Settlements in Palestine continue to expand

Settlements in Palestine continue to expand. (See here) this article in Haaretz that discusses the issue.

This issue is extremely complicated. If one could trust that an honest debate would be held on the issue one would need not be so concerned. But you can not depend on honesty even from the major players (like the Foreign Minister of Israel) when they speak on this issue.

According to the article, Raanan Gissin, an adviser to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon explained that the houses would be within the boundaries of existing settlements that are part of the major blocs that Israel wants to retain.

OK, but we have seen where "natural expansion" "needs to occur", according to Israel, in the past. When "we" have agreed to some minimal expansion, Israel tried to take advantage of it thinking it meant maximum expansion even in areas that may have to be returned to the Palestinians.

According to the article, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat condemned the decision, and called on the U.S. to pressure Israel to stop settlement activity. He stated "They suspend the peace process and they suspend the negotiations and they suspend the contacts and the only thing they are continuing with is settlement construction."

Oh yeah? And just why was all this stuff suspended? The Palestinians do not share some of the blame? Even in the current "cease fire" Qassam rockets continue to rain down on Israel with the Palestinian "government" taking no action to stop the attacks.

All in all, if the Israeli government could be trusted to ONLY allow minimal "natural expansion" of existing settlements I think that could be allowed. Problem is the Israeli government can not be trusted. When this issue was debated here in America the Israeli Foreign Minister, Silvan Shalom, got in front of the American people and lied to us. When he told the American people what "natural expansion" meant, he explained it in a way an average American might accept. However what had been going on before Silvan Shalom's visit, and more importantly what happened after his return, is not as he explained it. This man, who was serving as the OFFICIAL voice of Israel, lied to the American people, and he was Ariel Sharon's pick to hold this important position.

So, in my opinion, what needs to happen is Israel needs to STOP expanding the settlements and STOP establishing new "outposts". "We" have tried compromise on this issue in the past and the government of Israel has proven itself unwilling or unable to live within the compromise.

We have tried doing things Israel's way and little progress has been achieved in the peace process. I still have not given up on the Roadmap to Peace. Without a little pressure on Israel from "the outside" there might be no additional progress on the Roadmap.

Stop expanding the settlements! At least until we see how the Palestinians are going to vote in the next election.


Blogger Michael said...

Quite simply, the "annexation" of occupied territories is illegal by international law. Rocket attacks are illegal too, but I suppose the moral difference is that the Palestinian government doesn't try to justify the rocket attacks even if it doesn't do anything about them.

Michael Tam

12/26/2005 08:00:00 AM  
Blogger Little David said...

I agree that the "annexation" of occupied territories is illegal, although the debate on this issue is a little more complicated then some would imagine. Even "solutions" such as the Geneva Accords allow the Israelis to keep some of the settlements in a nod to "real politik" if for no other reason.

While the Palestinian government might not try to justify the attacks (some would say bullshit, and they can make some points) they do try to portray themselves as speaking for the Palestinian people. While they are "speaking" what are the Palestinian people "doing"? While they are speaking with their mouths, what are the Palestinians doing with their hands?

If the "majority" want peace the "majority" is going to have to take action against the "minority" that want to drive the Jews into the sea.

Whilst the actions of the Israeli side have not been perfect, it is not reasonable to give the Palestinian side a "free pass" because they are the "innocent victims". While I will not try to claim Israelis have been innocent I will barf as anyone tries to paint the Arab (Palestinian) side as innocent.

It takes two sides to engage in conflict and there is enough guilt that both sides can share in the blame.

12/26/2005 09:43:00 AM  

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