Saturday, January 08, 2011

Justifications for Israeli settlements

In December 2010 a group of 26 ex-EU leaders wrote an open letter to the President of the European Council, urging sanctions for Israeli settlements. One response to this letter, a comment published on the EU Observer website by Daniel S. Mariaschin, is typical of apologists for Israel.

According to Mr. Mariaschin the letter fails to note the "context, history, or nuance needed to truly understand the situation,". The context and history includes which includes, inter alia, the Palestinian reluctance to return to the negotiating table, Israel's very real security concerns, Palestinian incitement, and the fact that a sizeable portion of the Palestinian population will not even recognise Israel's right to exist. Mr. Mariaschin also states, that the main hindrence for a Palestinian state is Palestinian obduracy,and that Israel, since 1967, repeatedly has tried to exchange the occupied territories for peace.

Even if Mr. Mariaschin assertions are accepted as true,(1) context and history does not, in my opinion, offer a defence for Israeli settlements.The creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza must be seen as the best solution to the Palestianen problem.(2) Israeli Settlements have taken over and divided a significant part of the West Bank, making a Palestinian state non-viable and a borders agreement close to impossible.(3) A state in which the internal movement of people, goods and services are impossible and where the authorities cannot exert control over a unified territory, cannot be considered a state. Context and history does not change this reality.

Israeli settlements, as well as Palestinian obduracy and violence, are hindrances to a two-state solution and defenders of Israel should accept and recognise this.

(1) Mr. Mariachin is also selective in what history and context he notes, failing, for example, to note that Israel closed its borders to approximately 700.000 Palestinian refugees in 1949 and the West Banks borders to approximately 300.000 Palestinian Refugees in 1967.
(2) The one state solution is, in my opinion, a utopian dream.
(3) Mr. Mariachins argument that the settlements make up only 5 % of the West Bank, fails to note that the settlements population is over 500.000 and that the infrastructure of the settlements cut of Palestinian movement and Palestinian control.


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