Ron Dermer is the Director of Communications and Policy Planning in the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. I’ve heard some refer to him as Netanyahu’s Karl Rove, though I don’t know how apt the comparison is.
Recently, Dermer had this to say about Israeli settlements:
On a personal level, I have a problem with the idea of a Jew not being able to live wherever he wants. A Jew can live in Paris and they can live in Muncie, but they can’t live in Hebron, where Jews have been living for 3,500 years until the community was massacred 80 years ago? The whole concept that peace demands an area be cleansed of Jews is very problematic for me . . . . [I]t makes no sense. I actually think that when the Palestinians are prepared to live with Jews among them they are much more likely to be prepared to live with Jews alongside them.
This is a point that has been obscured recently because Obama’s stubborn insistence that Israel halt “natural growth construction” in the major settlement blocs placed the focus on this narrow aspect of the settlement issue. But Dermer is absolutely right on the broader point. Why would Israel want to enter into a peace agreement in which it must rely on the good intentions of a chronic adversary that hates Jews to the point that it will not permit them to live in their would-be state?