I (Don't) Believe

War is conducted with ruses: Is that the way peace is conducted, too? Is the policy to continue the war with the same old tricks? It may be true that official Israel is the cleverest in the world, but the world is not completely dumb. It is still able to recognize the ball made of rags Israel is now trying to roll onto the Palestinian field.

Only the dreadful memories are dissuading me from singing and thawing at the news of the settlement freeze. I suddenly remembered that seven years ago the Israeli government committed itself to "freezing all settlement activity, including natural growth," as was stated in the road map. It also committed itself to "immediately dismantling outposts set up since March 2001." Another commitment was to present the Americans at an early date with the markings of the outer borders ("the blue line") of every settlement. These commitments, made by Ariel Sharon and later endorsed by Ehud Olmert, have not prevented demented analysts from declaring that Benjamin Netanyahu's offer is "unprecedented."

For their part, the Palestinians at that time committed themselves to imposing law and order in the areas of the Palestinian Authority. So far they have succeeded in their struggle against the terrorists, while Israel has failed in its struggle against the settlers. Will Barack Obama buy used promises, second- and third-hand plans, from Netanyahu - from him, of all people?

The "dramatic announcement" is an open door that will allow the thieves of knowledge to enter. In order to satisfy the settlers' big appetites and to soothe their feeling of insult - "how can it be that a right-wing government is the one to do this to us?" - a great momentum in construction will now begin in greater Jerusalem, the construction of 2,500 "housing units" will be completed, schools and synagogues will multiply and flourish, because the natural increase of the settler population, as all know, is one of those things that cannot be measured.

This will be a freeze for the sake of a thaw. The American representatives in Jerusalem would do well to peek out their windows from time to time, so that they can see things for themselves and stay updated.

Do not view me as someone who has difficulty believing. A person is not born suspicious; his experience and memory teach him suspicion. His credo instructs him not to believe. A long while ago they promised that "no new settlements would be set up," and for 13 years they indeed did not. But who needs "new" ones when the old ones expand their borders systematically and poke fun at us? The Jewish population in the territories has doubled from 166,000 in 1997 to more than 300,000 in 2009 (not including East Jerusalem).

A long while ago, they promised that they "would not expropriate more lands." The expropriations stopped because there was no need for them - about 1.6 million dunams, approximately one-third of the West Bank, are today state lands. Land reserves of this kind will suffice for 100 years of settlement - they are more than enough.

And a long while ago they promised to "evacuate unauthorized outposts." From their lips we hear evacuate, evacuate, but in the field it is beef up and increase, and provide support behind their backs. Some 100 outposts of this kind sprouted like mushrooms after the rain of official commitments, made both orally and in writing.

Benny Begin, Moshe Ya'alon and Gideon Sa'r know their client very well, the one who is in charge of them. They understand him with a wink. The three of them did not change their spots when they agreed to eat the cold lokshen from his hands, which he had served us as a hot meal.