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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Quasilateral disengagement from northern Samaria?

Obviously the unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip and semi-disengagement from northern Samaria (i.e. the four settlements in the Jenin and Nablus area) didn't end up working out so well-at least not the full, complete disengagement from the Gaza Strip.

On the other hand, can they do a quasilateral disengagement?

Ari Shavit, Ha'aretz's centrist columnist (in addition to the many left-wing columnnists, they have a centrist and a few rightists), thought that might be possible.

Obviously, it would be dependent on coordination with the PA, and European (and American) active support, unlike Gaza. One of the questions is whether settlements have to be evacuated (rather than just turned over to PA authority), and if so, whether that is just some of the ultra-violent settlements or all of them.

Ari Shavit on "Disengagement II"

Netanyahu has two options. One is Shaul Mofaz's plan: the establishment of a Palestinian state with temporary borders. The second is Disengagement II: the evacuation of about 20 West Bank settlements and their transfer to the Fayyad government. The Mofaz plan has major advantages, but it makes Netanyahu fear unlimited and unrestrained Palestinian sovereignty. This means he might be forced to seriously consider the other option. We can't rule out that in 2010 Netanyahu will find himself pushing a limited withdrawal, just as Sharon did in 2004 and 2005.

Disengagement II will have to be completely different from its predecessor. It will have to be coordinated with the Palestinian Authority and granted European support, and it will have to turn the evacuated area into an economic prosperity zone. It will need to prevent Palestinians from smuggling in weapons and increasing their military might, and must assure Israel's right to self-defense.

The obvious place to do this would be in the northern Shomron. If one evacuates/turns over just six settlements (Kfar Tapuach doesn't allow for "adding" much territory but as a settlement violent even for these settlements standards, it might as well be added), one creates a relatively extensive contiguous Palestinian territory containing Nablus, Jenin, Tubas and Tulkarm as well as a large number of towns and villages.

In the case of these settlements, due to their history of violence, unless any of them truly and legitimately have land that is legitimately privately owned by those living on it (while uncommon, such land does exist, and the state of Israel doesn't really have a right to kick those people off their land except under certain circumstances [i.e. building a needed highway/train line where this is a good route], and I'm not sure this qualifies).

Settlements include:

  • Itamar
    • Population-785 in 2008, 439 in 1998
    • Politics-80% for the National Union in 2009, with 7% for Habayit Hayehudi, 5% for Shas, 4% for Likud, 2% for UTJ; 13% for Jewish National Front and 71% for the NU-NRP union in 2006
    • Violence-Among other things, Itamar's settlers are known for attacking Palestinian olive harvesters; while I think agriculture is a doomed occupation in this region due to climate change, that's for another post; in the past, youths in Jordan Valley kibbutzim, the Tzabar battalion of the Givati Brigade as well as the more usual types (Rabbis for Human Rights, assorted well-meaning but (maybe) naive to insane and anti-Semitic foreign and domestic leftists/anarchists, and of course Palestinians themselves fight back harshly
    • Notable Personalities-Yehoshua Elitzur, who was convicted of manslaughter after he shot and killed a Palestinian, who as far as I can tell is still a fugitive from the law
  • Elon More
    • Population-1315 in 2008, 1030 in 1998
    • Politics-77% for the National Union in 2009, with 5% for Habayit Hayehudi, 5% for Shas, 10% for Likud, 2% for Beitenu; 10% for Jewish National Front and 73% for the NU-NRP union in 2006
    • Violence-Going after the IDF, puncturing jeep tires, attacking Palestinian farmers, attacking "Bibi's inspectors"
    • Notable Personalities-Elyakim Levanon, the settlement's rabbi and head of its hesder yeshiva. The Elon Moreh hesder yeshiva made Aluf Dan Halutz's four-hesder list and then single-hesder list of yeshivas for elimination, but a then-more right-wing Shaul Mofaz didn't approve it immediately and the 2nd Lebanon War sidetracked things. The yeshiva also just barely missed out on Barak's cut
  • Bracha
    • Population-1364 in 2008, 686 in 1998
    • Politics-66% for the National Union in 2009, with 26% for Likud, 2% for Habayit Hayehudi, 3% for Shas; in 2006, 5% for Jewish National Front, 59% for NU-NRP, 31% for Likud/li>
    • Violence-Shot mortar shells at Palestinian villages, donkey-killing (as bad as donkeypunching????)

    • Notable Personalities-Eliezer Melamed, the head of the Har Bracha yeshiva; he's encouraged IDF refusal and basically did his best (by refusing to go to a hearing, renounce refusal, etc.) to get things rolling and make the de-hesderization of his yeshiva happen earlier this week, in what I believe is the first such occurrence.

  • Yitzhar
    • Population-864 in 2008, 291 in 1998
    • Politics-87% for the National Union in 2009, with 1% for Habayit Hayehudi, 4% for Shas, 6% for Likud, 1% for UTJ; 61% for Jewish National Front and 30% for the NU-NRP union in 2006
    • Violence-Pogrom (as an untargeted display of wrath, that's what it was) against Asira el-Kibliyeh after a scumbag f***tard from that village stabbed a 9-year old from the settlement, as well as very frequent attacks on Palestinian farmers; Col. Amir Baram, head of the Samaria brigade mentioned one of the yeshivas there as one of the top violence-creator in the area; numerous other attacks on Palestinians
    • Notable Personalities-Several rabbis [probably pretty much all of the ones there] associated with settlement's two yeshivas. For the Dorshei Yichudcha yeshiva-Yosef Paley has been arrested for incitement to genocide. Yitzhak Shapira, the head of the yeshiva, recently released a book halachically justifying killing Gentile children (if they're deemed to pose a threat now or possibly in the future, which is minimal to no nuance). Yitzchak Ginsburg of the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva, originally at Joseph's Tomb in Nablus before the IDF pulled out in 2001, is one of the many absolutely batshit American-born settlers. Born in St. Louis, Missouri to a not-so-religious family, he got ba'al-teshuva'ed in Philadelphia, and later made aliyah and joined Chabad, and I believe he thinks Scheneerson is the Mashiach. His most notable batshitness is Baruch HaGever, praise for Baruch Goldstein's massacre at the Me'erat HaMachpelah
  • Kfar Tapuach
    • Population-867 in 2008, 353 in 1998
    • Politics-In 2009 65% for Ichud HaLeumi, 15% for Likud, 9% for Shas, 8% for Habayit Hayehudi, 3% for Yisrael Beitenu; in 2006, 29% for the Jewish National Front, 50% for NU-NRP, 7% for Shas, 5% for Likud
    • Violence-Since Meir Kahane's son Binyamin moved there in 1990, a hotbed for violence and Kahanism (some dispersal since Binyamin was shot, but still quite strong); notable attacks include Eden Natan-Zeda's Arab bus-shooting at Shefa Amr during the disengagement, and, in my guess (given locations, though I could be wrong) the arson of the Yasuf mosque several days ago
    • Notable Personalities-In addition to Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane and Natan Zeda, Daniel Pinner, an often indicted settler (born in England rather than the U.S., though) gave a very disturbing interview to Ha'aretz recently
  • Shavei Shomron
    • Population-692 in 2008, 592 in 1998
    • Politics-In 2009 54% for Ichud HaLeumi, 20% for Likud, 12% for Habayit Hayehudi, 6% for Beitenu, 3% for Shas; in 2006 8% for Jewish National Front, 69% for NU-NRP, 6% for Likud, 5% Beitenu
    • Violence-Less than most of the others, apparently; ironically, in 2008 a man got arrested for selling (for financial reasons, not ideological) weapons to Palestinians; in 2006 evacuees from Sa-Nur attacked IDF officers; the reason to evacuate this one
    • Notable Personalities-None that I know of

I'll probably write more about this later, but here's a rough map. It combines four different Area A enclaves in the northern West Bank with four or fives Area B enclaves (which would be upgraded to Area A), creating a pretty large enclave. The key is whether it can be gotten to work.


View Palestinian Independent Area Northern Samaria in a larger map

An estimate of the population (as of the 2007 Palestinian Census) in this proposed "Independent Area." (IA) It includes most of the Jenin, Tubas, Tulkarem and Nablus governorates, and a bit of the Salfit governorate. The total population of these four governates was 772,318, about 3/8 of the total West Bank Palestinian population.

Nearly all of the Tubas Palestinian population seems to be in the IA; 47,461 out of 50,261.

For Jenin, the only area missing is the villages around the settlements in northwest part of the governorate. I would say that evacuating those settlements makes sense as well in a final-status agreement, if it does in conjunction with making part of the land exchange vis-a-vis the 1967 borders the I believe very nearly entirely Arab [and I believe largely identifying as Palestinian anyway] (I would personally donate lavishly and fundraise hard to greatly)overcompensate the handful of Jewish Israelis living in the area should something like that happen) area between the Green Line, Route 6, Route 65, and Route 66 (possibly even rerouting Route 65 a bit north around Kafr Qara and Basma). At any rate, it is about 5,000 missing, almost all of that due to the concavity for Hermesh and Mevo Dotan, which are far more secular/less violent and extremist than the 6 above (80% of the vote in Hermesh went to one of the four larger secular parties Likud, Yisrael Beitenu, Kadima, Labour, and 67% in Mevo Dotan the same), so about 250,000 from the Jenin governate.

About 10,400 of the Palestinian population of the Tulkarem governorate is missing, so about 147,500 of the 157,988 people in the Tulkarem governorate are in the IA, so over 95% of the Palestinian population of these three (Tubas, Tulkarem, Jenin) governorates are in the IA.

A few towns of the Salfit governorate are also in the IA. 15,000 of the 59,000

Finally, the Nablus governorate, with about 312,800 of the 320,830 Palestinians.

Note that this probably misses a few thousand rural Palestinians, so the 772,000 total I've counted is probably more like 750,000, which is a nice round number and means about 3/8 of the West Bank Palestinian population is in this Independent Area.

Not bad at all.

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