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Russian settlers fight for Israel's territorial inviolability
September 22, 2010 22:16

The former US President Bill Clinton claims that Russian immigrants and settlers in the Middle East are the main barrier in the way of reaching a settlement in the region.

In a roundtable with reporters during his Clinton Global Initiative conference in New York, Clinton made his most extensive remarks on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process that his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is leading.

He told the Global Initiative conference that Israels Russian-speaking population is the least interested in concluding an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. The former US President complained that 16% of Israelis are Russian-speakers, which is a shocking problem, since they make Israel a different country.

Clinton expressed his fear that the large numbers of Russian immigrants and settlers serving in the Israel's army will make it hard for the army to confront the settlers if this should be required. An increasing number of the army soldiers are children of Russians and settlers, who are those most strongly opposed to dividing the land.

"They've just got there, it's their country, they've made a commitment to the future there," Clinton said. "They can't imagine any historical or other claims that would justify dividing it."

According to the report, Clinton related a conversation he had had with Natan Sharansky who was the only minister opposed to the peace proposal at Camp David in the year 2000. Clinton said Sharansky told him he couldn't support the proposal "because I'm Russian." Sharansky said he had come from one of the largest states in the world to one of the smallest, and couldnt conceive of dividing it further. Clinton responded jokingly, "Don't give me this, you came here from a jail cell. It's a lot bigger than your jail cell."

Clinton also said that in light of the high Palestinian birthrate, Israel would have a Palestinian majority within the next 30 years if it doesn't give up the West Bank. Then it would be faced with the choice of being a Jewish state or a democratic state, but it would be unable to be both.

He noted that Arab states support the peace agreement now more than ever, and that this is an opportunity that must be taken.

A funny description was given by Clinton to the "Moroccans": North African Jews who immigrated to Israel in the 1970s.

"When they think peace is possible, they vote peace. When they think it's not, they vote for the toughest guys on the block," Clinton said.

As for Clintons remarks upon Russian immigrants, they were soon responded by The Yisrael Beiteinu party saying, "Clinton's words show he does not know the great contribution the Russian and former USSR immigration wave made to the State of Israel. Russian immigrants, like all Israeli citizens, yearn for real peace based on recognition of Israel's right to exist as the nation-state of the Jewish people."

Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Ladver said that "any attempt of an outside element to divide the people of Israel is wrong. This immigration has contributed to our State's development in every single area, starting with science, culture and sports, up to economy and security... It's a shame that external elements have yet to internalize this fact."

For the state with such a tiny piece of land it's quite an ardent and brave defence of its people, isn't it? If not all nations than at least Russians definitely have something to learn from this example.

      RIA News
      Foreign Policy magazine

Max Yakuba


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