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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You see you are just proving my point.... Israelis dont care who is trying to kill them.  The fact that Nazis killed millions of Jews is what is so horrible and no one feels comforted by the factthat  the populace was not the ones where not involved or whatever (which is  completely not true, but not the point).

Your speach is all nice and good in the magical world you live in but the latest polls still show over 1/3 of Palestinans support suicide bombings and rocket attachs against civillians.... Stop ignoring and dismissing reality, it does not help bring peace any more than an ostrich burying his head in a hole makes the predator disappear.

That is it, we are not trying to be ostriches burying our heads in the sand.  So that is the reason why issues such as the status with Jerusalem and Israeli settlements in the West Bank are being addressed.  In the U.S. Congress, a "dear colleague" letter is being circulated, that if passed, will make it into U.S. law, that the government will have to find a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  So that means, it will be U.S. law to address the issues we have been addressing, and most important of all, to find solutions.  So we are the think tank, that can lobby our lawmakers.  So there are just as many Americans dealing with this issue, than just me.  As for the Palestinians supporting suicide bombers, I have not heard lately about Israel being terrified by them as when I was when there in 2004.  As for the rocket attacks, that was stopped by the recent cease-fire brokered by Egypt, and hopefully that will hold.  But to say it is still out there, that is the "kill the Jews, kill the Jews" ringing in the head.  That goes along with what I put in Shimon Peres' Facebook, that Israelis and Palestinians can remember the past, but they both need to get away from being obsessed with it.

If you have not heard Israel built a big wall, fence and ditches so those terrorists can no longer get in and blow themselves up so now their new tool is rockets.  As for Shimion Peres and facebook that is not facts on the ground that is teh smae reality.


Point very simple - settlements are not a big obsticle to peace trusting Arabs is

The last time I was in Israel, I heard about how the wall was seen as a deterrent to terrorism.  I figured that the people who were telling me this had the information, because personally I do not know how the wall had been a deterrent.  So I will not comment about this, because I do not have the information.  Israel will have to decide what the future of the wall is to be.  As for rockets, this goes back to if the cease-fire can hold.  Also, a determining factor will be the Palestinians elections held in May, and if Al Fatah can get back control of Gaza.  So with that, there is a lot of "ifs,"  what Israeli-Palestinian peace in general is a lot of "ifs."  The objective of Shimon Peres' Facebook is to get as much feedback as possible.  Since this comes out of his peace center in Jerusalem, I imagine that the contents are taken very seriously.  So you may want to think about contributing to it.  Hopefully, the contents will be able to contribute to making peace on the ground, and peace includes both the settlements and trusting the Arabs.  Because so many factors play into this.

Do you even knwo what the Perese Center for Peace is? Pretty much a think tank... Peres is a dreamer he camne up with the "new middle east" 20 years ago, such a niave view that jsut brough war and death.  There was enough terror when Fatah was in power or did we forget the suicide bombiongs and rockets from then.... Peace is not made that way, peace is made by standing strong and making strong decisions - all teh "brave" decisions made by Israel since Oslo have cause huge loss of life on both sides.  Its time for Palestinains to prove taht they can be partners until taht time they and I am guessing you will continue to talk about this perfect society that will never be.  Until terror, incitement and exucuses liek settlemsnt end then there will be no peace.

The Peres Center is a think tank, and we typing back and forth to each other, is also a think tank.  Think tanks are critical to achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace.  Shimon Peres is President of Israel, and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.  Jimmy Carter is a former president of the United States, and also a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.  We are to be working with such individuals, to accomplish this goal.  We should also be supporting and commending the Muslim Brotherhood for encouraging Hamas to abandon their clownish doctrine.  I just contacted by elected representative to the U.S. Congress, asking her to sign the "dear colleague" letter, that would make an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord into a U.S. law.  So I am performing citizens' grassroots action to achieve this.  I share President Peres' vision of a "New Middle East," because the suffering and killing has to stop.  If there is war and death now, then what about when Israel lost 10% of its population during its War of Independence in 1948?  So war and death pre-dates the Peres Center of Peace.  Yes peace is achieved by making strong decisions.  Yitzhak Rabin made a strong decision to start communications with the Palestine Liberation Organization, and allowing home rule to the Palestinians.  But Rabin did not die in vain, because his vision, along with that of his fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate, will continue.  Hopefully, after the Palestinian elections in May, and the Muslim Brotherhood pressuring Hamas to abandon its doctrine, that they too will become a partner for peace.  Because this is what both Prime Ministers Sharon and Barack wanted, a negotiating partner.  This so-called "perfect society" will come about when it has more supporters.  I cannot tell how to lobby and vote, because that is your personal liberty.  But I can encourage you to become one of the constituents that support President Peres' vision, because I support it.  When we organize together, then so-called dreams can come true.

Tim - this back and forth is pointless - you started talking about settlements being the biggest obsticle - never really made a case - did not address to almost any of my original comments on the topic.

Then you start to go on about "if" senerios of Hamas making peace, comparing Likud and Republican to Hamas  and finally to commending teh Muslim Brotherhood, swarn enemies of the Jewish stae fior their good work.

A peace plan or peace agreement is not the same as peace, too often then not in this region it leads to more death. I suggest you come down to reality a bit and understand teh real issues here and stop living in this hypothetical world.


Tim, read Giulio Meotti's new book, "A New Shoah: The Untold Story Of Israel's Victims Of Terrorism" in order to update and comprehend the effects of Arab terrorism on Israelis residing within Israel, Samaria and Judea.  As to the numbers of Israelis directly affected by Muslim terrorism, see the National Insurance Institute statistics in Arutz Sheva 05/05/11: 983 civilians murdered by Muslim Arab terrorists since the year 2000, the vast majority by Fatah/Hamas.  Proportionally speaking, 983 equates to 40,000 American lives.  In addition, 17,200 Israeli civilians have been wounded.  This does not represent the huge number of cases of PTSD in the Israeli population caused by terrorists, however; you can find out some of these effects by reading Giulio Meotti's book.  Since 1950, 2,443 civilians have been murdered by terrorists including 119 foreign nationals.  The Wall has saved countless lives; since it has  been built, there has been an enormous decrease in terrorist attacks in Israel and especially very few suicide bombers.  All Israelis formerly affected by terrorist attacks view the Wall as a security requirement.  It's not coming down, not in my lifetime...nor in yours.

The only thing I know about the wall, is that I have seen it.  Since I know so little about it, I have never advocated it coming down.  I am sure you have more information about it.  I had Israeli officials explain to me, the meaning of it, and I shook my head with "I think I understand."  But this goes back to what I had a Palestinian Christian Minister say to me "a suicide bomber is not born, they are made."  So it is looking at the factors of what drives someone to the a suicide bomber.  Until those factors are clearly explored and addressed, then you can say "It's not coming down."

Seriously, Tim, "a suicide bomber is not born, they are made".  You really believe this tripe?  Why, because a "Palestinian Christian Minister" said it?  Let's consider this statement.  In which cultures do suicide bombers appear and in which ones do they not?  In Japan, kamikaze pilots did not occur by chance.  They proceeded out of the Japanese will to win and such people (kamikaze pilots) were honoured (in death) as both heroes and models of what Japanese children should aspire to in order to honour the emperor.  Now that there is no emperor, there are no kamikaze pilots.  Now think Koran and Salafists and you begin to get the idea: The respective Muslim cultures produce such people.  They are not warriors.  See Steven Pressfield's "The Warrior Ethos", Chapter 7, "Tribes, Gangs and Terrorists":  

From pp. 19-20: "Criminal and terrorist organizations practice tribe-like codes of honor, but they do not practice the Warrior Ethos.  They are 'shadow tribes.'  They are not warriors.  In the practice of terror, in fact, the terrorist organization uses the enemy's embrace of the Warrior Ethos against him.  How?  By violating the honorable tribal/warrior code in the most shocking and extreme manner--i.e., striking civilian targets, using women and children as human shields, etc.

"The terrorist's aim is to so outrage and appall the sense of honor of the enemy that the enemy concludes, "These people are fiends and madmen," and decides either to yield to the terrorist's demands out of fear or to fight the terrorist by sinking to his moral level."  Israel, of course, has neither given in to the terrorists' demands nor sunk to their moral level.  Israel, instead, built the (infamous) Wall, the one so many terminal critics of Israel  have so steadfastly railed against.  But what Israel has done was to find a third way, neither to give up in the face of unrelenting terror nor to sink to the despicable moral level of its opponents.  For that inconceivably creative act (building the Wall), Israel has earned the opprobrium of a great many (faux) liberals, especially in western democratic nations. I hope, Tim, in this commentary and the one above, you have been given references cogent enough to allow you to really come to grips with these matters.  I have also reviewed the commentaries which you and Jeff Stern have posted and I think he, too, has provided significant and valuable information which might also enlighten you were you to honestly reflect upon what he has had to say.  I note that he has become impatient with your responses and states that you have never really dealt with the points he was making.  I agree with him.

When you start making a comparison to the Japanese kamikaze pilots during World War II, first of all, they were not used until October 1944.  After a series a critical military defeats, did Japan final resort to using kamikaze pilots.  They were not performing this because of their culture, they were doing it out of desperation over starting to lose the war.  Japan today is ruled by an emperor, but the manifestation of the emperor during World War II, was that he was a direct descendant of the Shinto Sun Goddess.  After World War II, Hirohito declared that he was a mortal human being, so the present Emperor of Japan, Akito is a mortal human being.  But back to the concept of kamikaze, it was an act of desperation, just like suicide bombing.  So this reinforces the concept "that a suicide bomber is not born, they are made."  So what is the desperation that makes a suicide bomber?  It could be that their life is so meaningless, why not just throw it away.  Throw your life away, and kill some other people in the process.  So it is not in the realm of culture, but instead in the realm of sociology.  It is not because the Palestinians live in such as violent culture, but because they are really living in a culture of meaningless.  I am not sure how much of a sociologist Steven Pressfield is?  So you can stand tall in fighting terrorists, but it should also include what makes someone into terrorist.  I hear this in the United States all the time, "but the Muslims believe in killing  people."  I have travel all around Dar al-Islam (Abode of Islam), no body ever tried to kill me because I am a "dhinni."  But while I was in Dar al-Islam, I made it an effort to understand their lifestyle and religion, and Islam is not a monolithic religion at all.  There are great divides between Sunnite and Shiite, just like there is a great divide between Hamas and the Salafists.  In order to understand "your enemy," you have to enter the mind of your enemy, to find out what they are thinking.  One thing I have discovered about both Israelis and Palestinians, is that they have not entered each others minds.  So they continue to see each other on a superficial level.  I once set up a meeting between a Jewish girl and a Palestinian family, they were polite to each other, and exchanged gifts.  But it was the first time that this Jewish girl ever spoke to Palestinians on an intimate level, and it was the first time that this Palestinian family ever spoke to a Jew on an intimate level.  Have any of you ever sat down and had lunch with a Palestinian?  So if people are getting so impatient with me, it is because I see both Israelis and Palestinians as being human beings, and "yes" I have sat down and had lunch with both of them.

Why do you believe that there is desperation in the Arab world and especially so with the Palestinians and how is murdering innocent people simply because they are not Muslims going to cure that desperation?There are many people around the globe with no country to call their own and there is no terrorism present. These stateless people do not even have a brother or sister state as the Arabs do and yet in many cases they co-exist in peace and harmony with their neighbors.

Your experience is not the norm, as Muslims will not allow anyone showing overtly their religion or ethnicity and many Christians are being murdered as we speak in Nigeria, Egypt and other places where Muslims rule. The statues in Afghanistan are but one manifestation and the death sentences imposed on any one that converts out of Islam as well as the honor killings of women.

Lets not whitewash the horrible record of Human Rights abuses by these people simply for the sake of political correctness.

The settlers have the right to reclaim their land and ownership does make a difference whether you agree with it or not. Anyone is entitled to own land and have that land secure but no one can lay claim to land in Israel or Judea and Samaria or anywhere else on this earth  unless they can prove good faith ownership via deeds or other documentation. Residency never amounts to anything in any country  and including the USA or other Democracies and Dictatorships. Even squatters rights have limitations.

Bombers are created with cradle to grave hatred in Muslim societies in the same way that children born innocent learn to hate and kill.

A lot of people seem to ignore what is going on and only base their agendas on their experiences and that is simply too bad. This is not reality.



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