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« Israel’s Africa Policy Revisited | Main | Israeli leaders prepared to give up on its dreams; where are the Palestinians? »

September 14, 2008




Do you think that Israel should unilaterally (as Sharon did with Gaza) withdraw from "The West Bank"?

Should the IDF protect the Jewish settlements?


Sep 14, 2008 13:25 | Updated Sep 14, 2008 16:32
Olmert: 'Greater Israel' has disappeared from the horizon

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday that the 'Greater Israel' idea was over.

"'Greater Israel' is finished. There is no such thing as that anymore. Whoever talks in those terms is only deluding himself," said the prime minister at the weekly cabinet during which Vice Premier Haim Ramon's evacuation-compensation bill was discussed.

"It doesn't help Israel. The international community has changed its perspective ahead of the possibility of Israel becoming a bi-national state. We can prove that we were always the initiators and were more creative and that it was the other side that was more stubborn. However, as usual, we are winning the argument but are gradually going to lose the most important thing," he said.

Olmert explained that although excellent justifications could be brought as to why talk of of concessions to the Palestinians should be postponed, time was "not ticking in Israel's favor."

Olmert admitted that he had changed his mind on the subject. "I admit that I didn't always have this opinion. I thought and I also said to [Defense Minister] Ehud Barak that the concessions he offered at Camp David were exaggerated. I believed that the land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean was all ours since in every place there that is excavated, there is evidence of Jewish History.

"But finally, after a lot of suffering and misgivings, I came to the conclusion that we need to share the land with whom we are residing if we don't want to become a bi-national state."

The prime minister emphasized that Israel was the strongest country in the region. "We are strong like no other country in the region, no entity can overcome us," he said. "The strategic threats don't come from questions of where the borders are. We can argue over every small detail but we will then have no peace partner and no international backing. We will just feel that we were right, as we have done for the last 40 years."

According to Ramon's evacuation-compensation bill, NIS 1.1 million will be given to each family that voluntarily moves from isolated areas of the West Bank to the Negev.

Ramon's bill would give a 25 percent increase in compensation offered to settlers who leave the West Bank for the Negev and a 15% increase to those who move to the Galilee. Ramon told ministers that 18% of the settlers east of the security fence (over 11,000 individuals) were prepared to leave of their own accord.

The evacuation of residents living in the West Bank, insisted Ramon, was "an inevitable step for those who believe in the two-state [solution], who are the majority of the Israeli public. The government's assertion, that Israel is not prepared to continue to control areas east of the [security] fence, will strengthen Israel in its negotiations with the Palestinians and with the international community. This program will also strengthen the settlement blocs west of the [security] fence and leave the area under Israels sovereignty."

Ramon also said that Israel and the Palestinians weren't close to reaching even a scaled-back version of a peace agreement, further diminishing hopes of any significant strides by the end of the year.

"Right now, we don't see reaching a shelf agreement or a declaration of principles on the horizon," he said.

Meanwhile, Public Security Minister Avi Dichter criticized the bill, saying that "the current discussion is a mistake in its essence and also in its timing," he said, adding that it was "putting the cart before the horse." "Even if houses that should be destroyed are destroyed, legislation preventing them from being rebuilt is problematic, full of difficulties and may even provoke violence," he continued. "Voluntary evacuation will only weaken, not strengthen Israel."

Transportation Minister and Kadima leadership candidate Shaul Mofaz also seemed to oppose the bill, but was more tempered in his reservations.

"Evacuation compensation in a reality that lacks an agreed upon framework, will only raise the Palestinians' demands and cause damage," Mofaz said during the meeting.


BD, just posted on the link you posted.

1) No, we should not unilaterally withdraw.
2) Yes, soldiers should protect the settlers.


We won't allow settler pogroms against non-Jews, says Olmert

By Haaretz Service

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declared before the cabinet on Sunday that Israel's government will not allow settlers to carry out "pogroms against non-Jews."

Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting one day after West Bank settlers from the illegal settlement of Yitzhar went on a rampage in the nearby Palestinian village of Assira al-Kabaliya in retaliation for the stabbing of a 9-year-old boy, Olmert said "there will not be pogroms against non-Jews in the state of Israel."

The settler rampage in Assira al-Kabaliya left at least eight Palestinians hurt. The boy, stabbed in the back and the hand, sustained minor wounds.

"The phenomenon of [settlers] taking the law into their own hands and lashing out with violence and brutality is unforgivable, and will be dealt with by the law enforcement authorities," Olmert said.

The prime minister went on to describe the previous day's events, saying "in northern Samaria there was a terror attack, and a young boy was hurt. This is serious and momentous and the defense forces will find the culprit and do what needs to be done, as they do every day. However, Yitzhar settlers went on a retaliatory rampage against Palestinian residents, using live fire."

Olmert went on to say that there was no reason to believe that the Palestinians targeted by the settlers had any connection to the stabbing attack earlier in the day.

"There are law enforcement authorities in the state of Israel," Olmert told the cabinet, "we have a military and security services and we won't allow this kind of violence or brutal attacks on civilians. Moreover, the violence is not used against those suspected of terrorism, it is used against Israel Defense Forces officers and soldiers. I urge the authorities to take measures to end this grave phenomenon."

In a meeting of Labor Party ministers earlier Sunday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak sais that "the defense establishment will act with decisiveness to enforce law and order in the West Bank, but we need the cooperation of the police and the legal system."

All the Cacti

Ok then whomever bombs Jews and asserts fake claims against their land too....the IDF should refrain from protecting them too? Maybe the question isn't 'what kind of Israel do you want to be' and instead it should be 'what kind of dysfunctional African warlord cannibal kingdom do you want to be?'


Great and brave post Steve! I think you have clearly shown how one can take an extremely critical position of Israeli government actions (or inactions) and the residence of Yesha and not resort to hurting the state of Israel. If only the SAHRD had taken this sort of nuanced approach. I think we should send it in to Sifrin for the SAJR. Well done!


Thanks Mike.

All the Cacti: Not sure what you saying there. Care to elaborate? I am saying that the IDF is principally there as an early warning signal for terrorist attatcks, to protect our settlers and to stop terrorists from getting into Israel. Its a blight on Palestinian society that we need them there; that Jews can't stay there safely as residents of a Palestinian state like Arabs do in Israel.


I must say, one can't help but understand what drives these guys to throw rocks at Palestinians.

When the IDF respond, the media and left complain that there is a disproportionate use of force. So maybe the media and left will be happy that we are now doing what the Palestinians do, throwing stones and using makeshift rockets.

I wonder if we will see any opinion pieces praising the proportionate Israeli responses now :)


I wonder what might have happened if Isreal had adopted totally different policies post 1967 in respect of "The West Bank". Let us assume that she had not built settlements and had completely withdrawn her military. Would there now be peace or would another can of worms emerged?

Would "smaller Israel" have survived if "greater Israel" had not existed?

All the Cacti

Steve - whether the beliefs or even most of the actions of some Jews in Yesha is obnoxious, inflammatory or objectionable is besides the point. The government doesn't get to cherry pick the people it wishes to represent and protect. If the IDF decided that the only people it should defend are those who don't need it, then we can all go home and call Israel a failed experiment.


all the Cacti, I agree that Israel has a responsibility to protect those people. But that does not mean excusing or turning a blind eye to their illegal behavior. Those who break the law be the Jewish or Arab must be prosecute. Thats the point!


All the cacti, I didn't mean to imply that the IDF should not defend the settlers. I have argued that they need to be there to defend them.

I am saying that the settlers should not attack the IDF! ANd while the IDF are there and are responsible for security within the territories they have a duty to also respond to and stop settler violence when it erupts.


Mike and Steve and Alll the Cacti and All the Chimps,

Ironic that Olmert wants to prosecute the "pogrom" rampaging, stone throwing Jews and the Israeli state wants to prosecute Olmert. I am not a Jew4Jesus but the following might be useful...

According to the Gospel of John, the Pharisees, in an attempt to discredit Jesus, brought a woman charged with adultery before him. Then they reminded Jesus that adultery was punishable by stoning under Mosaic law and challenged him to judge the woman so that they might then accuse him of disobeying the law. Jesus thought for a moment and then replied, “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her.” The people crowded around him were so touched by their own consciences that they departed. When Jesus found himself alone with the woman, he asked her who were her accusers. She replied, “No man, lord.” Jesus then said, “Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more.


Ok BD, forget Olmert. His pogrom comments were clearly an exaggeration.

But the IDF as well as Barak and most of the "leftist" cabinet want to prosecute the perpetrators. It should be prioritised after we catch the terrorists responsible for attacking the settlement.

There is virtual concensus amongst mainstream left and right that the settlers that attack IDF bases should be brought to justice. There is just not enough political will. Everyone is scared of them.



I have forgotten Olmert.

But if imprisoned, perhaps we can send him some kosher billtong?


The story of the Jewish people over the last 70 years or so is of biblical proportions... a holocaust shortly folllowed by the creation of the State of Israel. Somebody should write " Chronicles 3" and attach it to the end of the Old Testament. It might be a big seller and any proceeds could go to children (both Palestinain and Israeli) who had been injured in the conflict.

The chances of peace are negligible and, as a result, Israel's only practical option is to try and live relatively safely. I very much doubt, moreover, that the political will exists to remove the settlers. As a result, the present status quo will most likely continue for many years to come and Israel will unfortunately remain a rogue state in the eyes of many people throughout the world.


Steve, if anything needs to be written it is a futuritic novel of Israelis accepting a 'one state solution' in a unitray state and the Rwandan style second holocaust of Jews that follows in which 4 million Jewish men, women and children are slaughtered.
It could be a warning to Israel.

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