Friday, December 11, 2009

Obama's First Year: A Nobel Effort

I have read the American Grand Strategy report pertaining to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The students make the statement “Obama’s major policy error has been his demand of Israel to freeze all settlement building.” I believe this is a grave error of analysis. The history of the region has created a deep mythology for both the Israelis and the Palestinians that reinforces a social identity around the sacredness of Jerusalem and the sacredness of the land. Israeli settlements in the West Bank, regardless of motive, have been seen for decades as deeply disrespectful of the Palestinian right to autonomy. For decades, the Palestinians have asserted that Israel must conform to UN Resolution 242. Israeli settlements have been in derogation of this assertion, whether legal or not. In addition, the settlements have created a checkerboard in the West Bank that makes the possibility of a unified Palestinian state very difficult to create. A cynical person might say that this has been by conscious design of succeeding Israeli governments. At the very least, settlements have appeased the ultra-conservative fundamentalist Jews that have seized the moral and sacred high ground in the debate around peace with the Palestinians. Thus, if an acceptable peace is to occur, settlement construction will have to stop. President Obama is therefore correct in making that a cornerstone of his administration’s policy toward the conflict.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost


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