Settler Council Chairman: Two-State Solution "Not Feasible"
(February 24, 2010)
Classified U.S. diplomatic cables, leaked by the whistleblower site WikiLeaks, contain information the relate to Jewish settler's opinions on the possibility of creating a two-state solution in the West Bank by removing Israeli settlements. Settler leaders are also said to not trust the Israeli government but do not believe a government run by PM Netanyahu will ever evacuate all the settlements. Israeli settlers are also accused of doing illegal and reprehensible things to Palestinians.
C O N F I D E N T I A L JERUSALEM 000342
SIPDIS NEA FOR FRONT OFFICE, SEMEP, AND IPA; NSC FOR SHAPIRO/KUMAR; JOINT STAFF FOR LTGEN SELVA E.O. 12958
SUBJECT: SETTLER COUNCIL CHAIRMAN: TWO STATE SOLUTION "NOT FEASIBLE"
REF: 09 JERUSALEM 892 Classified By: Consul General Daniel Rubinstein for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (C) Summary: The Chairman of the "Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip," Dani Dayan, told the Consul General on February 22 that Dayan believed West Bank settlements are "irreversible" and that the two-state solution is not feasible. Dayan said he continues to disagree with USG settlement policies but no longer trusts the Israeli government to accurately represent his constituency. He suggested that the USG should focus instead on developing the Palestinian economy and rehabilitating refugee camps, adding that full political rights for Palestinians are "unattainable." Dayan said he is "convinced" that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not evacuate West Bank settlements. He also acknowledged that some settlers were guilty of "morally horrific" attacks on Palestinian property meant to raise the "price tag" of Israeli government actions against settlements and outposts. End Summary.
"IMPORTANT TO MEET DESPITE DISAGREEMENTS" ----------------------------------------
2. (C) YESHA (the Hebrew acronym for "Judea, Samaria, and Gaza") Council Chairman Dani Dayan met with the Consul General in Jerusalem on February 22 for a private exchange of views. Dayan began by noting that, for some time, he had seen no point in continuing conversations with a USG that remains "hostile to West Bank settlements and (their) residents."
3. (C) Dayan said that now, he believed, both he and the USG have "different perspectives." He cited a January Time magazine interview with President Obama as the basis for this claim. Dayan said he ultimately realized the importance of continuing dialogue with the USG because "there is a feeling that our fate is being dealt with without us being heard, and the Israeli government may not reflect our sentiments." As a side note, Dayan said that he met privately with four Members of Congress who visited the region as part of a Nodel co-sponsored by Churches for Middle East Peace and J Street, as well as with Quartet Representative Tony Blair.
"SETTLEMENTS IRREVERSIBLE" --------------------------
4. (C) Dayan described USG efforts to secure a settlement freeze as misguided, adding that the freeze did not bring any mutual benefits, only "injustices" for settlers. He claimed that despite the November 2009 GOI moratorium on new residential construction in West Bank settlements, the settlement population east of the 1967 border had surpassed 300,000 in 2009. "The facts on the ground are irreversible," Dayan said, adding that it is "wishful thinking" that the GOI will ultimately seek to relocate hundreds of thousands of Israelis from their homes, or even just those located east of Israel's security barrier in the West Bank. "The U.S. must tackle the fact, whether they like it or not, that Jews will remain in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank)," he said, adding that he is "convinced" that neither Prime Minister Netanyahu nor any conceivable future Israeli leader will evacuate West Bank settlements.
TWO-STATES "NOT FEASIBLE," PALESTINIANS TO BLAME --------------------------------------------- ---
5. (C) Dayan criticized USG policy of promoting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying it "will take you to a dead end." He added that it is "irresponsible" not to search for other paths that are "attainable here and now," such as increasing Palestinian economic prosperity and forcing the Arab states to "rehabilitate" the refugee population by building permanent homes and communities that "will be beneficial for the Palestinians and for peace." Dayan said that efforts to train and equip PA security forces will be "catastrophic" in the long term. He criticized USG efforts in this area, as well as relaxation of restrictions on Palestinian movement and access in the West Bank, as "detrimental" to Israel's security. The Consul General responded to Dayan,s points by emphasizing the USG,s strong and enduring commitment to peaceful resolution of conflicts in the region spanning different administrations and eras, noting that this served not only U.S. national interests, but also the interests of the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.
6. (C) "If (the USG) achieves security, economic prosperity, rehabilitation of the refugee camps, and Palestinian human rights," Dayan said, "then all that is left is the political rights of the Palestinians. But, I don't think full political rights are attainable." Dayan blamed the Palestinian leadership for Palestinians' failure to achieve a state and full political rights, claiming that the Palestinians rejected previous partition plans when they were offered. Dayan also defended the existing level of Palestinian political rights, noting that "Palestinians are the Arabs with the most rights than the rest of their brothers, except, maybe, the Lebanese."
7. (C) Dayan said he is "deeply attached" to the West Bank and understood why Palestinians have similar sentiments, but he asserted that Israeli settlers have a moral right to settle the West Bank. He also acknowledged that some of his constituency were guilty of "morally horrific things" such as attacks on Palestinian property meant to raise the "price tag" of outpost evacuations or efforts to restrict settlement construction.