They Say, We Say: "If Israel stops building in settlement blocs it's just rewarding anti-peace and anti-Israel extremism like BDS."
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?
Why should Israel stop building in settlement blocs (or anywhere else)? Unless and until the Palestinians prove they really want peace, Israel should not make any concessions. Indeed, concessions now would just feed Palestinian intransigence and reward anti-peace and anti-Israel extremism like BDS.
Israel needs to stop building settlements and end the occupation urgently. It must do so not as a concession to the Palestinians but for Israel’s own sake.
Israel has for most of the past 50 years shown to the world the face of a nation that does not truly seek peace. This period has been punctuated by various efforts to reach peace, the most serious of which was cut short by the assassination of a courageous peace-seeking Israeli prime minister by an Israeli extremist seeking to sabotage peace. Subsequent peace efforts have been undermined and discredited by the refusal of Israeli governments to put an end to policies on the ground that perpetuate and entrench the occupation and expand settlements, including with the trick called “settlement blocs.”
Rather than show it was serious about wanting peace, successive Israeli governments have – for reasons of ideology or political expediency – exploited the asymmetry of power in this conflict to turn peace talks into a fig leaf to cover actions on the ground that are antithetical to the achievement of peace and a two-state solution. By their own actions and statements they undercut talks, eroded the credibility of negotiations as a means of achieving an agreement in the future, and undermined their Palestinian partners. Today, members of Israel’s government are openly celebrating the demise of the two-state solution and are dropping even the pretense of supporting negotiated peace with the Palestinians.
In this way, for nearly 50 years a vast amount of Israeli resources have been squandered on the self-defeating and immoral settlement enterprise, including the ever-expanding “settlement blocs.” Five decades of Israeli military energies have been hijacked and morale eroded as military service has become an exercise in the subjugation and policing of the lives of Palestinian civilians. For 50 years occupation policies have generated more Palestinian grievances, anger and hatred, sowing the seeds for future conflict and violence and alienating potential allies regionally and internationally.
Occupation and settlements – including the “settlement blocs” – are destroying Israel. They have hijacked Israeli politics, and undermined Israel’s own interests and values. They are pushing Israel toward becoming an international pariah and are threatening Israel’s survival as a Jewish state and a democracy. Promoting and defending the occupation and settlements has eroded Israel’s claims to military self-defense, while leaving Israel increasingly demonized, defensive, and isolated – a nation of many virtues that has come to be viewed by much of the world exclusively through the prism of the occupation.