Wednesday, September 10, 2008


We visited another Jewish Settlement called Ariel and met with its mayor and former Knesset member, Ron Nachman. It was pretty cool to meet this high profile politicians. He was a very interesting and funny man and the group as a whole really enjoyed meeting with him. He knew Irvine very well and was please we came to Ariel to see what was going on there bc, as he stressed, the media only publishes negative stories and Ariel seemed to be very different than the negative portrayal of the settlements. Aiel is the capital of Samaria, Nachman came to this land in what some call the West Bank, but Nachman stresses that this was the valley of Jordan and never Palestine. The mayor came to this vacant land, and didn’t push any Arabs off it. They built Ariel from the ground up. In 1947, US President Carter came to Israel and agreed that 8 settlements were needed in Israel and Ariel was one of these. Nachman stresses that the ’67 line is not a border, it is a cease-fire line. He said he is not an occupier.

I found it very interesting when the mayor told us about his not only fine with Arabs staying in the Palestinian territories. He said he is responsible for Palestinians here having water, electricity, and roads. He says he is currently employing Arab Muslims as high position in his city municipality. He also spoke of an industrial plant that he had built in which 2,000 Palestinians are employed.

In Talking about peace, he criticized Peace Now hasn’t done anything productive except be against things. He said he has been constructive in creating peace. I feel this fits in with my idea that with economic security comes less radicalism. Nachman doesn’t believe that the “land for peace” idea brings peace, rather it brings war. He thinks Gaza should be annexed to Egypt and Palestinians there can go south to work rather than into Israel. A unique point he had was that the 2 state solution that is being negotiated in Annapolis is not a 2 state solution but rather a 3 state solution: Israel, Jordan Valley, and Palestine.

This place is definitely different from common ideas of a settlement, it is pretty big and very permanent and well developed. This meeting challenged my conclusions of settlements that I developed yesterday. Just when you think you have come to a conclusion…

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