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Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

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August 19, 2005

The Gaza Evictions

The tearful Israelis being torn away from their homes in Gaza are described as “settlers.” Their settlements are between Palestinian towns on Palestinian territory. Some Palestinians live in Israeli territory, but they are in Israel, under Israeli government. The “settlers” are not in Palestine under Palestinian government. They are outposts of the Israeli state. They are making not only the personal claim of a landowner but the sovereignty claim of a state.

These are religious fundamentalists. They believe all of Palestine is theirs, not so much theirs individually but theirs collectively as Jews, by the will of God. Basically, the claim they make of their fellow man is that of someone who walks onto your land and says, “God says this belongs to my people, not yours. God wants you to move. Your government, too.” What God wants is not a claim that can be verified; you either believe it or you don’t. The situation does not lend itself to compromise.

I don't believe God draws national boundaries or lends His name to land claims, and so I side here with the Palestinians. Gaza is part of the land that will someday become the state of Palestine, which means the Israeli settlers had to get out. Some Palestinians, in their infinite cynicism, are saying that this is just a gambit by the Israeli state to cement control of the West Bank—and maybe it is, but I prefer to take it at face value: an Israeli pullback. It is really the first one, and is an historic event. It took political bravery to force settlers out, and the Sharon government is to be complimented for it. The problem is that the Gaza settlers are a small number compared with the Israeli settlers in the West Bank, and they have to get out of there, too. For any sort of fair division of Palestine, these scenes of eviction will have to happen over and over again.

Respond to Bruce.

 
Posted by Bruce Ramsey at August 19, 2005 06:43 PM



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