Basically Netanyahu brushes off the settlement freeze precondition, but adds that Palestinians must recognize Israel (as a precondition?) and Israel needs security (cease-fire or permanent disarming??) Precondition or otherwise, Palestinians or anyone would have to be stupid to even consider disarming!
We’re talking international law, here, versus Israel’s desire (recognition) and result (both recognition and security) of a resolution to the problem – OCCUPATION! Until the problem is addressed, they are just treading water. I’m not saying discussing the illegality of settlements is a bad thing, but the occupation discussion is the only one that will bring the “final status issues” to the forefront, like Obama recently said he wanted to do (has he been reading my letters!?).
The Occupation is the reason for the humanitarian crisis, the reason for the anger, the reason for the attacks on Israel. The denial/ignoring of the Occupation is the reason Israel feels it has a free hand to break the law (or feels it is not breaking the law) and many ordinary Israelis remain blissfully ignorant of the actual situation their neighbors are in.
Netanyahu on the settlement freeze and why it can’t be done:
“You know, they need kindergartens. They need schools.
They need health plans. They're living. I'm committed not to build new settlements. I am committed not to expropriate additional land for existing settlements. But people have to live. You can't freeze life.”
They’ve frozen life for Palestinians for decades. It CAN be done!! It may involve shelling peaceful protesters, bombing, assassinations, massacres, the targeting of civilians and vital infrastructure for demise, poverty, and starvation, like Israel’s done to Palestinians- but it can in fact be done quite effectively.
Normal life (used to be “natural growth”). Illegal settlers deserve normal life? Hmmm. Those breaking the law deserve to continue because it would be too inconvenient to change course? Yeah, let's adopt that here. Empty the prisons! It disrupts their life, after all. Conveniently, this "natural growth" is the status quo, by the way.
What about those from whom this land was taken to build these illegal settlements, those from who the land was taken to build the “security areas” and roads that surround such illegal monstrosities? They are illegal, exist at great cost to Israel (to “defend”), have cost Palestinians much in the very land they sit on as well as their normal life. And then there’s the water. Palestinians can’t get clean water, yet illegal settlers have carefully manicured lawns and full swimming pools. So forgive me if I don’t see the fairness, lawfulness, or sense in giving illegal settlers natural growth (AKA "normal life").
And when facts fail you, blame it on the Palestinians. And old tactic, hey, it works:
“And I think Mamoud Abbas has a great choice to make. We all do. But he has to decide: is he going to be an Arafat or an Anwar Sadat? If he’s an Anwar Sadat, he’ll find in me a partner for peace and we’ll make peace.”
Hmm. A Sadat. That would be good for Israel, wouldn’t it? Lose focus and save face yourself and forget about the Palestinian people or the rest of your allies in the region? When his historic chance came, he negotiated a separate peace with Israel that may or may not have gained him respect with the US, Israel and the world and a fat aid package instead of sticking to the plan that Arab states agreed to, which was to include holding Israel to UN resolutions and international law among other things. Instead, Palestinians did not get any guarantees on rights like- pre-67 borders, refugees, Jerusalem, a state, etc and they had the only serious military force that remotely had the ability and desire to protect them removed from the equation. A lose-lose situation for them.
An Arafat? Really? Some claim Arafat endorsed terrorism and that’s why he was so unacceptable. Abbas may want to stand by a settlement freeze that international law also demands and that’s somehow equivalent to endorsing terrorist methods??? Wow.
“There is a growing awareness in Washington, I believe in European
capitals and elsewhere, that the development or acquisition of Iran of nuclear weapons is something that endangers world peace. Iran is the major sponsor of world terrorism.”
Some would argue Israel is a state sponsor of terrorism and given the UN report on their violations, media blackouts, crackdowns on peaceful protestors, apartheid-like policies, they often act more like a terrorist regime than a democracy, albeit mostly in regard to Palestinians. It’s ironic they are so worried about Iran.
His emphasis on Iran is especially ironic given the UN report detailing Israeli war crimes and the fact that their own nuclear program is not open to IAEA inspectors, they are actively engaged in an arms race, refuse to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, and until the infamous prisoner Vanunu forced it out of them, refused to admit they had any weapons or even a program.
I guess Iran’s really their only hope to avoid responsibility in past and present conflicts and to delay the peace process in which people are realizing they bear more responsibility than we have admitted before. The onus is increasingly on them, as it should be, and Iran’s the only way out of this.