[As the quote from a report of a sociologist, Anne Shlay, who recently investigated housing patterns in Israel on a Fulbright indicates,Â peace (i.e. a return to the pre-1967 division of lands) will be extraordinarily difficult, if not impossible to negotiate from the Israeli side -- particularly in light of the weak standing of the present Israeli government.Â It took Ariel Sharon all of his persuasive powers and political clout to empty out Gaza.Â How many Israelis are now settled into Palestinian territory -- with such as Avigdor Lieberman recommending the expulsion of all uncooperative Palestinians?
One wonders whether U.S. politicians will dare take a stand towards achieving compromise and peace there -- while there is still time!
Second, there are issues of politics. According to Shlay,Â high-density housing is often constructed near the green line, creating what Israelis call â€œfacts on the ground.â€ That is, by constructing buildings and filling them with people, the property becomes de facto Israeli. Shlay noted that some of these cities by the green line have more than 30,000 people in them.
â€œIf you build something, essentially it becomes yours. I was really concerned about the amount of housing I saw outside of the green line,â€ said Shlay. â€œSo much of the conflict in that area is about land, and both Arabs and Israelis take part in the practice of creating â€˜facts on the ground.â€™â€
“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)
Ed KentÂ 718-951-5324 (voice mail only) [blind copies]