Criticizing Israel - The Outposts

(See here) a piece written by Ravi Nessman of the Associated Press that appears on the website SignOnSanDiego.com.

This piece reports on an example of how Israeli "outposts" continue to expand.

While much recent media reporting has centered around criticism of the the new Palestinian unity government (some criticism of which I have also engaged) here is an example of how "our side", or more specifically the Israelis are themselves worthy of at least some criticism.

While I, too, will criticize the Mecca agreement for failing to form a Palestinian government that would recognize the right of Israel to exist, it would by hypocritical to refuse to acknowledge the "facts on the ground" that the Israeli settler movement, and more broadly the Israeli right wing, are attempting to create. Quoting one of the settlers residing in the Bruchin West Bank outpost that the piece reports about:

We'll show them that we live in this country, and we are the people that own this country.
It is my opinion that much righteous criticism can be laid at the feet of the Palestinians who elected a majority government comprised of the right wing, fundamentalist Hamas which has a sworn objective of "driving the Jews into the sea". However it is also my opinion that while there is legitimate evidence the majority of Israelis genuinely do want peace, will be willing to make the sacrifices necessary for peace, that there is a powerful minority within Israel that is unwilling to compromise. Evidently, while the majority of Israelis claim to want peace, they turn a blind eye to the continuing actions of those within their society who are unwilling to compromise on their goal of a "Greater Israel" that will include Judea and Samaria (also known as the West Bank).

It is stuff like this, like what is going on in the Bruchin West Bank outpost, that people like Jimmy Carter are being critical of. Jimmy Carter is not making things up. He is criticizing the very "facts on the ground" that the Israeli settlers are trying to create through their continuing expansion efforts.

What is the official US position on this issue?
“The Israel government should live up to its commitments, and that includes on the settlements, that includes on outposts. These are commitments, by the way, to the United States, they're not commitments to the Palestinians,” U.S. Ambassador Richard Jones said.
Well, I guess then I am only in favor of the "official" US policy on this issue. Of course, I would demand that "our side", and more specifically the US, stopped being such hypocrites ourselves on things. If it is correct to withhold aid to the Palestinian unity government because of its refusal to acknowledge the right of Israel to exist, which is an unacceptable impediment to peace, it is only right to hold the other side of the conflict (Israel) up to the same standards. It is wrong for the United States to condemn the Palestinians for every uncompromising position and action they take while turning a blind eye to what the Israeli side is up to. Israel, while mouthing the words necessary to show a willingness for a reasonable peace agreement is not following the rhetoric up with the necessary actions required. It is actions like these that feed into the hands of the Palestinian right wing when they argue on the Palestinian street that no reasonable resolution of the conflict can be reached with Jewish Israel.

If aid can be withheld from the Palestinian unity government (as I agree it should) because of an unwillingness to settle for a "reasonable peace" then aid should also be withheld from the Israeli side with the same justification. What justification? Look at the "facts on the ground". It is pretty hard to argue with the "facts" and the Israeli settler movement, with a wink and a nod from the Isreali government, is right now busy trying to create these "facts".


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