be reassured that there are people in Israel with a proud Jewish spirit. Everything that we have built in Ariel – and everything that we continue to build– proclaims the success of Zionism. From immigrant absorption to education, from culture to youth development and from community health to regional stability, every element of life in Ariel is enhanced and enriched with a sense of purpose. Whoever visits Ariel is infused with sincere pride in the Zionist Enterprise – and for good reason. Ariel is a reminder to all that the Jewish spirit is alive and well, and it will never fall prey to the empires of the world that choose to undermine it.

I invite you to celebrate with us. I am extremely appreciative of our many friends, both Jews and Christians, who walk with us and lend us encouragement. Now, during this holiday season, I want you to be inspired. Every time you think about Ariel, be proud. Think of what you have done and will do in partnership with us. Let that sense of pride grown within you. Let it motivate you as you celebrate this special time with your friends and your family. And don’t forget to tell them about the City of Ariel, where the light shines as strong as ever.

Happy holidays,

Ron Nachman

Mayor of Ariel

Letter from Ariel’s mayor, Ron Nachman

In International on May 31, 2011 at 4:49 pm

5/31/11

Dear Friends,

Before sharing my thoughts on the recent discourse between the Prime Minister of Israel and the President of the United States, I wanted to let you know that I am alive and well, working full force on behalf of the City of Ariel as always. All tests show that the cancer that I fought this past year is long gone. Everything is back to normal – challenges, successes and all.

When putting the recent Washington D.C. speeches in perspective, it’s important to stress the centrality of the U.S. – Israel relationship. As the Middle East and North Africa erupt with ever-growing instability, the mutual interests of the U.S. and Israel become clearer and the ties between us are tightened.

Regarding the speeches themselves, President Obama’s recognition of Israel’s needs for security measures is extremely important. However, beyond rhetoric, what does that commitment amount to? How is Israel expected to defend itself In the face of military attacks and the recent tactic of civilian masses charging our borders? We heard much about international expectations of what Israel has to sacrifice, but nothing about what the international community will do to ensure Israel’s security. This is worrisome.

Prime Minister Netanyahu did an excellent job identifying the issues as they are. In a time when the Arabs try to convince the world that we have no rights to our Land, Prime Minister Netanyahu stressed our biblical connection to the home of our forefathers – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Both houses of Congress rose to their feet repeatedly in support of Israel, as our Prime Minister proudly proclaimed that Israel is our ancestral land – a land which is ours and which we reserve the right to defend as we see fit.

Indeed, watching the overwhelming support for the Prime Minister in Congress reminds us of our friends across America. Whether Jew or Christian – the impact of your unwavering love and active support for Israel echoed across Washington DC and resonated throughout the world. It is astounding and heartwarming to see what you have accomplished. Thank you.

I urge you to be encouraged and steadfast in your commitment to Israel. We hear much of a supposed unilateral attempt at recognition of a Palestinian Authority state. Fear not. No matter what may be in September, Ariel will continue to be strong. The undeniable reality of the City of Ariel will not be undermined by those who wish Israel harm. We have, are and will be here. The world will continue to go round in September, and in October and thereafter. We will continue to do our part, and we know that you will continue to do yours.

In conclusion, Prime Minister Netanyahu has graciously offered the Palestinian Authority an opportunity to declare their recognition of Israel as the Jewish State. If they deny our existence then the problem is theirs and theirs alone. Similarly, the Arabs need to understand that Israel simply will not commit suicide by returning to the pre-1967 armistice lines. The Jewish People will not forfeit our Homeland, only to wait another 2000 years for its rebirth. Everyone – both our friends and our enemies- need to understand that Ariel will continue to be the backbone of Israel’s security. We’re here to stay.

Friends; take pride in Ariel, and in your relationship with this wonderful city. Although wse have much to accomplish we’re well on our way.

Sincerely,

Ron Nachman

Mayor of Ariel

Letter from Ariel’s Mayor Ron Nachman: Israel Under Siege

In International, Letters on June 3, 2010 at 7:11 am

“The world needs to open its eyes.”  — Ron Nachman, Mayor of Ariel

6/3/10

Mayor Ron Nachman of the city of Ariel in the Shomron, Israel, on the current ‘flotilla’ crisis, Iran, the international community, the media, and the myriad of threats facing the State of Israel.

Israel is at war.

This war is a very different war than those that we’ve known in the past.

The Arabs understand that they cannot break Israel on the battlefield. Time after time they’ve tried, and time after time they’ve failed. But they are not planning on giving up. To compensate for their failed strategies they’ve chosen to operate on two alternative fronts, each of which poses a fierce challenge to the continued existence of the State of Israel.

The first front is the Iranian nuclear weapons program.  Ahmedenijad speaks aloud of his desire and intention to annihilate the State of Israel, and the world remains silent. While the United States suggests imposing sanctions of little consequence, the Arabs stand by, mocking Western naiveté and foolishness. Of course, this should not be new to us. The world was also silent as the Nazi’s rose to power before World War II. They didn’t want to hear about the threat of the Third Reich. They didn’t believe that Hitler would act in accordance with his words. They opted for appeasement, imagining that the problem would dissipate on its own. The world was silent, and they were horribly wrong. Today, too, the world is silent, even while Israel’s very existence is being threatened.

On the other front, the Arab world has mobilized itself with a sophisticated anti-Israel propaganda campaign. They use each and every media tool available as a platform for their message: television, radio and mass media are only the beginning. They enroll university students to sympathize with their cause, and equip them with the tools to instigate provocative demonstrations and misconduct. They use the façade of international organizations as a vehicle for funneling money to serve their cause, primarily with backing from European countries and, to a degree, with American funds as well. Under the guise of international law they seek to discredit and ultimately destroy the country whose existence they refuse to acknowledge or accept. What they can’t accomplish through direct confrontation they seek to achieve by creating a new, multifaceted public relations battlefield.

This insidious campaign has an underlying and unifying theme. Its proponents seek to convince the world that Israel is a racist “apartheid” nation. In truth, it is the Hamas, not Israel, that controls all of the Gaza Strip. It is the PLO, not Israel, that controls the Palestinian population in Judea and Samaria. And yet, it is Israel who bares the blame for the circumstances of the Palestinians. When Israel builds a defensive fence with the goal of self preservation in the face of terror, the world cries out.  When Israel retaliates in reaction to years of relentless attacks and thousands of rockets fired from Gaza, the Security Council lashes out with claims of war crimes. The Arab world uses the United Nations, The Hague and international pressure to disparage, undermine and delegitimize Israel.

The anti-Israel propaganda campaign reached its apex with the Turkey-endorsed attempt to penetrate the Gaza blockade. The comprehensive media stunt broke all records. The aggressors spoke of “peace” and “humanitarian aid”. Unfortunately, the “aid” that they had aboard ship paled in comparison to the weekly aid that Israel provides to the Gaza Strip, and the “peace” that they spoke of was demonstrated by their brutal premeditated attacks on the Israeli Defense Forces. Sadly, the IDF simply didn’t understand just how far these people were prepared to go in order to delegitimize Israel.

Instead of sitting down at the negotiating table they insist on waging war. Instead of recognizing Israel’s existence they invent new battle grounds. Instead of launching a direct attack they use civilians and the media to do their dirty work. They will do whatever they can to isolate Israel from the world community, until it stands alone in the face of a nuclear threat. Their plan is very thorough and well coordinated. And what does the West do? They keep silent. When oil and money are involved nobody wants to threaten the Arabs.

Now, more than ever, the world needs to open its eyes. Danger is imminent, and we cannot keep silent. At a glance, Israel’s borders may seem reasonably secure, but more and more of the world is gradually putting Israel under siege. Boycotts, sanctions, relentless pressure from the media and the United Nations continue their encroachment. We cannot and must not remain silent.

I urge you to speak out. Speak out for Israel. Speak out for democracy in the Middle East. Speak out for the one and only Jewish Homeland. Speak out because it’s the right thing to do. Speak out because you care. Speak out, because silence is not an option.

Sincerely,

Ron Nachman

Mayor of Ariel

The America-Israel Crisis

In International, Letters, National on March 18, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Dear Friends,

The papers are plastered with headlines concerning the current American-Israeli crisis. Indeed, the situation is very grave, but it is by no means a surprise to me.

Ever since President Obama took office I warned that his administration would be antagonistic towards Israel. I noted that there are Israeli “insiders” from the political left, who coordinate their efforts against Israel’s elected government with President Obama’s closest advisors. From the Oslo Accords and to this very day, Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod, Aaron Miller, Dan Kurtzer, Martin Indyk and even Dennis Ross play strategic roles in developing plans to undermine Israel’s sovereignty. This time it is President Obama who they’ve convinced to execute their agenda.

What Israel’s political left could not accomplish in democratic elections they attempt to achieve through their personal ties with the American government, American organizations such as the New Israel Fund and J-Street, and European governments. They seek to advance their political agenda by escalating external international pressure against the Netanyahu government, with the goal of driving Israel to new elections and the hope that an Obama-pleasing politician might replace Prime Minister Netanyahu. Israel, the Middle East’s only true democracy, is being pushed up against a wall by an American administration that doesn’t care what Israeli voters have to say about their own survival.

They’ve developed a clever yet baseless campaign in order to execute their plan. They’ve chosen the politically irrelevant issue of construction in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem as the focus of their anti-Israel rhetoric. Though Israeli construction will have no effect on supposed peace negotiations, the topic does have the potential to tear up the Netanyahu government coalition from within. This well orchestrated international intervention in Israeli politics is clearly displayed by America’s unabashed and disproportionately firm criticism of Israel’s conduct.

When was the last time we heard Secretary of State Clinton criticize Abu Mazen or Egypt for their flagrant disregard for Israeli attempts to convene negotiations? When was the last time we saw President Obama press Iran or Pakistan with cries for immediate action?

Sadly, it seems like the anti-Israel rhetoric has sunk to an even deeper and unexpected low. There is a new blood libel that has begun to spread. It is the irrational suggestion that American troops are at risk because of Israeli policy.

Have American troops been under attack in Iraq due to Israeli policy? Are American troops fighting in Afghanistan due to Israeli policy? Does Ahmadinejad want to destroy America, the “Great Satan”, because of Israeli policy?

It’s time for President Obama to set the record straight. America is Israel’s greatest ally, but let us not forget that America needs Israel as an ally as well. It’s time for America to take confidence building steps towards Israel, its worthy ally. I hope that President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton will finally respect the decisions passed by Congress to move America’s Embassy to Israel’s capital – the City of Jerusalem. I hope that the Obama administration will realize its natural and necessary kinship and affiliation with Israel, that it will seek opportunities to advance the two countries’ mutual interests and that it will address the State of Israel with the respect and dignity that it deserves. Anything less would be an insult – not to Israel, but to President Obama and to the United States of America.

Sincerely,

Ron Nachman
Mayor of Ariel

The Israel Project (TIP) Thanks Mayor Nachman for Ariel Visit

In Ariel City, Ariel Happenings, International on February 9, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Dear Mayor Nachman,

On behalf of the entire communications staff of The Israel Project, I want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to meet with us last week and to give us a personal tour of Ariel. Our team really learned a lot from you and I am deeply grateful for the fact that you shared your time and talents with us.

Your briefing imparted us with new knowledge that helped us to understand the complexities and challenges facing Israel today and tomorrow.  Moreover, your insights provided us with important information and awareness which will help us as we work with the media, opinion-makers and leaders as well as pro-Israel advocates throughout the world.

We are planning to do a fact sheet on Ariel that we will send to 76,000 reporters around the world. I will be in touch with you about this very soon.

As The Israel Project continues to grow and work for the security of Israel and Jewish communities worldwide, we look forward to seeing you again in Jerusalem or Washington and staying in touch during the critical weeks and months ahead.

Letter from Mayor Nachman to Prime Minister Gordon Brown

In International, Letters on December 24, 2009 at 1:50 pm

To:
The Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP

Dear Prime Minister,

Re: The British Government’s Anti-Israel Policy
1. Boycotting Israeli Products
2. Academic Boycott
3. Indictment of Israeli Civilians and Military Personnel

Recently a request issued by the British Government to the people of the United Kingdom was publicized, calling upon them not to purchase products that were manufactured in the “settlements” and the region of Judea and Samaria.

1. Boycotting Israeli Products
• The City of Ariel is home to an industrial zone which manufactures products for export. Thousands of Palestinians from the nearby villages are employed in the industrial zone, providing them with the means to support themselves and their families. This is Ariel’s contribution to peace.
• Infrastructure, such as electricity and water, is provided from the Israeli cities near the Palestinian villages. We provide humanitarian support, safeguarding their communities. This is Ariel’s contribution to peace.
• Boycotting Israeli products from the cities which provide these services harms both the residents of Ariel and the residents of the Arab villages who depend on the City of Ariel and its environs.
2. Academic Boycott
• The United Kingdom has issued a boycott on the Ariel University Center. This is completely inappropriate. Where will an academic boycott lead? It’s unfortunate that professors and universities in the UK are leading this effort. It is an insult both to the UK and to its government.
3. Indictment of Israeli Civilians and Military Personnel
• Even before Operation Cast Lead, organizations in the United Kingdom appealed to their courts to indict Israeli military officials. Of all the countries in Europe, it was England that took the lead in this effort.
• England’s silence regarding Anti-Israel efforts caused people to take advantage of the British court system, using it against those who defend their country from terror. This silence reached its peak with the arrest warrant that was issued for Opposition Leader, Mrs.Tzippi Livni.
• Mrs. Livni supported the destruction of Gush Katif and the evacuation of the Israeli residents from the Gaza Strip. She promised the people of Israel peace in exchange for removing families and children from their homes. Ultimately, she understood that she was responsible for the relentless rocket fire from the new “Hamasstan”, which hit Israeli cities and communities. Upon realizing that Israel could not continue to suffer at the hands of the continued terror from the Gaza Strip, she began a defensive military campaign.
• The misleading and anti-Semitic Goldstone Report is the result of Operation Cast Lead, which has, in turn, lead to the arrest warrant. Such an approach indicates that both active sacrifice and attempts and peace, and efforts to defend a civilian population, are punishable by the British courts.

This has all transpired in the United Kingdom during your term of office.
This has all transpired in the United Kingdom while Tony Blair travels throughout the Middle East as a representative of the Quartet.

I request of the Right Honourable Prime Minister, who represents a country that is considered friendly to Israel, to stop the financial and academic boycotts immediately, and to prevent the British legal system from creating uncomfortable and embarrassing situations for both countries.

Respectfully,

Ron Nachman
Mayor of Ariel

Jerusalem – Israel’s Indivisible Capital

In Letters on September 18, 2007 at 11:08 am

Dear Friends,

It has been two years now since the “disengagement”, when Israel withdrew from the Gaza strip, gave away all the land and destroyed the lives of thousands of Israelis. This was supposed to be “land for peace”. Instead of peace, however, we got daily Kassam missile attacks.

You may recall that when Ehud Barak was Prime Minister of Israel, he ordered the Israel Defense Forces to withdraw from Southern Lebanon in one night. The Arab world viewed this as a sign of Israeli weakness, just as they viewed our signing of the Oslo Accords on the White House lawn several years before. The late Prime Minister Rabin, Yassar Arafat and our current president, Shimon Peres received Nobel Peace prizes. The Israeli people received tragedy and bloodshed.

What more proof do Israel’s policy makers need? How many more Israelis have to die before they understand that “land for peace” does not work?

President George Bush’s vision for the establishment of a Palestinian State has not been realized. Neither Egypt, when it occupied Gaza, nor Jordan, when it occupied Judea & Samaria, would agree to create a legal Palestinian entity because they knew that a Palestinian land would threaten their own existence. Western leaders, both American and European, do not comprehend that you cannot impose Western norms and values on the Middle East.

There is only one possible solution. Egypt must annex Gaza and Jordan must annex some Arab controlled parts of Judea & Samaria, while the rest is annexed by Israel. Moreover, the Arab world would have to invest heavily in both northern Sinai, Egypt’s territory, to create employment for residents of Gaza and in the Jordanian held parts of Judea and Samaria for the Arabs in those areas. Furthermore, we need an agreement on population exchange to create and ensure defensible borders for Israel.

In 1918, the Balfour Declaration was opposed by the Arabs because they objected to the idea of Jews returning to their Homeland. They responded with an “Intifada” in 1929 and again in Hebron in 1936 and two more times, in 1947 and 1948, before and after the U.N vote on partition. The Arab world opposed our existence then and its attitude has not changed since. Their three conditions in every negotiation since 1949 have remained the same:

1. The establishment of a Palestinian land in all of Judea & Samaria.

2. Jerusalem to be the capital of that land.

3. The Right of Return for Arab “refugees”.

Friends, Israel is approaching its 60th year. It is time for the free world to stand firm with Israel in its existential right for secure and defensible borders. That means it is time for the U.S., Canada and the European countries to move their embassies to our capital city, Jerusalem. It is time for them to accept the fact that Jerusalem will never be an international city. A simple step like this would encourage the Arab nations to come to terms with Israel as a sovereign nation, with its undivided capital in Jerusalem. If I had to choose a single prayer for the New Year, this would be it. Unfortunately, I remain somewhat skeptical because of the ongoing energy crisis and because of the West’s dependence on Arab energy sources.

This 60th year for Israel (and 30th for Ariel) comes in the midst of great potential for change in this region. What the ramifications of those changes will be is hard to predict. Eventually, the US will leave Afghanistan and Iraq. How will that affect the Middle East? What will happen when the leadership of the surrounding Arab countries change? It is clear that in volatile times, Israel can only truly count on itself, the IDF, the Israeli citizens and hopefully, the United States.

As we usher in the New Year, I wish the leaders of Israel the ability to lead this great country to new levels of integrity and morality, the wisdom to guard individual rights and develop all that is good in this nation so that we can say this is truly a wonderful place to live.

And to you, our dear friends around the world, I wish a year of good health and happiness, prosperity and peace and pray that I can count on your continued support.

Shana Tova,

Ron Nachman

Mayor of Ariel

Netzarim, Sharon and Elections

In Ariel City, National on September 11, 2005 at 12:04 pm

Dear Friends,

The Jewish New Year, a period of introspection and reckoning is upon us and I thought it would be most appropriate if I took the time to give each of you – friends of Ariel – an update on what’s happening here from a personal perspective.

1. As the unilateral disengagement became a harsh reality, the leadership of the College of Judea and Samaria opened their vacant dormitories to the people of Netzarim, victims of Israel’s decision to withdraw from Gaza. These dormitories -mobile homes that are not needed until classes resume in November – were once the temporary homes Ariel provided for Russian immigrants. When permanent homes became available for the new immigrants, I gave these mobile units to the College. Now some of them will be temporary refuge for the people of Netzarim.

The City of Ariel was delighted to receive these homeless families. When the buses arrived in Ariel, I studied the faces of those that disembarked – confused, hurting, exhausted. They held babies in their arms and came with almost nothing of their own.

Thousands of residents of Ariel waited to receive these modern heroes, singing songs and clearly displaying their love and respect for these wonderful people. The residents of Netzarim are people of faith. They believed right to the last second that this terrible evacuation would not take place and so they did not prepare for the move. Ariel residents welcomed them – 77 families with over 350 children under the age of 15 – with refreshments, diapers, formula, linens, towels, washers and driers, housewares, anything that would ease their acclimation to this new environment.

The people who lived in Netzarim are a special breed, devoted Zionists, spiritual, united, educated, determined to continue to contribute to the Jewish homeland. We are hoping that they will decide to stay in Ariel. At the beginning of September, I met with them to discuss their future here. They have a number of cities courting them and many options to consider, including building a new city in the Negev and starting a new neighborhood on a new hilltop in Ariel.

We expect the people of Netzarim to make their decision shortly after the High Holidays. Even if they decide to rebuild their lives in Ariel, it is still a long process. It could take up to 6 months for the government to set up a temporary neighborhood for them and then, they would have to live there for 2-3 years until a permanent neighborhood could be planned and built. We have taken them to the area we suggest, in Ariel West.  There, we have the necessary approvals to build and to create the kind of neighborhood that would meet their needs.

Whatever their decision, we want to help them in rebuild their homes and families, overcome the terrible trauma they have endured and triumph over the tragedy that befell them.

One thing is certain. These incredible people have won the respect and admiration of all of Israel. They kept their faith and never wavered in their belief. In the end, they abided by the law of the land and left their homes quietly, respectfully, with no violence. And their spirit has not been broken. They still seek to fulfill the Zionist challenge and strengthen our homeland.

I would be proud to call them residents of Ariel.

2. The building of the security fence around Ariel and the Ariel bloc of communities continues. During his recent visit to Ariel, Prime Minister Sharon stressed his policy that the Ariel Bloc would ever remain an integral part of Israel and that no further disengagement would take place. Moreover, he promised to strengthen the large and developed areas of settlement – like Ariel. He has already seen to the approval of building permits for thousands of housing units in Ariel and I am hoping he will strengthen our area in many other ways, as well.

3. The new Sports & Recreation Complex is progressing nicely. We have already invested over $3 million in tennis courts, a fitness center and this main building that will house an indoor pool, activity rooms of all kinds, sports facilities and so much more. We still need some $2 million to complete the project and open this vital service to the people of Ariel in 2006. If you can help us complete this project, I would be so grateful. The people of Ariel deserve your support.

4. Israel is preparing for new elections. The photos and reports of the withdrawal that were in the Israel media 24/7 this summer shook up the Israeli public and the political system. I believe we’ll see national elections earlier than planned. The choices we make now may very well shape the future of Israel.

As always, here in the Land of Israel, we are facing interesting times. Let us hope that the New Year will bring to all of Israel and to you and your families the blessings of peace, good health, prosperity and joy.

Sincerely,

Ron Nachman

Mayor of Ariel

The Occupied Territories

In Ariel City, Letters, National on September 18, 1997 at 11:24 am

Dear Friends,

In the wake of the New Year, I want to share some thoughts with you regarding my vision for Israel’s future and the challenges we will continue to face in the cominOccupied Territoriesg year.

Since 1967, news coverage of events in Judea and Samaria, both in Israel and abroad, have been inherently biased. A prime example is the use of the term “Occupied Territories” to refer to Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

From 1949 until 1967, the Gaza strip was occupied by Egypt, while Jordan annexed Judea and Samaria, referring to the area as the West Bank of Jordan. Although nearly every nation refuses to recognize this one-sided act, journalists never referred to the area as the Jordanian Occupied West Bank.

In June of 1967, Israel was attacked by her Arab neighbors. In a defensive move, Israel liberated the territories which for thousands of years had been central to Eretz Israel, the very source of the term Judaism – the area of Judea and Samaria. Suddenly, journalists began referring to these areas as occupied territories, a classic case of the double standard that journalists and politicians find so convenient when applied to Israel.

In contrast to the harsh occupation by Jordan, the administration of the area by Israel brought running water and electricity to Arab towns and villages, supported the creation of five universities for Arabs and guaranteed basic human rights to all residents of the area. The use of the word occupation with regard to Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria is a cynical manipulation of international law. Israel acquired these areas in a defensive war, holding on to the territories in order to prevent recurrent attacks from these areas against Israeli civilians. It is our legitimate right to hold on to this territory. The press and the international community have used the word “occupied territory” to deprive Israel of her most basic legitimate rights.

The media continues to characterize Israel as the wrong-doer, by calling settlements “obstacles to peace.” This too, has been used repeatedly to demonstrate Israel’s aggressiveness. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

From 1948 to 1967, when Judea, Samaria and Gaza were occupied by Jordan and Egypt, there were no “settlements’ and Jews were prohibited from even visiting these areas. Yet, our Arab neighbors refused to live in peace with us. If settlements are such an obstacle to peace, when there are no settlements, there should be peace. However, that has never been the case.

In fact, the first peace treaty between Israel and an Arab country – Egypt – was only signed in 1977, after the first Jewish communities were created in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Today, with 144 Jewish communities spread throughout Judea, Samaria and Gaza, Israel has signed two peace treaties and is negotiating a third with our Arab neighbors. Clearly, the settlements are not obstacles to peace. If anything, they are catalysts for peace.

My friends, this proves only one thing: Oil talks. Its influence reaches as far ad the Unites States in the West and Japan in the East.

I once met a fellow in Germany and we started talking about Israel and the Middle East politics. At one point, his tongue loosened from imbibing alcohol, the fellow commented: ”Ron, I don’t care about Israel or about the Jews. I only care about oil to heat our homes in the winter.”

The world is hypocritical, applying one standard for Israel, and another for everyone else. Jordan and Egypt were cruel occupiers of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The Palestinian Authority today is no less cruel, depriving their own people of basic human rights. But the world says nothing. When Israel liberates her own homeland, careful to protect basic human rights of the Palestinian Arabs, we are the occupiers.

Israel has already given up 30% of its territory with full autonomy for Palestinian Arabs. No Arab nation has ever given the Palestinian Arabs nearly as much. And yet, Israel is constantly criticized for not having done enough.

The current government of Israel has no choice but to adopt the Oslo Accords which had been signed by the previous government. However, it insists of modifying the Accords for they threaten the very existence of Israel.

A true and lasting peace is a peace with security. And Israel can only guarantee her security where there is an Israeli presence. The people of Judea and Samaria are the true guarantors of peace for Israel for they are present in the area – just as the U.S. maintains NATO forces around the world to defend itself. Moreover, Judea and Samaria are located just 15 miles from Israel’s population centers, while NATO forces serve thousands of miles away from the U.S.

Ariel and the communities of Judea and Samaria are vital to the security of the State of Israel. By strengthening Ariel, the Capital of Samaria, you contribute directly to the continued stability of Israel. Only a strong Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria will force the Palestinian Arabs to seek peaceful co-existence with us. As Ariel continues to grow and develop, the chances for a real and secure peace in the area become stronger.

Sincerely,

Ron Nachman

Mayor of Ariel