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Sunday, December 02, 2012

As usual, the Times blames Israel

Whether it was Jodi Rudoren or her editors, the Times has an article in Sunday's editions under Rudoren's byline that clearly faults Israel's proposed E-1 building for scuttling the 'two-state solution' and places no blame whatsoever on 'Palestinian' unilateralism. This is from the third link.
But Israel’s announcement on Friday that it was moving ahead with zoning and planning preparations for the area could change all that, and many fear that it could close the window on the chance for a two-state solution to the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Construction in E1, in West Bank territory that Israel captured in the 1967 war, would connect the large Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim to Jerusalem, dividing the West Bank in two. The Palestinian cities of Ramallah and Bethlehem would be cut off from the capital, making the contiguous Palestinian state endorsed by the United Nations last week virtually impossible.
Although Israeli officials did not call the move retaliation for the United Nations vote, most people here assumed the timing was not coincidental.
Well, no kidding it wasn't coincidental, even though Israel has been talking about building in E-1 for years

At some point, when someone hits you enough, you have to hit back, whether we're talking about two children or a child and an adult. There's a limit to how many blows you can or should absorb. Israel has been absorbing blows from Abu Bluff and his continued refusal to even talk to the Netanyahu government for at least the last three and a half years. At some point, you have to say enough is enough. If actions don't have consequences, then the 'Palestinians' can go on taking actions that promote their notion of a final outcome and rely on us not responding. Just like they want to establish facts on the ground, we should establish facts on the ground.

Besides, everyone expects us to back down, and with Netanyahu in charge, they have good reason for that expectation.
The development of E1, a project that the United States has blocked several times since 1994, has long been seen as a diplomatic third rail, and several experts said Saturday that they expected that Israel may once again back down from building there. But several other controversial housing projects within Jerusalem have sped forward in recent months, raising the ire of the Palestinian leadership, left-leaning Israelis and the international community, most of whom see the settlements as a violation of international law.
Along with zoning and planning for E1, Israel on Thursday approved 3,000 new housing units in unspecified parts of East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
The 'settlements' are not a violation of international law

In a separate article, Rudoren and Mark Landler report that the United States has condemned (did the State Department actually use that magic word again) the construction of E-1 as 'unhelpful.'
The Obama administration swiftly condemned the move as unhelpful. Senior officials expressed frustration that it came after Israeli officials had played down the importance of the Palestinian bid and suggested that they would only employ harsh retaliatory measures if the Palestinians used their new status to go after Israel in the International Criminal Court.
“We reiterate our longstanding opposition to settlements and East Jerusalem construction and announcements,” a spokesman for the National Security Council, Tommy Vietor, said. “We believe these actions are counterproductive and make it harder to resume direct negotiations or achieve a two-state solution.”
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a Saban Forum speech on Friday night at a Washington hotel, criticized Israel’s decision to proceed with plans for construction without referring to any settlements directly by name. “These activities set back the cause of a negotiated peace,” Mrs. Clinton said.
The White House also complained that Israel only gave it 'a few hours notice' of its construction plans.
Israel gave the United States only a few hours’ notice of the plan, and President Obama did not call Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a senior official said. For Mr. Obama, whose most bitter clashes with Mr. Netanyahu have come over settlements, the Israeli move could undermine a series of developments in recent weeks — from the violence in Gaza to the Palestinian vote — in which the two leaders appeared to draw closer together. 
Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Remember how much notice President Obama gave before that speech about a 'two-state solution based on the 1967 lines,' knowing that Prime Minister Netanyahu was about to board a plane to come to Washington?  Yes, a 'few hours.'

Bottom line: The Obama administration is reacting with feigned indignation to Netanyahu's move, because after all, they voted no at the UN (did they really have a choice?) and because they 'backed us' during Operation Pillar of Defense. And the truth is that they did back us for the first few days. But at the end, they forced Israel's hand into a 'cease fire' that makes Muslim Brotherhood chieftain Mohammed Morsy into the arbiter of violations and leaves the 'Palestinians' all but free to rearm. Yes, Obama has given money for left in place programs started by the Bush administration for the development of the Iron Dome anti-missile system. But each year it has tried to cut the budget, only to have Congress increase it. There is little doubt in Israel about the animosity that Obama and his people bear toward Israel.

There is very little that Israel owes this administration. Including extra notice - or any notice - before taking an action that is (unfortunately) completely reversible.

P.S. The idea that construction in E-1 would make a contiguous 'Palestinian state' impossible is a fallacy
As CAMERA pointed out in 2005 ("The Contiguity Double Standard"):
Palestinian contiguity in the West Bank would be no more cut off with the so-called E-1 corridor than would Israeli contiguity if Israel were to withdraw to its pre-1967 borders, even with slight modifications.
As CAMERA earlier explained [see the map at the link above]:
The black X marks the approximate location of the new neighborhood near Ma'aleh Adumim. To the west of the X is Jerusalem. The red line surrounding the X is the planned route of the security barrier, which will encircle Ma'aleh Adumim and Jerusalem.
Those who charge that Israeli building in Ma'aleh Adumim severs north-south contiguity disregard the fact that Palestinian-controlled areas would be connected by land east of Ma'aleh Adumim (marked on the map) that is at its narrowest point ~15 km wide.
Moreover, Israel proposes to build tunnels or overpasses to obviate the need for Palestinians to detour to the east through the corridor.
Ironically, many of those who argue for greater contiguity between Palestinian areas, at the same time promote Israeli withdrawal to its pre-1967 boundaries, which (even with minor modifications) would confine Israel to a far less contiguous territory than that of the West Bank. As shown on the map above, there is a roughly 15 km wide strip of land separating the Green Line (and the Security Fence) from the Mediterranean Sea (near Herzliya). Also shown is the circuitous route necessary to travel via this corridor between northern and southern Israel. (e.g. from Arad to Beit Shean.)
Nor is it true that the construction would cut off Palestinian areas from Jerusalem. Access to Jerusalem through Abu Dis, Eizariya, Hizma and Anata is not prevented by the proposed neighborhood, nor would it be precluded by a string of neighborhoods connecting Ma’aleh Adumim to Jerusalem.
 Hmmm.

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