Caroline Glick in the Jerusalem Post takes on the claim of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that Israel’s settlements in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) are a threat to the country’s security and thus should be destroyed. According to Glick, Olmert argues that (1) protecting these settlements is a serious drain on the Israeli Defense Forces and (2) the settlements create friction with the Palestinians and this friction is a major cause of the resentment that motivates Palestinians to wage war against the Jewish state.
The first proposition may have merit, although Glick presents a strong counter-argument, claiming that the settlements are a tactical and strategic asset which require only 300 IDF troops for their protection. The second proposition is indefensible and potentially suicidal. It is the Jewish state, not its settlements, that Palestinians resent above all. They have said so repeatedly. One wonders why more people can’t show the Palestinians enough respect to take them at their word, especially when their deeds corroborate their word. As Glick notes, moreover, every attempt by Israel to end “friction” by retreating serves only to radicalize Palestinians even more “by fanning their faith that Israel will one day disappear completely.”
And why not? A Jewish state that is willing to bow to claims that the mere presence of Jews is an affront to Palestinians is a state that might well disappear completely.