Awesome WaPo editorial: The 'settlements' aren't the problem
Okay, so the title of this post is an exaggeration, but you almost certainly would not see words like these
in the New York Times.
Twenty-five years ago, Israel’s government openly aimed at
building West Bank settlements that would block a Palestinian state. But
that policy changed following the 1993 Oslo accords. Mr. Netanyahu’s
government, like several before it, has limited building almost entirely
to areas that both sides expect Israel to annex through territorial
swaps in an eventual settlement. For example, the Jerusalem
neighborhoods where new construction was announced last month were conceded to Israel by Palestinian negotiators in 2008.
the vast majority of the nearly 500,000 settlers in Jerusalem and the
West Bank live in areas close to Israel’s 1967 borders. Data compiled
by the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace show that more
than 80 percent of them could be included in Israel if the country
annexed just more than 4 percent of the West Bank — less than the 5
percent proposed by President Bill Clinton 12 years ago.
were most concerned by Mr. Netanyahu’s decision to allow planning and
zoning — but not yet construction — in a four-mile strip of territory
known as E-1 that lies between Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim, a settlement
with a population of more than 40,000. Palestinians claim that Israeli
annexation of the land would cut off their would-be capital in East
Jerusalem from the West Bank and block a key north-south route between
West Bank towns. Israel wants the land for similar reasons, to prevent
Ma’ale Adumim — which will almost certainly be annexed to Israel in any
peace deal — from being isolated. Both sides insist that the other can
make do with a road corridor.
This is a difficult issue that
should be settled at the negotiating table, not by fiat. But Mr.
Netanyahu’s zoning approval is hardly the “almost fatal blow” to a
two-state solution that U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described.
exaggerated rhetoric is offensive at a time when the Security Council
is refusing to take action to stop the slaughter of tens of thousands of
civilians — including many Palestinians — by the Syrian regime. But it
is also harmful, because it puts pressure on Palestinian President
Mahmoud Abbas to make a “freeze” on the construction a condition for
beginning peace talks. Mr. Abbas had hinted that he would finally drop
that demand, which has prevented negotiations for most of the past four
years, after the General Assembly’s statehood vote. If Security Council
members are really interested in progress toward Palestinian statehood,
they will press Mr. Abbas to stop using settlements as an excuse for
intransigence — and cool their own overheated rhetoric.
Okay, so they still say (in the part I didn't quote) that criticism of the 'settlement construction' is appropriate. I disagree. At some point, the 'Palestinians' second and third and fourth and fifth and... chances ought to run out and we ought to be able to move ahead. But look at the bright side: They admit that it's not Israel that's killing the 'peace process.' Someone take this editorial to the White House!
Labels: E-1, East Jerusalem, Maaleh Adumim, Middle East peace process, Washington Post