A reader writes:

After reading your recent comments on Israel's giving "the US the finger again," I want to point you to this Economist article. Granted, what Israel is doing is somewhat inappropriate. However, I think a problem in the negotiations is the definition of "settlement". Asking Israel to leave places like Gilo is asking them to let their country be destroyed. There are lots of settlements which have no reason for existing, and should be given to the Palestinians now. Gilo is not one of them. Israel, I think, is trying to demonstrate that they want a different definition of a settlement. If all land that Israel ever moved onto after 1967 is supposed to be given back to the Palestinians, than Israel will be more than cut in half. And, let's remember, the Israelis have co-existed with the Palestinians in places such as Gilo and East Jerusalem. Can we expect a Palestinain state to even let Israeli's live there? They didn't in between 1948-1967.

Another reader:

You've shown a stunning lack of understanding of fundamental middle east basics in your most recent post. which is ironic, because theres nothing more Palin-esque than shooting your mouth off about an area in which you know very little.

No one is being evicted from their homes to build apartments in Gilo. Land isnt being "seized" to make it harder to create a Palestinian state. in fact, Gilo is not in Eastern Jerusalem at all, but rather sits on the ring of Jerusalem suburbs to the West of the city. What you perceive as rebellion towards Obama (as if Netanyahu somehow works for him, and is not a sovereign elected leader of another country...) is actually a sort-of accommodation: this is "settlement expansion" that is NOT a provocation to anyone seriously looking at the conflict and trying to figure out solutions. It does NOT infringe on Palestinian ability to govern or create a contiguous state, and it doesn't even force the government to pave roads that restrict Palestinian freedom of movement. It is not a ridiculous town on a hill somewhere meant to make it harder for Palestinians to farm. Bitch about the Israeli government's inability/unwillingness to really tackle those crazies, and I am right behind you. But Gilo actually sits across the way from the road to Bethlehem and for years was the target of non-stop Palestinian gunfire, into civilian homes. (The current expansion is in the general direction AWAY from Bethlehem as a result). I don't support the need to constantly be expanding these areas- why not get a peace agreement moving forward to save the hassle of dealing with the fallout from this crap- but the idea that expanding Gilo is in ANY way going to ruin the life of a single Palestinian is utter bullshit. 

Thats why the French foreign minister was unperturbed by this non-news. It doesnt change anything on the ground, and allows Netanyahu to appeal to his right-wing coalition members. I think this was exactly Jeffrey Goldberg's point, which you railroaded right past so you could rant about your two favorite problems in the world- Palin and Israel- without the inconvenient facts getting in the way. .
 
 

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