Settlements are not impediments, Re: Israeli PM vows not to demolish settlements, National Post, January 19, 2013

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed not to demolish Jewish settlements if he is re-elected in next Tuesday’s election. He is also not yielding to pressure to stop building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem on land that Palestinians want for a future state. The Prime Minister said in answer to a question about guaranteeing that settlements would not be demolished “Yes. Correct. The days of bulldozers flattening settlements is behind us, not in front of us.” He also said that “The freezing of settlements has run its course.”

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Palestinians, the Obama Administration, the European Union and other usual suspects have reacted by blaming Israel’s settlement policies for the lack of progress towards a peace deal between Palestinians and Israelis. Settlements are the main impediment holding up the peace process according to this line of thinking…there can be no peace process (and by extension no peace either) unless Israelis stop building new settlements and demolish existing ones so the thinking goes.

This is of course patent nonsense, especially since there have been many settlement freezes and demolitions in the past to no avail, especially since there have been many Israeli withdrawals and concessions in the past to no avail. Settlements aren’t an impediment to peace and never have been. Israel could demolish every settlement ever built and refuse to build any new ones to boot and the Palestinians would still not sit down and seriously negotiate peace with Israel…they would find some other excuse to stay away from the table, some other precondition that had to be met, some other excuse not to show up and get serious about peace between them and Israelis.

Why? Because the Palestinians aren’t interested in making peace with Israel. They aren’t even interested in their own state, not as long as Israel exists anyhow. They never have been. They are interested in one thing and one thing only…destroying Israel and removing it from the face of the earth…obliterating the Jewish state and wiping it off the map. That is the plain truth. If they were really interested in peace with Israel or having their own state they could have had both on many occasions. Living side by side in peace and security with Israel…that’s not what Palestinians want, nor is that what they’ve been working towards all these years. They want to get rid of Israel and that is what they’ve been trying to do since Israel first came into existence. The historical record couldn’t be clearer and denying it is denying reality.

Settlements aren’t an impediment to anything. There really are only two impediments to peace in the Middle East, to peace between Palestinians and Israelis…Palestinians themselves and Islam, the poisonous seventh century creed their attitude and behaviour is based upon. Israelis recognize and understand all of this and know that they have no true peace partner, no one to negotiate peace with. Netanyahu is abslutely correct to refuse to link demolition or freezing of settlements to peace. Palestinians and Islam are the impediments, not settlements, so why shouldn’t Israelis build them-what’s the point in not building them, or in demolishing them?

Peace?

Don’t be silly.

Besides, it is their land after all anyway.

That’s the historical record too.

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