Israel Seeking to Tread a Lonely Path
by Dracomicron, Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 08:44:32 AM EDT
Israel will not heed President Barack Obama's powerful appeal to halt all settlement activity on lands the Palestinians claim for a future state, officials said Friday.
The government plans to allow construction inside existing West Bank settlements to accommodate for growing families, said the officials, explaining a position that looks sure to cause a serious policy clash with the United States.
This "growing families" line is bullcrap and there's no way that Israel's government doesn't know it. Look at Hong Kong: This is an island city that has 1.3 million people in 80 square kilometers... Jerusalem has 750 thousand people in 125 square kilometers. That "growing families" line just don't cut it, guys.
Let's face it: Israel doesn't need more settlements, they need high rise apartment buildings. Part of living in a place, whether it's a neighborhood in my own Minneapolis, or a country like Israel in the Middle East, is learning to live with one's neighbors. If I tried to feed a line to my neighbors saying that, "oh, my flower garden just needs to grow onto your property, I hope you don't mind me digging up your carrots so I can plant more petunias," I would probably end up in court and losing badly.
Israel should expect the same thing if they persist with this. I understand how they feel entitled to the land; going back to the garden analogy, for years the neighborhood association has been extremely permissive my rowdy gardening because my apartment building burned down and they felt sorry for me... but after a few years, such patience can and should wear thin.
Israel's new leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, refuses to endorse Palestinian statehood or accept a settlement freeze.
Yes, Bibi. I know you're on the "tough guy" side of the Israeli political playground; thing is, there's always someone bigger... and right now, that someone is Obama and the weight of international opinion. Even the schoolyard bully backs off when the playground monitor comes over, and, be certain, Bibi: The monitor has come over. Obama's not going to back off on this, and I'll tell you why: He wants to put ending your conflict with Palestine on his resume'. Plenty of other presidents have tried to bring Middle Eastern peace in the last few months of their presidencies, but Obama knows better; he's going to have to keep at it for all eight years of his two terms to put a dent in it.
So you have two choices: help him, and write yourself into the history books as a great leader, or fight it and face the same fate as all of Obama's other recent opponents: grudgingly working with him in the end anyway.
"With all due respect to President Obama, and there is respect, and to the deep friendship between Israel and the United States, no foreign leader of another country will set policy in Judea and Samaria," lawmaker Ofir Akonis of Netanyahu's Likud Party told Army Radio. Judea and Samaria are the Hebrew terms used for the West Bank.
Hate to break it to you, Ofir, but foreign leaders are making policy in Judea and Samaria. You and your Israeli government are the foreign leaders of this conquered territory.
So enough with the posturing. Either help us out, or stop acting like contentious children who got their hands on guns and tanks. The path you're heading towards is going to be a lonely one; the rest of the world is just about out of patience.
ADDENDUM: It just occurred to me that Israel doesn't have to dismantle the settlements... why not just sell them to Palastinians for a reasonable price? Sign over the deeds to the construction, and suddenly you have helped atone for all the buildings destroyed in your military's last rampage and abandoned a distructive course of action. Or does that make too much sense?