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Settlement freeze: much ado about what?

As the settlement freeze is set to expire in four days, there is a rush of diplomatic activity to save the situation.

Everyone understands that, freeze or no freeze, Israel won’t be building in the outlying settlements, and construction in the settlement blocs will be kept to a bare minimum. Nevertheless, all parties are concerned with words rather than deeds. Netanyahu is trying to salvage his nationalist credentials by refusing to extend the moratorium. For a similar reason, Abbas insists on a total freeze as a condition for the talks. Obama wants talks if not peace, and so presses Netanyahu, whom he sees as the most amenable of the two.

By refusing to allow unrestricted construction in the settlement blocs, Israel gives the Arabs the impression that the blocs are also negotiable—which they probably are.

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don’t stop building

ernie newglasgow 23 September 2010

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