Opposition to Israeli Settlements Is Entirely Anomalous

In his latest viral video (well over 300,000 views on his Facebook page), Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu sharply condemned the notion that Jews living in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) are an “obstacle to peace.”

He furthermore referred as “ethnic cleansing” to the Palestinian demand that, to enable peace, all Jews would have to be removed from this territory. He called that demand “outrageous” and said: “It’s even more outrageous that the world doesn’t find this outrageous. Some otherwise enlightened countries even promote this outrage.”

Like clockwork, the video itself sparked outrage. State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said, “We obviously strongly disagree…that those who oppose settlement activity or view it as an obstacle to peace are somehow calling for ethnic cleansing of Jews from the West Bank.” She said Washington was “engaging in direct conversations with the Israeli government” about Netanyahu’s video.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, for his part, called the video “unacceptable” and…“outrageous.” He added: “Let me be absolutely clear, settlements are illegal under international law. The occupation…must end. The international community…universally views the expansion of settlements as an obstacle to peace.”

Whatever one thinks of Netanyahu’s use of the ethnic-cleansing term, one thing is certain: the charge that Israeli settlement of the West Bank and the Golan Heights is illegal, illegitimate, harms chances for peace, etc. is absolutely unique on the world stage.