A Skewed Process

[Jerusalem Post] Editorial - Israel is reportedly bracing for a "skewed" report from Lt.-Gen. William Fraser on Israeli and Palestinian implementation of their Roadmap obligations. What is likely "skewed," however, is the whole U.S. approach to achieving Arab-Israeli peace. Since the government recently announced it would expand a settlement inside the security barrier near Jerusalem, Israel expects to be criticized in the Fraser report. The 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. A clear distinction should be made over settlements that are entirely consistent with a two-state solution. But all this is trivial compared to the macro problem, which is that the U.S. makes no distinction between the respective distances Israel and the Palestinians are from making the two-state approach work. Since the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993, the Israeli public and political system have moved dramatically to a broad consensus that regards a Palestinian state as acceptable, even a necessity. At the same time, the Palestinians have, if anything, become more radicalized since 1993, and have not begun to prepare themselves for a two-state approach, let alone embrace it. Almost no Palestinian will accept that the Jewish people have any national or historical rights to a state alongside Palestine. This is what prevents peace. Pretending that Israelis and Palestinians are equally to blame for the lack of peace is not just misleading and unfair, it is actively harmful to the cause of peace, because it lets those who are obstructing peace off the hook.

2008-03-14 01:00:00

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