Israelis residents of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) issued a statement on Thursday informing US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that the area they live in is not “occupied territory,” but rather the biblically-mandated heartland of the Jewish people.
The statement was issued by the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria (Yesha) in response to an interview Rice gave earlier in the week in which she insisted Israel has no future in the “occupied territories,” and should instead focus its efforts on the Galilee and Negev regions.
Political analysts have argued that even if the biblical narrative is taken out of the equation, the Bush Administration, as an “honest broker,” should be referring to Judea and Samaria as “disputed territories” since they have not been under any nation's recognized legal jurisdiction since the time of the Ottoman Empire.
Yesha officials also noted that from a security standpoint, the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza proved that handing control of Judea and Samaria over to the Palestinian Authority would be a major boost to the forces of Islamic terrorism.
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