They Say, We say: Settlements are Israel's first line of defense against attack

They Say We Say We know that pro-Israel does not mean blindly supporting policies that are irrational, reckless, and counter-productive. Pro-Israel means supporting policies that are consistent with Israel's interests and promote its survival as a Jewish, democratic state.

You've heard the arguments of the religious and political right-wing, and so have we. They've had their say. Now, we'll have ours.

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Are settlements really a problem?

They Say:

Settlements are Israel's first line of defense against attack. Sacrificing settlements to try to appease Israel's enemies will only invite aggression.

We Say:

The notion that civilian Israeli settlements in the West Bank are an asset to Israeli security has not been taken seriously in Israeli security, military and intelligence circles for decades.

Today, the clear reality is that settlers' presence in the West Bank places a heavy burden on the IDF, and a heavy economic, moral, and political burden on all Israelis. The only real arguments for keeping the settlements in place, and continuing to expand them, are the religious-ideological commitment to "Greater Israel" and the short-sighted argument that views the issue in terms of not wanting to be a "freier" [Hebrew slang for "sucker"] - suggesting that it is better to keep building settlements, even if it hurts Israel, than to give the Palestinians a "concession" without demanding a Palestinian "concession" of equal or greater value in return.

Neither of these arguments has anything to do with Israeli national security. Israeli national security policy shouldn't be grounded in reckless expansionist fantasies or self-defeating ego-driven concerns. Rather, they should be based on a sober assessment of current and potential threats. Any such assessment recognizes settlements today as a security liability, not an asset.