Over at TPM, Josh Marshall writes on Israeli settlements in the West Bank:
Whatever you can say about Palestinian terror attacks or missiles into Southern Israel and whatever you can say Israeli incursions and aerial attacks, the situation is insoluble without dismantling those settlements. And that is why Hamas, as much as it thrives on war and confrontation, is a distraction — for some an intentional one, for others unintentional — from this core point.
Hamas may simply be a “distraction” for Marshall, typing on his keyboard in a secure location. But I can assure you that it’s more than a distraction to the Israelis who have seen their children and families blown to pieces by Hamas suicide bombers. And its more than a distraction to the citizens of southern Israeli towns, who have to leave under the fear of constant rocket attacks, with a siren giving them just 15 seconds to seek cover — meaning people are worried about taking showers lest they be caught off guard, mothers are afraid to wear seat belts thus losing a few seconds in which they could be securing their children, and people endure restless nights.
The West Bank settlements that Marshall sees at the “core” of the issue did not exist when the Palestinian leader the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem stayed as Hitler’s guest during World War II and advocated exterminating Jews in the Middle East, nor did they exist during the four major Arab-Israeli wars between 1948 and 1973, nor did they exist during the Munich Massacre at the 1972 Olympic Games carried out by the Palestinians against Israeli athletes. When Israel had settlements in Gaza, that was cited as a reason for Palestinian terrorism against Israeli civilians. Yet, after Israel forcefully evacuated thousands of its own citizens from Gaza settlements and destroyed them, it did not alter Hamas’s behavior at all. In fact, things only got worse. Hamas used the increased autonomy to build a network of hunderds of tunnels allowing them to smuggle guns and explosives in from Egypt, they fired rockets into southern Israel, they incited a factional civil war among Palestinians and drove rival Fatah out of Gaza by gunpoint. No, the core issue is not settlements. The core issue is that there’s a significant number of Palestinians/Arabs that cannot accept any Jewish presence in the region.