I’ve always been an avid supporter of Israel. I have many times defended her right to exist, her creation, and her right to defend herself. But today I choose to criticise in a constructive manner. Israel must end its policy of allowing settlements in the West Bank.
I cheered Israel on when it turned 60 in 2008. I denounced the general negative attitude of the media. And I throughly explained the Six-Day War. I think anyone reading these would say that I support Israel. The story of Israel is one of joy and sorrow. In 1948, the world owed a debt to Jews. A debt that Arabs to this date don’t appreciate. I’ve always said one of the ironic situations is that had Arabs accepted the UN Partition Plan, that Israel, Palestine, and the greater Arab world would be in a better position today. The fact however remains that since the 1920s Jews had purchased land and territory and that after the anti-semitism endured for centuries they deserved to rule themselves.
However, reading an article today really helped sum up the negatives settlements are having on Israel. Nick Cleck, Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister, described settlements as “an act of deliberate vandalism” on the peace process. He also described Israel as a beacon of democracy. Israel had repeatedly said it will give the West Bank to allow Palestine to create a state. So why do they allow continued expansion of settlements? It does seem like vandalism. Israel needs to full stop expansion and withdraw its settlements. I can perhaps understand the idea behind settlements, especially with how useful similar set ups where in allowing the surival of Israel in the 1948 Israeli War of Independance. But today, in a more Modern era they have no use and create confusion. I was extremely proud when former Isreali Prime Minister Ariel Sharron withdrew from Gaza.
I also understand concerns about Jerusalem and Holy Sites. I understand the discrimination Jews have had in access to the sites, I am not asking for a withdrawal from such sites and believe the Israel has show extreme religious freedoms and as much as possible those sites shouldremain in Israel. Unfortunately as i’ve written about before access was not provided to Jews prior to 1967. But the settlements, they provide no purpose other than vandalism, a lack of trust and understanding, and increasing the conflict.
Sure, we should negotiate with no preconditions. I think Abbas, the Palestinian President, is stalling. For one he does not have the full support of all Palestinians. There is the problem of Hamas which still in its charter wishes to destroy Israel and is becoming to an extent a proxy of Iran. Hamas controls Gaza and there certainly is nothing to negotiate with there.
But that doesn’t change the fact that Israel has a chance to do the right thing. It isn’t about winning or losing, but rather about sending a message that we do support a Palestinian state, just as we hope one day you will support the Jewish State of Israel and its right to exist. The settlements must go!