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Facts and Logic About
the Middle East
P.O. Box 590359
San Francisco, CA 94159
October 5, 2004
Friend of FLAME:
One of the persistent myths surrounding the Jewish/Arab conflict is
that the "root of the problem" is the presence of Jews in
"Palestine territory" and that peace would prevail if Jewish
communities in the areas were uprooted.
We have in many of our hasbarah (clarifying) messages explained
the invalidity of such thinking. But still, the myth persists and has
been repeated so often and for so long that most people, including many
who are well disposed toward Israel, have come to accept it as fact
and as truth. The current effort to dismantle Jewish settlements in
Gaza is only the latest example of such thinking. Many say that it isn't
"worth it" to engage Israeli troops to protect those Jewish
inhabitants of Gaza. But, of course, that is nonsense. Would we give
up Arizona to Mexico (who may arguably have a greater right to it than
the Palestinians have to Gaza) even if it would take half the US Army
to prevent that? Of course not! And one more thing: Responsible statesmen
don't give away pieces of their country for purposes of appeasement.
It never works!
Yoram Ettinger is a distinguished Israeli diplomat and analyst, who
was previously Israeli Consul General in Houston. In the essay that
follows, he explains succinctly the right of Israel to those territories,
why they are not an "obstacle to peace," and why the Jewish
communities in the areas (the "settlements") are indispensable
to Israel's security.
The Misrepresentation of the Jewish
Communities/Settlements in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and the Golan Heights
The Ariel Center for Policy Research, The Jerusalem Cloakroom #118
September 19, 2004
by Yoram Ettinger
Are settlements a cause for the Arab/Palestinian-Israeli conflict?
Arab/Palestinian wars on the Jewish State erupted irrespective of the
presence/absence of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria [called
the West Bank by some], Gaza or Golan. They were established
on 2% of Judea and Samaria and Gaza area following the
1967 War, which erupted following the establishment of the PLO
(1964), succeeding the wars of 1956 and 1948/9 and the sustained campaign
of Palestinian terror, which was launched in 1929, with the massacre
of Hebrons Jewish community and the expulsion of Gazas Jewish
community, the 1929, 1936 and 1948 decimation of Gush Etzions
Jewish communities and the 1948 dismantling of Kfar Darom in the Gaza
Are settlements an obstacle to peace? Why would the dismantling
of Jewish communities in Gaza and Judea and Samaria promote peace, while
the dismantling of Arab communities in Israel violate human rights?!
The 1993 Oslo Accord does not restrict settlement activity. If 250,000
Jews among 2.6 million Palestinians in Judea and Samaria and
Gaza constitute an obstacle to peace, how does one refer to 1.3
million Israeli Arabs among 5.5 million Jews? A super obstacle to peace?!
If the 1.3 million Israeli Arabs represent peaceful coexistence, why
would 250,000 Jews in Judea and Samaria, Gaza and Golan be an obstacle
to peace?! According to Israels law, the establishment of Jewish
communities of Judea and Samaria and Gaza cannot utilize private Arab
land, and cannot displace any Arab.
Settlements are the litmus test for and spur to peace.
Hope for peace and the uprooting of Jewish communities in Judea and
Samaria and Gaza constitute an oxymoron. If 2.6 million Palestinians
cannot tolerate 250,000 Jews in their midst, what do they mean by peaceful
coexistence?! The venomous Palestinian/Arab opposition to Jewish presence
in their midst featuring heavily in their formal education, clergy
and media systems reflects an inherent long-term ideology/strategy.
It has been the root cause of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and of
anti-Jewish Palestinian terrorism. Why would the West tolerate Judenrein
[free of Jews] Arab areas?! Palestinians should know that preoccupation
with terror would yield more Jewish communities, thus taxing Palestinian
negotiation posture. Freezing Jewish settlements would remove a chief
Palestinian incentive to negotiate.
Would the dismantling of settlements ease the conflict? The Palestinian-Israeli
conflict has not been territorial, nor has it been driven by despair.
The 1993 Oslo Accord provided the PLO/PA with unprecedented hope, territory
and legitimacy, which produced unprecedented terrorism. [Prime Minister]
Barak offer to evacuate 98% of Judea and Samaria and Gaza triggered
the current war. The conflict has been nurtured by the Palestinian/Arab
aim to eradicate sovereign Jewish (or any other minority) presence in
the Mideast, and by their hope for Jewish surrender. The uprooting of
Jewish communities, in a deterrence-driven-peace region, would fuel,
rather than subdue, Palestinian terrorism.
Are settlements required for Israels security? The mountain
ridges of Judea and Samaria constitute the Golan Heights
of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa. Most settlements are located in strategic
areas, controlling critical transportation arteries and hill tops, protecting
40% of Israels water resources, constraining and deterring terrorist
maneuverability and bolstering Israels determination to hold on
to the vital area. Gazas Kfar Darom and Netzarim were established,
in 1967, per IDF insistence. It was consistent with the late Chairman
of the Joint [Chief of Staff] General Earl Wheelers recommendation
that Israels control of the entire Gaza (139 sq. miles) would
reduce hostile potential by a factor of five (recruitment, training,
operations, incitement, etc.). They constitute an outpost, absorbing
terrorism, which would otherwise hit Israels soft belly.
The 1993/4 disengagement from Gaza required three times as many IDF
soldiers around and inside Gaza.
Do Jews have the right to settle Judea and Samaria, Gaza and Golan?
The 450 Arab villages of Judea and Samaria bear Biblical names (Anatot
is Anata, Haramah is A-Ram, Gilo is Beit Jallah, Gofna is Jifna, Levonah
is Luban, etc.). Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, Gaza and Golan
have renewed ancient Jewish presence, which was violently suspended
by Arab and prior aggression. Israels Founding Fathers were not
inspired by the coastal plain (which played a minimal role in forging
the Jewish identity), but rather by Judea and Samaria, Gaza and Golan,
which constitute the Cradle of Jewish History. Ben Gurion stated: The
Jewish passport has been the Bible. Statesmen do not negotiate
away their Cradle of History, lest they forfeit their national future!
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