Settlements – An Essential Piece to Peace

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By Levi Mitchell

  Israel is a country surrounded on every side by hostile neighbors, many of whom continue to openly denounce her right to exist. She is located in the eye of a stormy and unsettled Muslim world. Her land mass composes an area 1/800 the size of the of the Arab countries around her. Her people are a tiny democratic minority in a sea of dictatorships and political upheaval. Israel’s Heartland (Judea and Samaria), the north to south mountain range composing her core, is sprinkled with population centers ranging from small Jewish towns up to large Arab cities.

  Why do these so called Jewish “settlements,” which occupy two or less percent of the Heartland, draw so much negative international media pressure and Arab aggression? What effects do these reestablished Jewish communities have on Arabs, Jews and the situation in Israel?

  The spiritual and physical conflict centered in and around this area is deeper than the surface. It is a continuation of the same conflict which has lived on since the time of Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau. The effects of this ongoing strife are felt most sharply by the Jewish inhabitants of this area, who deal with terror and the trauma that it incurs on a daily basis. I have witnessed terror first hand, as well as the way in which the Jewish people deal with trauma.

  The most amazing phenomenon which has been shown over and over, through attack after attack, is the resilience with which these “settlers” respond to terror. They are only more firmly established in their resolve to rebuild and reclaim their Biblical homeland.

  The ways in which the Arab, or “Palestinian” peoples of this region are affected are diverse. They are, for the most part, Muslims, not forgetting a tiny Christian minority. There is a large number of  Palestinians who express a desire to live at peace with Israel and coexist with the Jewish inhabitants of Judea and Samaria. Why, then, does the Palestinian Authority (PA) profess on one hand to desire a peaceful coexistence with the Jewish nation, while on the other, they repeatedly refuse Israeli offers granting the vast majority of their demands? Is there really a solution that the Islamic terror influenced PA and PLO will accept, save the complete annihilation of the Jewish people and homeland?

  On a practical note, an Israeli presence on the mountains of the heartland is critical to Israel’s defense. As we saw when Israel withdrew from Gaza, the result was a complete Hamas takeover. This terror organization maintains tyrannical control over Gaza to this day, and has launched thousands of rocket attacks on Israeli civilian targets. What is to say that a repeat of these tragic events is not possible or even likely, if Judea and Samaria come under Palestinian control? What is to stop Islamic extremists from wreaking havoc on a multitude of major civilian centers such as Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Tiberias?

  Nearly all of these large centers are easily visible from the heights of the Heartland. How can Israel be expected to withdraw from a place of such defensive and historical importance, which she now holds legally? An Israeli withdrawal is not beneficial for either Jewish or Arab inhabitants of the area. Many Palestinians’ livelihoods are derived working in Jewish communities or for Jewish companies. There are a large number of Arabs who have made their way here from the surrounding countries to take advantage of better paying jobs and Israel’s thriving economy.

  All that said, I have come to the conclusion that a Jewish presence in Israel’s heartland is not the obstacle to peace! It has the ability to benefit both Arabs and Jews. A strong Jewish presence here is essential for the defense of the entire Jewish nation against modern threats. In my opinion, giving up Israel’s heartland settlements is as ridiculous and detrimental a move as America handing over a portion of the Rocky Mountain range to ISIS! In closure, I believe that the Jewish towns!and villages of Judea and Samaria are indeed not the obstacle, but are an essential piece in the establishment of a lasting peace.

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