Summary: As much as we all love peace, we need to admit that the current Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations are a probably a sham. Palestinian leadership can't agree to a real peace settlement that would allow the continued existence of Israel. Instead they have decided to maneuver Israeli leadership into being blamed for breaking off the negotiations, leaving Israel in an isolated and vulnerable position. The Palestinians will then seek, and get, international backing for a Palestinian state that has no peace agreement with Israel. The concessions that should have been the"price of peace" will be forced out of Israel without a peace agreement. That is why Israel must always say "yes" to peace initiatives.
My views are those of most Israelis. Nonetheless, anti-Israel writers have assured everyone that Zionists are really nasty warmongers. Anti-Semites tell the world that the Jews are behind every war. Popular magazines declare that Israelis are not interested in peace. These enemies of Israel have been aided by certain self-proclaimed Zionists who insist that the peace process is bad for Israel, and that Israel must turn down peace negotiations.
Those who oppose the continuation of the peace process need to be honest: Are they really afraid of security threats, or are they really opposed to an extension of settlement construction freeze?? Let's be frank. The settlement construction freeze is a red-herring issue It was devised by the Palestinians to avoid serious negotiations. The Palestinians have negotiated for years while Israel built new housing in settlements.The Americans and the Palestinians did not call a halt to negotiations.
Certainly, if negotiations break down, there will not be less settlement expansion. The moratorium on construction in the settlements continued for ten months. The Palestinians wasted almost the entire period on deliberately inconclusive indirect talks. The peace negotiations are an elaborate charade, but they are a charade with a purpose. We have to understand the purpose of the Palestinian tactics in order to understand what the Israeli response must be..
Realistically, if negotiations continue, the freeze on construction in settlements will probably be extended throughout the Obama administration, despite the current temporary "unfreeze," courtesy of the U.S. congressional elections.
So what? We waited nine years until the British left and we could bring new immigrants to Israel. We have waited two thousand years to build in Jerusalem. We have waited two thousand years for a Jewish state. Are we going to give it all up for a few "housing units' in Ariel? If the apartments are not built now, does anyone think Ariel will be given to the Palestinians in a peace deal? But building the apartments now may put the onus for the failure of the peace negotiations on Israel, feeding the delegitimization campaign of the Palestinians and their supporters. Rather than a few settlements or a few apartments being called into question, the whole idea of a Jewish state, even a postage-stamp sized Jewish state, is being jeopardized by the new construction.
A little reflection will show that a negotiated solution that ends in two states for two peoples is the only sane option for supporters of Israel and for the Israeli government, for the reasons given below. It looks like the only game in town for a peace solution. it will probably happen whether extremists want it or not. It is, in fact, the only reasonable option for both peoples. Since this is the Middle East after all, skeptics can point out that the sane and reasonable solution doesn't stand a chance. Nonetheless, even in the Middle East, it is unlikely that the collective will of the EU, the USA and Russia will be thwarted.
The logic of the anti-peace crowd on both sides has a revolting symmetry. They all want a one-state solution. The Arab extremists want an Arab state, and the Jewish extremists (see Israel-Palestine: The one-state solution returns ) imagine that the single state will be Jewish. As for unfortunate surplus populations, the Arabs imagine, in the best case, that a Jewish minority will live in "Palestine" as "dhimmi" or "Arab Jews" in the same way they lived (or not, as was frequently the case) in Arab countries. In the worst case, the Arab "one state" proponents contemplate massive expulsion or genocide. The Jewish extremists evidently imagine that they can wish the Arabs and Muslims out of existence by fiddling with demographic statistics or sending them to Jordan or other countries that will not have them.