Cliff May
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More than 40,000 people have been slaughtered during the rebellion in Syria, and the death toll rises daily. The European Union does not appear to be particularly concerned. North Korea’s rulers have launched a three-stage rocket, moving closer to their goal of developing a nuclear-tipped ICBM, and they’re sharing nuclear-weapons technology with the world’s leading sponsors of terrorism in Iran. The EU does not seem to be worrying about that either. Israel is considering building homes on barren hills adjacent to Jerusalem. The EU’s 27 foreign ministers said they were “deeply dismayed” and warned Israel of unspecified consequences if the plan is carried out.

The European Union — recent winner, I should note, of the Nobel Peace Prize — has its priorities. So let’s talk about what the Israelis are doing to so distress them.

The area in which Israel may build covers 4.6 square miles. For the sake of comparison, Denver International Airport is 53 square miles. Known as E1, this area lies within a territory that has a much older name: the Judean Desert. Might Jews think they have a legitimate historical claim to the Judean Desert? This question is rarely asked.

For Israeli military planners, E1’s strategic value is more germane than its history. Developing it would help in the defense of Jerusalem, and would connect Jerusalem to Maaleh Adumim, an Israeli town with a population of 40,000. Media reports note that both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital. Media reports often fail to note that right now both Jews and Arabs live in Jerusalem — for the most part peacefully, with both populations growing — while Hamas vows to forcibly expel every Jew from Jerusalem. Such threats of ethnic cleansing also do not trouble the EU much.

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Cliff May

Clifford D. May is the President of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.