Friday, March 14, 2008

Just How Big A Problem Are The Settlements?

IMRA has the text of an article in the Jerusalem Post that seems to be inaccessible now--a problem systematic of the US policy the article is about. The article is about an upcoming evaluation of how Israel and the Palestinian Arabs have been implementing the Road Map, and the skewed approach the US applies in their comparative evaluation. Along the way, the article notes:
The micro problem with this approach is that there is no symmetry between
settlements and terrorism, on either the moral or strategic levels. It is a
moral travesty that building homes is compared to murdering innocents. But
even if settlement expansion can be seen as problematic, it makes little
sense to treat all settlements equally, as if there were no difference
between expanding existing towns that are contiguous with Israel and inside
the security barrier, and settlements situated amidst the Palestinian
population.

While the US seems to pretend that there is no line between "good" and "bad"
settlements, a clear distinction should be made between settlements that are
entirely consistent with a two-state solution and those designed to block
such an eventuality.

But all this is trivial compared to the macro problem, which is that the US
makes no distinction between the respective distances Israel and the
Palestinians are from making the two-state approach work, and instead looks
for ways to criticize both sides no matter what, in an attempt to appear
"evenhanded."
Not enough has been done to challenge the accepted logic that the 'settlements' are the hurdle to negotiating a realistic peace--especially considering the lack of comments from Abbas in Arabic that would indicate he was really in this to make peace.

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