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December 19, 2016 6:54 am

Israel’s ‘Settlements’ Are Not Blocking the Path to Peace

avatar by Gidon Ben-zvi

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The Jewish community of Amona. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Jewish community of Amona. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The crisis over the Israeli Supreme Court’s December 25 deadline to evacuate the Jewish Amona outpost has provoked soul searching within Israel about how the government should treat native population groups.

Among the Palestinians, however, this should be cause for celebration. So what explains the current state of pandemonium and uncertainty with regards to outstanding land issues in Judea and Samaria?

The failure to address this festering wound is the result of the Palestinian leadership’s chronic disinterest in compromising with the Israeli government — regardless of whether that government is right or left-leaning.

The current Regulation Bill supported by the Netanyahu government has actually been watered down significantly. The original law would have retroactively legalized the Amona outpost as well as others in Judea and Samaria — but this provision was removed due to concerns that it would undermine the authority of Israel’s Supreme Court.

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But while Israel has threaded a needle in formulating a law that simultaneously acknowledges Palestinian property rights and the Jewish people’s historic connection to Judea and Samaria, Palestinian leaders only add fuel to the flames by stating that “Israel is persistently and willfully legislating outside the realm of international law in order to legalize its criminal settlement agenda, considered a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.”

The Palestinian Authority then proceeded to bypass Israel and called on the United Nations and the United States to unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state.

While Israel’s legislative, executive and judicial branches have ceaselessly debated the Regulation Law, the Palestinian Authority has transformed the issue into a Trojan horse for delegitimizing Israel’s very existence. The grotesque, portrayals in PA-sanctioned media outlets of Israelis as money-grubbing, land swindling interlopers highlight a stark truth: Israel’s best and brightest minds are, effectively, bringing a legal brief to a knife fight.

Until Palestinian leaders embrace a spirit of compromise and peace, the Palestinian people will be condemned to an existence in which they are denied the chance to resolve their outstanding legal claims to lands in Judea and Samaria.

It is a shame for them, and for the cause of peace.

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