More than 40,000 people have been slaughtered during the rebellion in Syria, and the death toll rises daily. The European Union does not appear to be particularly concerned. North Korea’s rulers have launched a three-stage rocket, moving closer to their goal of developing a nuclear-tipped ICBM, and they’re sharing nuclear-weapons technology with the world’s leading sponsors of terrorism in Iran. The EU does not seem to be worrying about that either. Israel is considering building homes on barren hills adjacent to Jerusalem. The EU’s 27 foreign ministers said they were “deeply dismayed” and warned Israel of unspecified consequences if the plan is carried out.
The European Union — recent winner, I should note, of the Nobel Peace Prize — has its priorities. So let’s talk about what the Israelis are doing to so distress them.
The area in which Israel may build covers 4.6 square miles. For the sake of comparison, Denver International Airport is 53 square miles. Known as E1, this area lies within a territory that has a much older name: the Judean Desert. Might Jews think they have a legitimate historical claim to the Judean Desert? This question is rarely asked.
For Israeli military planners, E1’s strategic value is more germane than its history. Developing it would help in the defense of Jerusalem, and would connect Jerusalem to Maaleh Adumim, an Israeli town with a population of 40,000...
People forget, or perhaps choose not to remember, that Israelis always have been willing to give up land for peace, including land acquired in defensive wars. Historically, that has not been a common practice, for a very sound reason: Aggression can be deterred only if it carries substantial risk. Nevertheless, Israelis gave up Gaza and the Sinai, and have offered to give up more land — at least 97 percent of the West Bank, retaining only those areas absolutely necessary for national security.
...Mahmoud Abbas, regarded as a moderate Palestinian leader, could not bring himself to call Mashaal’s latest threats wrong — or even unhelpful. Instead, Azzam Alahmed, a senior official in Abbas’s Fatah organization, described Mashaal’s speech as “very positive,” because it stressed the need for reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah...