Sunday, May 31, 2009

Another Tack

from THE JERUSALEM POST, May. 28, 2009, by Sarah Honig:

... the persistent notion that settlements impede peace ...is intrinsically interconnected with the cliche condemnation of Israeli "occupation" and the sanctimonious clamor for a Palestinian state.

...settlements didn't cause our regional strife and ...consequently, visceral enmity for Israel won't disappear, even if every last settlement does. The settlements ...are red herrings deliberately dragged in - with heaps of malice aforethought - to mislead the uninitiated and thereby undermine Israel.

Arabs regard all of Israel as an illegitimate settlement. Israel was hated, designs for its destruction were blueprinted and terror was rampant before the first settlement was founded on land liberated in the Six Day War of self-defense. .

..Arab belligerence predated Israeli settlements.

... these settlements aren't remote from Israel's heartland. Indeed, they're directly adjacent to its most crowded population centers, besides being the cradle of Jewish history. Jews are hardly foreign interlopers in their homeland. Large Jerusalem neighborhoods - some continuously Jewish from time immemorial - are categorized internationally as objectionable "settlements."

SETTLEMENTS AREN'T the problem and removing them isn't the solution. Israel foolishly dismantled 21 Gaza Strip settlements in 2005. Did peace blossom all over as a result? Precisely the reverse occurred. The razing of Israeli communities was regarded as terror's triumph, expediting the Hamas takeover. Emboldened by seeming success, Hamastan amassed formidable military arsenals and launched rocket attacks on Israeli civilians.

...This pattern should be borne in American minds before Congressional kibitzers admonish Israel. Fatahland stands ready in Judea and Samaria to emulate Hamastan. However, the potential disaster for Israel on its elongated eastern flank makes Gazan aggression in the south appear negligible.

Netanyahu should have spread out maps and pointed to the location of the settlements that so incense the State Department. They adjoin Petah Tikva, Kfar Saba and Netanya - all quite close to Tel Aviv. This is Israel's notorious narrow waistline (nine miles between the Mediterranean and the border near Netanya). The settlements give Israel minimal depth and constitute bulwarks against utter chaos rather than obstacles to utopian harmony. They are precisely the opposite of what latter-day disguised blood-libelers claim.

Maligning the settlements - with such alarming unanimity - is the updated version of blaming Jews for whatever ails the world. Once it was medieval Europe's Black Death. Today it's Islam's insidious inroads into modern Europe. Even responsibility for Iranian nukes can be laid at Israel's door. If only Israeli settlements were sacrificed to appease the savage beast, the rest of the world might enjoy a lulling respite. And when that respite is over, more demands will be made of the Jews - who, as always, upset global equilibrium.

In the plainest language, Netanyahu should have told his listeners that they are going after the wrong side, allowing the real miscreants to gain strength while weakening a true ally and making it more vulnerable to hostile predation. This, Netanyahu should have declared, won't save America, or anyone else. It will only hasten the cataclysm.

Netanyahu should have reminded Americans that during the Six Day War - before any so-called Israeli occupation or settlement activity began - a Jordanian WWII-vintage Long Tom cannon hit an apartment building in central Tel Aviv's Kikar Masaryk, a mere hop from City Hall. That antiquated weapon was fired from a lowly hill outside Kfar Saba. Visible and assailable from that hill are greater Tel Aviv, the extended Dan and Sharon regions and Israel's three power stations (Ashkelon, Reading and Hadera). Were that hill to be ceded, no car could travel safely in metropolitan Tel-Aviv and no plane could land or take off from Ben-Gurion Airport.

Any attempt to hinge "accommodation with Iran" on suffocating the settlements is tantamount to advising Israelis to slit their own throats before Ahmadinejad nukes them. That's what Bibi should have said. Instead he mumbled something about not constructing new settlements.

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