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Settlements

Reader comment on item: Polls, Palestinians and the Path to Peace

Submitted by Peter Florance (United States), Feb 18, 2003 at 07:24

I agree that a large part of the problem is the Palestinians' refusal to give up on destroying Israel.
But West Bank settlements, if not a moral problem, are clearly a strategic problem as they continue to be not effectively defensible.

I used to ask why Sharon won't give up on these settlements, but I suspect at least two reasons:

1) Obvious answer - Politics. Sharon's Likud party gets a lot of support from settlement supporters.
2) Less Obvious answer - Water. The West Bank is a major source for Israel's water and the settlements are a cover for that. I understand West Bank Palestians must still get permission from Israel to dig wells in that area. Sounds like occupation to me.

It still gets down to painful choices on both sides and I still believe most of those need to be made by Mr. Arafat as pointed out in the commentary by Mr. Pipes . But not pointing out Israel's part of the problem leaves the arguments made above open to criticism of being one-sided.

I'm used to Arab commentators being one-sided on this issue, but I expect better from Western commentators.

Thanks for the thought-provoking work.

Peter Florance
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