The most consistent position from Israeli leaders . . . is that the
Without occupying the summits that look down on
One thing is certain. Everyone in the Middle East understands the military/defensive value of the Israeli settlements in the
If Israel did, in fact, abandon that territory in terms of occupation and military defense, there is no natural or political barrier at the perimeter of the West Bank that would prevent outside support to the Palestinians there from quickly turning the threat to Israel — within 2-3 weeks — into the same level of threat posed to Israel from Lebanon, and from the other side of the Golan Heights.
There is no reason whatsoever to imagine that
Why “settlement activity” is a non-issue. Excerpts from Elliott Abrams’ April 7, 2009 article in the Washington Post:
For one thing, most settlement activity is in those major blocs that it is widely understood
Why ceasing all Israeli “settlement activity” would unfairly affect final status issues. Excerpt from Vel Nirtist’s May 31 article at American Thinker:
Israelis are not the only ones who build on the disputed land to accommodate for ‘natural growth,' thus "pre-judging" the outcome of diplomacy. Palestinians do, too -- and the Obama administration, to be fair or at least consistent in its concern that "facts on the ground" should not adversely affect final-status negotiations, should put equal pressure on the Palestinians to stop all their building in the West Bank, too -- for when the Palestinians build in the West Bank, they also create "facts on the ground," erecting their structures on the land which Israelis may want to be part of their state. . . .
To recap: (1) the major settlements are on the high ground overlooking pre-1967 Israel, and whoever holds that high ground holds the military assets necessary either to defend or attack Israel; (2) Israeli settlement activity for the last five years has been largely limited to growth within the geographical limits of those settlement blocs, which will be kept by Israel in any conceivable peace agreement; and (3) the entire West Bank is disputed territory, as to which Israel has historical and religious connections, legal claims arising out of the documents that established the British mandate, and the military necessity to insure it cannot become the staging area for the kind of attack that nearly destroyed Israel in 1967.
Which is why settlement activity will continue in the same fashion it has for the last five years.