Samson Blinded: A Machiavellian Perspective on the Middle East Conflict
[ Palestinian refugees don't need a right of return to Israel ] [ Palestinian statehood precludes Jewish right of return ]


Israeli Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories

Edward Said maintains that the Jewish settlements are the main obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace, presumably for the Palestinians. But the Jewish townships did not exist before the late 1970s and became important when the Palestinians had nothing else left to demand concessions about. Now Palestinians demand the expulsion of Jews from the yet-to-be-created Palestinian state. Even Edward Said sees that the Jewish settlements are not the real problem, since the settlements appeared only after Israel took over the West Bank. Professor Said's claim that the Jewish settlements were the reason for belligerence after 1967 is nonsense, since the settlements were insignificant in Palestine for another ten years. What indeed was the obstacle to Israeli-Arab peace before 1967, when the Palestinians held the land? The Arabs refused peace both before and after the Jewish settlements appeared. The correlation, if any, is the opposite: facing the settlements, Palestinians considered peace with Israel.

Edward Said interprets neutral facts as Israeli mischief. What harm is there in the road network Israel built among the Jewish settlements? Roads are important to a developed economy. Edward Said says the Israeli roads make it “impossible for Palestinians to rule their own territory.” Why? There is no reason for Jewish settlements to infringe on Palestinian sovereignty. Edward Said says the Israeli habit of building roads is a “mania.” Because Israel operates the roads she built, the Palestinians call them “internal borders.” In fact, the Israeli roads in no way infringe on Palestinian sovereignty.

Edward Said frets about “massive [Israeli] building projects that transformed Palestinian geography.” Jews are eight percent of the Palestinian population. Israel does not blame the Palestinians who are fifteen percent of the Israeli population for “changing the geography” of the blooming desert which the Israelis created.