1.4.07

Settlers are the guardians of democracy

No. This is not and April fools comment! It is true, in my point of view at least. Israel Harel Wrote today in Haaretz that "Israeli settlers are not a threat to democracy". I say they are the only hope for democracy!
Israeli settlers are among the most ideologically driven members of the Israeli community. They look upon the colonisation of the West Bank as a divine order which they should fulfill. This ideological drive which controls the settlers' mentality turns them in some areas into beasts when dealing with their Palestinian neighbours. One should only have a look at the settlers in Hebron, Gush Emunim and Gush Etzion to understand what I am talking about.
However, the settlers still give hope for democracy. This is one oxymoron in the Israeli society, one of many.
How is this possible? To understand this, I will go into a journey through the five pillars of the final status negotiations which have for long ago been forgotten! The five pillar are: water, refugees, security and borders, Jerusalem and settlements. At least three of these five can be resolved in a two state solution. Two issues remain unresolved under such an agreement: Refugees and settlers.
Water is one of the most controversial topics. The water resources between the Jordan Rive and the Mediterranean come from three large underground aquifers one in the Northern West Bank, another in the Southern West Bank, and a shared aquifer between Gaza Strip and Negev Desert. Other water resources include the Jordan River and the Sea of the Galilee (Tiberias Lake). So most of these resources are inside the 1967 borders. Israel, however, has monopoly rights over them, as Palestinians extraction is severely limited by Israel. Palestinians buy water from Mekorot, the Israeli company, which sells it at significantly higher prices. Palestinians end up covering the subsidies of water consumed by Israelis. This however, will be forgotten in the final status if two states are formed. The current situation is likely to remain. Very few international players ar expected to have the moral integrity to mention this!
Border and Security arrangements are possibly the easiest! they can be discussed and agreed upon. The agreement is likely to infringe on Palestinian rights, but who cares!
Jerusalem, also is likely to fall under an agreement. Palestinians will not accept anything less than East Jerusalem. This is likely to happen at a very high price in concessions in other areas!
Refugees! Israel says no right of return. UNGA R194 says Yes. This is likely to remain an obstacle in a two state solution. But since its subjects are Palestinians it is likely it will not be regarded as important in the international arena.
Settlers and settlements! It is unlikely that over a half million settlers in West Bank including Jerusalem are likely to agree to any solution that requires their relocation. They have significant powers in Israel, they are supported by political parties with strong powers in the Knesset. So any solution that contradict their demands will not be passed!
Settlements are spreading like a cancer that eats away through the heart of the West Bank. They are the most stubborn obstacle in the face of a two state solution. Any solution as such, is likely to institutionalise a Bantustans system which is in effect in Palestine/Israel. It will therefore be unacceptable for any Palestinian, and it will emphasise Israel's Apartheid nature.
Being such a difficult scenario, Israeli settlement will remain the main obstacle in achieving a two state solution until Israeli and Palestinian leaders will have the courage to sit down and discuss how true democracy should prevail in this piece of land. We know it can only prevail in a single state for all its citizens, one that all Jews and Palestinian Arabs would call 'our home'. The settlers are hence the guardians of our dream for a true and just democracy!

2 comments:

Dupa Jasia said...

These ruminations had lately taken longues a definite direction, and it was after several conversations which he had held with his friend Matt Pike...

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