Settlements are not the obstacle to peace
By: Alan Levine
Israel has been criticized for approving the construction of Jewish neighborhoods, or “settlements” in the suburbs of Jerusalem. This weekend, the Israeli cabinet approved construction in the E1 corridor, Maale Adumim, and East Jerusalem. All are considered disputed territory, as they are beyond the “green line,” which marks the armistice line that separated Israel and Jordan from 1949 to 1967.
- The neighborhoods are being built in territory with over 3000 years of Jewish history, traditionally known as Judea and Samaria. Maale Adumim is significant in Jewish history as the border between the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.
- Israelis were living in these neighborhoods up until Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, which resulted in Jordanian occupation.
- Palestinians claim the entire West Bank as the territory for their future state. This includes the entire territory east of the “green line.”
- While settlements are often blamed as an obstacle to peace, they do not account for any of the attacks against Israel prior to their creation. Israel was attacked by its neighbors in 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973. All were prior to the building of Israeli neighborhoods in disputed land.
- When Israel dismantled settlements in 2005, including 100% of the settlements in Gaza, they received rockets in return from their Palestinian neighbors.
- In 2010, the Israeli government froze all construction in the “settlements,” in order to woo the Palestinian leadership to the negotiating table. The Palestinians refused to negotiate.
- Settlements are clearly not the obstacle to peace. As Israeli Ambassador the UN Ron Prosor stated, “Palestinian leadership has never recognized Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.”
- Palestinian Authority material, such as television shows and children’s text books routinely refer to all of Israel as occupied territory and to cities like Tel Aviv and Haifa as “settlements.”
- When the leadership of the Palestinians and the Arab world agree to even negotiate and compromise with Israel instead of obsess over where Jews can and cannot live, the Middle East will experience peace.