Finally,the settlements haveprovedtobe anything butareliable orevenusefulbargaining chip innegotiations. Settlers havebeen reluctantto withdraw from any territory theyclaim astheirs. Onthoseoccasionswhen theIsraeli government hasfloated the idea oflimitedwithdrawalfrom either "legal" or "illegal" settlements, settlers havebeen abletomobilizepolitical support - bothinside and outside theKnesset - far inexcessoftheir numbers. Inpart, their power in the Knessetis a resultoftheinternal dynamics ofthat body: Ruling coalitions inthe Knessetneedtodraw their support fromanumber ofpolitical parties, many of195
THE ISRAEL-PALESTINE CONFLICTwhich represent asingleissue - such asthosethat represent the settlerI•movement. The power of the settler movement outside the Knessetalso unnerves Israeligovernments. Government officials cringe at thememory of1982,whentheIsraeli army hadtobesentin to roust settlersand squatters from settlements in Sinai - aterritory that by no stretchof the imagination could be claimed as part of "Eretz Israel." WhenPrime Minister ArielSharon - perhaps themostinfluential proponentofIsrael's settlement policy- announced hisplan for unilateral Israeliwithdrawal from the Gaza Strip in early2004,leaders of the settlermovement went sofarastothreaten civil war.This, of course, didnotoccur, and settler resistanceto disengagement wasmore feeble than themost dire predictions. Butwhen the government subsequently proposedconsolidating settlementsbyclosing amodestnumber of outlying onesinthe northern WestBankand moving theirinhabitants to more securesettlement blocs there, the settler movement and its allies effectivelymobilized to forestalltheplan. Flexing theirmuscles, they even gotthegovernment toauthorizetheconstruction ofanentirely new settlementin the Jordan Valley after a ten-year moratorium. Feeble resistanceaside, then, the settler movement amply demonstrated it was not aspent political force.SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READINGKuniholm, Bruce.The Origins of the Cold War intheNear East.Princeton, N]:Princeton University Press,1980. Standard workonU.S.-Soviet rivalry intheregion during thefirstdecadeafter World WarII.Lustick,Ian.Arabs in theJewish State: Israel's Control of a National Minority.Austin: UniversityofTexasPress, 1980. AlookatIsrael'sArabcitizensinIsraeli society andpolitics.Margalit,Avishai. "SettlingScores."New York Review of Books,2.0September2.001,20-4.Concise overview of the settlements issue.Morris, Benny.The Birth of the palesti(Ze Refugee Problem.1947-1949.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,1987.Revisionist account by oneofIsrael's leading New Historians.Neff, Donald.Warriors atSuez:Eisenhower Takes America into the Middle East.New York: Linden Press,1981.Popular account of1956war, told from thevantage point ofthosewho were involved:Parker, RichardB.,ed.TheSix-pay War: A Retrospective.Gainesville: Univer-sity of Florida Press, I996. Excellent collection ofessays on the war anditsaftermath.IQuandt, William B.Decade of Decisions: American Policy toward the Arab-Israeli Conflict.1967-1976.Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977.
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