The world has found something else to scream about in what it calls Israel’s “confiscation” of about 400 acres of land in Judea. In Washington, the move was called “unhelpful” to the two-state solution, and heavy criticism was also leveled by Europe.
Left-leaning elements in the Israeli government, such as Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, also opposed the rezoning of these areas between Bethlehem and Hebron as state-owned land.
Both Lapid and Livni are of the opinion that such moves make little sense in the wake of the summer’s Gaza war. The ministers have joined a liberal chorus in calling for renewed peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.
But Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas says the “land seizure” endangers the two-state solution, and is looking to garner international pressure to reverse the Israeli move. This is the same Abbas regime that just weeks ago was saved by Israeli intelligence from a Hamas coup. Abbas’ ruling Fatah faction knows well that without Israel’s assistance, the so-called “West Bank” would be quickly conquered, just as Gaza was.
In light of recent developments, one must wonder if the two-state solution is still sensible at all. “The Middle East is being swept up by radical Islam. A two-state solution is no longer reasonable,” said Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who argued that the jihadist tsunami in the region, of which Hamas is a part, is far more dangerous than the failure of the two-state solution.
But Palestinian claims to this land are part and parcel of the overall Islamist movement. Ultimately, they base their calls for sovereignty in the Holy Land on the Koran, just as Israel bases its claims on the Bible.
So long as there is no real political progress, Israel sees little problem in re-appropriating a few barren hills. And the fact is that no private Palestinian owners lost their land. Israel cannot be reasonably expected to sit around treating the land as through a two-state solution resulting in genuine peace will materialize, when all evidence at present suggests the contrary.
The Middle East and the Western world are today facing a much larger threat than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Radical Islam and its jihadists are inching ever closer to the West, and Israel today is the last line of defense against this tide of violent extremism.
And yet, everyone is focused on a mere 400 acres of barren land as though easily reversible (if a genuine peace is reached) Israeli use of it is the primary destabilizing factor in the region.