- Elliott AbramsOn Thursday, the New York Times reported that "the president believes that more than any other factor,
Israel's drumbeat of settlement announcements in the West Bank and east
Jerusalem poisoned the atmosphere and doomed any chance of a
breakthrough with the Palestinians." First, note that the term
"settlement" is used for construction in Jerusalem, Israel's capital.
Second, note that there is no reference to the 10-month settlement
freeze Israel undertook in November 2009. For that decision Netanyahu
got nothing in return from the Palestinians - who did not come to the
table until the tenth month, when they knew the freeze was ending.
Third, note that the reference is to a "drumbeat of settlement announcements" rather than actual construction. That's because there is no big increase in settlement activity. A careful analysis would show that the administration's accusation of vast increases in construction activity is wrong. Moreover, a settlement freeze has never been a precondition for talks before the Obama administration tried to make it so. (Council on Foreign Relations)
- Today’s New York Times carries a useful guide to President Obama’s understanding of his own failures in the “Middle East Peace Process.” He blames the Palestinians a tiny bit, the Israelis a great deal, and himself not at all.