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The Biggest Obstacle of Them All: The West Bank and the Israeli Settlements

When looking deep into the concept of Israeli-Palestinian peace, what will always come up is the issue of Israeli settlements on the West Bank.  What do to do about them?  It has to be addressed.  It began when Menachem Begin first led the Likud party to victory, and he stated that he wanted to create a Jewish presence on the West Bank.  Begin was of the old school of Zionist thought, the creation of a Jewish homeland.  But also he was a part of the transition of Zionism from creation of a Jewish homeland to the Jewish homeland co-existing with its Arab neighbors.  He welcomed Anwar Sadat to Jerusalem, he agreed to the peace treaty with Egypt, and the withdrawal of Yamit in the Sinai.  So it was not that Begin was an evil Zionist, he was a man of transition from the old school of thought to the present school of thought.  When it comes to the removal of the settlements it is basically the work of non-government organizations (NGOs), and how much influence they have on the political parties of Israel.  One Brit Tzedek v'Shalom is calling for the complete removal.  When I asked Marcia Freedman, the executive director, about Ariel, a settlement of 15,000 people, about its removal, she said "yes" we want to see the removal of Ariel as well.  This leads to the question, how much influence do NGOs such as these have on the three major political parties that have ruled Israel -- Likud, Kadima, and Labor?  Likud started the Israeli settlements, but are the incapable of removing them as well?  Kadima and Labor both support a two-state solution, but how are they going to enact it?  Apparently, there is a non-partisan movement in Israel called "Blue Arrow" calling for the removal of settlements, but I have not heard as of yet, how they plan to start the process of removal.  Removal of the Israeli settlements has to be a process within Israel, it cannot be a U.N. resolution or an American president saying they are illegal.  It must be an Israeli decision, and Israel starting the process of removal, just like when Yamit was dismantled in the Sinai. What happens if the settlers start an armed resistance to removal, will it lead to civil war?  First of all, the settlers in the West Bank do not have the population numbers that the Palestinians in the West Bank do.  Second of all, they would not have the arms equivalent to the Israeli military.  There can be resistance, but not to the magnitude of civil war.  That leads to the next question, can the settlers stay there, and become citizens of an independent Palestine?  At first the Palestinian Authority said they could, then they changed their statement saying first they would  have to leave, then they could come back.  So what is that suppose to mean?  That someone in Ariel would have to go and stay at a hotel in Tel-Aviv, then later they could come back to their home in Ariel?  Which is the reason why Israeli-Palestinian peace needs international mediation, the same way that the Israel-Egypt peace treaty required it.  Start using examples, such as when the Soviet Union broke up into separate independent countries, but ethnic Russians stayed behind.  Latvia held a referendum on whether to make Russian into the second official language.  It was voted down, because Latvia did not want to use the language of the oppressive Czarist empire and Soviet dictatorship.  If Israeli settlers are allowed to stay, then it will have to be the decision of the Palestinian Authority.  But if a Palestinian dignitary were to agree to that, they would risk assassination?  Yes they would.  Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated because he started negotiations with the Palestine LIberation Organization, and allowed areas to be under their control.  Mohandas Gandhi was assassinated because he allowed the partition of Pakistan from India.  But what led them to agree to autonomy?  Not being able to suppress a restive population.  Which leads us back to Israeli-Palestinina peace, not being able to suppress a restive population.  So there are two risks, assassination or even greater yet, not being able to suppress a restive population.  So when it comes to international mediation, this should be the first thing on everybody's mind, this is being done so there will no longer be a restive population.

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If the land where the settlements are eventually becomes independent Palestine it would force the settlers themselves to make a choice as to where they would want to live then; difficult but certainly not impossible.

http://mepeace.org/profiles/blogs/a-peace-proposal-a-draft-peace-pl...

That is a good thing to take in consideration.  If they are in an independent Palestine, then the settlers can decide whether they want to stay there, or return back to the pre-1967 borders.  But let us get rid of this stupid, first they must leave and later they can come back.  What the hell is that suppose to mean?  International mediation can definitely help clarify such ridiculous statements.

Hi-

A coupel of fact corrections it was actually the labour government in the early 1970's that started to build settlements...but that just a small point...

The real corection is the mistake in the title.."The Biggest Obstacle of Them All:  The West Bank and the Israeli Settlements"

Settlements are the biggest object to peace?  Israel time and agian has removed settlers as you mentioned and at Camp David and Taba onec again offered to remove tens of thousands of more and give land swaps for the are remaining under Israel control.... Is rael settlement construction today is pretty much restricted to the the blocks of settlemsnts that no boy beleievs will ever be given to teh Arabs... So I ask you. how is this the biggest obsticle to peace.  Remember, Arab countries have refused to make peace with Israel, started a number of wars before even one settlement was put on the ground. Settlements are not an obsticle but an EXCUSE.

 

The biggest problem to peace for Israel is the inability to trust... With the last few weeks showing Palestinians tend to take land given to them to control and turn them into terririst bases.  10 years ago it was with suicide bombings years later as a launchpad for missles and rockets targeting civillians at home, work and children at schools - this is your biggest obsticle to peace.

 

Israel has been the only country EVER to offer Palestinians their own state, not Jorda, Egypt, British, Ottomans... There was never, ever a Palestinian state in the history of the world and Israle gave them this oppurtunity and time again the said no.  The reason has nothing to do with settlements just  like the exuse for tehm to not talk today, even after construction was frozen for 9 months... Palestinains wasnt the end of Israel much more than they want peace.  Too often Jihad is heard and not enough peace.

When we start going to back to Palestine was never a country, this deflects away from the real issue of suppressing a restive population.  This was the reason behind the Oslo Accord, and it this gets into the finger pointing that has so unnecessarily been a part of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  The Jews go back to biblical times, the Palestinians were there before the Jews came here.  At forums, I had heard this so many times, that I wanted to scream out "For God's sakes will you all shut up!"  But we can be more civil than that.  Like you said Labor started it, but the momentum was given by Likud, and today there is not the wide scale construction as in the past.  The issue of the settlements have never been the reason why Egypt and Jordan could not have diplomatic relations with Israel, but they are definitely an issue that stand in the way of an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty.  Israel does hot have diplomatic relations with Qatar, but there is an Israeli trade mission in Doha.  The issue of using land as a terrorist base, it was Egypt with the luminous threat of the Muslim Brotherhood that brokered the cease-fire in Gaza, not with Hamas but with the Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees.  It is hoped -- once again the issue of trust -- the rocket firings will stop, because if they are resumed then Israel will resort to the deadly airstrikes again.  So you are correct in stating that trust is a big issue.  It is trust that is behind the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty and the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty.  It will be a very big part of the Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty.  Israel should be the only country to offer the Palestinians their own state, because Israel has to deal with that restive population, the other entities you mentioned did not.  Everybody, whether they are Muslim or not, should know where the term Jihad comes from.  Mohammed was on a caravan from Damascus to Mecca.  To the Arabian tribes at that time, caravan raiding was a very important part of their economies.  Mohammed formed pacts, where they agreed not to raid each others caravans -- once again the issue of trust.  This led Arabian tribes up into Persian and Byzantine territory, to raid their caravans.  Theology in both empires was weak, because the Eastern Orthodox Church of the Byzantine Empire, just broke off from the Roman Catholic Church of Rome, and did not have the wealth as the Church of Rome did.  In the Persian Empire, the magis lived in opulent wealth so removed from their followers.  When the Arabs, who the Persians considered barbarians, invaded the mullahs of Islam were everyday normal people like they were, and not wealthy elitist living away from them like the magis were.  That is the reason why Islam steamrolled over Zoroastrianism in the Persian Empire.  So actually, the driving force behind Jihad is economics.  Just like the driving force behind Israeli-Palestinian peace is going to be economics.  If the Palestinians destroy Israel, they are going to be destroying the goose that lays the golden egg.  So this gets back to the question, what to do about the settlements, do they stay or do they leave?

Tim-

Regrading rocket fire - Israelis do not care who fires rockets or who to make cease fires with, they care that they are living under constant terror and if giving away more land means more terror, rockets, bombing - no Israeli will agree whether it be Fatah , Hamas, Islamic Jihad who kill...

Where Jihad comes from is irrelivant what is important is that it is used as a tool of death and Israel cannot stand by and help fuel such ideologies with money and land.

.  As for " If the Palestinians destroy Israel, they are going to be destroying the goose that lays the golden egg." - this is a logical conclution that has no place with muslim extremeism... when peopel target childrfen in school buses, use human sheilds and praise suicide terrorist bombers, we are talking about a society where basic logic is no longer relevant...

The bottom line is that settlements are not and never were the issue, the issue is the existance of teh state of Israel on Moslem land.  As explaine din my previous post

 

 

I am not trying to minimize the effects of rocketing firing into Israel, but it has to be determined who is doing it.  Because when Israel retaliates with airstrikes, they cannot just go in and randomly bomb Gaza.  Instead, they have to bomb those installations where the firing is originating from.  This leads to the question, is giving land to the Palestinians just going to the be for breeding grounds for terror, or territory for more means of production, whether it is agricultural or cottage industry?  Because, I do not think most Palestinians make their living firing rockets into Israel.  They are most likely doing it, because they are getting funding from some place like Iran.  The word "jihad" as been so overused, just like "apartheid."  These words are so overused in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, that it now chic to use them.  So it is giving Palestinians land for terror, or it is giving them land for means of production, because all nation-states have to have a gross national products (GDP).  This goes back to the fact, that the West Bank is going to have to be a contiguous entity, if it is going to function as a nation-state.

You do undertstnad that if giving more land invites more terror, it is irrelevant who does it.... The point is why would Israel even consider giving more ofteh west bank to Arabs if they use taht land to shoot at civilian airlines. why take the chance.  Until now all chances and scarofices for peace have brought war.

 

As for "...they have to bomb those installations where the firing is originating from.  " - That is not correct. Hamas is responsible for Gaza, yes you have to kill all the terrorist who are doing teh killing but it is the Hamas state that is giving them support and that support will exist as long as they dont have to pay for it.  Israel does not randomly bomb Gaza, they bomb places that are needed to insure their civillians are protected whether it be the terrorsitt who fire the rockets of the government that does not stop/support them. 

"Because, I do not think most Palestinians make their living firing rockets into Israel. " - but most support it....

Once again the point here that you dont seem to address is that settlements are not "|The biggest obstacle of them all" - not by far, they are an excuse.  It is the Palestinan governments that are the ones who are the obstacle...

 

First of all, you hit the nail right on the head, when you said that Hamas is responsible for Gaza.  Hamas has recognized the pre-1967 borders (I am assuming they are not referring to China), they have renounced the use of violence (the current firings were from Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees), and their leaders have either resigned or announced that they will not seek re-election.  So it looks like when the Palestinian elections are held in May, Hamas will not even be a factor anymore.  Hopefully, Al Fatah will be taking control of Gaza.  Of course, Al Fatah will have to deal with factions like Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committees, and even worse yet, the Salafists.  As for all Palestinians supporting terror, that is not true.  I am spoken to numerous Palestinians who realize that violence begets violence.  When you look at those who espouse violence, they are usually young angry men, who see nothing wrong with throwing their lives away.  Whether they are Palestinians or Saudi Arabians responsible for the 9/11 attack in New York City.  So we get a lot into sociology.  As for the issue with the settlements, I have seen in the West Bank, where you had an Israeli settlement flying an Israeli flag, with its own social services.  Then seeing over the hill a Palestinian village flying the Palestinian flag, with its own social services.  Then realizing that the only thing that the West Bank is a patch quilt of an Israeli settlement here, and a Palestinian village there.  In order for there to be a two-state solution, then the West Bank is going to have to be made into a contiguous entity, and not one area under control of the Israeli government and another area under control of the Palestinian Authority.  So this leads back to the question of what to do about the Israeli settlements?

Hamas does not recognize the right for a Jewish state to exist. Its charter still calls for its destruction and the murder of Jews and it still espouces Jihad and murder as a means of accomplishing these goals.  They have routintely attacked civillian tagargets and support others who do teh same.  They still have TV shows that tell children to grow up and be a Martyrs and murder Jews.They are a terrorist orginization plain and simple, you make them sound like Switerland.  These are cold blooded killers. 

 

But once agian flags or no flags Israel has offered in teh past to take down settlements and has also proven it can, this is not the issue... I am not sure why you make such a big deal about this? There were already a number of plans by the Israel government that dealt with this issue and were rejected by the Palestinains, it is simply an EXCUSE.

Despite all the rhetoric Hamas has generated, what economic means do that have to follow through on what they espouse?  It is just like the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union (which really scared the hell out of people).  When Khrushchev said about the United States "we will bury you."  At that time, the Soviet Union had the military capabilities to do so.  But today the Soviet Union does not even exist, nor does the communism that the Soviet Union wanted to export worldwide.  The Soviet Union and the Cold War are a thing of the past.  Hamas looks as though they are going to become a thing of the past, just like the inability of Soviet-style communism could not make it compete in the world economy.  This goes back to Gaza, it is so destitute that Hamas has no economic pillar to support itself.  So that is the reason why in the upcoming Palestinian elections, Hamas will more than likely have its coffin nailed shut.  If it does, then it will be good-bye, good riddance.  Palestinian leadership can evolve, just like when the Palestine Liberation Organization voted in 1993 to recognize the State of Israel.  Al Fatah is a descendant of the PLO, and if they take control of Gaza, then Hamas and its clownish doctrine will be laid to rest.  Then Israel will have negotiating partner, which it claimed in the past that they did not have, because of the split between Al Fatah and Hamas.  So when you start making comparisons to Switzerland, it is more of a case that there are specific reasons why Switzerland was ability to maintain its neutrality.  It did not do so as an act of God.  The same applies to Israeli-Palestinian peace, it is more of a case of specific reasons.

What means - one rocket hits a building in teh center of Bearsheba you can have a hundred dead... Suicide bombers have individually  managed to kill dozens....

I am not sure if you have been following the news but the Arab Spring has been brinbging about a fanatic moslem winter.  Hamas brethren in Egypt have just been elected by an overwhelling majority, why would you think the same trend will not continue in Gaza, and even take oer the west bank, what then?

 

Do you think Israel should risk building another Hamas controlled entity in teh center of the country... Imagine Kasaams on Jerusalem, Netanya, Kfar Saba and Grads throughout the center of teh country.. why would Israel risk taht... until now all risks have caused death... you have yet to answer this question.

As for Hamas Clownish doctorine - it is responsible for teh deaths of hundereds of civillians, less funny. This is a terrorist group with weponds to kill civilians, not sure why you keep making light of this, as if they will simply disappear... Do you really think if they by chnace loose in an election, they will simply leave?  Read your history of dictators, it does noty work that way...

Fatah with all its recognition of Israel was still responsible for a majority of terrorism in the last 20 year (Al Akza Brigade). 

Actually, it is not a case of making light of it.  But like the Cold War, when so many people in the United States were screaming "we are all going to die," well did we?  When you look at the round of Egyptian elections, the reason why an organization like the Muslim Brotherhood garnered so many votes, is because of the social services they provided to the populace.  People prefer going to health clinics ran by the Muslim Brotherhood, because they are less bureaucratic and provide more of a variety of services then the government-run clinics in Egypt.  So Islamist parties win elections by provided services to the populace.  Which goes in line with the five pillars of Islam -- tithe.  That is how Hamas won, but with some of the stupid things Hamas has done since they took power has gotten people in Gaza irked.  Greatly delayed access to fuel is one of them.  But unfortunately, one of things that went into Hamas' stupidity was the killing of Israeli civilians.  But let us not make their dying, something in vain either.  Let us make their dying more determined then ever to achieve peace.  If you have ever seen the motion picture "Exodus," at the end, both a Jewish girl and an Arab man are murdered.  They are buried together in a single grave, and Paul Newman says "When I see that Arabs and Jews cannot live together, I want to howl like a dog.  But I will live to see the day that Arabs and Jews can live together in this land with peace."  That motion picture was made in 1960, the situation that took place in it, still exists today.  I think the best way to remember the people who died in the rocket attack in Beersheba is not revenge, but working to see the day when Israelis and Palestinians can live together in peace.  I come across the same situation here in the United States, that we are all at risk from the Muslim murderers, and Israel has had more die at the hands of them, than the United States.  But this gets back to the situation of trust, are all Muslims "murderers?"  Also, when I went into Shimon Peres' Facebook, and said Israelis and Palestinians can remember the past, but the problem that they both have, is that they are consumed by it.  Building peace has to consists of not being consumed by the past.

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