Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice blasted Israel yesterday for continuing to build settlements in East Jerusalem. Rice said Israel's activity had a "negative effect on the atmosphere of the negotiations."
This gives me an opportunity to make a comment on Israeli settlements. They are and always have been nothing but a red herring. Let's be honest here. If Israel were to not only halt settlement expansion but dismantle all existing settlements does anyone think the Palestinians would be mollified in the least? Palestinians don't take issue with Israeli settlements. They take issue with Israel itself. The Palestinians consider all of Israel one large settlement. But the Palestinians are effective propagandists and Rice is the latest in a long line of Western diplomats that has bought into the settlements are an impediment to peace argument hook, line and sinker.