Israeli Settlements are Killing 2-State Solution


This is a very strong and important CBS segment by 60 Minutes correspondent Bob Simon. that looks in a serious way at the prospects for a two state solution between Israel and Palestine.
The primary interviewee in the piece is former candidate for Palestine president Moustafa Barghouti. It’s well worth watching.
I have higher confidence in the possibility of a two state solution than Barghouti seems to have, but the focus on the unchecked spread of Israeli settlements is overdue in the mainstream American media.
For those interested, here is a guest blog post by Barghouti at The Washington Note at the time of Israel’s recent incursion into Gaza. And here too is a short video interview I did with Barghouti in July 2008.
— Steve Clemons
Editor’s Note: Thanks to Michael Shtender-Auerbach at Social Risks for sending this my way.


12 comments on “Israeli Settlements are Killing 2-State Solution

  1. richard says:

    Those people who claim the settlements are the primary obstacle to peace seem to forget that there was no peace even before there was an Israel, there was no peace after several wars initiated by the Arabs, and that the settlements only became an issue when the Arabs discovered that they could use civil rights language to fool sympathetic western liberals with no apparent knowledge of history or the law into believing that more than 100 years of Muslims killing Jews, Druse, Christians, etc. are all due to 20 years of Israeli building on land which is actually open to such development until the Arabs agree to a peace deal. And, yes, Jews built settlements to establish security in Israel. Why not? Everyone in the world was either actively killing them or passively killing them by refusing them sanctuary or asylum. Now they have one place of relative safety. Lawfully acquired. The settlements aren’t the cause of the problem. They are a symptom of it. And the cause is quite the opposite of what is suggested – the cause is violent Arab/Muslim determination to control the world. Read some history. Read the doctines of Hamas, Hezb’allah, read the Koran and its modern interpretations by many of its most revered and violent preachers. The world is not nearly as peaceful as these posters would have us believe, and the Israelis are not nearly as wrong.


  2. philosemite says:

    I am dismayed that people blithely accept the flawed, totally unjustified notion that the “Settlements” are “illegal”. The law is pretty clear on this issue. And in that clarity resides Israel’s right to settle on lawfully acquired land anywhere west of the Jordan river. That right derives from League of Nations era Declarations which have been passed intact through to UN resolutions which further solidify Israel’s position. Naturally there are lots of pro-terror and naive bleeding-heart individuals and groups who delight in their facile deceptions regarding Israeli successes. The truth is that any of the settlements approved by the Israeli government are more legal than our own Supreme-Court-approved eminent-domain taking of New London’s prime real estate. And Israel takes down illegal, another fact conveniently ignored by those who would demonize all Israeli actions while victimizing the aggressor Arabs in this conflict. People should learn that this deliberate deception is perpetrated upon the public to facilitate the war against Israel, not because it is accurate.


  3. Kathleen G says:

    Cee I think the main point is that if Israel wants to build a ‘wall, fence, barrier” build it on land that is internationally recognized as belonging to Israel. Not on land that belongs to Palestinians.
    I have come to believe that Israel really does not want Peace. Just wants to expand territory and does this by stirring up the emotions of the Palestinian people.


  4. Cee says:

    I found the 60 Minutes story
    It has been called “The Barrier,” “The Obstacle,” “The Fence,” and “The Wall.” And when you drive along it, you discover it’s all these things — part wall, part fence, and more. But measured in miles, it’s more fence than anything else. Correspondent Bob Simon reports.
    It snakes through the olive groves, and stamps the landscape with a network of barbed wire, guard towers, cameras, and sensors. There are gates; there are checkpoints. It’s about a third built right now, but by the time it’s finished, it will be over 400 miles long and carry a price tag of some $2 billion — a staggering sum for the cash-strapped state of Israel.
    In the West Bank town of Qalqilya, home to 40,000 Palestinians, the fence is a wall 30 feet high on the side of the city that faces Israel. The wall also goes all around the town, closing it off from other Palestinian villages in the West Bank, which was not at all the idea when the fence was first conceived.
    Now, if the residents of Qalqilya want to leave, there’s only one exit: an Army checkpoint. And they’re not allowed to drive their cars through.
    They’ve literally been moved back in time. Unemployment is 60 percent today, and a third of the shops have closed.
    “They are surrounding us. They are catching us from our neck so as not to remain here,” says Palestinian farmer Atta Atta, who lives in Qalgilya, and says he hasn’t been able to get to his greenhouses, which lie on the other side of the wall.
    He asked Simon why America so often seems to take Israel’s side. “When the American people watch television and see Israeli children with their heads and arms and legs blown off by a terrorist bomb, I think they’re very sympathetic to the Israelis,” says Simon.
    “I’ll answer you. If the Israelis give us our rights, give us our land, we will live together like brothers. We must fight so as to return our land,” says Atta. “The Israelis are the stronger, and we are the weak. We can’t do anything.”
    And life has become unbearable for some Palestinian farmers like Sharif Omar.
    With the way the fence is routed, through the West Bank, instead of around it, the fence comes between his home and his olive fields, and has cut him off from his crops and his water supply.
    The Army built gates in the fence to allow Omar and his neighbors to get through. So every morning, the farmers and their families line up to make sure they don’t miss the 15-minute window when the soldiers open the gate. And every night, it’s the same thing. They wait for the soldiers to unlock the gates so they can cross from their fields back to their homes.
    Sometimes, the gates never open at all. In October, they were closed for two weeks straight.
    How would Gen. Giladi feel if he woke up one morning on your kibbutz, and he couldn’t get from his house to his farm?


  5. Kathleen G says:

    Cee better late than never for 60 minutes. It has only been decades that this has been going on.
    me I will continue to go to Information clearing House to see what has taken place in the Gaza


  6. Cycledoc says:

    The settlements were established for just that purpose–to literally drive a stake into the notion of a separate Palestinian country. When Israel was originally settled by zionists the same strategy was used–settlements which then coalesced into control of the country.
    The only way to a two state solution is the dissolution of the settlements. Until Israel understands this there will be no peace, sadly.


  7. Cee says:

    Bob Simon does excellent work. Several years ago he was with Palestinian farmers who kept trying to get to their land.
    Simon showed us how those people are humilitated in the hopes that they will give up and go away.


  8. Kathleen G says:

    Norman Finkelstein’s site is one of the best.
    the Israeli government has banded Norman from coming into the country
    as well as Professor Juan Cole’s site “Informed Comment”. The site’s If American’s knew and Muzzlewatch are two more great sites


  9. Kathleen G says:

    this was one of the more honest reports out of 60 minutes on this critical issue. What 60 minutes is finally reporting has been going on for decades…decades
    Israel has not stopped building illegal settlements never ever
    Some of my favorite sites for middle east issues
    If Americans Only Knew
    Juan Cole
    Norman Finkelstein


  10. Kathleen G says:

    The week before the inauguration I had the opportunity to attend the panel discussion at the Brookings Institute on the Gaza. I arrived late and went around and asked folks if anyone had asked a question about Israel not allowing journalist in and whether the settlements or wall had come up. No one
    No one had asked those questions. This is 2009 and folks are still too chicken shit to bring up the underlying issues
    My question is at the end of the question and answer period (Kathleen Galt)
    They did address my Israel not allowing journalist question. But no one touched the illegal settlements and illegal wall (part on Palestinian lands) question.
    So I went up and asked Mr. Wrigley from the UN after the panel discussion and question and answer period ended. I asked him how important it was for Americans to understand why Hamas is launching rockets into Israel. His answer was lengthy but basically “yes” it is “critically” important for Americans to understand. He went onto say that they have “legitimate” reasons for their anger and rockets. But that using rockets is “inexcusable” Just as “inexcusable” as Israel continuing to occupy Palestinian lands.


  11. erichwwk says:

    Former UK ambassador’s comments on you tube are here:


  12. erichwwk says:

    Most folks who’s opinion I respect (including a former IDF soldier, whose grandfather signed the 1948, and whose father is a war of 1967 “war hero”?, think a two state solution is no longer possible. I myself go further, and feel a two state solution was always nonsense. While not wishing ANY Israeli the slightest physical harm, and having empathy for the hardships they have endured, I agree w/ the sense Ahmadinejad quoted Khomeini that Israel “the occupation regime over Jerusalem should vanish from the page of time.”, ie it was a grave mistake and not in Jewish interest to create the state of Israel the way it was created. Until we have THAT open and honest discussion, the Palestine-Israel issue I predict will get nowhere.
    see juan cole on translation here:
    BTW, that goes for the war on terror. I am against ALL use of force, having observed that Ghandi’s observation is true, that the benefits from violence are apparent only, and short term.
    Thus for Richard Holbrooke to advocate a surge, and a forceful component to Afghanistan rather than the proven policy of a Greg Mortenson (Three Cups of Tea”, is to be deluded by one’s own propaganda.
    To paraphrase that quote and morph it into a statement of harm to Israeli is disingenuous, or as a former UK ambassador stated recently, “Zionism is Bullshit”.
    [ see live link in byline]


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