by Leo Rennert
In a couple of weeks, the Palestinian Authority will be at the UN seeking statehood recognition over all of Gaza, all of the West Bank and all of East Jerusalem, including Judaism's holiest shrines. And the UN General Assembly is likely to oblige.)
It's in this context that the New York Times, in an Aug. 31 dispatch by Jerusalem correspondent Isabel Kershner, reveals the startling news that the Israeli military has been training settlers in the West Bank to defend themselves if unilateral UN recognition of Palestinian statehood triggers attacks on Jewish settlements in the West Bank -- or, as Kershner puts it in more politically correct terms -- should there occur "major disturbances." ("Israel Intensifies Training Of Settler Security Teams" page A4).
Kershner is clearly upset about Israel's chutzpah in training settlers in self-defense tactics. The military, for example, is drawing boundaries around settlements as "no-go" lines to warn potential Palestinian demonstrators not to enter any settlements. So, Kershner huffs that "it was not clear how the boundaries would be made clear to protesters."
Kershner also is concerned that settler rapid-response teams have been armed with M-16 automatic rifles. Presumably, she'd be happier if they only had squirt guns or water pistols.
The military's explanation that, to ensure the safety of settlers, it is "preparing them to deal with any possible scenario" doesn't satisfy Kershner. The military, she informs Times readers, "declined to go into further detail regarding what it called its 'operational preparedness.'''
It's typical, of course, for Kershner and the Times to huff and puff about settlements as the alleged obstacles toward peace, rather than Hamas's total control of Gaza and Mahmoud Abbas's refusal to make any compromises whatsoever to achieve a two-state solution. That basic reality is not to be found in Kershner's piece. Nor is the historical fact that Israel repeatedly has vacated settlements or offered to vacate them whenever there was a glimmer or prospect of peace with its neighbors -- i.e. the evacuation of all Sinai settlements as part of a peace deal with Egypt, the abandonment of all settlements in Gaza when Ariel Sharon foolishly believed this would pave the way for a an incipient, peaceful Palestine, the offers to vacate 95 percent of the West Bank by Ehud Barak in 2000 and Ehud Olmert in 2008.
None of this matters as much to Kershner as those pesky settlements portrayed as sole obstacle in the path toward peace.
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.