Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Why I don't support the settlement freeze (right now) …

The big talk out on the Interwebs is whether Israel will continue with its self imposed settlement freeze. The Obama administration has been pushing hard for Israel to continue with the building moratorium, while Abbas has claimed that any continued settlement construction will cause him to pull out of the peace talks.

I'm not a big supporter of the settlements. I think Israel needs to start delineating its borders and the settlements don't help in that regard. I also believe strongly in a two-state solution to the conflict and that will inevitably require Israel to withdraw from many settlements.

There are many Israelis who think like I do, but there isn't that much support for the freeze. The reason is that Israelis understand that these negotiations are a game. A deadly game to be sure, but they are a game. One of the rules of negotiations is that you don't give up something for nothing. Israelis made an unprecedented concession by declaring a freeze on settlements and they got nothing in return.

This sets a dangerous pattern for the negotiations. Israel's leaders need to come out and say we are willing to go a long way for peace, but we're not going to give, and give, and give, and get nothing in return.

The media keeps talking about gestures the Israelis can offer to show that they are serious to the Palestinians. Well I and many other Israelis are still waiting for a single Palestinian gesture to show that they are serious.

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