Apparently Mrs Clinton didn’t quite mean what she said; such are the dangers of international diplomacy, in the presence of media. According to the New York Times Mrs Clinton’s remarks bemused her aides because departing from the Administrations position on settlements. In clarification she said that she was simply encouraging Mr. Netanyahu for ‘moving in the right direction’.

The NYT article has the Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa reported as saying that the ‘inability to win a freeze would undermine the prospects for peace talks’.  To understand why the Settlements are so critical; even though not, apparently, ‘a core subject in peace negotiations’, one needs to know the history and look at the maps.  The offer of ‘peace for land’ looks good on paper, not so good on the map. (check the link). Think about the effect of the land clearances and the enclosures in UK history and ask, who has a better right to occupy the land, those who lived there in 1947 or those whose ancestors ‘may’ have lived there 2000 to 3000 years ago? Ask too, should not the people have been consulted regarding the disposal of the land on which they lived, which they had worked for generations? And, having viewed the map, ask how a Palestinian State would be viable in any sense.

If settlement activity continues, in defiance of international law, surely it is clear that it is Israel that is not interested in peace. As the most militarised society in the world, (and the 4th largest) they can cope with the level of terrorism they face from Hamas and Hezbollah.  Were Hamas, Hezbollah and Fatah to take a longer term, more considered view they might decide to abandon elections, which are meaningless, dismantle the Palestinian Authority, which is useless,  surrender all their weaponry to the UN and throw themselves on the mercy of the European Union, and the UN.

Oslo, with the creation of the PA was a dead end; neither Arafat nor Ehud Barak would have been able to deliver what their constituencies wanted, they wanted different things.  Little has changed in the meantime save the increasing realisation on the part of the Palestinians that Israel is here to stay. What many Israelis have failed to appreciate is, so are the Palestinians.  Only the international community can make a deal, and ‘make’ is probably the operative word. Does the international community have the authority and capacity to make such a deal?  I suspect the jury will be out for a considerable time, Especially since sanctions and boycott are deemed to work only  on Palestinians, Persians, & Koreans, but not Israelis.

I wonder why.



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