Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Why Israel Needs to Freeze Settlements Now

An obvious sensitive subject in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the issue of ancestral vs. real homelands.  The land currently occupied by Israel is the ancestral homeland of the Assyrian Christians, the Palestinian Muslims, and Israeli Jews.  For the most part, it has been the real homeland of Palestinian Muslims and Christians.  That is, it is the territory in which they were born and raised, and have called homes their entire lives.

By continuing settlements, Israel is really only hurting the Israeli Jewish population.  While now it may seem like a good way of providing more, cheaper land and housing to Israeli Jews, it is only harmful to Israel and her people in the long run.  Israeli politicians allow the settlement because they are stacking the cards in their hand for future political battles, at the expense of Israeli people, and especially young Israelis.

Although I don't think it is necessarily still feasible, or the best solution, the international community seems to have its heart and mind stuck on a two state solution.  If and when this plan eventually materializes, there will now be thousands of Israelis who find themselves inside of Palestine's legal borders.  They will face the same issues which Palestinians have been facing since the creation of Israel, suddenly finding themselves foreigners in their homeland.  The towns which they have grown up calling "home" and thinking of as rightfully theirs, will suddenly be a part of a Palestinian state.  A Palestinian state which is almost sure to recognize the right of return for exiled Palestinians.  Which means the return of land rightfully belonging to Palestinian refugees that fall within the new Palestinian state.  This can only mean forced relocation of the settlers inhabiting that land at the time.

In other words, the Israeli state's policies on settlement are setting settlers up to go through the same crises of national identity, relocation, and refugee status to which the government is currently subjecting Palestinians.

Until a two state solution is either confirmed or finally rejected, Israel must stop the building of settlements, not only for the sake of the Palestinians, but also for the sake of the Israeli settlers themselves.''
Beyond the Green Line: Israeli Settlements West of the Jordan

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