Thursday, January 13, 2011

Netanyahu and the Negev

Ari Shavit, who is considered close to both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, has this to say in today's Haaretz (Hebrew/English):

"[Netanyahu] will not give up sovereignty in settlement blocs in the West Bank, he will not compromise on Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley and he will try to spare the settlers. On the other hand, as far as land exchange goes, he will display readiness to go far."
This can only mean one thing. Settlers in the West Bank are much more important to him than the citizens in Israel proper, those living in areas that have been recognized as legitimate Israeli territory since 1948. He will give up a lot of Israeli land, possibly uprooting non-settlers, to keep West Bank lands and appease settlers.

He is most likely to give up lands in the Negev. Instead of telling the colonizers of the West Bank to move to Israel's southern region, he will betray the northeastern Negev. Southerners must understand this and advocate for themselves immediately. Make it clear to Netanyahu - if we must choose between Ariel and Ein Gedi, we'll choose Ein Gedi.

Of course, he might not be thinking of the Negev, but rather of Arab-populated towns on the Western side of the green line. That's Lieberman's wet dream - getting as much of the Arab-Israeli population to live in Palestine. The Israeli Arabs, the Palestinians and the international community will never agree to this, and I doubt Netanyahu would even dare bring it up.

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