Commentary magazine is up in arms over yesterday’s New York Times op-ed, where Dani Dayan, head of the Settlers Council of Judea and Samaria, announced Israel’s “unassailable” right to takeover Palestinian land. Today the pro-Israel, neoconservative publication ran a piece by Seth Mandel, decrying Dayan’s “settlers are here to stay” call as callous:
What about the Palestinians? Dayan doesn’t say Israel should give the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria voting rights. If he would, is he not concerned about the demographics at play? If he would not, is he suggesting that the Palestinians should be a permanently stateless people and that Israel would be permanently without clear national borders? He writes that Israeli security should be paramount, but the Judea and Samaria he envisions would be a long-term security nightmare for Israel.
Mandel also knocks Dayan as dangerous to U.S. interests:
[H]as he [Dayan] thought through the implications to U.S. foreign policy of his proposal? Specifically, he seems to want the U.S.–a principal external force on the peace process–to ignore its own dedication to the right of self-determination for the Palestinians. But that would mean weakening American devotion to the general principle of self-determination, which is a major driving force behind continued American support for Israel.
And Dayan is called out for claiming it is impossible to dismantle settlements:
Dayan claims removing the settlers would be impossible. Why? Today there are no settlers in Gaza.
In a separate piece today, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)’s Uriel Heilman caught Dayan mirroring an editorial written months earlier by a representative of the Israeli government, Likud Knesset member Danny Danon.
While most voices in the Israeli and international news media are calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to grant major concessions to the Palestinians to forestall such a move, he should in fact do the opposite: he should annex the Jewish communities of the West Bank, or as Israelis prefer to refer to our historic heartland, Judea and Samaria…
In addition to its obvious ideological and symbolic significance, legalizing our hold on the West Bank would also increase the security of all Israelis by depriving terrorists of a base and creating a buffer against threats from the east. Moreover, we would be well within our rights to assert, as we did in Gaza after our disengagement in 2005, that we are no longer responsible for the Palestinian residents of the West Bank, who would continue to live in their own — unannexed — towns.
These Palestinians would not have the option to become Israeli citizens, therefore averting the threat to the Jewish and democratic status of Israel by a growing Palestinian population.
The JTA‘s report clearly indicates that while Mandel and other U.S. conservatives oppose Dayan’s bid to conquer the West Bank, the settler leader is backed by the Israeli government’s ruling party.