Farrar on Israeli settlements

David Farrar has posted his thoughts on the UN vote on Israeli settlements (he thinks it was unfair to Israel) but he thinks the settlements are an ongoing problem for Israel.

Personally I support Israel around 95% of the time, especially when it comes to their own security. But I’ve never been persuaded that settlements on occupied territory are a good idea, or will lead to a two state solution. A one state solution is worse for Israel as that would mean having to give citizenship to those living in those areas and Jews would become the minority in Israel.

Hamas are evil and Fatah corrupt and the Palestinian leadership bear most of the blame for there being no peace settlement. They have rejected some very good offers in the past, and I remain sceptical that their leadership are interested in a two state solution.

There’s certainly some serious problems on the Palestinian side. But Israel doesn’t help the situation, especially with the provocative settlements.

In my view the settlements are wrong and provocative. Israel surrenders the moral high ground when they persist with them. The settlements are not the cause of the conflict, but they aggravate it and make peace much harder.

And while some have portrayed the UN vote as the world against Israel there’s a lot of opposition within Israel to the settlements.

The settlement policy is divisive even in Israel. Most acts of the Israeli state have widespread support (such as military action against Hamas) but the settlements are a policy most associated with the Likud party. They do have majority support, but also significant opposition.

There have been some polls inside Israel on them. They have found:

  • 42% say the settlements hurts security and 27% helps security
  • 41% say Israel should leave the West Bank/Judea and Samaria and 48% are against

Farrar’s suggestions for solutions (which hi is not optimistic about):

  1. There should be a two state solution
  2. Palestine should be given territory equal in area to the pre-1967 borders based on the original mandate.
  3. The territory for Palestine must be good enough to allow them to form a viable prosperous state, not just a series of enclaves, and be agreed between the two parties.
  4. The settlements should cease as every extra settlement is less flexibility for agreeing final boundaries.
  5. The Palestinian leadership of Fatah and Hamas must agree in words and actions to the right of Israel to exist and cease terrorism
  6. Palestine would be a demilitarised state
  7. Jerusalem is the most difficult question and is the biggest challenge (after the fact the Palestinian leadership has little interest in peace). In theory it serves as the capital to most countries, with all citizens allowed in all of the city, but different areas under different control.

To get anywhere near solutions like this it would take significant changes in attitude from both the Israelis and the Palestinians. Neither look likely to go there at this stage.