- The Washington Times - Friday, March 26, 2010

Why shouldn’t there be a bit more of a row on the settlement expansion issue (“White House urged to end row on settlements,” Page 1, March 17)? If Israel does not reinvent itself as the separate and democratic Jewish state that it wants to be, the settlements and the occupation will gerrymander and disintegrate its borders as well as cement its rule over another, faster-growing people.

Both these things will make it harder to prevent the “one-state solution” that Israel, understandably, doesn’t want.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak himself recently pointed this out, even going so far as to say that Israel was on its way to becoming “an apartheid state” if it keeps up the occupation and settlement expansion.

It is to continue to assist Israel’s well-being that Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton have done nothing more than repeat the opposition of every single U.S. administration - equally Republican and Democratic - to Israel’s settlements and their ongoing expansion for more than 40 years.

Israel has ignored this consistent and implacable American opposition all that time, once again to the detriment of its own interests. That attitude also has been detrimental to America’s interests, as it has helped further the protraction of an increasingly dangerous conflict. It is harming America’s other alliances and other nations’ trust of and friendship with the United States, generating animosities toward America and fanning the flames of anti-American extremism.

At what point, after so many decades of settlement expansion and Israel’s indifference to patient expressions of concern from its close friend, America, is America finally permitted to get somewhat angry? Why isn’t America finally allowed to make a bit of a row about it?

The position of President Obama and Mr. Biden is just like that of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Only the establishment of two states, with ironclad Western and American security guarantees, can grant both Israelis and Palestinians the national rights and peace both equally deserve.

That also could help bring about a less dangerous and conflict-driven world for the United States and its other friends in the Middle East and Europe. It is through both Israeli and American national security lenses that the United States sees Israel’s four decades of ceaseless settlement expansion, which continues, even now, unabated.


Cambridge, Mass.

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