Friday, January 27, 2012

Settlements Freeze – an Obstacle to Peace!

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, "Second Thought”
"Israel Hayom” Newsletter, November 4, 2011

Abu Mazen's September 23, 2011 UN speech and the Palestinian Authority's education system reaffirm the fact that Jewish settlements within pre-1967 Israel – and not in Judea and Samaria (J&S) – are the root cause of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

In his UN speech, Abu Mazen highlighted the "63 years old occupation” since 1948; this message is reinforced throughout his K-12 education system. He heralded the PLO – which was established three years before the 1967 War and before the establishment of contemporary Jewish settlement in J&S - as his supreme authority. Abu Mazen denies the existence of Jewish roots between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

Thus, the root cause of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not the J&S settlements, but the existence of the Jewish State. Freezing Jewish settlements in J&S diverts attention away from the core cause of the conflict. Moreover, it constitutes an obstacle to peace, by reflecting submission to pressure, thus fueling further pressure, radicalizing Arab demands, intensifying Arab terrorism and eroding Israel's posture of deterrence, while the only peace-possible is deterrence-driven peace.

The pre-1967 area of Israel was the focus of the systematic campaign of Arab terrorism during the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, as well as of the conventional Arab wars on Israel in 1948, 1956 and 1967.

A giveaway of all Jewish settlements in J&S was offered by former Prime Minister Ehud Barak in October 2000. Abu Mazen and Arafat responded with an unprecedented wave of suicide bombings in pre-1967 Israeli towns, which are defined as "settlements” by Abu Mazen's school textbooks.

The September 2005 uprooting of 25 Jewish settlements in J&S and Gaza induced an unprecedented barrage of missiles, hitting Jewish settlements in pre-1967 Israel.

*If the 350,000 Jews, among 1.6MN Arabs, in J&S constitute an obstacle to peace, are the 1.5MN Arabs, among 6MN Jews, within pre-1967 Israel, an insurmountable obstacle to peace?!

*If Jewish construction in J&S should be frozen, lest it prejudge the outcome of negotiations, then Arab construction in J&S should be frozen as well, unless one wishes to prejudge the outcome of negotiations.

*If the uprooting of Jewish communities advances peace, why would the uprooting of Arab communities undermine peace?!

*The uprooting of Arabs communities would be immoral; so, too, is the uprooting of Jewish communities.

*No opposition to an Arab presence in pre-1967 Israel should be tolerated; so, too, should the opposition to a Jewish presence in J&S.

*Illegal Jewish homes in J&S are razed by Israel; so, too, should the 1,100 illegal Arab homes built annually in Jerusalem and the thousands of illegal Arab homes in J&S?

The 1950-67 Jordanian occupation of J&S was recognized by only Britain and Pakistan. The most recent internationally-recognized sovereign over J&S was the 1922 British Mandate, which defined J&S as part of the Jewish National Homeland. Article 6 of that Mandate acknowledges the right of Jews to settle in J&S. Judge Stephen Schwebel, former President of the International Court of Justice, determined that Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria was rooted in self-defense and therefore did not constitute "occupation." Eugene Rostow, former Dean of Yale Law School, former Undersecretary of State and co-author of UN Security Council Resolution 242, asserted that 242 entitled Jews to settle in J&S. The Oslo Accord does not prohibit the construction of Jewish settlements in J&S. Moreover, settlements are established on state-owned – and not private – land.

Peaceful coexistence and the determination to uproot Jewish or Arab communities constitute an oxymoron. The concepts of "Durable peace” and "Judenrein areas" contradict each other. The litmus test of Palestinian/Arab intent is the acceptance or rejection of Jewish settlements presence in J&S.

Jewish settlements in J&S are not the root cause of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. They are located at the roots of 4,000 years old Jewish religious and national aspirations. They are located at the crux of Israel's national security which also provides 40% of Israel's water supply. The mountain ridges and water aquifers of J&S are the "Golan Heights” of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and 80% of Israel's transportation, business, economic, health, education, scientific and irrigation infrastructure in the 9-15 miles wide sliver, which is the pre-1967 Israel.

Freezing of Jewish construction in J&S is not a peace-enhancer; it is an appeasement-enhancer, thus undermining the cause of peace and advancing the cause of war.

Shabbat Shalom,

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, "Second Thought: US-Israel Initiative"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why not have Israel freeze settlements and put the onus on the Arabs then? Insteard, Israel keeps opening settlements while Arabs cite that as reason no peace...If Israel truly wants peace, what is lost by freeze?