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Poof, the Magic Settlements!

May 28, 2014 7:13 am 17 comments

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal (L) and PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Photo: Jewish Policy Center.

When Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah/Palestinian Authority (PA) signed a reconciliation agreement with Hamas, a recognized terrorist group that calls in its Charter for the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews, the State Department’s spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, observed, “It’s hard to see how Israel can be expected to negotiate with a government that does not believe in its right to exist.”

Despite the obvious truth of this statement, Secretary of State John Kerry blamed Israel. As he  told the Congress, “700 settlement units were announced in Jerusalem. And poof! That was sort of the moment.”

Again the claim is that “magical” settlements can “magically” destroy a major peace negotiation. Somehow, the PA promoting hatred and violence, not arresting terrorists, allying itself with Hamas, refusing to accept Israel as a Jewish state are not the destroyers of peace – it is the announcement of the construction of Jewish homes within the boundaries of settlements that existed when Oslo began. Specifically, in Gilo, a southern Jerusalem neighborhood of 40,000, which would remain part of Israel under any conceivable peace agreement.

Apparently, an alleged Palestinian desire for peace and statehood alongside Israel magically evaporated – poof! – at that moment.

Yet, if Palestinians’ urgent objective was to end settlements, they could do no better than rapidly negotiating with Israel the establishment of a Palestinian state from which they could exclude Jews. But this is precisely what they won’t do, because the price is acceptance of the Jewish state of Israel and an end of claims and conflict with it.

Thus, for virtually all of the past five and a half years, Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA) has refused to even participate in negotiations with Israel. When, in 2009, Israel froze Jewish construction in the West Bank for 10 months -something never agreed to by Israel in the Oslo agreements – the PA refused talks until almost the end of the 10-month period. It now demands that Israel free convicted, blood-soaked terrorists – again, something not required of Israel in any past agreement and an anti-peace demand in itself –  before agreeing merely to talk to the Israelis.

The PA has neither moderated one iota its refusal to accept Israel as a Jewish state (Mahmoud Abbas: “I do not accept a Jewish state, call it what you will”) nor its demand for a Jew-free Palestinian state (Abbas: “when a Palestinian state is established, it would have no Israeli presence in it”) nor even its partiality for violence (Abbas: “I turned to the Arab States and I said: ‘If you want war, and if all of you will fight Israel, we are in favor'”). Only last week, the PA intervened to have six Israelis removed who were participating in a “peace run” to promote Israeli/Palestinian coexistence organized by Australian athlete Pat Farmer.

Abbas’ PA has not fulfilled its commitments under the Oslo agreements to arrest terrorists, outlaw terrorist groups and end the incitement to hatred and murder in the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools, and youth camps that helps fuel the conflict. Thus, the naming of streets and schools in honor of Jew-killing terrorists, publicizing false claims that Israel intends to destroy Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque, PA clerics reviling Jews as AIDS and destroyers of humanity, teaching Palestinian children that Israel has no right to exist and to aspire to becoming terrorists – continues unabated.

Unsurprisingly, this is reflected in Palestinian society. A September 2013 Pew survey found that 62% of Palestinians justify the use of suicide terrorism. According to a July 2011 Palestinian Center for Public Opinion (PCP) poll, an astonishing 73% of Palestinians agree with the Islamic teaching about the need to murder the Jews cited in Article 7 of the Hamas Charter. The same poll showed that 61% of Palestinians reject the idea of a peaceful Palestinian state living alongside Israel as the solution to the Arab/Israeli war, as against only a third (34%) who accept it. It also showed that a mere 1% of Palestinians accept the idea of Jerusalem continuing to be the capital of Israel. Hardly a Palestinian record of peace-making, moderation, or flexibility.

Against all this, the Israeli Government acceded in principle to Palestinian statehood and, as mentioned, even unilaterally froze Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria for 10 months in an effort to have the Palestinians merely resume negotiations. In 2000 and again in 2008, the PA refused without counter-offer Israeli proposals of Palestinian statehood on virtually all of the territory it is officially demanding.

Last year, Israel freed scores of convicted Palestinian murderers, demanded by Abbas as a precondition of the PA merely turning up to negotiations – and yet the PA continues to refuse talks, their alibi being “settlements,” even though they comprise only 3% of all of Judea and Samaria.

That reason is totally false and irrational – yet people believe it. It must be magic.

Morton A. Klein is the National President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA).


  • defiantjewess

    Due to the nature of the Arabs, tribalism and self hatred, they will self destruct in short order. It is almost like a law of nature that two arab tribes cannot live in harmony. I am confident these two groups will soon be cutting each other’s collective throats. My hope is that cancel each other’s dance card and Israel need only go in and sweep the ashes and dust from their carnage

    • defiantjewess

      Morton Klein failed to mention the key reason PA will not make peace: $$$$$$$. Same as the PLO- Afafat was offered almost everything and yet he refused. In exchange he received 7 billion dollars.

      The PA has received billions, state sponsored anti-Semitism from the EU and US. Billions of dollars at their discretion to wage war with Israel. Hence BDS, propaganda, terror etc. The anti Israel campaign is a whole industry, a plethora of ngos and so called peace organizations all work together in this web of making peace.

      The problem for the PA is once there is peace (which will never be) but lets suppose it did happen, what money would they receive and from who. The industry that is in place would wither and die. The game over.

  • How? These two Enemies are now Friends:Fatah/Palestinian Authority (PA)

    Exodus 23:22
    The enemy of my enemy is my friend!

    When Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah/Palestinian Authority (PA) signed a reconciliation agreement with Hamas, a recognized terrorist group that calls in its Charter for the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews, the State Department’s spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, observed, “It’s hard to see how Israel can be expected to negotiate with a government that does not believe in its right to exist.”

  • Ilbert Phillips

    I was a young boy and remember when Israel declared itself a state (pursuant to both the League of Nation’s Mandate and the U.N. Resolution supporting and acknowledging that Mandate)and when the Arabs refused to accept the Mandate and Resolution, over territory they never had control or possession, but territory the occupied at the leave of the Ottoman Empire, territory that was the ancient home of the Jews. We now have two people claiming the territory, one an ancient people and the other newer usurpers, whose ancestors built their mosque on the Temple Mount to demonstrate their dominance over other’s territory, a dominance they cannot maintain. In the early years, many Arabs acknowledged that the Jews were entitled to their homeland. When it became a reality, the Palestinian Arabs murdered Jews during the English administration of the Mandate (Hebron is an example) and aligned themselves with Hitler during WWII. They still could not win or get rid of the Jews. Their reasons for not having peace continue to change and we will continue to have war. We will have peace when they finally lose and it will not matter that the anti-Semites (whether Arab, European, Iranian, African or the American State Department) want to support the bogus claims and history of the Arabs in Palestine.

  • Right you are Marc!!!

  • Dogan Akman

    The Israelis keep saying that the continued enlargement of existing settlements are an excuse a mere excuse not to make peace.Personally they are kidding themselves and fooling no one.

    Frankly, I think this position is codswallop. It is time to stop this nonsense.

    The fact of the matter is that, right or wrong the continued building of these settlements keeps sustaining and feeding in large measure anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic feelings and opinion around the world; and I might add, for good reason.

    Sadly enough the sole reason for building or enlarging of these settlements is a matter of domestic politics.

    Netanyahu wants to stay in power more than he wants anything else. And in order to do that he has no choice but to carry on with the present policy.Hence all the rationalisations for continuing on the present course of action.

    Regardless what the Palestinians do or not do, it is time for Israel to start facing facts and to be governed by a party or a coalition of parties that will stop once and for all settlement building or enlarging activities.

    Until this happens, Israel will be stuck in a rut, in the same rut it has been ever since establishing settlements in the West Bank became first by default and then a deliberate policy.

    Israel should discard its settlement policy regardless whether or not this will or will not bring the Palestinians to the table.It should do that for its own sake.

    I am a Jew and a Zionist. I stand by and for Israel and I want the Israeli government to stand by Israel as well and get rid of what has become a monstrous tail that is wagging the dog.

    We cannot let the settlements and the fanatic settlers decide Israel’s future.

    Dogan Davit Akman

    • I think you’re missing a step.

      Israel has tried to make peace 5 times with the Arab League / PLO / PA. Like in any courtship, the PA says no, because, once it says yes, they are stuck together. Really, by refusing Israel’s offers for peace (and every international broker’s help) the PA retains it’s power – for them, no is better than yes.

      No means being applauded by the world’s anti-Semites gathered in fine suits at the UN. Having the president of the most powerful country on Earth have you over for tea. Being a cause celebre.

      Yes means dealing with a mess of a little country they’d have. Dealing with corruption, unseen since the Dons of Sicily. Running what would be one of the world’s least significant countries, in all of history. Really, a GDP the size of Montenegro, islands like Fiji or basket cases like Sierra Leone.

      Which would you want?

      As for the settlements, they come from Israel’s frustration. For 67 years, Israel is told no peace, meaning no truce, meaning no agreed on and peaceful borders. The settlements were built on the military outposts set up in 1967 – basically, these are highpoints against valleys, so if Jordan were to try to occupy the land (what it did from 1948 to 1967), Israel could rebuff the Jordanians (what it did in 1967.)

      In terms of strategy, what many of the Jewish people want is to be unilateral – if “they” won’t sign a bilateral peace with us, we’ll push forward into a new status quo. If the PA wanted the “1967 borders” or the equivalent “1948 borders” they could have agreed to them. Since they didn’t agree, why wait? Why should Israel hold someone else’s spot in line?

      Clearly, the PA should agree to peace with Israel, which would grant the “West Bank,” the “settlements” or any other bit they needed. Keep in mind, in 1967, Israel took the Sinai, the WB and the Golan Heights with the idea of trading them for peace deals, which is what happened with Egypt and Jordan, which didn’t get land, but Israel’s protection and help along the River.

      But, what we know is that the PA has no intention of agreeing to anything, ever. Why?

      Because who wants to be #152 out of 190 countries, and, with the exception of African nightmares Liberia and Swaziland, the last country-country that’s not a tiny island in the list. I know this will hurt their feelings, but the truth is their current semi-nation state has as much economic power as 1/12 of the tiny US state of Rhode Island. Really.

      So. Who wants to be a loser in real life, when you can be a hero, a jihadist, a leftist revolutionary, at least in your mind and on the covers of newspapers?

      Say no to peace! Long live imaginary Palestine! #1 in world history importance! #1 in newspaper columns! #1 in nonsense.

      • defiantjewess

        I would nt worry- they will slit each others throats, and Israel will be left to take over after cleaning up their mess

      • defiantjewess

        Actually the refusal for peace has to do with money- the PA received billions of dollars to wage war with Israel. The EU, The US, the plethora of ngos and so called peace organizations all work together in this web of making peace. The problem for the PA is once there is peace (which will never be) but lets suppose it did happen, what money would they receive and from who. The industry that is in place would wither and die. The game over.

    • Dog an,
      Come on, “fanatic settlers”? I know many settlers and on the whole, they are not more or less fanatic then an average Israeli-so I guess, the Israelis “are fanatics”. Your naivete and gullibility is only surpassed by your audiological blindness.
      The Muslims want to kill the Jews not because or this or that settlement, but for ideological and religious reasons. They murder each other with the drop of a hat, so you think they will stop murdering Jews because we stop building housing-anywhere?
      I pity your myopic vision!!!

    • One inescapable truth that should have percolated by now is that one cannot be pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel at the same time. Choose one!

    • Simply put.

      There was NO PEACE prior to a single solitary settlement. Nothing has changed. The settlements are only a problem because Jewish neighborhoods will be Verboten in a Judenrein Palestinian State.

      Article 24 of the original PLO covenant explicitly states that they have NO CLAIM to Judea, Samaria, or Gaza. The issue is JEWS.

      Now that JEWS live there… it’s bad. When Jordanians lived there, it was fine and dandy.

      We have 1.5 Million or so Arab/Muslims in Israel. I’m fine with that.

      But the Palestinians cannot handle a single solitary Jewish neighborhood.

      This is not about LAND. This is NOT about a State. For the Palestinian Leadership, this is about DESTRUCTION OF JEWS.

    • The settlements pose a threat to the Palestinians because they are evidence that Jews will have the same rights the Palestinians claim for themselves.

      Under Islamic doctrine, non-Muslims can never be granted status equivalent to that of Muslims — we’re seeing the consequences of this belief everywhere from Indonesia to Mauritania, especially now in Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Nigeria — and making a real peace with non-Muslims accords those non-Muslims status Islam cannot accept.

      For there to be peace, Islam must change. For the life of me, I don’t see any way whatever Israel does about the settlements can have any effect on the nature of Islam.

    • with all due respect, you just made the author’s point. “the settlements” is not what keeps Arab anti-Semitism alive; Arab anti-Semitism has been flourishing since 700 AD. and to imagine that it can be changed by giving up some land is just magical thinking.

      Palestinian children aren’t taught to hate Jews because the West Bank is “occupied,” they are taught to hate Jews because Jews are unclean, infidels, barely human, who should be killed or subjugated.

      it is indeed “The Occupation” that brings the world’s hatred upon Israel. not the 1967 one; the 1948 one. the creation of the modern state of Israel is what’s being commemorated on “Nakba Day,” you know, not the 6-Day War.

      I daresay that if Israel went back to “1948 borders” (i.e., ceased to exist) the Palestinians would then be satisfied. but I don’t see any reason why Israel should volunteer to commit national suicide so “the world” won’t hate it. personally, I will stand with Israel, not the world.

    • Julian Clovelley

      In my perception Dogan you are almost absolutely correct, albeit I have a little trouble with your first sentence, and would like clarification.

      The Settlements first and foremost are about the actual nature of the state of Israel, and how Israel is perceived overseas. I find the most unlikely people feel they just cannot support Israel because of them. For them the Settlements take away Israel’s status as the victim of bad behaviour. For example the rocket firings are all too easily seen as justified rage at an invasion that has lasted nearly half a century and continues to intensify. That is a view I do not share, but it is not uncommon

      You are also correct in saying that the Settlements feed antisemitism overseas. Were it not for the de facto invasion they represent to many people, Israel would be seen as the unjustfiably threatened nation. I fear that no suggestion that Settlements are merely held as a bargaining counter in reaching a solution has a shred of credibility when we see those Settlers screaming on YouTube and elsewhere “this is my land G-d gave it to me”

      Overseas one views Israel, because of these Settlements, defaming the very organisation – the United Nations, that gave it birth. They see it defying decisions of international law, and the articles of the Geneva Convention relating to occupied territory. They see it insulting charitable organisations, some of which historically assisted the survivors of Hitler’s actions. People are genuinely emotionally upset by such behaviour. Many would like to see Israel as the shining Democracy of the Middle East illuminating the way forward to a better and modern world for all the region’s peoples.

      Much of the world sees Netanyahu as a Prime Minister who allows himself to be dominated by the Settlers factions and the extreme Right. They see this internal mis-alignment extended overseas to the point where the Right Wing of internal Israeli politics seeks to goad the American Jewish community into supporting the extreme Republican Right. This then rebounds in Europe where recent, ill attended, elections demonstrated the seething rage amongst Europeans at the decimation years of Right Wing German-dominated Austerity have done to their lives. Never mind whether the actual swing is Right or Left – diificult to assess when voting is voluntary – the important phenomena is “polarisation”. That is the real threat to minority communities.

      There is another factor that wants to be closely looked at, and that is the Right’s moves within the European Union towards a Free Trade deal with America. Ring those alarm bells loud and clear – that is the very political action that could totally polarise Europe into warring factions

      In all this Israel needs to extricate itself – The key for them, seen from outside I believe, is the Settlements and the manner in which their existence pushes Israel into the hands of a Right that historically Jewish people could never trust, and which in Europe is on a collision course with popular despair.

      Netanyahu in the view of outsiders to Israel , however sympathetic, is simply in the wrong Coalition. He has aligned himself with a Right that deludes itself that if the worst comes to the worst a military solution is possible. That is dangerous thinking. Wars are oft-times lost – even by the most apparently strong nations and sometimes the loser loses everything he has.

      Quite happy to listen to other views on all this. I am merely giving my perception of the immediate sources of present feeling

      • One thing I’ll give you, Julian, is that, indeed, it’s in the perception where Israel has lost. But I think the settlements are an excuse people can seize on to justify their story of why they hate the Jews.

  • The misapplied definition of a settlement has more to do with the propaganda war against Israel than facts.
    For example, Gilo is a Jerusalem neighborhood, and clearly not a settlement. The only settlers are in Hamas-occupied Gaza, and in PLO-occupied Areas A and B. And the so-called peace process went “poof” because of Arab intransigence against Jewish Israel.

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