So this is where in the end the settlements might, again, become an obstacle for peace in the Middle East: No wonder no settler that has his mind together will not do everything he can to keep him and his beloved ones from the fortune the people from Gaza had to face. If the Israeli government had held its promises towards them and gave beautiful new places to green to the Gush Katif evacuees the people from the Westbank wouldn’t have to fear disengagement so much. It would still mean leaving their homes where they put so much work and love and where there are all their childhood memories. But when it all comes down to it they might be the ones that have experienced how Israeli and Palestinian farmers are capable of living next to each other and even with each other and they might be the people interested in sharing it.
I have asked Israelis living within the Palestine Authority how they could imagine long-term peace that might be a win-win-situation for all of them: Palestinians, Israelis, Settlers. They said they disagreed on the two state solution for it would never work out. Too many Arabs were living within Israeli territory and too many Israelis were living within Palestinian territory. Having those millions move to the other end of the country in huge migration and a future that might resemble that of the Gush Katif people would be close to a guarantee for further conflict. So what else if not a two state solution? A joined state, they said, one state for Israelis and Palestinians. A federal state perhaps, some have already discussed the idea of something resembling Switzerland with it’s mostly self-determined Cantons, or something resembling the German federal republic and its states. A nation where Arabs and jews would be equal not only by law but by everyday live and would live side by side for only that way ressentiments against the other group could be cleared. If there were two states the only thing it could possibly lead to was the states moving even farer away from each other.
And if there is no other way then two states? What, in the end, does it mean? There are so many Arabs living in Israel with Israeli citizenship. Why can’t all of them just stay where they are, even in a redesigned Middle Eastern region with Israel and Palestine as two states. The “settlers” I spoke to at least said that taking Palestinian citizenship if their village would happen to be situated in the state of Palestine one day wouldn’t be a problem at all. They just want to stay where they are and are happy. All they want is keep on harvesting those delicious plums from their trees and producing vine from their vineyards.
I don’t know if it was “right” to make them settle down there to begin with. Propably it wasn’t. But as so many other things within the conflict their existance is a fact that cannot just be ignored. And they are human beings, not just goods that can be moved without further damage. It doesn’t matter whether those making shake-hands photographs with the opposite party like it or not but there has to be found a way that turns peace into a win-situation for everybody if it is to work on the long run. And the settlers are one of those parties. No matter if it is comfortable or not.
So far for the settlements.