"This myth – with which you are all too familiar – is the assertion that it is Zionism which has been the unsettling and fevered infection in the Middle East, the belief that without Israel there would somehow be a natural harmony throughout the Middle East and the Arab world… Even by the coldest calculations, the removal of Israel would not alter the basic crisis in the area… The basic rivalries within the Arab world, the quarrels over boundaries, the tensions involved in lifting their economies from stagnation... all of these factors would still be there even if there were no Israel."Now, replace the words "Zionism" and "Israel" with the words "Israeli settlements":"This myth – with which you are all too familiar – is the assertion that it is Israeli settlements which has been the unsettling and fevered infection in the Middle East, the belief that without Israeli settlements there would somehow be a natural harmony throughout the Middle East and the Arab world… Even by the coldest calculations, the removal of Israeli settlements would not alter the basic crisis in the area… the basic rivalries… stagnation… all of these factors would still be there even if there were no Israeli settlements."Those words of JFK, back in the late 1950s, and the version I have updated in order to encompass Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, are exactly as true today as they were then. The myth that you are have heard, that it is Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria that is keeping peace from breaking out between the Arabs and the Jews who live between the sea and the river, is just that – a myth. The truth is: Arab intransigent, racist-religious based refusal to accept a Jewish state anywhere at all, is the root of a conflict that has been going on for ninety years.It was Arab refusal to accept an Arab state in 1936 – because that proposal included a teeny-tiny Jewish state.It was Arab refusal to accept an Arab state in 1948 – because that proposal included a tiny Jewish state.It was Arab refusal to establish an Arab state between 1948 and 1967 – because there'd still be a tiny Jewish state in existence.It was Arab refusal to accept an Arab state in 2000 or 2008 – because that proposal included a Jewish state.It has nothing to do with Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria!On the other hand: the European and American obsession with every home built by Jews in Judea and Samaria reminds one of the Pale of Settlement established in Czarist Russia in the late 19th century and continued until the overthrow of the Czarist regime. The Jews were restricted to living only in a certain area.After 1,813 years we Jews regained sovereignty in part of our homeland. 19 years later, threatened with annihilation – yet again – by our neighbors, we won a miraculous victory and returned to the Jewish heartland: Judea and Samaria. It is the epitome of hypocrisy, immorality and – yes, a bit of anti-Semitism – to tell the Jews, in our homeland, where we can live and where we can't. It reeks of anti-Semitism because between the river and the sea no one thinks to say to the Arabs: you can build here but not there. Nooooo! Arabs can build anywhere; only the Jews are to be confined to a Pale of Settlement!The false "problem" of Jewish settlement pales in comparison with the real problems of the Middle East, starting with Syria. Perhaps this US administration – which brazenly thinks they can buy the ancient and reborn Jewish nation and control them – can't deal with the real problems, many of which it helped to spiral out of control.We Jews are home, period, no longer subservient either to a Czar telling us where to live, or to a Sultan telling us we can't wear shoes.You're all invited to visit me, in my town of Eli, overlooking our ancient capital Shilo,and hear all about it, where the only thing close to the boiling point, dear NYT, is the water in our electric kettle. Join me, as I sip some tea.Have a good year!