A Brief Response

12Mar10

Something that caught my eye in Andy’s response is that it’s not exactly easy to move settlers on the post-1967 land out of the territory. It’s a good point, and one that needs to be taken into consideration. That being said, pragmatically, the US itself is calling for a freeze on settlements, not an evacuation. And in light of that fact, this news, if true, is depressing.

Some 50,000 new housing units in Jerusalem neighborhoods beyond the Green Line are in various stages of planning and approval, planning officials told Haaretz. They said Jerusalem’s construction plans for the next few years, even decades, are expected to focus on East Jerusalem.

Most of the housing units will be built in predominantly Jewish neighborhoods beyond the Green Line, while a smaller number of them will be built in Arab neighborhoods. The plans for some 20,000 of the apartments are already in advanced stages of approval and implementation, while plans for the remainder have yet to be submitted to the planning committees.

It’s worth going back to Andy’s point about how difficult it is to actually organize two states on the 1967 borders–difficult, but necessary. And considering these are full-on apartment buildings, this will only add to that difficulty. Again, what is the end game here? What is Netanyahu trying to prove or accomplish?

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2 Responses to “A Brief Response”

  1. 1 Andrew

    This is one point I can agree with in general. Obviously, part of the point of these settlements is to make this land too difficult to remove from Israel, even though it is clear a lot of it must be. The real problem lies in East Jerusalem and the land in the West Bank surrounding it. These areas, in terms most Americans would understand, have become a sort of Israeli suburbs.

    It will be strictly impossible to move all these people. Some will point to the evacuation of people in Gaza, but that would be tiny compared to this one. Frankly, an agreement going back to 1967 borders is just impossible. Most importantly, such an answer still leaves the fate of Jerusalem in question, and this is one of, if not the most important question hanging over negotiations between the two sides.

    A more nuanced approach I think would be a land swap, where land east of Jerusalem that are suburbs can be “traded” for land west of the fence that is majority Palestinian. Of course, there are two problems with this strategy. The first is the Palestinians in Israel don’t want to go back (according to polling at least) because they have better lives economically in Israel and/or they will be viewed negatively by other Palestinians for having lived in Israel. The second problem is still the problem with Jerusalem, of course.

    As for Netanyahu, well, I don’t agree with him morally here and what not, but he is doing what a smart man would do before a negotiation: making his position stronger. Also, he’s trying to prove to Obama that he’s no US pushover.

  2. 2 poliology

    In response here, I’d note that I don’t really trust the polling on the Palestinians in Israel, because every Palestinian I’ve talked to (which actually was quite a few because the PoliComm program emphasized international negotiation) says basically it’s bunk. Make of that what you will, it’s certainly anecdotal. The polling in Israel also shows very negative attitudes towards Arabs, with this (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1155627.html) well-publicized poll showing most religious Israeli high schoolers opposing equal rights for Arabs, and Israel’s banning of Arab political parties. I’d question whether it’s going to be sustainable for Palestinians to remain in Israel, but then again, I’m never one for forced relocation.

    I’m just not entirely sure what Netanyahu is trying to accomplish, honestly. This move is certainly not helping any offensive against Iran with US backing, which is admittedly unlikely to happen in the first place considering even Bush balked at that. But in terms of the peace process, I’m not sure where this moves leaves us. The Obama administration proposed the pre-67 borders as one for a two-state solution. Certainly that won’t happen with continued construction.


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