Wednesday, July 23, 2003

So much for principles. The Financial Times reports that a poll finds that 74% of Jewish settlers will leave their illegal settlements in return for compenstation by the Israeli government. The settlers are Ariel Sharon (mass murderer, terrorist) biggest constituency and 66% of settlers back Sharon, even though he was criticized after vowing to freeze the building of new settlements and dismantle outposts build since March of 2001. The amazing thing is that 44% of settlers think Palestinians deserve a state. Most settlers believe in Greater Israel--Israel from the Nile to the Tigris--and are overwhelmingly fanatic Jews.

This comes after a Palestinian poll found that only 10% of Palestinian refugees want to return to their homes in present-day Israel. The pollster was attacked with eggs and other eatable vegetables, but it was obviously a sign of opposition and demonstration. I've been in favor of dropping the "right of return" later on in negotiations, because it could pose a obstacle to the formation of a Palestinian state and it would endanger the security of Israel. In return for that, I expect the removal of all settlements from Arab land. Settlements come with soldiers and outposts protecting it. It also resented strongly by Palestinians and it endangers the peace process. International humanitarian law prohibits the forcible transfer of segments of the population of a state (Israelis) to the territory of another state (occupied Palestine) which it has occupied for 36 years. This principle is reflected in Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Hopefully both sides can agree and remove these two obstacles on the road to peace.

UPDATE: Haaretz reports that Islamic Jihad and Hamas are satisfied with the Israeli decision to release, after days of footdragging. It would include 400 prisoners --most likely political prisoners-- but no decision on the criteria. Hopefully this will bolster the case of PM Mahmoud Abbas.


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