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Should Israel continue it's freeze on settlement expansion in the West Bank?

Should Israel temporarily continue it's freeze on settlement expansion in the WB?


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Jucon

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Should Israel temporarily continue it's freeze on settlement expansion in the West Bank?

Explain your response.

Ahead of talks, Abbas warns Israel on settlements | Reuters

Abbas puts onus for talks on Israel - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

The Palestinian president has warned that Israel would be to blame if resumed direct talks with Israel failed over the Jewish settlements issue.

Mahmoud Abbas said in a televised speech on Sunday that "the Israeli government alone will bear the responsibility of threatening these negotiations with collapse and failure if it continues settlement expansion in all its forms in all the Palestinian lands it has occupied since 1967".

"We support the need of Israel and our people for security, but this cannot be a pretext to justify settlement activities and taking away other people's land and rights."

Meanwhile, Silvan Shalom, Israel’s vice prime minister, told Reuters news agency that he viewed Palestinians' calls for a further freeze before the talks began as "unacceptable" and voiced concern the demand could trigger a crisis in Israel's pro-settler government and lead to an early national election.

"[Netanyahu] told us today there will be no decision on September 2 about freezing settlements."

Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli foreign minister, earlier this week voiced confidence the Israeli cabinet would not extend the freeze.

The United States opposes settlement expansion but has stopped demanding Israel to extend the moratorium.

Instead, it has urged both Israel and the Palestinians not to take measures that could jeopardise the negotiations and said the settlement issue would be raised in next week's talks.

Israel's policy of building settlements on occupied Palestinian land is the most contentious issue in negotiations, the first since they were broken off 20 months ago when Israel launched its deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip.

I believe they should temporarily extend the freeze. The borders between Israel and the West Bank are still disputed, and by building or expanding the settlements Israel is pretty much claiming the land for themselves without due-process.

At the same time the Palestinian government needs to get to business. It's been 43 years and little has been achieved in ending this. I'm getting sick of the squabbling.

:peace
 

24107

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Yes, because it will hamper peace talks.
 

digsbe

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I voted yes. However I don't think they should be a permanent freeze.
 

Kandahar

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Yes they should, and it should be permanent. What purpose do Israeli settlements serve, other than to inflame tensions with the Palestinians? They don't benefit the State of Israel in any way whatsoever, and are far more of a nuisance than they are worth. Israeli politicians who allow it are simply pandering for votes, not taking any kind of principled stand.
 

Jucon

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Yes they should, and it should be permanent. What purpose do Israeli settlements serve, other than to inflame tensions with the Palestinians? They don't benefit the State of Israel in any way whatsoever, and are far more of a nuisance than they are worth. Israeli politicians who allow it are simply pandering for votes, not taking any kind of principled stand.

I believe one of the reasons they are expanding and building new settlements is to create a "buffer zone" between the heart of Israel and the eventual Arab Palestinian state. I think it is a good idea, given the tensions both current and in the past between Israel and the surrounding areas. But Israel should not be the only one to determine where these lines should lay. They have no right to expand into the West Bank when the borders are still being disputed. It is my hope that both sides will be reasonable if/when peace talks continue.
 

Kandahar

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I believe one of the reasons they are expanding and building new settlements is to create a "buffer zone" between the heart of Israel and the eventual Arab Palestinian state. I think it is a good idea, given the tensions both current and in the past between Israel and the surrounding areas. But Israel should not be the only one to determine where these lines should lay. They have no right to expand into the West Bank when the borders are still being disputed. It is my hope that both sides will be reasonable if/when peace talks continue.

IMO if Israel wants to create a buffer zone with the Palestinians, it should do it on the Israeli side of the border. When the United States erected its border fence with Mexico (which I do not support), it didn't do it in Mexican territory. It did it several hundred feet on the American side of the border.

In any case, I'm not sure how a few settlements would really serve as a buffer zone. There are already lots of security checkpoints along the border. And a buffer implies that the Palestinians would need to cross them to get to Israel proper. This isn't the case; they could simply go around them.
 

Mensch

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I voted yes, for the same reason you did. Concessions need to be made by both parties. I believe Israel should remove its settlers out of the West Bank, and let go of their chokehold on Gaza. Gaza and the West Bank should be a state for the advancement of a Palestinian nation. However, I also believe Palestine needs to find another capital. I've never heard of two nations peacefully sharing a capital, and I'm actually pessimistic that that sort of arrangement will sustain itself.
 

Jucon

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IMO if Israel wants to create a buffer zone with the Palestinians, it should do it on the Israeli side of the border. When the United States erected its border fence with Mexico (which I do not support), it didn't do it in Mexican territory. It did it several hundred feet on the American side of the border.

In any case, I'm not sure how a few settlements would really serve as a buffer zone. There are already lots of security checkpoints along the border. And a buffer implies that the Palestinians would need to cross them to get to Israel proper. This isn't the case; they could simply go around them.

I'm more referring to a possible future war, which Israel is preparing for. There have already been many wars since the founding of Israel as a separate state... it is not far fetched to think another war could occur, even after borders are decided.

I voted yes, for the same reason you did. Concessions need to be made by both parties. I believe Israel should remove its settlers out of the West Bank, and let go of their chokehold on Gaza. Gaza and the West Bank should be a state for the advancement of a Palestinian nation. However, I also believe Palestine needs to find another capital. I've never heard of two nations peacefully sharing a capital, and I'm actually pessimistic that that sort of arrangement will sustain itself.

I also hope that the Palestinian government would be willing to give up Jerusalem... though I highly doubt that would happen. Even if they did, the people would not accept that kind of resolution. :doh
 
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24107

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Jerusalem is sacred to both sides.
 

Mensch

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Jerusalem is sacred to both sides.

I understand, yet it's hard to take either side. I ultimately sympathize with it being a Jewish capital because it is the single most important city in Hebrew history. It is the third most important city in Islamic culture.
 

24107

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It's a very delicate issue, i believe it should be fairly partitioned. Palestinians/Israeli's should each have a connection to this sacred city.
 
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spud_meister

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It's a very delicate issue, i believe it should be fairly partitioned. Palestinians/Israeli's should each have a connection to this sacred city.

I like the original plan that it should be shared by both, and governened by the UN.
 

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Your poll is invalid as you were misleading the voters.
The freeze is not on "settlement expansion in the West Bank" as there was no such thing for quite some years now.
The freeze is on what is called "natural growth", the growth of the existing settlements within their own boundaries through the construction of new houses within those settlements.

As to the poll, since the freeze was an act of good faith for the peace talks, and since it was meant to be for 10 months, I think that continuing the freeze after the time limit that was set to it almost 10 months ago would be a horrible mistake as it shows the Palestinians that the current administration has no backbone and it can be blackmailed by threats to leave the peace talks.
On the other hand it seems like the Palestinians are counting on that, that Israel will not renew the freeze after it expires, and that would be their ticket out of the peace talks.
 

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Yes, but for a limit amount of time only.

Frankly, both sides need to start giving a bit and dealing with reality.

Give up the notion that Gaza must be involved in this. They're single handedly doing more harm to the Palestinian people in the West Bank than Israel, as it is Gaza which is hampering their ability to truly get this talk done. They've had a chance, cut the cord and let Gaza deal with themselves and let the West Bank citizens establish Palestinine.

Second, perform a landswap. Allow Israel to keep the land in the West Bank they currently have, while gaining an equal amount of land elsewhere. Will the land necessarily be of equal value? Perhaps not. However, the fact of the matter is that the Palestinians were offered this land and chose war instead. Israel is occupying it now because they essentially conquered it in a war where another nation attacked them. Palestine, technically, has zero land right now. More land is greater than zero land, so getting hung up on this land swap that the lands not "truly equal" is ridiculous, akin to a begger demanding that he wants five $20's instead of the $100 you gave him because some shops don't take $100's so its of more value to him.

Israel should not extend itself or allow its citizen to extend its land any farther then it is now. Any farther expansion after this point should not be part of the land swap and regardless of how much an Israeli has built up the area, it should still go over to Palestine. A line in the sand must be drawn and an end point sent.

The split jerusalem may be the most fair to both sides, though unsure how likely it'll be able to function.

Get to work on an underground tunnel to allow Palestinine passage to a port.
 

Jucon

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Your poll is invalid as you were misleading the voters.
The freeze is not on "settlement expansion in the West Bank" as there was no such thing for quite some years now.
The freeze is on what is called "natural growth", the growth of the existing settlements within their own boundaries through the construction of new houses within those settlements.

As to the poll, since the freeze was an act of good faith for the peace talks, and since it was meant to be for 10 months, I think that continuing the freeze after the time limit that was set to it almost 10 months ago would be a horrible mistake as it shows the Palestinians that the current administration has no backbone and it can be blackmailed by threats to leave the peace talks.
On the other hand it seems like the Palestinians are counting on that, that Israel will not renew the freeze after it expires, and that would be their ticket out of the peace talks.

It was not my intent to mislead voters. Obviously the topic of Israel and the middle east is a very sensitive issue with very passionate opinions. I tried being as unbiased as possible. "Expansion" was used within the news story, so I felt it was an appropriate word to describe what is at issue. Pollsters have the articles to read if they feel the need to further understand the issue being discussed.

However, whether an existing settlement is expanding "naturally" is irrelevant in my mind. Building within the disputed zone is building within the disputed zone and should be discouraged until the borders are finally drawn out. Israel has a lot of land to build settlements elsewhere... why must they build right along the disputed border?

On your other note, I agree with you... I tried expressing this feeling in my second comment about the Palestinian government in my OP. The Palestinian government needs to get something done.

Most likely not all parties will be happy with the final results, but I have the hope that both the Israeli and the Palestinian governments will be equally reasonable. Both sides need to make concessions.
 

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"Expansion" was used within the news story, so I felt it was an appropriate word to describe what is at issue.

I didn't know the article has used this term, I apologize, but it is still misleading.

However, whether an existing settlement is expanding "naturally" is irrelevant in my mind. Building within the disputed zone is building within the disputed zone and should be discouraged until the borders are finally drawn out. Israel has a lot of land to build settlements elsewhere... why must they build right along the disputed border?

That's wrong, as "expansion" means taking more and more West Bank land by the minute. That's not the case. Settlements haven't expanded and no new West Bank land was "settled" for years now, they are only building within the already existing settlements and their boundries.

I think that the natural growth is unavoidable. People live there, they have natural needs, they bring children to the world and need bigger houses, new schools, etc.
The freezing of the building was acceptable due to its "good faith" value and its expected progress towards peace. It did not however draw any equal "good faith" actions from the other side.
And as I said, if Netanyahu would renew the settlements' natural growth freeze once it expires, it would be a horrible mistake because he wouldn't abide by his word.
He said 10 months, those 10 months are about to be over, it's a temporary freeze and not a permanent one.

On your other note, I agree with you... I tried expressing this feeling in my second comment about the Palestinian government in my OP. The Palestinian government needs to get something done.

Most likely not all parties will be happy with the final results, but I have the hope that both the Israeli and the Palestinian governments will be equally reasonable. Both sides need to make concessions.

No objections here.
 

Jucon

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That's wrong, as "expansion" means taking more and more West Bank land by the minute. That's not the case. Settlements haven't expanded and no new West Bank land was "settled" for years now, they are only building within the already existing settlements and their boundries.

I think that the natural growth is unavoidable. People live there, they have natural needs, they bring children to the world and need bigger houses, new schools, etc.
The freezing of the building was acceptable due to its "good faith" value and its expected progress towards peace. It did not however draw any equal "good faith" actions from the other side.
And as I said, if Netanyahu would renew the settlements' natural growth freeze once it expires, it would be a horrible mistake because he wouldn't abide by his word.
He said 10 months, those 10 months are about to be over, it's a temporary freeze and not a permanent one.

Just so I know we're on the same page, when you say "building within the already existing settlements and their boundaries", are you saying for example filling in a circle, or making a circle bigger?

And I'd also have to ask the specific locations of these settlements you are referring to. In my mind anything that was built along the disputed border is equal to claiming the land without due-process.

I'd have no problem with Israel building new or expanding existing settlements far within Israel, but building right along the disputed border is like claiming the land automatically; the Israeli government has invested time, money and resources and has moved Israeli citizens into said area, and would likely be against moving these people once deals are discussed.

All I'm saying is wait until the borders are drawn. I can imagine it's frustrating dealing with the Palestinian government when they keep backing out, but that doesn't change my opinion. Israel has a lot of land to build on. Why do they need to build right along the border?
 

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Just so I know we're on the same page, when you say "building within the already existing settlements and their boundaries", are you saying for example filling in a circle, or making a circle bigger?

Filling in a circle.
That's the definition of the term "natural growth", the term that Netanyahu has decided to freeze nearly 10 months ago.

And I'd also have to ask the specific locations of these settlements you are referring to. In my mind anything that was built along the disputed border is equal to claiming the land without due-process.

I'd have no problem with Israel building new or expanding existing settlements far within Israel, but building right along the disputed border is like claiming the land automatically; the Israeli government has invested time, money and resources and has moved Israeli citizens into said area, and would likely be against moving these people once deals are discussed.

All I'm saying is wait until the borders are drawn. I can imagine it's frustrating dealing with the Palestinian government when they keep backing out, but that doesn't change my opinion. Israel has a lot of land to build on. Why do they need to build right along the border?

I agree that the settlements are wrong, but no new settlements were built for more than a decade and no new settlements will be built in the future.
What's left now is to reach the peace agreement that would dismantle those settlements (the majority of them), but I don't agree with a permanent freeze on the natural growth of those existing settlements.
While they're not dismantled, people are living there.
 

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I also hope that the Palestinian government would be willing to give up Jerusalem... though I highly doubt that would happen.

Heh, will never happen ofc. Palestinian people wouldn't allow it. Heck, Arabs would never allow that to happen.

And I voted yes, both sides need to make sacrifices/concessions
 
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Jucon

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Filling in a circle.
That's the definition of the term "natural growth", the term that Netanyahu has decided to freeze nearly 10 months ago.



I agree that the settlements are wrong, but no new settlements were built for more than a decade and no new settlements will be built in the future.
What's left now is to reach the peace agreement that would dismantle those settlements (the majority of them), but I don't agree with a permanent freeze on the natural growth of those existing settlements.
While they're not dismantled, people are living there.

To be more specific, when you you say filling in a circle are you saying filling it in "from the outer edge - in" or "from the center - out"? If it is the latter, that in my mind is claiming more territory. To expand an area any other way sounds a bit strange to me, but anything is possible.

But I'd think expanding existing settlements would make it that much less attractive for the Israeli citizens to dismantle them in the future. It would be that much more that would need to be given up by the people currently living in the settlement. I don't think they'd appreciate being uprooted from their current location.
 

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In November of 2009, Israel announced a temporary settlement freeze which is scheduled to expire in September of 2010. This was a voluntary gesture of good will.

As to extending the temporary freeze, I say yes. As long as direct negotiations remain in effect. I think such a temporary freeze should apply to East Jerusalem also which was not included in the Israeli gesture of November 2009.

One must take into consideration though, that each side views the term "freeze" differently. Abbas views a freeze as including both internal and external expansion. The government of Israel views its freeze as external only. No outward expansion of settlements. But Israel reserves the right to improve and maintain within the settlements... i.e. expanding a school to meet enrollment needs, adding a new fire station to increase coverage, completing scheduled construction projects, etc.

Unless and until there is a mutual agreement on what the term "freeze" actually means, then there can be no mutual agreement on what would constitute a freeze violation.
 

William Rea

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Yes they should, and it should be permanent. What purpose do Israeli settlements serve, other than to inflame tensions with the Palestinians? They don't benefit the State of Israel in any way whatsoever, and are far more of a nuisance than they are worth. Israeli politicians who allow it are simply pandering for votes, not taking any kind of principled stand.

Voted Yes.

What Kandahar said.
 

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In November of 2009, Israel announced a temporary settlement freeze which is scheduled to expire in September of 2010. This was a voluntary gesture of good will.

As to extending the temporary freeze, I say yes. As long as direct negotiations remain in effect. I think such a temporary freeze should apply to East Jerusalem also which was not included in the Israeli gesture of November 2009.

One must take into consideration though, that each side views the term "freeze" differently. Abbas views a freeze as including both internal and external expansion. The government of Israel views its freeze as external only. No outward expansion of settlements. But Israel reserves the right to improve and maintain within the settlements... i.e. expanding a school to meet enrollment needs, adding a new fire station to increase coverage, completing scheduled construction projects, etc.

Unless and until there is a mutual agreement on what the term "freeze" actually means, then there can be no mutual agreement on what would constitute a freeze violation.

Actually that's not entirely correct there Tashah, the freezing was a freeze of natural growth, expansion of settlements doesn't occur anyway, with the freeze or without.

The natural growth of the settlements is defined as "a vague term that refers to construction in existing settlements to accommodate growing families".

Source: Haaretz
 
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