Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Gorenberg On Settlements And Cynicism

Responding to my argument that the conservative "settlements are reversible" defense is deeply cynical, Gershom Gorenberg agrees, but notes that "Settlement backers in Israel don’t normally argue that settlement is reversible."
I can’t claim to have heard every defense of settlements ever made, but this is a defense I hear almost entirely abroad (with one exception, which I’ll get too).

Perhaps the reversibility argument was an invention of foreign defenders of Israeli policy. More likely, it has been provided to them by Israeli officials - in which case the the officials have treated their foreign supporters as useful idiots.

Settlements, in Israeli debate, have always been regarded as “facts on the ground” - physical statements of policy, of intent to keep a particular piece of land under permanent Israeli rule. The debate on where settlements should be built has been intense precisely because it’s an argument over whether Israel should maintain permanent rule over some or all of the occupied territories.

Right, but it also seems to me that the creation of these facts involves Israel's anticipation of future concessions. That is, the more land that is seized and settlements built, the more Israel can later claim to have "given up" in any final status agreement.

1 comment:

Alfred said...

What happens when a Palestinian family adds a room or, God forbid, a second floor to their home. Natural increase somehow doesn't apply to Palestinians in Palestinian territory. It's for Jewish settlers only. That's cynicism.