Tuesday, September 15, 2009

No real settlement freeze...

For twenty odd years I believed that the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories were essentially bargaining chips and that Israel would eventually 'make good' on the Palestinian question. But around the time of the Gaza offensive I began to realise I had been fooling myself: the sheer scale and numbers of the settlements operation strongly point to Israel playing for keeps. The recent Israeli reaction to the first mild pressure applied from Washington in about a decade also speaks volumes to that effect.

Does anybody still realistically believe that Israel is serious about withdrawal its settlers? Sorry, but I can't. And with each passing day I feel sadly more vindicated (as well as embarrassed about my previously held position):

CNN

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that a complete halt of Jewish settlements will not happen, according to a parliament source.

Netanyahu said at a closed-door Knesset committee meeting that Israel would agree only to a partial reduction of housing construction and for a limited time, not the year the United States would like, said a government official who was not authorized to speak about the meeting and did not want to be identified.
Netanyahu said no agreement had been reached on the length of time for the building hiatus, the source told CNN. Netanyahu has said in the past that a moratorium would not apply to East Jerusalem, which Israel claims as part of its sovereign capital since taking the territory away from Jordan during the Six Day War in 1967. Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future Palestinian state.

3 Comments:

At 11:49 AM, Blogger Emmanuel said...

I think that for the most part, the settlements were supposed to be for keeps. There wasn't much support for giving back the territories in the 70's (and zero support for a Palestinian state). Nowadays, though, there is widespread support for evacuating most of the settlements. Netanyahu isn't one of the supporters.

Having said that, Barak, for example, does support the eventual removal of most settlements, and yet has authorized settlement activity to grow. Why? It's complicated and I don't entirely understand it myself. I'd say that a lack of a backbone, right wing parties in the coalition and lack of foresight might explain why even leaders who do believe in two states continue with this counter-productive policy.

 
At 3:10 PM, Blogger Gert said...

"Nowadays, though, there is widespread support for evacuating most of the settlements. Netanyahu isn't one of the supporters."

Really? Who from? Obviously no one that 'counts'...

Thanks for your candour nonetheless.

 
At 7:41 PM, Blogger Emmanuel said...

Polls have consistently shown that Israelis support withdrawal from most of the territories and evacuation of settlements. All parties from Kadima and leftward officially support this, and I think most of the Knesset members from these parties really do believe in it. That doesn't always translate into support for an immediate freeze in settlement activity.

By the way, there's still a chance that there will be an unofficial settlement freeze outside of the main settlement blocs, like there was during much of Olmert's government. Netanyahu may not want to publicly declare a freeze so as not to upset his right wing partners and members of his own party, but he doesn't want to piss off Obama too much either.

 

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