Settlements were never the problem

Conflict not over land, but inability of our neighbors to recognize us.

cute Hamas kid 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
cute Hamas kid 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
The following is the winning post from this week writers' submission contest. Want to get published too? Last week's winning post: Human Rights Watch earns its pay Two weeks ago Interior Minister Eli Yishai caused a controversy when he said that Israel will continue to build in the E-1 area between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim even if if the United States does not approve. His opinion was reinforced this week when former (and future?) Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee visited the area and declared his support for Israel to build homes anywhere in the land of Israel. These are important declarations with pressure on Israel from the Obama administration to freeze building over the green line growing daily. The American President feels that he has the right to tell Israel where it's citizens can and cannot live. He feels that while are Arabs are free to live in any corner of Jerusalem, the eastern part of the city should be ethnically cleansed of Jews - regardless of the law. President Obama has misled the world into believing that conflicts between Israel and the Palestinians, Hamas, Hizbullah, Syria, and of course Iranian nuclear weapons, are all issues that can be resolved if Israel abandons the settlements. He could not be more wrong. History shows that the conflict here in Israel is not over land, but has to do with the inability of our Arabs/Muslim neighbors to recognize that Jews and Christians have any claim, religious or historical, to the land of Israel. Time and time again throughout the middle east, and even now in Asia, it becomes the goal of radical Muslims to destroy religious sites from other religions and build Mosques over them. From the destruction of Buddhist statues in Afghanistan to the constant religious battles in India, and back to the middle east, this history repeats itself over and over again. The first thing to note is that the conflict between Jews and Arabs in the land of Israel predates the settlement movement that started in 1967, and even pre-dates Israel's re-establishment as an independent state in 1948. There were pogroms that included the sadistic rape, murder, dismemberment, and burning of thousands of Jews and their properties here going back to the middle of the 19th century. There was no Israeli state, no settlements, and there was no "occupation" of an Arab people called Palestinians. Next, it it important to point out that the Palestinian Arabs have been offered a state multiple times and rejected it outright, preferring to wage war on the Jews with the hopes of "throwing them into the sea." The entire land of the British mandate was designated as a Jewish state, and in contradiction to official British policy, 80% of the land was given to the Heshemite monarchy to establish the Kingdom of Jordan (which is now over 80% Palestinian.) Of the 20% of the land remaining, the United Nations (League of Nations at the time) offered partition, half to the Palestinian Arabs, half to the Jews. The Jews accepted the small and virtually indefensible borders and immediately established Israel. The Arabs rejected and sent 5 national armies and legions of Palestinian Arabs to destroy the new Jewish state. Thank G-d, the Jews won, and were happy to have a state even though it did not give them authority over it's most holy sites in Jerusalem. From 1948 until 1967, after every Jew living in east Jerusalem, the West Bank, or Gaza Strip, (places Jewish families have lived consistently since temple times) had been murdered or exiled, Israel still suffered hundreds of murderous attacks from the Arabs living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. From bus hijackings resulting in the murder of the passengers, to schools being raided by child murdering terrorists, shootings, bombings, kidnappings and more. All these attacks despite the fact that there was no occupation, no settlements, and the Arabs did not make a single attempt at establishing an independent state called Palestine. In 1967, when the Arab countries called up their armies and pledged to throw Israel into the sea, Israel launched a pre-emptive attack destroying the Arab armies, and re-claiming the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Since then, Israel re-built Jewish towns (settlements) in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, reestablishing ancient Jewish communities from biblical places such as Hebron, Bet El, and Shilo, and Israel finally gained control over it's most holy site, the site of the ancient temple that Jews had been forbidden to visit since the Arabs controlled it in 1948. With Israeli control over all of Jerusalem, Christian and Jewish holy sites were restored and for the first time in many years, all religions had access to their holy sites. To reiterate, these attacks had been going on all along, before the West Bank and Gaza Strip were "occupied." Throughout this war of terror, Israel has repeatedly tried negotiating with the Palestinian Arabs. They have been offered a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip 2 times by Israeli leaders, most famously by Prime Minister Ehud Barak who against the security interests of Israel offered them 97% of the West Bank and Gaza Strip with a capital in east Jerusalem. The answer Israel received was a "no," and a wave of suicide bombings and shooting attacks that murdered and injured thousands of Israelis. Despite the fact that the Palestinians continued to attack Israel, rejected every offer made to them, and refused to arrest a single terrorist, Israel decided to continue with the "peace process" by tearing down "settlements" which the Palestinians were now claiming was the biggest obstacle to peace. Israel tore down 22 Gaza Strip settlements and 4 West Bank settlements, evicting over 10,000 Jews from their homes and livelihoods. Instead of a thank you, Israel received 20,000 missiles, mortars, and bombs launched at it's civilian population, leading to the war in Gaza. If settlements were the real obstacle to peace, dismantling settlements should have advanced the peace process, not encouraged more war. Still, after the tearing down of settlements pushed us further from peace then ever before, the world continues to claim that settlements are the biggest obstacle to peace, and demand that Israel stop building homes for it's citizens. The existence of this conflict long before any settlement was ever built on disputed land, and the intensifying of the conflict after some settlements were torn down prove that the Palestinians and the Arab/Muslim states that arm and support them are not fighting to establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, but in place of all of Israel. Even if the Palestinians were to disarm the terrorists and agree to a state to end the conflict, why must every Jewish home be evacuated? 80% of the Jewish homeland was already given to Jordan and the world is demanding that Israel split the remaining 20% with yet another new Arab state. Why should this Arab state also be 100% ethnically cleansed of Jews while the Israel proper is still 25% Arab and any mention of these israeli Arabs moving to a newly created Palestinian state is considered racist? Freezing the building of settlements and expelling Jews from from their homes is a racist policy that will not solve this conflict. Israel has a historical, moral, and biblical right to settle Jews anywhere in the land of Israel. The more settlements, the bigger the presence of the Israeli army, and the more stability that is brought to the region. Tearing down settlements does the opposite, leading to more war and death. Israel must continue to build Jewish settlements.