Monday, March 22, 2010

Hillary Blames Settlements For Lack of Middle East Peace Negotiations

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke before the AIPAC Annual Convention in Washington, D.C. this morning. She blamed the construction of settlements for the lack of progress in peace negotiations in the Middle East:

New construction in East Jerusalem or the West Bank undermines that mutual trust and endangers the proximity talks that are the first step toward the full negotiations that both sides say want and need.


If it's not the settlements then it's the security checks and if it's not the security checks it's the separation fence and if it's not the separation fence....well, you get the idea. Besides, if the Palestinians are so angered by the settlements why did Palestinians launch more missiles into Israel after they evacuated settlements in Gaza?

But should we really be surprised by Hillary's posture towards the settlements? Remember last June when she declared a settlement freeze was absolute up to and including natural growth? As he usually does, Charles Krauthammer cut through the chase:

No "natural growth" means strangling to death the thriving towns close to the 1949 armistice line, many of them suburbs of Jerusalem, that every negotiation over the past decade has envisioned Israel retaining. It means no increase in population. Which means no babies. Or if you have babies, no housing for them -- not even within the existing town boundaries. Which means for every child born, someone has to move out. No community can survive like that. The obvious objective is to undermine and destroy these towns -- even before negotiations.

Let's also remember that the Palestinian Authority had never demanded a settlement freeze as a precondition for talking to Israel. The Obama Administration did that on its own. So if Obama and Hillary are going to demand then Abbas has to demand it as well or be assassinated. Hell, a settlement freeze is now a pre-condition for proximity talks. If these are the pre-conditions Israel has to meet for not talking directly to the Palestinians I would hate to think what Israel would have to give up to have Mahmoud Abbas sit across the table from them.

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