Monday, September 27, 2010


Settlement Building Resumes in Israel

The "partial freeze" on settlement building by Israeli fundamentalists has ended and the settlers are gleefully (but quietly) resuming the construction of new living structures.  The goal of the settlers / fundamentalists has never been in doubt.  They aim to recapture all of Biblical Israel to round out the area occupied by the Jewish state.  I have read that although they do not constitute a majority of Jews living in Israel they are an essential part of the coalition government now in power.  Prime Minister Netanyahu fears the loss of his majority in the parliament if he acts to anger the settlers.

As long as settlement activity continues and as long as the settlers themselves are guaranteed residence in and protection by the state of Israel, there is nothing to negotiate with the Palestinians who are slowly being displaced by the settlements except the ultimate date of their departure from Palestine / Israel.  The United States is pretending to try to get negotiations going for a two-state solution.  Mr. Netanyahu may personally believe that a two state solution would be a good one for Israel, but he can not advocate such a solution with serious or meaningful compromises as long as his coalition must depend on the cooperation of the settlers / fundamentalists.

On the other side, the Palestinian leader Abbas can not convincingly engage in any "negotiations" with the Israeli government as long as that government continues to allow the settlers to continue their slow occupation of all of what is left of Palestinian territory.

Both sides would welcome peace.  Neither side can negotiate in a realistic manner.  What is to be done?

The United States has the power of money to cause the settlement activity to cease.  Our contry provides foreign aid to Israel in the amount of several billions of dollars every year.  Some of the money is used to replace money used to build settlements.  Money is fungible.  If we stopped our foreign aid to Israel, Israel would be in desperate straits.  We could force an end to settlement activity as the price for resuming the foreign aid.

Our own government lacks the political will to use the power of money on Israel.  Cutting off the subsidy would anger an important lobby in Washington - the American Israeli Political Action Committee or AIPAC.  No President dares to face down this lobby.  It would cost his party important support in the next election.

Meanwhile, the Palestinians languish in refugee camps or watch helplessly as their farms are isolated by the growth of new Jewish settlements.  Any suggestions?


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