Tuesday, June 09, 2009

What The Middle East Peace Process Needs - Palestinian Settlements

At least that's the interesting idea Dr. Richard Landes at The Augean Stables came up with.

Instead of merely focusing on freezing construction in Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, how about concentrating on getting the Palestinians out of those squalid refugee camps and building settlements for them in the Fatah occupied areas of the West bank?

I’d like to propose something that can test Palestinian intentions in concrete terms that will not only reassure Israelis profoundly, but benefit the Palestinian refugees. To my mind, the greatest sign that the Palestinian Authority had no intention of pursuing Oslo as a way to achieve peace, but as a Trojan Horse, is the fact that, once they had control of significant tracts of land in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, they never made the slightest move to get Palestinian refugees out of the camps and into real housing. The scandal of how the Arab and Palestinian leadership have treated their refugees is the most revealing story in the long and allegedly complex conflict between the Arabs and the Israelis.

I suggest that President Obama demand, publicly, and in the same strong terms with which he addresses the Israelis, that the PA begin immediately building settlements for Palestinian refugees on the lands available to them in the West Bank, so that they can begin living decent lives. This would be an enormous boon to the Palestinian economy, it would mobilize the significant talents the Palestinians have in the building industry, and would signal to the Israelis that the “right of return” — i.e., the demand that Israel commit demographic suicide — is not lurking in the background of the “Arab Peace Plan.”

For reasons I've pointed out before, that's never going to happen especially not with this president. But it's an intruiging idea nevertheless, and I'd love to see how the Fatah mafia would justify not comply.

Actually, they probably would agree to it. And than steal the funding provided for it, just like they've stolen all the rest.

Your thoughts?

UPDATE: Soccer Dad, one of the ever vigilant members of Joshua's Army points out to me that the Israelis actually tried to build homes for refugees and get them out of the camps. And they got a whole UN Resolution condemning Israel for doing it.

Charles Krauthammer also devoted a column to the UN's efforts to keep the Palestinians safely locked up in the camps...not that anyone's going to mention that.

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