Settlements, Obstacles And Cynicism

settler removalIn Wednesday’s post on the difficulties on removing settlers from the West Bank, I cited the New Republic’s Jonathan Chait as “pushing back on the idea that the settlements represented an obstacle to two-states.”

Chait protests that his stated view was actually that “the settlements are an obstacle, but not the primary obstacle.” That’s fair, and I recognize that I described his view imprecisely.

But it’s also very much beside the point I was getting at, which had to do with the tendency of Israel hawks to muffle the alarm over the settlement problem by insisting that they’re “reversible,” as Chait did. In addition to simply failing to understand how provocative the settlements are (precisely because of the fact that the settlements are designed to make a two-state peace impossible), it’s an extraordinarily cynical treatment of the prospect of transferring tens of thousands of people out of their homes and communities. And, regardless of whether one actually recognizes the settlements as an obstacle or not, it’s a problem made worse by the day in part because of the illusion that “reversing” them won’t be such a big deal.