Some Hard Truths about Settlements…
- Settlements are antithetical to peace. Continued settlement construction will destroy the very possibility of peace and leave Israeli decision-makers with an impossible choice: be a democracy and give full rights to the Palestinians, at the cost of Israel's Jewish character, or deny rights to the majority of the people under Israeli rule - which the Palestinians will soon be - validating accusations that Israel is increasingly an Apartheid-like state.
- Settlements are, at every level, a liability for Israel. It is because of settlements that the route of Israel's "separation barrier" has been distorted, lengthening and contorting Israel's lines of defense. The settlers' presence in the West Bank places a heavy burden on the IDF, and a heavy economic, moral, and political burden on all Israelis.
- It is because of settlements that Israel is forced to rule over a huge - and growing - non-Jewish, disenfranchised population, contrary to basic democratic values. Settlement policies and the actions of settlers erode Israel's image in the world as a democratic state that respects the civil rights of all people under its rule.
- Settlement expansion understandably extinguishes hope among Palestinians that Israel is serious about peace. It destroys the credibility of Palestinian moderates - Israel's best partners for peace - who reject violence and tell their people that negotiations will deliver a viable state. After more than four decades of watching settlements grow to take up more and more land and damage the fabric of their lives, Palestinians view settlement construction today as a litmus test of Israeli seriousness about peace.
- Past negotiations suggest that a peace deal is possible in which most settlers remain where they are, as part of a land-swap deal. Existing settlements already make such arrangements complicated; if settlements continue to expand, creating new facts on the ground in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, they will further complicate the situation and could render an agreement impossible. That, after all, is the goal of the settlements and of many of those who support them.
Listen to APN's briefing call with Lior Amichai, the director of Peace Now’s Settlement Watch Project. Click here.