Is U.S. Open to a Settlement Compromise?

[New York Jewish Week] Abraham Foxman - By this time one would have hoped that the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government would have resolved their dispute over Israeli settlements. What was so troubling about the administration's approach was its handling of the issue in public, making it harder to reach a compromise and making Israel appear to be the problem in the region. The Israeli government has made significant concessions from its perspective. It has agreed in principle to dismantle the illegal settlements and not to expand existing ones on new land beyond the boundaries of existing settlements. But this has not been good enough. Washington seems to be eager to squeeze out every last ounce of Israeli resistance on the subject by rejecting not only the concept of natural growth but even of Israel completing structures in midstream. Now the Obama administration's approach begins to raise a series of more fundamental questions: Is the administration's outreach to the Muslim world predicated on distancing the U.S. from Israel? Are the unrelenting U.S. demands on Israel regarding settlements giving the Palestinians an excuse to avoid direct negotiations with Israel, the only path toward real peace? Is the continuing focus on settlements creating the perception around the world that the U.S. now agrees with Israel's critics that it is Israeli policy that is the critical obstacle to peace? Continuing the tension over settlements will only produce a lose-lose situation. Israel will feel more insecure and be less willing to consider concessions; Palestinians will feel less of a need to make critical decisions; Arabs will be no closer to getting the Palestinian issue off their agenda and focusing on the Iranian threat. The writer is national director of the Anti-Defamation League.

2009-08-07 06:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive