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Middle East
Same old story, Same old result
2003-10-03
Israel Announces Plans for Hundreds of New Homes in Settlements
Israel plans to build 565 new homes in Jewish settlements in the West Bank, violating a U.S.-backed peace plan and angering Palestinians already seething over plans to build a security barrier deep into the West Bank.
Seems like the Paleos violated the U.S.-backed peace plan when they blew the bus. Further, it seems like they spend all their time seething over something, so what's to lose?
Announcements for the new housing units appeared in an Israeli newspaper on Thursday, inviting contractors to bid on the projects. The "road map" plan requires a complete freeze in all construction in some 150 Jewish settlements throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which Israel seized during the 1967 war. However, an Israeli official said Israel did not have any responsibility to meet its road map obligations until Palestinians crack down on militant groups. "The road map is stalled as long as there is no action taken by the Palestinians to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure," said Zalman Shoval, an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
Y'don't suppose Sharon's doing this because he wants to make them squeal like piggies, do you?
The Israeli government says it needs the new buildings to account for what it calls the "natural growth" of the settlements, but the road map freeze does not make exceptions.
It didn't make exceptions for exploding buses, either...
The government announcement that it planned to build 565 housing units in three West Bank settlements came a day after the Cabinet approved a portion of a security barrier of fences and walls that runs into the West Bank to shield key settlements - as well as Israel - from suicide bombers, who have killed hundreds of Israelis over the past three years.
Posted by:Bruce

#14  The settlements only indicate to me that Sharon never plans to let go of the West Bank, or to allow the creation of an independent Palestinian state...

I think Aris is correct. But I expect we disagree on the wisdom of the move. MO Joooos.
Posted by: Shipman   2003-10-3 7:52:15 PM  

#13  Settlements are also a prod to the Paleos to quit stalling and hoping to outwait the Israelis. Every day the Paleos refuse to do their part in agreements they've made should be another bit of pain - settlements taking open land is a pain to the Paleos, and frankly I don't give a f*&k about their "Arab sensitivities" any more. Abide by your word (I know, impossible for Arabs) and get peace. Lie, prevaricate, kill innocents and you get the shitty little hole in the desert you deserve....*/rant over*
Posted by: Frank G   2003-10-3 7:07:42 PM  

#12  Aris, Sharon didn't create the settlements. Some have existed for well over a decade. And, Israeli politics isn't like any you've ever seen, except for maybe Italy. The people in the settlements vote nearly as a bloc, and right now their parties's ministers in the Cabinet support Sharon. If they bow out, no Sharon. We get Netanyahu, and he'll make Sharon look like a wussie in skirts. All recent Israeli governments do a delicate balancing act to stay in power, and one or two people in the Cabinet carry a disproportionate weight because they can wreck any government.
Posted by: Chuck Simmins   2003-10-3 2:54:41 PM  

#11  If they want to keep the moral high-ground they need to stick w/the U.S. backed road-map.

I seriously doubt that possessing the moral high ground isn't going to make the Palestinians any more responsible or trustworthy. In the meantime, they're still planning and trying to kill as many Israelis as they can.

The settlements prove that this isn't Sharon's desire.

The settlements as things stand now don't prove a thing. Had the Palestinians carried out their Oslo and "roadmap" obligations, then you just might have a point.
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama   2003-10-3 2:47:59 PM  

#10  The settlements only indicate to me that Sharon never plans to let go of the West Bank, or to allow the creation of an independent Palestinian state... This isn't about any roadmap or not -- forget the roadmap. Do the settlements make sense even if no such roadmap had ever existed? Only in the sense of trying to alter the demographics of the region towards integrating the West Bank territories with the rest of Israel.

Which means making West Bank an integral part of Israel. And if this sounds good to any of you, then you should realize than in a democracy this should *also* mean that all the Palestinians of the territories should have an equal right of vote in the election of the *Israeli* government.

But if the ideal is having two independent states peacefully coexist, then the Israeli and Palestinian governments should work towards making each of their territories as autonomous and self-sustaining as is possible.

The settlements prove that this isn't Sharon's desire.
Posted by: Aris Katsaris   2003-10-3 2:12:22 PM  

#9  Israel can't be expected to abide by the terms of any agreement if the other side isn't doing the same.

I agree to a point, however, building new homes as the article states doesn't help them w/our country according to the agreement. No one's condoning Paleo tactics, but the Israelis are playing into their hands by doing this. If they want to keep the moral high-ground they need to stick w/the U.S. backed road-map.
Posted by: Jarhead   2003-10-3 11:13:47 AM  

#8  Total expulsion is not imho the best solution.

As I see it, the point being made is that it always seems that Israel is expected to make all the concessions. Have the Palestinians lived up to their commitments made at Oslo? Have they held up their end of the agreement with regards to GWB's "roadmap"? No, and no. Israel can't be expected to abide by the terms of any agreement if the other side isn't doing the same.
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama   2003-10-3 10:43:34 AM  

#7  Zhang Fei,

good theory; however a lot of Arabs legitimately work in Israel. Total expulsion is not imho the best solution. It would probably hurt the Israeli economy as well as the Arabs themselves. Unless other Arab countries try to come in and really help the Palestinians economically - vice saber rattling and spewing anti-semitism this problem will never end.
Posted by: Jarhead   2003-10-3 9:56:48 AM  

#6  If Palestinian territory is required to be Judenfrei (Jew-free), then Israeli territory should be Arab-free. It's time to deport the Jewish settlers from the West Bank and Gaza, while simultaneously deporting Israel's Arab population to those settlements.
Posted by: Zhang Fei   2003-10-3 9:33:23 AM  

#5  There are a couple of dozen or so large, well-established settlements, in the occupied territories. The Israelis have never committed to removing these settlements, as it would involve relocating tens of thousands of Israelis. Just not gonna happen.

The Israelis are committted, and have made scattered attempts, to remove the "spite" settlements, placed illegally (illegal under Israeli law)by extremeist Zionist groups to provoke the Palestinians. These typically consists of no more than a few trailers and are often not occupied 24/7.

Defending the "spite" settlements makes little tactical or strategic sense. Removing them does not harm the government, since the people creating them already disagree with the government.

The issue of the large settlements is a deal breaker for both sides. The wall may or may not be extended far into the territories to enclose these settlements. They are a flash point and the Israelis spend significant resources on their defense, and in maintaining road access to them through "hostile" territory. They represent the notion, at one time popular in Israel, that the territories would just be absorbed into the nation. Now they are isolated islands, and a problem for all sides in the conflict.
Posted by: Chuck Simmins   2003-10-3 8:51:50 AM  

#4  George & Bruce - Whazzis? An Indy tag team? This smells ripe.

Fred - It wouldn't happen to be the same IP address on both posts, would it?

The Road Map, The Quartet, The UN - all dead. Deadder than dead, the Road Map was DOA cuz the Paleos were half of the equation, The Quartet were singing out of tune from day 1, and the UN is the anti-solution to any problem you have in mind - except for how to turn hopes, time, effort, money and goodwill into ashes.

I agree with Shipman.
Posted by: .com   2003-10-3 8:13:10 AM  

#3  However, an Israeli official said Israel did not have any responsibility to meet its road map obligations until Palestinians crack down on militant groups.

-I think one goes hand-in-hand w/the other. Plus, I don't think this move will help curb attacks. If anything, Hamas has just been given some more fuel to their already twisted fire. I wonder what President Bush's response will be after he hears this.
Posted by: Jarhead   2003-10-3 7:50:48 AM  

#2  that it planned to build 565 housing units

Why so few?
Posted by: Shipman   2003-10-3 7:34:32 AM  

#1  If they are not required to follow the "Road Map" then I guess the US not required to give them 6 billion dollars each year.
Posted by: George   2003-10-3 6:50:41 AM  

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