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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Netanyahu plants trees in 'settlement blocs' to show that they are an indisputable part of Israel

This Saturday, the 15th day of the Jewish month of Shvat, is known as Tu BiShvat. Tu BiShvat is the New Year for trees, the date on which one year ends and the next year begins for purposes of determining what tithes are given to whom from the fruit trees (among other things).

To celebrate Tu BiShvat, just about every school child in the country plants a tree. This year, because Tu BiShvat falls on the Sabbath (on which we are forbidden from planting trees), the planting is being done early.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Netanyahu planted two trees. But Prime Minister Netanyahu's trees have political significance. They were planted in the Etzion bloc and Maaleh Adumim, two of the 'settlement blocs' that Israel says it will keep in any 'settlement' with the 'Palestinians.' Later this week, Netanyahu will plant a tree in Ariel, a third 'settlement bloc.' Netanyahu stated on Sunday that the 'settlement blocs' are an indisputable part of Israel.
With these trees, Netanyahu said he wanted to "send a clear message that we will stay here. We are planning and we are building."

He added that these areas are an "indisputable part of Israel forever. This is an idea that is accepted by the majority of Israelis" and is part of international agreements, Netanyahu said.

It was his first visit to West Bank settlements since he took office at the end of last March.

His words come in the midst of a 10-month moratorium on new settlement construction, a move that has sown seeds of doubt in the minds of many settlers regarding his commitment to the settlement movement.

Government sources, while not willing to say that the prime minister's selection of the locales to plant trees was meant as a political message, added that it was clear he did not think Israel could return to the pre-1967 lines, because he did not think they were defensible.

Likewise, Netanyahu was planting trees in areas he believed would always stay within the state, and which were very much part of the national consensus.
Haaretz adds:
His comments came as no surprise to the Palestinians, who were put on notice by previous Israeli leaders that Israel intended to hang on to major settlement blocs in the West Bank in any future peace accord.
Here's the problem though: In more than sixteen years of the 'peace process,' we're still waiting for our first concession from the 'Palestinians.' I have yet to hear the 'Palestinians' say that they agree to us keeping the 'settlement blocs.' And I don't expect to hear it either.


At 10:07 PM, Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

Israel needs to start demanding Jewish Heritage sites in the west bank be protected from cultural genocide by the palestinians...

We need to make up a list and specific demands to the world, for a peace treaty that includes Israel's control of these places...

If the arabs can "claim" the temple mount, we can claim our sites as well..

At 10:26 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

If the Palestinians ever agree to Israel's keeping the settlement blocs, it would be a breakthrough. One that looks like a distant dream in our own generation.

At 11:51 PM, Blogger Mr. Gerson said...

He will never be a Ben Gurion with his weak stance towards the USA and it's baby: Fatah.

At 11:57 PM, Blogger Mr. Gerson said...

Norm: The Palestinians most likely will accept the settlement blocks in the context of their plan of phases.


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