• Mark Lavie

First read the US statement. Then we'll talk.

It's worthwhile, as always, to read what you're commenting about before you comment.

Here's a link to the US statement about Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Please come back after you read it.

So it's not a green light for unlimited Israeli construction in the West Bank, nor is it a thumb in the eye of those who favor evacuating some or all of the settlements for the sake of peace.

In other words, both the apoplectic left and the ecstatic right have it wrong.

Now that you've read it, you see that it is a recognition of the facts on the ground--the settlements exist, and no legal status will change that. The only thing that could change that is a negotiated agreement. (I differ there, because there is no hope for a negotiated agreement, but that's another issue.)

So if you thought all along that building settlements was a mistake, the US has not totally undermined your position. And if you believed all along that Israel has the divine right to build all over Eretz Yisrael, the US has not endorsed that.

All the US has done is recognize reality as it exists. There are settlements, and they are not going to disappear. Similarly, Israel has held the Golan Heights for five decades, and there is no Syria to "return" it to, even if that were warranted. And Jerusalem is, indeed, the capital of Israel. We decide that, no one else does. The US has recognized those realities,

Does this trend of recognizing reality torpedo the chances of peace? Conversely, does it reinforce peace efforts? No and no.

Recognizing facts is a good basis for progress--but progress on what? Israel has twice offered the Palestinians a state, according to their own demands. but the Palestinians turned down the offers. So measuring every step as if it's a part of a "peace process" is outdated thinking. One day there will be a regional forum that redraws borders, including finally setting a border between Israel and the Palestinians. When that day comes, the parties will have to deal with the reality on the ground. Like it or not, intentionally or not, the US is, by stages, recognizing that fact. No less, but also no more.


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