The settlements are not an obstacle to advancing peace. In the 19 years before 1967, there were no settlements but there was terror. During the disengagement, Israel evacuated 24 settlements and in response got Hamas rule in Gaza and rockets on Sderot. It’s very clear that … the settlements … [are] an excuse for those that tried to avoid any peace talks.
A visit to the West Bank two days after the prime minister’s Bar-Ilan speech leads one to conclude that the ideological about-face implicit in Benjamin Netanyahu’s consent to a Palestinian state has not upset the people living where this state is supposed to arise. The settlers listened to Netanyahu, but were more interested in his promise to enable them to have “a normal life.” Furthermore, they wondered if this would translate into Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s signature on delayed building permits. They were also interested in Netanyahu’s decision to add MK Uri Ariel (National Union), a Beit El resident, to the committee for selecting judges. Perhaps herein lay a chance to gradually alter the approach of the Supreme Court, an institution much despised by the settlers?