Israeli Moves in West Bank Are Not the Disaster for Peace Many Say It Is

(NBC News) Shmuel Rosner - The Trump administration is the first U.S. administration to state the obvious: Most Israeli communities in the West Bank are here to stay, so we might as well accept them. Doing so doesn't make a peace deal with the Palestinians less likely. In fact, any attempt to promote a resolution must begin by acknowledging this reality and proceed from there. Denying realities has gotten us, thus far, no closer to healing the rifts between the sides. Only grappling with these realities and finding ways to accommodate them can actually lead to peace. In 1948, the UN wanted two states to be established in Mandatory Palestine: one for Jews and one for Arabs. The Jews established their state - Israel. The Arabs decided to fight a war and lost. In 1967, in another war instigated by the surrounding Arab countries, Israel took the West Bank, as well. The Israeli government believes that it has the moral and legal right to settle the area, as it is both the heart of the historic national homeland of the Jewish people and essential to the security of modern Israel. Today, Israel's so-called occupation is more than 50 years old. The settlers are raising grandchildren and even great-grandchildren in Judea and Samaria. Around half a million Jews live in the West Bank. Whatever one's views of the legitimacy or desirability of these Israeli communities, they are facts that everyone has to acknowledge. President George W. Bush was the first American leader to acknowledge these facts a decade and a half ago. President Donald Trump went further in his peace proposal in January, indicating that no resident, Jew or Arab, would have to be evacuated from the West Bank as the parties move forward on their quest for peace. Moves for Israeli sovereignty will merely take an existing reality and make it official. For example: Close to 100,000 Israelis live in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc right outside Jerusalem. No Israeli government is ever going to agree to make them leave. No serious mediator for peace is going to propose that these people must leave. The writer is a senior fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute.

2020-07-02 00:00:00

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