The question of natural growth in Israeli settlements

Jerusalem Post:

"The American demand to prevent natural growth is unreasonable, and brings to mind Pharaoh who said: Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river," Science Minister and Habayit Hayehudi head Daniel Herschkowitz said Sunday, referring to US President Barack Obama's demand to freeze all settlement activity, even that ensuing from natural growth.

Speaking ahead of the weekly cabinet meeting, mathematician Herschkowitz furthered his point with a simple equation. "If there is a family that expands from one child to four or five, what should we tell them - to ship the children off to Petah Tikva? This is an unacceptable demand, even if it comes from the Americans, and Israel should reject it decisively," he affirmed.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai said, "The American demand to freeze construction means expulsion for young people living in large locales. I hope the US administration understands that. If not, I don't want to be an apocalyptic prophet saying we're facing struggle and confrontation. The concessions they're demanding of us are a security impediment we cannot withstand."

...

The Obama administration is making a mistake by pushing this Arab objective. They should use the settlements as an incentive for the Arab and Palestinian factions to reach an earlier settlement. By halting the settlements they also make it less likely that the Palestinians will make the concessions they must make to reach a deal.

This attitude comes from the false premise that the Israelis should make all the hard concessions, but the biggest impediment to peace is the fact that the Palestinians are not willing to have the Israelis in the neighborhood at all.

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