Thursday, November 15, 2007


Olmert to settlers: Stop growing families, and prepare to be expelled

By Israel Insider staff November 14, 2007

Bookmark to del.icio.usDigg!Digg This Story
In the largest planned anti-Jewish expulsion plan since the Nazi deported the Jews of Poland, the government of Ehud Olmert has apparently agreed to expel more than a hundred thousand Jews from their homes and destroy their communities in Judea and Samaria. In his first meeting with representatives of the Yesha settlement movement in the nearly two years he has been in office, Olmert made it clear that secret deals with the US and the Palestinians would mean a total freeze in the growth of homes and communities in Israel's biblical heartland.

Olmert reportedly told them that "the first stage of the road map speaks of dismantling outposts and freezing settlements, and that's a document that all Israeli governments, including Likud ministers, have accepted." Sharon, who founded the Kadima Party that Olmert now heads, was a member of Likud when Israel accepted the road map.

Olmert was telling only a half-truth: the Israeli government of the time only approved the Road Map with a list of some 13 qualifications. Israel under Sharon never referred to or insisted on the qualifications. More significantly however, neither Sharon nor Olmert proceeded on the Road Map because the Palestinians have never fulfilled their obligations such as dismantling terror organizations and stopping terrorism.

Despite this continuing failure by the Palestinians to meet their obligations, Israel is without apparent quid pro quo expected to announce, prior to the planned Annapolis conference, a formal and total freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria (Yesha). Danny Dayan, head of the Yesha Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria, told Arutz-7 on Tuesday after a meeting with the Prime Minister -- the first that he was horrified to learn that the settlement freeze had become "official policy," and not just a means by which to pressure the residents of Yesha.

According to Dayan, the freeze is currently total, "including kindergartens, caravans for schools, and lack of consideration for natural growth." Yet when he described this situation to Olmert, Dayan said, "he just sat there and didn't say a word."

Dayan said the settler leaders also warned Olmert that "expelling more than 100,000 people from their homes," as withdrawing from most of the West Bank would entail, "is not even slightly similar to expelling 10,000 people from their homes in Gush Katif two years ago. It's like comparing a flood in Pardes Hannah to a giant tsunami ... Such an expulsion would break the back of Israeli society. More and more population groups would feel alienated from the state and its institutions. It would be nothing like what we went through in Gush Katif."

The Olmert government is also prepared to declare its willingness to dismantle unauthorized outposts throughout Yesha, government sources added. This long-standing threat, however, is not being taken very seriously, since previous such decisions have never been implemented, and Olmert is believed to lack the political backing to implement them any time soon.

During the hour-long meeting at Olmert's office in Jerusalem, the premier spoke rarely, but was quoted as giving one concluding speech:

"I see the future in a slightly different way than you do," he said. "I know that in order to ensure a future for Israel as a Jewish democratic state, we will have no choice but to make some concessions. I feel that on this point I am embroiled in a heartbreaking disagreement with your public, a public that I myself was part of."

"My feelings for the Land of Israel and its territory are similar to yours. I have no doubt that every inch of land from the Jordan [River] to the [Mediterranean] Sea is part of the Land of Israel and connected to the history and heritage of our people. However, I know that in order to ensure the future of the Land of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, we must also make concessions...."

However, in apparent reference to his own home in Jerusalem, Olmert insisted that he had his won I can tell you one thing for certain: that there are places I will never withdraw from. And that, everyone knows -- the Palestinians and the Americans -- because I tell them so in a manner that cannot be misunderstood."

According to Israeli government sources cited by Haaretz, the Americans asked Israel whether it preferred to announce a settlement freeze or outpost evacuations. "Of the two, a settlement freeze is easier than evacuating the outposts, because this only involves a declaration, not a confrontation with settlers in the field," explained one.

Haaretz correspondent Aluf Benn reports that the US has demanded such decisions from Israel as a penalty for its refusal to discuss the "core issues" of a final-status agreement until after Annapolis.

"These gestures are meant to make it clear," Benn concludes, "that Israel does not intend to remain in the territories, and understands that its presence there is only temporary."

A delegation of senior government officials is in Washington to discuss whether the U.S. is demanding a settlement freeze throughout Judea and Samaria, or whether it will allow construction in the large Jewish settlement blocs of Gush Etzion, Ariel and Maaleh Adumim. In either event, sources in the Jewish settlement movement fear that the moves foreshadow the planned liquidation of a Jewish presence in their Biblical heartland.

U.S. President George Bush appear to back Israel's demand to retain the blocs in his April 2004 letter to Sharon, which stated that "in light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949."

Though the division of Jerusalem has dropped somewhat from the public eye, the danger to the capital's integrity and security, and that of Judea and Samaria, have never been greater. MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) told Arutz-7, "There are things that they mention publicly, and things they mention quietly; things they mention before Annapolis, and things that are left for after Annapolis. But make no mistake: All of Israel's red lines are being crossed, and the danger is acute. The government is declaring open season for the Arabs to come and take whatever they want -- future borders, Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, refugees, and everything else."

Dayan said he told Olmert that the Annapolis-planned transfer of 120,000 Jews from their homes in Judea and Samaria is something that Israel, as a society, will not be able to survive. "Such a move would break the backbone of our society," he told the Prime Minister. He described the freeze edict as comparable to an "approaching tsunami." Dayan and other settlement leaders later announced that they were not interested in holding further discussions with Olmert.

Blog Archive