A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Settlement Freeze Expires: Will it be Build, Baby, Build?

Today and the days to follow will be critical to the survival of the recently revived Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. The freeze on settlements expired at midnight Israel time last night. The settlers want to start the bulldozers right away, and while Netanyahu has urged restraint, without an enforceable ban, the settlers will build.

Akiva Eldar today says:

It's no spin. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu really is looking high and low for a magical solution to both let the tractors get back to work on settlement lands and leave President Mahmoud Abbas at the negotiating table.

But how do you do that? The US has been openly critical of the reluctance to extend the freeze, but since "openly critical" does not mean taking any actual action (such as stopping US contributions to Israel that go directly to settlement expansion), and won't do more in an election year, it's pretty much up to the Palestinians now: stick with the talks even with the end of the freeze, and hope for some progress, or go through with the threat to walk out and have Israeli apologists blame you for another failed round of peace talks?

More later today.

1 comment:

Tim said...

And one sees the brilliance of the Israeli piece strategy.

A piece here and piece there. Some this year. A bit more next year.

All the while lamenting the inability to find a reliable partner for peace.