On the West Bank, Israel does whatever it wants.

In yesterday’s HaAretz, leading Israeli political columnist (and national treasure) Akiva Eldar wrote about a dicey Palestinian decision to call on the UN to investigate Israel’s West Bank settlements (about which I wrote here, if you’re looking for a brief primer) — his point boiled down to: Such a gambit is simply not likely to pay off for the Palestinians, and then what?

However, on his way to making that point, he also happened to sum up, almost incidentally, the last decade or more of Israeli behavior on the West Bank, which in turn boils down to: They do whatever the hell they want, no matter what.

To wit:

Why would a rational person think a UN probe into the settlements would lead to any other results than those the results of the [2001] Mitchell Report, which recommended that construction be completely stopped and that outposts be evicted, or of the [US-backed] Road Map [signed and committed to by Israel] that recommended the Mitchell Report findings be implemented?

What more can we learn from an investigation into the settlement that we haven’t yet learned from [Israeli] Attorney Talia Sasson’s  report on illegal outposts [commissioned and committed to by the Israeli government]? What will the UN probe into the settlements teach us about the settlers’ attacks on the rights of Palestinians that haven’t been made public in the periodic publications of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs or the websites of Peace Now, B’Tselem, Yesh Din, Bimkom, and Breaking the Silence?

It’s enough to look through the archives of the Israeli High Court of Justice and the Israeli press to determine that the settlers – aided by Israeli government after Israeli government –  are depriving Palestinians of their land, restricting their freedom, and generally making their lives generally more difficult. It is a shame to waste money on the stipends of the investigation staff.

So why did the Palestinians decide they need this investigation? They know no good came to them from the Goldstone Report on Operation Cast Lead. It is hard to believe that they have forgotten the onslaught they suffered in the hands of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and the American Congress, as a result of their failed attempt to be admitted to the UN and their admission to UNSECO.

(All links added by me).

I highly recommend that you click through and read the whole thing, but I read that part, and honestly, it took my breath away. And that’s just since 2001!

But yeah, of course. The Palestinians and their damn precondition that construction on the settlements stop before they negotiate — that’s the problem. Oy li.



  1. Reblogged this on ConnectingthaDots and commented:
    With over 200 settlements inside Palestinian Territory there is no longer hope for a two state solution, nor a one State Israel. What were they thinking?

    • They were thinking, I believe, that there is some way to hold on to the land, get rid of most of the (Palestinian) people, and continue the occupation in perpetuity. I think that was/is the plan, boiled down to the most basic notions.

      Having said that, I don’t (can’t?) accept that anything human-built can’t be un-built. We’re not gods. The settlement project isn’t a Divine act. A two-state solution is still a possibility.

      But then many things are “possibilities.” The question is which of them will actually come to be. I have to keep fighting for this one because for all its flaws, it’s the most humane one we have.

  2. Emily, I don’t get why you refer to the Palestinians’ decision to refer settlements to the UN as “dicey.” Do you agree with Akiva Eldar’s skeptical assessment?

    • More or less. Maybe I should have said “possibly dicey” — it’s another one of those things where I just can’t help thinking that the Palestinians are damned if they do, damned if they don’t. It could be that this is entirely for internal, Palestinian consumption (to show that the PA is doing something, anything — providing some measure of hope or at least pride/protecting the government from the people’s anger), in which case, the considerations are slightly different.

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