Opposition to what are so tendentiously called "the settlements" is not about the "settlements" at all. It is about whether Israel is going to be allowed to decide for itself the minimum conditions of its own survival, or whether others -- apparently to include an Administration so deeply unlearned in the history of the area, and in the claims, and rights, of the Jews to build these "settlements" (simply Jewish villages and towns) on land that was always intended for Jewish settlement by the League of Nations in its Mandate for Palestine. That was one among many mandates created after World War I, several of which led to the creation of Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq -- that is, three of the now-22 members of the Arab League. Other mandates were intended to make provision for some of the many other non-Arab or non-Muslim peoples -- but the Kurdish state and the Armenian state as originally envisioned were still-born, and the Jews received not all of historic Palestine, but only Western Palestine, while again the Arabs took the lion's share for themselves.
It is not the "settlements" that are at stake, but whether or not Israel will control the small sliver of territory, the "West Bank," without which the Jordan Valley, and the historic invasion route from the east, cannot be controlled. For if Jewish settlements are stopped, if the decision is taken out of Israel's hands, and if its claims are de-legitimized, it is just part of a deliberate, unending, and most cunning attempt by Muslim Arabs to push Israel back, so as to whittle away at it, and step by step to weaken Israel and demoralize its population. This has been written about and spoken about so much in the Arab media that it is inexcusable for those who make policy to continue to have failed to notice it.
This would be done in stages. Mahmoud Abbas is the leading proponent, at present, of this Two-Stage Solution. That is what he means when he says "we choose peace as a strategic option." Not "peace" tout court, but "peace as a strategic option." First, by opposing the Jewish claim to have any natural expansion in what are so wrongly called "settlements," this would condemn Jews, but not Arabs, to keeping their population from increasing in the "West Bank." That would inevitably lead to their shriveling. It would start the process of forcing Israel to yield, to give up those Jewish villages and towns, to give up their rightful claim that was already shrunken by 77% when Great Britain created, back in 1922, the Emirate of Transjordan out of Eastern Palestine. Eastern Palestine was originally intended for inclusion in the Mandate for Palestine.
If Israel cannot allow even for natural growth in its "settlements" -- meaning apparently no babies are to be born beyond the replacement level, while the Arabs in the "West Bank" and in pre-1967 borders of Israel, like the Muslims living everywhere, are permitted to have eight and ten and twelve children per family, we know the result. And if Israel's settlements are paralyzed, and painted even in the Untied States -- never mind the U.N. -- as illegitimate, the pressure on Israel, which is already immense, would likely force the Israelis, despite their own need to survive, to give up the "West Bank" that offers them the only strategic depth they possess. Israel without the "West Bank" is nine miles wide, from Kalkilya to the sea. It can be cut in two with ease by the fabulously well-armed, and overwhelmingly more numerous Arabs. Unless Israel is prepared at once to use nuclear weapons, it can be overrun. And not only must Israel continue to control the Jordan Valley and the historic invasion routes from the East, but it must also control the aquifers under the "West Bank" that are so vital.
The "West Bank" was always supposed to be part of Mandatory Palestine. It should legally be regarded, as the late Dean of Yale Law School Eugene Rostow noted, and as the Australian jurist Julius Stone so convincingly showed in his exhaustive book-length legal study, as an "unallocated part of the Mandate." Its legal status was unaffected, that is, by the Jordanian seizure and rule from 1949 to 1967. So when the Americans suggest, or more outrageously, "demand," that Israel stop "settlement activity," they are saying that the Mandate for Palestine is null and void.
They are saying, these people who have the presumption to tell the permanently-imperiled Jews of Israel what to do, that those Jews do not have a right to the small sliver of land that constitutes Western Palestine. They are saying that we must accept the camouflaged Jihad, the one that since the Six-Day War has presented that Jihad against Israel as a campaign for the "legitimate rights" of the hastily invented "Palestinian people" (never mentioned by the Arabs before that Six-Day War, not by any Arab diplomat, or political figure, or "intellectual" -- the phrase "Palestinian Arabs" or just "Arabs" or "Arabs of Palestine" -- never the "Palestinian people" -- was what one heard). It was a neat trick, and pursued quite determinedly. And much of the world has accepted this nonsense.
But now the world's Infidels are beginning to realize that Islam itself is a problem for them. Much to their regret, the peoples of Western Europe, for various reasons, but everywhere with a civilisational nonchalance or negligence that is lamented now by all of them, they allowed, over the past forty years, large numbers of Muslims into their midst. They also allowed many other immigrants. But none of those immigrants, save for the Muslims, bring with them, in their mental baggage, not merely an alien creed, but an alien and a permanently hostile creed.
For Islam is based on the idea of a state of permanent war existing between Muslims and Unbelievers. Muslims have a duty, sometimes collective and sometimes individual, to participate in the struggle or Jihad to remove all obstacles to the spread, and then the dominance, of Islam. It is this that the most intelligent and farseeing Infidels are coming to recognize. And as more and more of them do, the monstrous mistreatment, based on vicious or ignorant misreporting, of the Arab Muslim war made on Israel, and Israel's attempts to survive despite that unending war conducted by all possible means, will be recognized. Then, the former sympathy for Israel, that it enjoyed before 1967 and the attempt to paint it as a might aggressor, will return, at least to the minds of the informed men of good will.
If Israel is forced into limiting the natural growth of its villages and towns in that part of Mandatory Palestine that the Jordanians seized and held until 1967, it will then have troops there and no civilians. And then the claim will be made that Israel is merely a "military occupier" because of its having been forced to remove its civilians, who stand for those legal, historic, and moral claims. The world is ununderstanding of, and unsympathetic to, Israel's plight as the victim of a Lesser Jihad that has been quite openly recognized as such, called as such, by Arabs and Muslims when they address other Arabs and Muslims, but not so described when they are smilingly presenting the Arab case to the West. To the West the would-be destroyers of Israel present a case of pretend victimization. Yet they have done nothing to construct a "Palestinian" state in Gaza, and exist in order only to destroy what the Jews so incredibly, with such hardship and heartbreak, created out of the "ruin" and "desolation" described by every 19th century Western traveler who visited the Holy Land.
Without those Jewish villages and towns, those so-called "settlements," Israel would be more easily depicted as having no claim other than that of military occupier to this absurdly-named (by the Jordanians) "West Bank" -- that is, parts of Judea and Samaria, as it was called by everyone in the Western world until the Jordanians renamed it, like the Romans changing Judea to Palestine and Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina. Its legal, moral, historic claims would be forgotten. My god, they are quite forgotten by many people, even in Washington, already. That must not happen.
Above all, there must be, for the moral sanity of Washington, and this country and the entire West, some preservation of what can only be called a sense of justice, of equity. At a time of continued squandering of men, money, and materiel, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, the confusion about Islam and ignorance of it that causes that squandering (which is entirely unnecessary if the well-prepared are listened to) also reveals itself in the temptation of appeasement. And as with Chamberlain and Daladier in Munich in 1938, our current leaders in the Western world, not knowing what to do about Islam, and willfully refusing to find out more about the matter, possibly for fear of what they might find out, are willing to appease, and the coin they offer is the safety and security of a tiny country.
By sacrificing that county, by listening to the demands of the Nazis or of the Arab Muslims, the Western powers -- then Great Britain and France, today the United States -- hopes that that will make things somehow better. It won't. The Sudetenland did not sate Hitler's appetite, but whetted it, and showed him the pusillanimity of France and Great Britain. Forcing Israel, step by step, back within the 1949 Armistice Lines, the "lines of Auschwitz," as Mahmoud Abbas and the Slow Jihadists (King Abdullah of Jordan, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, tutti quanti) want it, will lead only to Israel's destruction.
Justice. Equity. A sense of history, and of the most persecuted tribe in human history, the Jews. A sense of proportion, knowing that the Arabs are the most richly endowed, with land and natural wealth, of any people on earth. And yet, everywhere they deny to all others within the lands they rule, to all non-Muslims and non-Arabs, any hint not only of independence or autonomy, but even of something like equality with the ruling Muslim Arabs.
The Jews, like the Copts, like the Maronites, like the Kurds, like the black Africans of the Sudan like the Berbers, like so many other non-Arab and non-Muslim peoples, have through the centuries been ill-treated by those Arab Muslims all over the Middle East and North Africa. They deserve what they asked for, and the intelligent leaders who had to deal with the remnants of the Ottoman Empire knew they deserved what they asked for: the right to buy land, and to construct a country, and to be the inheritors, from the Ottoman state, of those lands owned by that state. That was all they asked for, and that was what they got. Now the Arabs, determined to deny that Infidel nation-state any existence, are divided between those who, like the Fast Jihadists of Hamas, want to go in for the kill at once, and those who, like the Slow Jihadists of Fatah, see the wisdom of patiently de-constructing Israel, step by step, with help from the confused (morally and geopolitically) Americans and Europeans.
Finally, there is the failure of so many to study how Muslims regard treaties made with Infidels. They do not adhere, as some may blandly assume, to the principle that seems to Westerners so obvious, but that in fact had to be arrived at, and then accepted, as it has been all over the West. That principle is the one known as Pacta Sunt Servanda, or, Treaties are to be obeyed. That is a principle of Western law, but not of Islamic law. In Islam, the model for all treaties made with Infidels is that agreement, that "hudna," or ten-year truce, made by Muhammad with the Meccans in 628 A.D. It was a treaty that, eighteen months later, feeling his side to be stronger, Muhammad violated on a pretext. He has been hailed for this splendid act of cunning, this illustration of his oft-repeated claim that "war is deception." Since Muslims are always in a state of war with any non-Muslims who resist the dominance of Islam, war-making includes the making of treaties to lull the enemy, or to buy time in order to build up one's forces, or to pursue war, that is the Jihad, by means other than qitaal or combat, or in combination with qitaal or combat.
None of this is fabricated. One has only to read the many Muslim commentators on Islam. Read the non-Muslim commentators. Read Joseph Schacht. Read Antoine Fattal. Read Bassam Tibi. Read Majid Khadduri. Find out what they have to say about Hudiabiyya, and its continuing to be the guiding model for all subsequent treaty-making with non-Muslims.
Merely being "pro-Israel" is not enough, if you do not bother to learn about the nature of the war being made on Israel, and on the entire Infidel world. For if you are one of those who thinks that "being Jewish" or "having a Likud father" or "being as pro-Israel as they come" (shades of Rahm Emanuel) allows you to endorse, or seem to endorse, policies that endanger Israel's survival because they are based on a misunderstanding of the nature of Arab Muslim treaty-making, and of the nature of the war -- a war without end, but one that is manageable, that can be contained, through invocation of "Darura" or necessity -- then you have another think coming.