Israel Dismantles Another Settlement, Gets No Credit
JNS.org – You didn’t read about it in the New York Times, or hear about it on “CBS Evening News.” The European Union didn’t praise it, and the United Nations didn’t acknowledge it. But last week, Israel dismantled yet another Jewish settlement.
Of course, when Israel announces a plan to build a handful of homes in a Judea and Samaria community, that’s headline news. And when the Israeli government recently authorized the construction of a new Jewish town — the first one in 25 years — the critics were all aghast.
But when Israel tears down a settlement, the Jewish state gets zero credit in the eyes of the world.
Last week, the Israeli army evacuated Malachei Hashalom, an unauthorized encampment near the community of Shiloh in Samaria. During its existence, Malachei Hashalom didn’t displace any Arabs. Its residents didn’t hurt anyone. They weren’t occupying private Arab land, but were merely situated on the grounds of an abandoned army base. Surely, Jews have a historic and religious right to reside in a region that has been a central part of the Jewish national homeland since time immemorial.
Still, Israel is a nation of laws, and the Malachei Hashalom outpost was unauthorized — and so that was that. And it was not the first such outpost to be dismantled.
Contrary to the demonized depiction of colonialist Israel — as spread by the J Street crowd — the Israelis have actually torn down a number of illegal outposts in recent years, not to mention the dismantling of the Yamit communities in northern Sinai (1982), the destruction of four Jewish towns in northern Samaria (2005) and the mass expulsion of more than 8,000 Jews from Gaza (also in 2005).
These episodes are a painful reminder that Israeli concessions are almost never appreciated, reciprocated or even acknowledged. No matter how much Israel surrenders, the Palestinians and their supporters always demand more.
If Israel freezes construction outside of settlement blocs, the Palestinians then demand a freeze within the blocs. And if Israel were to freeze all construction, its enemies would next demand that every existing Jewish community be torn down, and its residents expelled.
And it wouldn’t stop there. Israel surrendered the Sinai — which comprised 80 percent of the territory that Israel won in 1967 — but that wasn’t enough. Then Israel withdrew from all of Gaza. That wasn’t enough. Then Israel gave the Palestinian Authority control of nearly 40 percent of Judea and Samaria. Still not enough. And you can bet that if Israel ever gave up the rest of Judea and Samaria, that wouldn’t be enough either.
Instead, the demands would intensify. Instead of the “1967 lines,” the Palestinians and their allies would start shouting about the “1947 lines.” And so it would go, with Israel shrinking and shrinking, until it disappears — which is, of course, exactly what the Palestinians are really after.
Stephen M. Flatow, a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, is an attorney in New Jersey. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.