Sunday, July 26, 2009

Myth: Removing Jewish settlers from the West Bank (or Gaza) to facilitate a 2-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is ethnic cleansing.

Fact: Ethnic cleansing is the forcible removal of members of a minority ethnic group from their home territory by a state controlled by another ethnic group without their consent. Israeli settlers are Jewish citizens of Israel, under a Jewish-majority government. When the Israeli government votes—through a democratic process in which settlers and their representatives participate fully—and decides to remove Jewish settlers to promote a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, that’s Israeli democracy at work.

That’s what happened when the Israeli government and the Knesset voted to remove the settlers from Gaza. When one side loses out in a democratic debate, and a law is passed, if some decide to oppose the government’s decision, they are breaking the law—and the government is morally and legally justified in using coercion to insure that they follow the law.

Settlers do not have the moral or legal right to permanently live in the West Bank or Gaza, which are viewed by the U.S. and the entire international community - and Israel's own Supreme Court - as occupied territory.