Sufian Abu Zaida screamed this week on the radio that no Palestinian would ever agree to see even one stone built in the settlements. At that very moment, I could see through the window in my home, located in one of the settlements, a Palestinian laborer vigorously building a two-room addition to the home of one of my neighbors. There, I told myself with satisfaction, we have at least one Palestinian who does agree to see construction in the settlements.
Abu Zaida continued to scream, and then it turned out that he too agreed to accept settlement construction once upon a time. He didn’t do it happily, but he agreed. “We made a great mistake in Oslo, when we agreed to talk to Israel without demanding that it freeze the settlements,” he cried.
Indeed, the Oslo Accords do not include even one clause where Israel pledges not to build in the settlements. Arafat yielded to Rabin on this front, maybe because he planned to exterminate us in stages anyway; Kiryat Arba and Beit-El were of less interest to him than Ashkelon and Petach Tikva.
The problem is that Kiryat Arba and Beit-El were of great interest to Israel’s leftist camp. Almost since the moment they were established, the Left deployed at the frontlines of the demand to freeze and eliminate them.
The energies invested by the Left in this challenge wee immense. Almost every Jewish home beyond the Green Line was thoroughly documented by Peace Now inspectors and its spy planes. Every two months, a comprehensive report was published about the number of cement bags at the outposts. Photographs of rusty nails were meticulously broadcast to all corners of the world.
Peace Now’s priorities
The Palestinians, who happened to nail in these nails themselves, eventually were convinced to raise a hue and cry. Our leftist camp managed to incite them and prompt them to present the settlement issue as an existential affair. Indeed, the Left has the copyright on introducing the term “freeze” to the diplomatic theater.
Because of the Left, or mostly because of it, the world is now interested in dilapidated caravans near Mount Hebron more than it is interested in all the distress in Africa and all the scandals of South America.
Now, upon the freeze’s expiration, there is no doubt that leftist inspectors shall resume their strict monitoring of every home, scaffolding, and nail. A wide-ranging snitching operation shall get underway. Sooner or later, the Palestinians will be left with no choice but to quit the talks. Even if they would wish to ignore the construction, Peace Now won’t allow them to do it.
Indeed, peace is very important for members of Peace Now, but razing the settlements is more important.
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