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December 05, 2008

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This is really a horrible story. Given the level of violence (parts of) the settler community engages in whenever the government tries to dismantle settlements, I really worry about what could happen in the future.

Where can I find the Ha'aretz article? Or is it your translation (that possibility just occurred to me). I don't doubt its authenticity, I'm just curious to see the whole.

Haaretz.com.

Thanks, Richard. I had just gone to fix the post, so it's got an actual link now.

"We have never seriously asked Israel to stop expanding its settlements"

They haven't expended them in 10 (or is it 20?) years. The population density of existing ones has increased, and Israelis have legally purchased land from Palestinian sellers, but no expansion.

The reason WHY people think that Israel is "expanding its settlements" is worth considerable examination. But it won't get any.

They haven't expended them in 10 (or is it 20?) years.

Someone needs to explain this to Ehud Barak and Condi Rice, who seem to think otherwise. But that's a minor point. The main one is that, just as "support the troops" was perverted to mean "support the war in Iraq unquestioningly", "support Israel's right to exist" has somehow come to mean Liebermanesque denial that the occupation of the West Bank is untenable. It's been obvious for a long time now that there are only three possible outcomes if it's continued:

1. Military suppression of the Palestinians, forever.
2. Expulsion of the Palestinians from the West Bank.
3. Citizenship for all Palestinians, which means accepting that Israel has become a minority Jewish state.

1 isn't going to work; the only question is how horrific the result will be when it breaks down. 2 would be a crime against humanity. 3 is the opposite of the goal of the occupation. Yet the "supporters" of the occupation continue on, as if they expect a miracle of some sort.

And now consider that Netanyahu is likely to be in charge soon once more (Berlusconi-like but without the humanity*). :-(

*add " " if necessary

We won't have any peace settlement in the Middle East until people no longer have to add caveats and disclaimers to their statements, as in your last paragraph.

nders: "They haven't expended them in 10 (or is it 20?) years."

Really? See here, here, here, and here for the first few examples I found.

@ anders:

The reason WHY people think that Israel is "expanding its settlements" is worth considerable examination. But it won't get any.

Then why don't YOU "examine" it, and enlighten us all?

"Israelis have legally purchased land from Palestinian sellers"

Given the extreme economic pressure on West Bank Palestinians, these sales should not be presumed to be voluntary in any real sense.

Plus, here's a link from Andrew Sullivan which mentions a case in which the Palestinians involved deny they ever consented to the "sale" and an Israeli court agees with them (http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/11/face-of-the--24.html).

When will this madness between the Israelis and the Palestinians end? Only when this country...ours, the United States, land of the free and home of the brave, forces Israel to release stolen territory and prosecute violators of the peace.

Until they can show such good faith to the Palestinians that an honest and true agreement can be reached, nothing will happen. Until such time, neither side can trust the other. The blame is certainly NOT ONLY the Palestinians. Israel must answer for decades of stupid policies.

The abused become abusers. The oppressed become oppressors. This makes me crazy. It's like the Holocaust never happened.

These two peoples are so mired in their entwined lives they will never see a way out. It has to come from outside.

We've all become mired in our current messes and there may be no political capital to spend for these people in the short term.

This kind of incident makes me despair.

Bernard: me too. As, on the other side, did the time when the Palestinians stabbed the Israeli policeman and threw him out the window. (Iirc.) In both cases I thought: God, how do you make peace after this?

On the other hand, Mozambique made peace after much, much worse, as did South Africa. I would never have bet on either, but they did happen.

"Then why don't YOU 'examine' it, and enlighten us all?"

How about not? This is a recipe for a pointless argument, in which the writer engages in tendentious semantics, and is rightfully tromped upon with the facts. It's not an argument worth having. Let's take it as a given that West Bank settlements have been "thickened" and "expanded," condemn that, and move on.

"The blame is certainly NOT ONLY the Palestinians."

I fail to observe anyone in this thread having argued otherwise. Nice straw.

"These two peoples are so mired in their entwined lives they will never see a way out."

Neither of these two peoples is remotely homogenous, or of particularly homogenous political views, or views towards the other people. Generalizing in this highly distorted fashion is extremely unhelpful. Try talking about specific factions and people, if you want to talk about the actual situation.

"The blame is certainly NOT ONLY the Palestinians."

Gary: I fail to observe anyone in this thread having argued otherwise.

How about anders? It's fair to assume that the first point was aimed at him.

"How about anders? It's fair to assume that the first point was aimed at him."

Consider me corrected, and absent-minded. Thanks.

I think two things need saying here:

1) This happens routinely
You only heard about this one. You probably haven't heard about the ongoing violence of the settlement and (illegal) outpost of Maon against the villagers of At-Tuwani in the Hebron hills.

2) Respect Jewish voices
I think that when a respected Jewish journalist with strong ties to Israel condemns these settler extremists in the strongest terms, we ought to respect that, and by respect I mean accept it as evidence that we can discuss these issues without having our opinions takes as disrespectful of Israel or Jewish people.

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