Are Settlements Really the Major Obstacle to Peace?
For nearly two decades, the Palestinian Authority conducted peace talks with Israel while construction in the Jewish settlements was continuing. Every now and then the Palestinian leadership would complain about the construction, but it never made a big fuss about the issue. Nor had it threatened to suspend the peace process.
The Palestinian leaders even "forgot," when they signed the Oslo Accords with Israel in 1993, to demand that the agreement include an Israeli commitment to stop building in the settlements.
Palestinian leaders living in the West Bank can't say that they never saw the bulldozers working in the settlements.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas lives not far from a settlement near Ramallah. From his balcony, he saw how the Bet El settlement grew over the past two decades. It's impossible to travel throughout the West Bank without noticing the construction work in the settlements.
Abbas and his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, talked and worked with Israel while the construction was continuing. Until two years ago, Abbas was negotiating with former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, while the settlements were being expanded. Ironically, the Olmert government built more in the settlements than the "right-wing" government of Binyamin Netanyahu.
So how did the issue of the settlements become the "major obstacle to peace?"
Some Palestinians say that the settlements became a major issue only when the US Administration and other Western governments started demanding a freeze of settlement construction.
The Palestinian leaders can't afford a situation where Presidents Barack Obama and Nicola Sarkozy appear to be more Palestinian than the Palestinians, especially when it comes to the issue of settlements.
There's no ignoring the fact that the settlements are a problem for the Palestinians. But to say that the settlements are the major obstacle to peace is an exaggeration.
If the settlements were really the major obstacle to peace, how come peace did not prevail when Israel destroyed all the settlements in the Gaza Strip and evicted more than 8,000 Jews from there?
In Israel there is talk these days about establishing three major settlement blocs in the West Bank in any permanent deal with the Palestinians. Most Israelis know that many of the settlements will have to be dismantled and their residents relocated to the three big blocs: Ma'aleh Adumim, Gush Etzion and Ariel.
This means that Israel wants to retain control over 10-15% of the West Bank after signing a peace treaty with the Palestinians. In such a case, the Palestinians should demand that Israel compensate them with the same amount of land, or even more from, from Israel proper. Some Israelis have already endorsed the idea, which they define as "land swap."
Since the West Bank is not Mecca or Medina, the Palestinians should have no problem making territorial concessions in this area. Peace can never be achieved unless both Israelis and Palestinians agree to territorial concessions. A Palestinian or Israeli who believes that he will get 100% is living in an illusion.
The major obstacle to peace is those who are trying to create instability and war in the Middle East. The major obstacle to peace is Iran and radical Muslims who want to destroy Israel, and not make peace with it. They are the biggest threat to peace now because they are also threatening to kill any moderate Arab or Muslim who seeks to make peace with Israel.
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by Denis MacEoin
"No religion condones the killing of innocents." — U.S. President Barack Obama, September 10, 2014.
"Islam is a religion of peace." — U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, September 13, 2014.
"There is a place for violence in Islam. There is a place for jihad in Islam." — U.K. Imam Anjem Choudary, CBN News, April 5, 2010.
Regrettably it is impossible to re-interpret the Qur'an in a "moderate" manner. The most famous modern interpretation by Sayyid Qutb (d. 1966), the Muslim Brotherhood ideologue, leads the reader again and again into political territory, where jihad is at the root of action.
If they deviated from the true faith -- as we are seeing in the Islamic State today -- "backsliders," like pagans, were to be fought until they either accepted Islam or were killed.
In India alone, between 60 and 80 million Hindus may have been put to death by Muslim armies between the years 1000-1525.
by Yaakov Lappin
Hamas's long-term ambitions are indistinguishable from those of Islamic State and al-Qaeda.
Hamas will now focus on its next goal -- trying to strengthen its presence in the West Bank and eventually toppling the Palestinian Authority from power there, just as it did in Gaza. If Israel were to withdraw from the West Bank, Hamas would certainly find such a goal easier to accomplish.
Nothing keeps the flames of jihad alight, and Hamas's popularity secure, like frequent wars.
by Alan M. Dershowitz
by Timon Dias
"Arab leaders are a reflection of their people. Arab leaders don't come from Mars or the sun, they emerged from among the people and share the same beliefs... I challenge any Arab citizen who may become a ruler to do anything beyond what current Arab leaders are doing." — Anwar Malek, Algerian author.
If anyone was trying to commit "genocide" during the Gaza War, it was clearly Hamas.
What the protestors in the Netherlands also revealed is that a killed Palestinian is only worth demonstrating for when the blame can be pinned on Israel.
The normalization and common approval of slogans that actually call for the destruction of the entire Jewish State, Israel, contribute to an atmosphere of hatred, violence and anti-Semitism that now seems as acceptable as it is overt.
by Anne Bayefsky
Why couldn't the UN... sponsor a conference on combating global antisemitism?
In theory the UN Charter demands equality of... nations large and small. In reality the UN mass-produces inequality for Jews and the Jewish nation.
The UN has launched a "legal" pogrom against the Jewish state. A "legal" pogrom is a license to kill.
Modern antisemitism targets Israel's exercise of the right of self-defense because self-defense is the essence of sovereignty.