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Jewish settlers in the West Bank

Alex Inkeles comments on the contradictory estimates of the Jewish settlers in the West Bank: "Correction is a good thing. but precise definition is also a good thing. I had in mind only the settlements deep in Palestinian territory. If all the settlements made as Jerusalem expanded are included, then obviously the number rises dramatically. If all of Israel is included, as some would insist, then the number is obviously larger still. I am not sure the Golan Heights should be included in the West Bank. Surely the Gaza strip is also outside that definition. My own personal view is that the settlements in the heart of what is generally understood to be unambiguously part of the new Palestine are almost certainly in violation of international agreements and in addition a tremendous obstacle to peace and should be removed. but precisely what that number should be would obviously be part of the complex negotiations which should be taking place instead of the battles we hear of every day. To get back to the question of numbers, I still think that if one has in mind the settlements of the Hebron type and limits oneself to the West Bank rather than including the Golan and Gaza, the number of 40,000 is probably not far off the mark. If my intervention was imprecise, i am grateful to have the opportunity to make it less so. If the restrictions I set are reasonable is another matter. The same question about what is reasonable should be addressed to those who manage to stretch the definition of what is a West Bank settlement to include so large a segment of Jerusalem. We will all be a long time sorting this out. Patience, courtesy, and giving each other the benefit of the doubt will help to advance understanding".

My comment: the devil is in the details: 40 or 400 thousand--quite a detail! Patience, courtesy, etc. in the Middle East?! Diogenes, bring out your lamp!

Ronald Hilton - 4/8/02