Friday, November 30, 2012

Israel's Expansion Extravaganza

Israel announced a settlement expansion extravaganza in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.  This came in retaliation for a United Nations vote on a Palestinian state, where representatives overwhelmingly granted Palestine nonmember observer status. 

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "pressed the Palestinian Authority to return to direct negotiations, saying the process represents 'not just the best but the only path to the independent state they deserve.'"

Hillary Clinton dangled economic peace to Palestinians in the West Bank, while Israel took more land.  That effort resulted in no talks  for nearly the whole Obama administration.  A brief round of talks in 2010 quickly disintegrated. 

Back to the settlement expansion, which Hillary weighed in on: "These activities set back the cause of a negotiated peace."

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland criticized the Israeli (settlement expansion) announcement. "These actions are counterproductive and make it harder to resume direct negotiations or achieve a two-state solution," she said.
The U.S. claims to have opposed settlement building for four decades.  That is patently laughable.  As for Palestine, it's third on Hillary's list of Middle East priorities.  Number 1 is preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.  Number 2 is keeping the cease fire in Gaza.  Number 4 is US and Israel supporting movements for democratic change in the Arab world.

As for democracy, Israel's arc is questionable in Hillary's eyes.

Without peace, extremists will grow stronger and Israel will be forced to militarize even further, Clinton said. “And without peace, the inexorable math of demographics will one day force Israelis to choose between preserving their democracy and remaining a Jewish homeland.”  
Israelis, public opinion wise, choose peace regularly.  It seems governments are incapable of delivering.

The U.S. and Israel teamed up to deny Palestine "nonmember observer" UN status.  They joined seven other countries, while 193 voted to grant what appears to be a nonthreatening status.

Update 12-2-12:  Israel confiscated NIS 460 million ($120 million) in Palestinian Authority tax funds.  Divide, appropriate land and starve. 

Update 12-12-12:  Settlements are a requirement for keeping peace, says Tzipi Livni