Tuesday, May 8, 2012

It's not about the settlements

Look, I'm against the settlements in Israel. I think that continuing to build settlements is an obstacle to peace. I think it gives ammunition to those who claim that Israel is anti-peace. I think it's terrible P.R. in the wider world. I also think it emboldens the extremist settlers, who already hold too much sway. 

But, the next time someone tells you that the settlements are the primary problem, that they are the cause of the conflict, that Israel is the real problem, remind them of this:

A senior member of the Fatah Central Committee led by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in an interview referred to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and U.S. President Barack Obama, as “dirtbags,” and explained how causing Israel to leave Judea and Samaria would spell its doom.


“If Israel withdraws from Jerusalem, evacuates the 650,000 settlers, and dismantles the wall, what will become of Israel? It will come to an end,” Zaki predicted.


He noted that reaching the “greater goal” would be impossible initially, and that revealing it would not be smart: “If we say that we want to wipe Israel out... C'mon, it's too difficult. It's not [acceptable] policy to say so. Don't say these things to the world,” he warned. “Keep it to yourself.”

Has Israel always been 100% dedicated to peace? No. But, I'll submit to you that when an official from your enemy's government goes on television and declares their dedication to your destruction, and even says that any peace deal is essentially just a step in that process of destruction, well, you may have a reason to be reluctant to negotiate, now.

When someone accuses Israel of being an apartheid state, or of maintaining an illegal occupation, or anything like that, ask them what, exactly, they would want Israel to do. And, ask yourself how much that solution depends on the Palestinian leadership not being dedicated to wiping out Israel.

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