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Everything Elliott Abrams knows about Israeli settlements is wrong

The Israeli government uses the pretext of the two-state solution’s inevitability to justify building settlements on Palestinian land, all without ever earnestly seeking a two-state solution.

Elliott Abrams (Photo by Miller Center / CC 2.0, cropped)

Elliott Abrams (Photo by Miller Center / CC 2.0, cropped)

Imagine that the Palestinian Authority announced that based on an offer made by Israel in past peace negotiations — and irrespective of the result of those negotiations — it was launching a program to send Palestinian refugees to resettle inside Israel proper. Indeed, there is documentation that former prime minister Ehud Olmert made a concrete offer to absorb 10,000 Palestinian refugees as part of a two-state agreement. The only problem, Israel points out, is that no peace deal has been reached. In fact, there are not even any plans for negotiations to resume.

That scenario is imaginary for countless reasons, but the tactic described is identical to that which Israel is employing today.

In a condescendingly titled article in Foreign Policy last week (“Everything You Know About Israeli Settlements Is Wrong”), former Bush advisor Elliott Abrams argues that the Israeli government’s latest land grab in the West Bank is actually not such a big deal because the land is part of an area that is “going to remain Israel’s no matter what.”

Yup. No matter what.

Israeli policy, and the thinking behind it, Elliott explains rather well, is that it can treat concessions it hopes to win in future negotiations as faits accompli and simply establish them as facts on the ground.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, like most of his predecessors, is playing a clever and time tested game. Netanyahu uses the pretext of the two-state solution’s inevitability to justify building settlements on Palestinian land — in areas he calls “consensus settlement blocs” that Israel expects to annex in a peace deal — without ever credibly and earnestly seeking such a two-state solution.

A policy of ‘restraint’

Israel’s separation barrier stands on land belonging to the Palestinian village of Bil’in; the wall was built surrounding the Israeli settlement of Modi’in Illit (seen in the background). In a protracted court battle, Bil’in managed to win back some of its land but landowners are still cut off from a significant portion which has been appropriated by the Jewish settlement - both to build on and as a “security zone.” (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Israel’s separation barrier stands on land belonging to the Palestinian village of Bil’in; the wall was built surrounding the Israeli settlement of Modi’in Illit (seen in the background). In a protracted court battle, Bil’in managed to win back some of its land but landowners are still cut off from a significant portion which has been appropriated by the Jewish settlement – both to build on and as a “security zone.” (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Abrams, who is considered to be close to the thinking of Israel’s right-wing corridors of power, praises Prime Minister Netanyahu for “notably maintain[ing] his policy on constraining settlement construction beyond the fence line.”

Such a policy would, indeed, be notable if the fence line were a negotiated border. If that were the case, one could argue that the prime minister wasn’t encroaching on land earmarked for a Palestinian state.

The problem with such thinking is two-fold. Firstly, as mentioned earlier, no land has been earmarked for a Palestinian state because the process that might result in such a state’s creation has failed time and again.

Furthermore, in peace talks Netanyahu has refused to present any map that denotes his hopes and plans for negotiated borders. He has also consistently refused to treat agreements reached in previous rounds of negotiations as points of reference, or starting points, in any peace talks in which his government engages. In other words, according to Netanyahu, there is no land destined for a future Palestinian state — only land earmarked for future annexation by Israel.

Read also: Figures show peace talks, settlement construction go hand in hand

Secondly, when former prime minister Ariel Sharon began construction of the fence and making plans for its route public, he went to great lengths to reassure the international community that it was not a land grab. In a 2004 letter to U.S. President George W. Bush, Sharon wrote: “The fence is a security rather than political barrier, temporary rather than permanent, and therefore will not prejudice any final status issues including final borders.”

Israel has indeed argued ever since that the barrier’s route is temporary — when such arguments are expedient. Other times, and more frequently in recent years, Israeli officials have been more blunt about the barrier’s consequences, if not the intentions behind its construction.

In 2010, then minister Dan Meridor stated clearly that in an — acceptable to Israel — two-state resolution, “the new border has to be based on the principle of the security fence route and the settlement blocs. That is what we have to aspire to.”

‘A state of scattered territories will not work’

The Israeli separation barrier snakes through the West Bank. (Photo by Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

The Israeli separation barrier snakes through the West Bank. (Photo by Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

The settlement blocs and the fence that snakes around them, if retained according to Israeli aspirations, would chop the West Bank into pieces. President Bush, whose Road Map for Peace Elliott Abrams worked on (or some would argue, against), made very clear that “changes to the 1949 armistice lines must be mutually agreed to. A viable two-state solution must ensure contiguity of the West Bank, and a state of scattered territories will not work.”

One of the most consistent Palestinian complaints about Israel’s settlement policy is that it is attempting to create a network of bantustans that would leave the prospect of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state unviable. Without contiguity, the best Palestinians can aspire to is a series of semi-autonomous pockets eerily similar to today’s reality — and no Palestinian leader will ever agree to that.

The bottom line is that Israeli settlements, even — or perhaps, especially — the ones that are suburban and peaceful, are the number one factor perpetuating Israel’s 47-year military occupation of the Palestinian people in the West Bank. As the settlements continue to grow, the occupation becomes even more entrenched. If they were to disappear, so would Israel’s interest in maintaining such a costly, immoral and often-times criminal military regime. That, more than anything else, is what Elliott Abrams doesn’t understand about Israeli settlements.

Related:
Settlements as punishment prove Palestinian lives are bargaining chip
Addressing Israel’s addiction to settlements
Why the EU needs to rein in Israel’s settlement policy

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    1. Richard

      This piece is basically just a hodgepodge of distractions that fails to address Abrams’s actual point. Maybe he’s not working for two states, but that mean he’s wrong. The land just grabbed is so obviously part of Etzion Bloc, with or without the wall, that it would obviously be swapped. If anything, taking more land in the settlement blocs is conducive to two states because it sets clearer expectations for both sides.

      Reply to Comment
      • You are kidding, right?

        An analogy: I see a car in a car yard. I like that car. I want it. “Everyone knows” that I am saving up my money to buy that car.

        I know it.
        You know it.
        The car yard salesman knows it.

        Q: Does that “knowledge” mean that I can hot-wire that car now and take it for my own.

        A: No. Until you hand over the readies and the salesman hands over the keys that car Is Not Mine, and I am not entitled to treat it As If It Were Already Mine.

        Pretty simple concept, I would have thought, especially when you consider the obvious: if I *am* allowed to hot-wire the car and take it for myself then why, exactly, should I ever get around to the tedious business of handing over my money?

        Why not simply take the car and keep fobbing off the salesman with promises of payment that I have no intention of keeping?

        You know, kinda’ like Israel and the Two-State-Solution….

        Reply to Comment
        • Whiplash

          Here is a better analogy.

          I own a car. My car is stolen. I see it for sale on a dealer’s lot. I tell the dealer the car is stolen. He refuses to return my car. I call the police and the police return the car to me, the rightful and original owner.

          In this case Israel is the owner of the car and the thief was Jordan. The car dealer was the Palestinian Arabs. The car was Judea and Samaria.

          Reply to Comment
          • You are kidding, right?

            Whiplash: “In this case Israel is the owner of the car and the thief was Jordan”

            Demonstrably untrue, if not more than a little delusional.

            After all, if that were the case then it is pointless for any Israeli politician (ahem, Bennett, anyone?) to be insisting that Israel must – simply must! – annex the West Bank.

            That is axiomatic, precisely because it is impossible to “annex” your own territory.

            QED: That Israeli politicians insist upon the annexation of this territory proves that that Israel “isn’t the owner”.

            Reply to Comment
          • Whiplash

            Israel annexed Jerusalem precisely because it belonged to the Jews and Israel. Israel has not annexed Judea and Samaria because it hoped to work out a settlement with the Arab people. If they cannot work out a solution Israel will annex the land it says belongs to its state.

            Reply to Comment
          • You are kidding, right?

            No, whippie, you don’t understand the point I am making i.e. IF this is already “Israeli land” THEN the very notion of “annexation” is a contradiction-in-terms.

            If it’s already yours then it’s already yours. “Annexation” is not only unnecessarily redundant but also an acknowledgement by the annexationist that PRIOR to the annexation that territory did not belong to it.

            After all, that’s what “annexation” is i.e. the assumption of sovereignty where none previously existed.

            Reply to Comment
    2. It’s almost like G&S’s Mikado: When the emperor orders a man to be killed, he is as good as dead and therefore why not call him dead? Here, Israel says, it will be ours in the bye-and-bye, so why not take it now?

      This misses two points. First, the future is not sure. second, international law (not, to be sure, presently enforced) makes this taking of land and/or settling of Israeli settlers on the land so taken “war crimes”.

      Ho-hum.

      Reply to Comment
      • Whiplash

        Palestinian Arabs never possessed a state and never had sovereignty over the land they now claim. The 1949 Armistice Agreement between Jordan and Israel set forth Armistice Demarcation lines based on military considerations. They did not outline the borders of a future Arab state.

        The Armistice Agreement specifically provided that neither side was conceding any position or claim.

        “It is also recognised that no provision of this Agreement shall in any way prejudice the rights, claims and positions of either Party hereto in the ultimate peaceful settlement of the Palestine question, the provisions of this Agreement being dictated exclusively by military considerations.”

        Israel claimed and claims it was the only sovereign state with a claim against the land in Judea and Samaria. The international community in 1922 under the Mandate for Palestine permitted Jews the right to close settlement and development. These rights and claims have never been surrendered. Jordan has surrendered all its rights.

        Until there is a negotiated settlement the Jewish people have a right to settle and develop their home in Judea and Samaria.

        Reply to Comment
    3. bor

      After reading an article such as this one, it is important to recall that the Palestinians have thrice rejected deals that would have given them a state by now just in the last 14 years. All those deals included evacuation of all the settlements in 95% of Judea and Samaria.

      In other words, the “number one factor perpetuating the Palestinians” is the Palestinians and their desire to destroy Israel.

      http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4676/hamas-west-bank

      Reply to Comment
      • bor

        Oops, haha. I wonder if that slip us was true as well. Anyway, the line was supposed to read “the number one factor in perpetuating the occupation” is the Palestinians and their desire to destroy Israel.

        Reply to Comment
      • You're kidding, right?

        PX: “The mistake Omer-Man makes is that he thinks that Jewish communities are built on Palestinian land”

        Ahem. Substitute “Israeli colonies” for “Jewish communities” and the illegality of what ISRAEL is doing becomes apparent.

        Substitute “Israeli-occupied territory” for “Jewish land” and the illegality of ISRAEL’s actions is highlighted.

        Pedro, baby, these aren’t being built by “the World Wide Jewry”.

        These are being build by “the State of Israel”.

        The former is NOT a synonym for the latter, and so your point of order is pointless.

        Israel is the occupying power.
        Israel is colonizing an occupied territory.

        That’s illegal, and it remains illegal no matter how “Jewish” these Israeli colonies are, nor how “Jewish” that occupied territory is.

        Reply to Comment
      • You're kidding, right?

        Yeah…. and? So?

        That the Palestinians reject the terms that have been “offered” by Israel does not in any way legitimize Israel’s ongoing land-grab.

        What is illegal is illegal, and it **remains** illegal for as long as the Palestinians refuse to agree to cede the territory to Israel.

        They do refuse, and they have a right to refuse, and Israel has no right to then turn around and say “well, heck, if you are going to be so stubborn about it then I’ll just take some more”.

        What is illegal is illegal, and it remains illegal for as long as the Palestinians refuse to agree to cede the territory to Israel.

        It’s a simple concept, so why is that so difficult for either you or Abrams to comprehend?

        Reply to Comment
        • Whiplash

          Palestinians never had a state. They never had sovereignty over any land. Therefore they have no land to cede.

          The Armistice Agreements of 1949 did not recognize a Palestinian state. All Armistice agreements were between Israel and Arab states. The Agreement with Jordan specifically indicated that the armistice lines were not borders and the armistice did not prevent either party from pursuing its claims against the lands. Jordan in 1988 gave up all claims to sovereignty of lands on both sides of the armistice lines. The only remaining sovereign state left with a claim was Israel.

          They do have an agreement called the Oslo Accords calling for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian people. The Oslo Accords do not say that a Palestinian state is guaranteed at the end of the negotiations. The Accords do not make Jewish communities across the Armistice lines illegal or prevent Israel from expanding existing ones or building new ones.

          Reply to Comment
          • You are kidding, right?

            Whiplash: “Palestinians never had a state.”

            Yeah, and? So?

            It is completely immaterial that Israel refuses to recognize the “sovereign” status of that territory in order to recognize that this is a belligerent occupation.

            We know that for a fact, precisely because the British invaded and occupied Syria in 1941.

            Q: Was Syria “a state”?
            A: No, it was “a mandated territory”

            Q: Did that mean Syria wasn’t “occupied territory”?
            A: The British acknowledged that they had imposed a belligerent occupation on that territory.

            That’s all you need to accept, and by accepting it you also accept that the occupying power (Britain, then and there, Israel here and now) is prohibited by international law from colonizing that territory.

            It is an “occupier”, you see, and an “occupier” is not allowed to colonize an “occupied territory”.

            Reply to Comment
          • Whiplash

            There is no analogy between Great Britain’s presence in Syria and Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria. Syria was never the homeland of the English people. The British were not the trustees of the Mandate for Syria. The British occupied Syria and Lebanon to make sure supplies for the German’s or Iraq’s axis leader did not get through.

            Judea and Samaria are the homeland of the Jewish people. Their presence is not temporary but stretches back to the Bronze Age in the second millennium B.C.E. They are the original inhabitants of this land. In addition the League of Nations recognized this historical right of the Jewish people to the land of Israel. The League of Nations set aside 0.6% of the Ottoman lands for a Jewish home as a sacred trust of civilization in accordance with section 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations. As Winston Churchill said in 1922 Jews had a right to live, settle and develop Mandate Palestine for their home.

            In 1945 the Charter of the United Nations confirmed the rights of people under the Mandate system. Jews and Israelis have never surrendered their rights guaranteed by the Charter of the United Nations.

            Reply to Comment
          • You are kidding, right?

            Whiplash: “There is no analogy between Great Britain’s presence in Syria and Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria.”

            It is the PERFECT analogue.

            The status of Syria THEN was exactly the same as the status of the West Bank NOW i.e. both were/are “territory that is not a state”.

            The status of the British Army THEN was exactly the same as the status of the IDF NOW i.e. both were/are “foreign armies that seized the territory at the point of a gun”.

            Whiplash: “Syria was never the homeland of the English people.”

            Utterly immaterial to the status of the ARMY that swept in an seized this territory by force of arms (1941 and 1967, respectively).

            After all, it is ARMIES that seize territory by war, not “peoples”.

            Whiplash: “The British were not the trustees of the Mandate for Syria”

            But the French were, that’s what Syria was a Mandated territory.

            And *since* Britain was not the Mandatory Power it’s seizure of this territory resulted in a belligerent occupation.

            Equally, Israel was never granted any mandate/sovereignty/authority over this territory by anyone, and what authority is *does* have derives from exactly the same source of authority that Britain establishing inside Syria in 1941 i.e. authority that derives from the pointy end of a bayonet.

            Honestly, Whippie, how many other straw men are you going to erect?

            The British were not the trustees of the Mandate for Syria.

            Reply to Comment
          • You are kidding, right?

            Whiplash: “They never had sovereignty over any land. Therefore they have no land to cede.”

            That statement is, of course, false.

            He is a land, and there are the people of that land.

            Oh, look, there is no “sovereign power” there any more….

            Q: Now, what happens next?
            A: The people on that land get to decide what happens next.

            Q: Not that warmongering country next door?
            A: No, the people there have ALREADY decided who their sovereign power is, and so they don’t get two bites of the cherry.

            Q: Why not?
            A: “Emphasising the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war”.

            Q: Huh?
            A: The occupier doesn’t get to make that decision, only the occupied do……

            Reply to Comment
          • Whiplash

            “Emphasising the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war”

            If this is correct, than the Arab occupation of Judea and Samaria is also invalid since it had been won by war in 1948.

            If no one has sovereignty over the land, then the territories are disputed or unsettled territories. If this means that as “you are”states: “The people on that land get to decide what happens next,” let the people decide. Let all the people of Jerusalem, west and east, vote on which country they wish to belong. Let the Arabs in areas “A+B” decide if they want to reside in a Palestinian state. Let the Jews and Arabs in area “C” decide what country they wish to belong to.

            In Canada we have had this discussion with Quebec. If Canada is divisible by offering the people of Quebec a referendum on separation, then the Cree in James Bay, the people of Montreal or the Gaspe Bay also have the right to break away from Quebec by voting in a referendum on independence.

            So too with the Jerusalem, the West Bank and Judea and Samaria. Let the people vote and we know that areas “A and B” and Gaza will vote to be Palestinian and Jerusalem, and Area “C” will vote to be Israeli. Let the people speak.

            Reply to Comment
          • You are kidding, right?

            Whiplash: “If this is correct, than the Arab occupation of Judea and Samaria is also invalid since it had been won by war in 1948. ”

            No, the JORDANIAN belligerent occupation of the West Bank in 1948-49 meant that the JORDANIAN annexation of that territory was always “inadmissible” under international law.

            Heck, even the JORDANIANS now accept that to be true, which is why they have relinquished any and all claims to the West Bank, as well they might.

            That rules out JORDAN as a claimant.

            It also rules out ISRAEL as a claimant, because all that happened in 1967 was that the uniforms of the soldiers of the army of occupation changed.

            Which leaves only one valid claimant, and universally-but-one recognized as such.

            Care to hazard a guess….?

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            “It also rules out ISRAEL as a claimant, because all that happened in 1967 was that the uniforms of the soldiers of the army of occupation changed.”

            Nope!

            All that happened is the next battle between the ongoing civil war involving Palestinian Arabs and their Jordanian allies on the one side and Palestinian Jews who re-named themselves Israel on the other side. But in this battle, the Palestinian Jews (Israel) were the ones who were victorious.

            Spot the difference? Israel represented ex Palestinian citizens who happened to be Jewish rather than Arabs. A complete symmetry.

            The Brits on the other hand were never citizens of Syria. Shouldn’t be that hard to understand even for you, clown?

            A better analogy is the current civil war in Syria. If one side of Syrians ends up controlling say Latakia for a few years then an opposing group of Syrians get rid of them and end up controlling that same batch of land (Latakia), you wouldn’t claim that the second group of Syrians are occupiers, would ya?

            At most, if a bunch of civilians from the opposing faction would come under the control of the second faction, you might want to claim that they should be treated as an occupied people in order to make sure that they won’t get mistreated. But the land of Latakia itself would not be considered to be under belligerent occupation at any stage.

            Reply to Comment
    4. Pedro X

      The mistake Omer-Man makes is that he thinks that Jewish communities are built on Palestinian land. Jewish communities are built on Jewish land, land set aside by the international community for Jewish close settlement and development. Maale Adumim is no different from Tel Aviv. Jewish Revevants settled in the sand dunes next to Jaffa and a short distance from Jerusalem, except they are on different sides of the 1949 armistice line. The fact that the Palestinians want Jewish land does not make it Palestinian.

      Omer-Man ignores that Palestinians have continued to build on Jewish land, including JNF land, in Judea and Samaria. Why should Israelis stop building to accommodate natural growth of their communities when Palestinians are still building on Jewish land in Judea and Samaria? Do not Jews have the right to raise their children and families in their communities? There are 1.7 million Arabs living inside the green line, what is so difficult about having 500,000 to 1,000,000 Jews living beyond the green line in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria?

      Omer-Man has also ignored that the Jewish state has offered on many occasions to give up its claim to sovereignty over parts of its land to make room for a Palestinian state. The Palestinians have not been willing to accommodate a Jewish state on any land in the mid-east.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Bruce Gould

      Personally I don’t care if Israel is run by the Ottomans, the British, the Jews or Amenhotep II, I’m interested in human rights. How do the settlers treat the Palestinians? Watch “Five Broken Cameras” and then watch “The Gatekeepers”.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        Palestinian Jews in 1947:
        We accept the two state solution

        Palestinian Arabs in 1947:
        All of Palestine is ours, Jews, get out of here or we will kill you all. Then they riot and murder Jews. Other Arab neighbors join them.

        1948-49 War:
        Israel survives, the West Bank and Gaza come under the control of Jordan and Egypt. An armistice agreement is reached. Jordan and Egypt don’t create a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. The Palestinian Arabs don’t resist and don’t call it an occupation.

        1949-1967 Guerilla War:
        Wave upon wave of Fedayeen infiltrate Israel and randomly murder Israelis. Israel retaliates. Cycle of terror and counter attacks ensues.

        1967 War:
        Jordan attacks Israel because of their alliance with Egypt. The West Bank and Gaza ends up under Israeli control.

        War of Atrition:
        Palestinian Arabs, inside and outside the West Bank and Gaza perpetrate Thousands of terror attacks against Israelis. Cycle of reprisals continues to this day.

        So Bruce, what exactly do you expect from Israel? Why don’t you tell the Palestinian Arabs to respect our human rights so that we will be in the position to treat them with more respect.

        And pullllleeeeeese don’t bring up the occupation BS because various Israeli governments made it clear that we are willing to end the occupation if they formally declare that they now accept the Nation State of the Jewish people which they steadfastly rejected before and why these wars have been fought.

        What is so hard about that Bruce? Would America have stopped the occupation of Germany if the German people would have insisted in maintaining a Nazi ideology?

        Reply to Comment
        • Oh, pluuuuueze!

          G:… “And pullllleeeeeese don’t bring up the occupation BS because various Israeli governments made it clear that we are willing to end the occupation if they formally declare that they now accept the Nation State of the Jewish people”….

          Really? That’s the One And Only Condition that Bibi places upon ending this endless occupation?

          Funny, because it looks very much to me that this demand is simply one more tacked onto the steaming pile of BS reasons why Israel just, you know, can’t bring itself to end its endless occupation of the West Bank.

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Oh Iiidiiooot!

            Why do you think we so love the occupation?

            Hint:
            We don’t. But we fear the alternative even more so long as we see the likes of Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad being so active and backed up by the likes of Iran and Qatar. Oh and we are not particularly fond of the obvious salami tactics which Abbas is trying to use against us either. He is trying to get as much as he can from us without giving us even PROPER recognition. He and you might think we are stupid but that is just wishful thinking.

            If it would be up to me, I wouldn’t even negotiate until the Palestinians conduct a referendum and the majority of them would vote to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. After that, I would be willing to make appropriate concessions.

            Why? Because that’s the reason why this war has been going on for 100 years. This is what this war is all about. They have always said that they don’t want a Jewish state here. They want the entire Middle East to be Arabic and Muslim. Without that recognition, there is nothing to talk about.

            Reply to Comment
          • You are kidding, right?

            Gustav: “Why do you think we so love the occupation?”

            Thanks for that very alluring non-sequitur, Gustav.

            But to return to your original post, you very definitely said that the only condition for ending this endless occupation was for the Palestinians to recognize Israel as the Jewish state.

            Do that, and the occupation ends.

            That’s what you said and – foolish me! – I assumed that what you said was actually what you mean.

            Apparently not.

            Apparently in Gustav-world all the Palestinians need to do to “end the occupation” is to give that recognition, after which….. the occupation doesn’t, umm, actually end, as such.

            More like, errrr, the end will be in sight. Promise. Maybe. Hey, let’s talk about it……

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Err non-sequitur, are you kidding or whatever you call yourself, I don’t think even you know what you are talking about, clown.

            Reply to Comment
    6. Average American

      This is not about the military occupation by Israel of the West Bank. That’s small potatoes. This is about controlling all of Eretz Israel for The Jews, the true goal of The Jewish State. West Bank is just the beginning. Look at the map on an Irgun poster. Problem: Other countries are already there. Solution: Whatever it takes. Side note: we know there are Islamic States, but the Jewish State is not named for a religion, it is named for a race. What would you think of a name like The White States of America? How about The Jewish State of Israel?

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        Oh dear, Average Arab is projecting again.

        Reply to Comment
        • Average American

          Gustav – Don’t listen to Arabs, only listen to Jews, right? That’s not racial at all, right?

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Don’t listen to Arabs like you. That isn’t racial, that’s an act of self preservation. Stupidity is contagious.

            Reply to Comment
          • Average American

            Gutav – Deflection and diversion.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Average Arab (who claims to be an Average American) – Lies and stupidity.

            Reply to Comment
    7. JohnW

      “The Israeli government uses the pretext of the two-state solution’s inevitability to justify building settlements on Palestinian land”

      Excuse me? Ramallah is Palestinian Arab land. Nablus is Palestinian Arab land. Because Palestinian Arabs live there.

      By the same token, Tel Aviv is Israeli land and so is Petach Tikva because Israelis live there. And let’s not forget that Israel was the new name chosen for their country by Palestinian Jews.

      The rest of historic Palestine, the unpopulated uncultivated non privately owned bits, are neither Palestinian Arab lands nor Israeli lands because since 1948, there are no recognised borders for either the country which is to be called Palestine nor for the state of Israel. There was only an armistice line which was established in 1949 at the end of the war of aggression which the Arabs waged against Israel in 1947-49. That armistice line became (wrongly) known as the 1967 borders. But at the insistence of the Arabs in 1949, those were not recognised borders. They were just armistice lines.

      Now, if people plead that it is unfair for Israel to take lands beyond those armistice lines, that is worth discussing. It even has some merit but equally, claims by Israel also have merit. It is a separate discussion though.

      What is not a legitimate discussion is the wrongful claim that the settlements are somehow ILLEGAL or that those lands are somehow AUTOMATICALLY Palestinian Arab lands. Such claims are plainly and demonstrably false. In fact, they are outright lies, perpetrated and repeated ad nauseam till in many people’s mind it has become reality even though it is a lie.

      Yes, in 1947, UN Resolution 181 did recommend borders for the Jewish and Arab states. But the Arabs rejected that resolution decisively. So that recommendation is null and void since it was only a non mandatory General Assembly Resolution. So the borders between Israel and the new state of Palestine have still to be decided. And they will only be decided as part of a comprehensive peace deal which both parties will have to sign. Only after that will both sides be prohibited from settling on land which is not within their country’s borders. In the meanwhile, since both the Arabs and the Israelis are heirs of the old mandatory Palestine, both have a right to settle on non inhabited non privately owned lands. Each for their own reasons such as security, historical practical or whatever else. The sooner the Arabs realise and accept this truth, the quicker they will negotiate a peace deal with accepted borders which Israel will have no excuse to violate. Nor will the Arabs!

      Reply to Comment
      • Average American

        JohnW – It appears the Arabs are not being allowed to have the means to settle as you describe in the last paragraph. Certainly not allowed to have their own security forces, possibly not building materials, what about water and electricity. What do you think?

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          “Certainly not allowed to have their own security forces,”

          See what I mean, Average Arab? Stupidity!

          The Jews of Palestine (now Israel) have been under attack by the Arabs of Palestine for the better part of a century and you say that it is naughty of us to make it harder for the likes of Hamas?

          Here is something for you to think about: If the shoe would be on the other foot and the balance of military strength would be in favor of the likes of Hamas, we Israelis wouldn’t have to worry about having to settle anywhere, about security forces, or electricity and water.

          You know why, Average Arab? Of course you do. Because you guys would make sure that no Jews would remain alive in this area. That is racial.

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          • Average American

            Gutav – I was actually talking to someone else. But tell me, how do you identify “the Arabs of Palestine” in order to deny them security forces, building materials, water, electricity? Is it just every single member of that race? Or is it anyone who is not your race?

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          • Gustav

            Tell me Average Arab (who pretends to be an Average American), when are you going to stop beating your wife?

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          • Average American

            Gustav – Ok, I’ll shorten the question. How do you identify “the Arabs of Palestine”?

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          • Gustav

            What a question. How do you identify any nationality? How do you identify Americans?

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          • Average American

            Well I suppose without knowing the individual, you could apply stereotypes and make assumptions about the individual. For example, Arabs are dark skinned and shifty-eyed and have big noses. And what would be the stereotype to identify Jews? Jews are tricky, wear funny hats, think very highly of themselves.

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