Settlements, settlements, settlements, WTF! UPDATE
by MainStreet, Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 07:52:56 AM EDT
That is a reasonable question because nothing is more deceiving about the topic of settlements in the West Bank of Palestine than their expansiveness. The term "settlement" is actually a euphemism that hides the reality on the West Bank: the massiveness of the Israeli colonialism that has already taken place.
This latest map (above), dated late 2008, provides some idea of the extent of Israeli building in the West Bank: the villages, towns, and virtual cities that exist as "settlements," many of which have Burger King and Starbuck concessions, shopping malls, and fancy homes with swimming pools that suck water out of the limited West Bank aquifers.
For sake of clarity, since the map legend may be unreadable, the blue triangles represent legal settlements (all settlements are illegal according to international law), while the red triangles represent illegal outposts, small settlements, some of which Israel recently indicated it would dismantle.
If anyone thinks that an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal based on the withdrawal of settlements ala the Arab League proposal is going to be easy, think again. On looking at the reality, one actually has to wonder if Obama hasn't bought into the Alon Plan, in which it is understood that Israel will keep 40-50% of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. What's left for the Palestinians?
It is otherwise going to take "grit" to convince the Israelis that their future security is dependent upon a satisfactory peace with the "Arabs," as they are called in Israel, the people called Palestinians for the rest of us.
UPDATE: Caught this piece over at Huffington Post;
Amb. Marc Ginsberg, Former US Amb. to Morocco
"Natural Growth": Netanyahu's Road Map to a Mid East Roadblock
Taking on the sacred cow of Israeli settlements construction in the West Bank has historically been a fool's errand for American presidents.
Caught between Israel's concerned supporters at home (many of whom do not appreciate the complexity of the issue) and domestic Israeli politics, no amount of presidential arm-twisting between strong allies seems to have slowed their growth or stopped their spread, even though successive Israeli governments since 1993 have pledged to ice the construction. Both Labor and Likud leaders have talked the talk, but rarely walked the walk away from that ever so tantalizing next hammer swing. But each swing of that hammer has only dealt another blow to the vision of a viable Palestinian state, as well as a safe and secure Jewish and democratic state of Israel.
I commend President Obama for demanding a deep freeze on settlement construction. Unlike his predecessors, Obama appears no longer willing to engage in the vexing winking and nodding that has characterized American attitudes to settlement growth in the past. I take that stand as a passionate Zionist dedicated to Israel's freedom and security, who just as passionately believes in the right of Palestinians to have their own state living peacefully and viably side-by-side with a Jewish and democratic state of Israel.
So many proIsraeli supporters are coming back to reality that Jewish opinion is split more than ever. It's liberal democracy versus fascism. The first battle against this fascism is the settlement freeze.