Settlements: Obstacles to Peace
There are some 500,000 Israelis living in settlements on what is almost universally regarded as Palestinian land . The first houses went up in the late 1960s and have continued under both Labor and Likud governments. They are the “facts on the ground” Israeli leaders said they wanted to create. There are freezes, partial freezes, and temporary halts in construction. But the trend in more and more building continues. The stalled peace process goes off track. Road maps are redrawn. The Obama administration vetoes UN resolutions condemning Israeli policy. Benjamin Netanyahu once proclaimed, “Semantics don’t matter.” You can call a Palestinian state “fried chicken.” Land for a Palestinian state has been cut into unconnected bits and pieces without much water. Many people say the settlements pose a serious obstacle to peace and a just resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Kathy Christison worked for the CIA as a political analyst, dealing first with Vietnam and then with the Middle East. Since leaving the CIA, she writes and lectures. She is a regular contributor to CounterPunch. She is the author of The Wound of Dispossession, Perceptions of Palestine, and co-author of Palestine in Pieces.