Israeli Outposts in Palestinian Territory

2007_09_19_ramon1_600 "Israel’s deputy prime minister says the Jewish state’s delay in dismantling unauthorized settlement outposts in the West Bank is hurting its relations with the United States.

Haim Ramon told Israel Radio Saturday that Israel is not meeting its commitments under the internationally sponsored Middle East "road map" to peace.

He said Israel must make a decision on the outposts in one or two weeks. "  VOA


I do not know Haim Ramon, but he has this one right.  I was driving around in the West Bank a month ago and it was quite clear that even in the parts of the land that are supposedly under Palestinian control there is an Israeli presence just about everywhere.  North of Jerusalem one drives to the edge of the Jerusalem municipality, then one drives through territory still policed by Israel, then one crosses over into Palestinian land.  On the ridges flanking the road there are; outposts, Nahal camps and settlements.  The amount of Palestinian soil that does not feel some sort of Israeli controlling presence is fairly small.

As Ramon says, an unwillingness to withdraw from such places is a profound inhibition to moving forward with the "Road Map" towards a two state solution.  Neither American political party is likely to back away from Israel for this reason, but it is in Israel’s interest to find a modus vivendi with the Palestinians.

From the point of view of the ordinary Palestinians, the ones who do not like the Israelis but who would like a settlement just so that they could get on with their lives, these Israeli positions are a constant temptation to disbelief in the real posssibility of peace in the Holy Land.

You see the Hamas flag in the West Bank, but in my travel there it did not seem that Hamas is yet dominant there.  It will be dominant if the Road Map" does not succeed.  pl

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3 Responses to Israeli Outposts in Palestinian Territory

  1. condfusedponderer says:

    I have read the book “Hollow Land – Israel’s Architecture of Occupation” by Eyal Weizmann. I recommend it. In chapters 2 and 3, and 3 in particular, Weizmann lines out how the outposts, and settlements that in return have to be guarded by the military, push forward the frontier, and that this principle is part of the ‘regional defence’ as thought up by Sharon and his contemporaries. It sought to integrate civilian settlements with military units in the protection of the borders of the state. That is, Israeli settlements serve a strategic purpose and are supported by the IDF. It’s a systematic process.
    As far as Palestine goes, it can be argued that the intent is to utilise settlements as a part of Israel’s counterinsurgency efforts against the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. Settlements are fortified, offensive/defensive villages which serve their purpose even when they only consist of an antenna mast and a few trailers.
    Interesting and heartening to see Haim Ramon disagree.
    As a side note, I found his Chapter 9 where he details Israel’s strategy of targeted assassinations quite remarkable in it’s soberness, and it also offers an interesting glimpse on the later debacle in Lebanon: (p.238).

    Sharon’s sacking of Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon and his replacement with the pilot and former air force commander Dan Halutz … testified to the perceived shift of military emphasis from the ground to the air, and of the Iraeli government’s acceptance of Halutz’ mantra: ‘technology instead of occupation’.

    The master of the disaster in Lebanon learned his follies while kicking around and blowing up Palestinians in the territories. There it worked. That is now the US style, too, for targeted assassinations in foreign lands, the ubiquitous Predator drone firing a Hellfire missile at a ‘suspect terrorist’.

  2. W. Patrick Lang says:

    “DEBKAfile’s Washington and Israeli sources report that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the three US generals, who act as US envoys for the Israel-Palestinian peace track have accused Israel’s defense minister Ehud Barak of sabotaging Rice’s Middle East policy objectives. This accusation was first raised by Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
    In protest against what he considered these officials’ anti-Israel positions, Barak absented himself from a meeting Friday, March 14, in Jerusalem with US Gen. William Fraser and Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad. Instead, he sent Amos Gilead, senior political adviser at the defense ministry.
    Gilead said that the minister was not scheduled to attend, but our sources confirm that at previous encounters of this sort Barak represented Israel in person.
    The defense minister complained that Gen. Keith Dayton, one of the three US envoys, leveled harsh criticism against him personally and Israel’s defense community in general at a gathering of US consular staff serving in Israel.
    According to our sources, Dayton faulted Israel on three points:
    1. Israel, he said, was not giving Palestinian security and intelligence organs a chance to act in an orderly and continuous manner in the A areas of the West Bank under their control. This prevented the Palestinian Authority from exercising its authority over West Bank towns and rooting out terrorist structures, while strengthening Hamas elements and helping them build strongholds that would undermine Abbas.
    2. Systematic Israel military operations in West Bank towns are driving wanted terrorists, criminal gangs and lawbreakers into Israel-controlled B and C areas in search of asylum. Gen. Dayton insinuated that the current anarchy in the West Bank was down to Israel, which he blamed for the inability of Abbas and Fayad to take charge of the territory.
    3. The American general told the US diplomats that Ehud Barak and his defense establishment had spurned repeated American requests for a set of new security measures to be introduced on the West Bank as peace negotiations went forward.
    A diplomatic source present at the meeting was convinced that Gen. Dayton’s severe remarks were backed by the secretary of state.
    Barak is reported by DEBKAfile’s military sources to have angrily rejected the US general’s charges and remarked such complaints should have been properly addressed to him, not laid before officials not directly involved in the Israel-Palestinian dialogue, some of whom are openly hostile to Israel. The minister said there was no point in him attending any more “Palestinian charades.”
    Those military sources also noted that Gen. Dayton had still not accomplished his mission to establish an effective Palestinian anti-terror force for the Ramallah government. That appears to be at the bottom of the controversy.” pl

  3. J says:

    what about the establishment of an anti-terror unit to protect the unarmed Palestinian women and children from Israel’s f15, helos, and m16s? is there any thing in the current talks that deal with the cold blooded murder of so many Palestinian children in Israel’s latest assaults?
    Israel has abused the u.s.’s supplying of military arms to protect themselves, and instead are turning them on unarmed little children and old women. no wonder the mideast as a whole are sick to death of the Israel carnage upon the innocent.

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