First and foremost this is an incorrect term. It should be changed to resumption of construction in Judea and Samaria. These are not settlements. They are towns, cities and neighborhoods, places where people live work and raise their families just like any other group of people around the world. The huge mistake by the Israeli government was calling the areas of Judea and Samaria settlements , territories and the West bank.We can start a new P.R. initiative by referring to them by their rightful name.
Let's look at the core issue of the building freeze. In exchange for Netanyahu's call for a 10 month freeze, Israel was supposed to receive something in return from either the Palestinians or the Arab world. Whether it was allowance of air travel over Arab space or recognition of Israel as a Jewish state or the end to incitement by the Palestinians, something was to be received by the Israelis. What did Israel receive "zero" a big fat zero at that.
Now everyone is questioning whether Netanyahu is really determined to reach an agreement with the Palestinians. Netanyahu's integrity is on the line here .Everyone around the world has been doubting his honesty in declaring that he wishes to reach an agreement with the Palestinians. They don't believe that he is being sincere.They say that he his just paying lip service to the U.S. and the Palestinians. Why can't people accept his words as being genuine? He has come out for a 2 state solution. He has called Judea and Samaria the West Bank which is in conflict with his platform and that of the Likud party. He has called Abbas his partner for peace on several occasions. It order for these comments to be considered honest statements he has no choice but to end the building freeze.When he initiated the freeze they were for a period of 10 months. The 10 months have now expired. If he is to be considered a man of his word he has to return to the status quo of the previous governments led by Prime Ministers including Rabin , Barak, and Olmert, that issued permits and allowed for natural growth in towns and cities in Judea and Samaria. If he doesn't keep his word, he will be no better than those people with whom he is negotiating with at keeping their word and we know how well they keep their promises and honor their agreements.
Now let's focus on the reaction of the world toward the end of the freeze. First, our partner for peace non other than Abbas, states that Israel has to choose between peace or the settlements. What exactly does this mean? Abbas waited until the ninth month of the freeze before pressure even from the Arab league forced him to sit down for face to face negotiations. Obviously he had no intentions of sitting down with Netanyahu.He was forced against his will by countries that financially support his Palestinian Authority. Without the flow of unconditional money and hand outs from the E. U., The Arab League and even the U.S. he would not be able to make payroll even for one month. So much for striving to be an "independent
. state". Can Abbas honestly believe that areas that are currently built up into cities and large towns located in Judea and Samaria and post 1967 Jerusalem will be handed over to him in any agreement that may be reached between Israel and the Palestinians? He is being quite delusional if he thinks that will happen. It is time for a realty check for Abbas, deciding whether he is willing to choose peace with Israel. Israel has shown their attentions over and over again by the many concessions they have offered the Palestinians.
We also heard from Peace Now. Their position is that if Israel resumes construction Jewish blood will be spilled. Can you imagine that a whopping 30 activists protested the resumption of construction? how is it that when Israel builds there is bloodshed. Israel gave away Gush Katif and that didn't stop the bloodshed. Four people were murdered a few weeks ago outside of Hebron and there have been several other attacks during the freeze so that logic doesn't really hold water. The fact is Peace Now is an organization that is just trying to hold on. It is largely funded by far left wing supporters from Europe and the U.S. and it has a declining membership where it really counts, in Israel. I think all of them were present at the demonstration in front of the Prime Minister's residence. We also heard from the Human Rights Watch, President Obama, the E. U., the State Department, Hilary Clinton, British Secretary, William Hague, French President Sarcozy, U.N. secretary general ,Ban Ki-moon.So much for all the even handedness across the world in these life and death negotiations for the people of Israel. It is also very important to point out that Netanyahu who is negotiating on behalf of the citizens of Israel, has to stand his ground on this issue of the freeze. It is just the beginning of the negotiations. This was a unilateral decision by Netanyahu to implement the freeze. There are going to be many contentious issues that will come up if the negotiations continue. Israel will be forced to give in to the Palestinians over and over again. He must stand firm on the red lines that will arise and not feel pressured every time that the Palestinians and the world of public opinion is in disagreement with the Israeli position which of course is basically all the time except of course when there is the murder of Jews and Israelis by Israel's partners for peace.
There are some positive news to point out. Some projects have begun again in Judea and Samaria. Though it is the holiday of Succoth and most construction won't fully begin until after the holiday .A nursery school in Kiryat Netafim poured its foundation, homes began construction in Tekoa, work began on 50 homes in Ariel some of which will be occupied by Jewish refugees from Gush Katif. The citizens of Judea and Samaria are cautiously optimistic that more construction will resume and permits will be issued. There isn't a feeling of euphoria in these areas now that the freeze is over and fear is that new permitting may not arrive anytime soon.
View from Jon's Place