Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Opinion of Two Ladies

The Washington Post/Newsweek blog hosted Lara Friedman, director of policy and government relations for Americans for Peace Now and Hagit Ofran, director of Peace Now's Settlements Watch. The two are co-authors of the organization's periodic publication Settlements in Focus.

They published:
Draw the Line on Israel's Settlements

As I have pointed out previously, Lara was the political officer at the US Consulate-General here in Jerusalem a little over a decade ago.

Here are a few excerpts from their very critical piece on my home in Shiloh, and the home of my daughter, son-in-law and three grandchildren in Ofra and many friends in many other Jewish communities - all a natural occurence when a Jew returns to his homeland:

...Conventional wisdom has held that serious Israeli action on settlements must be put off until a deal is ready to be signed. This is based on the logic that given the huge amount of political capital it will cost any Israeli government either to freeze settlements or to pursue peace, no Israeli government can do both at the same time. This logic has been advanced in Israel and in Washington since the time of Yitzhak Rabin, and has been largely accepted by every U.S. government since George H.W. Bush. [because it's true, not to speak of the fiscal capital required]

...these settlements' continued expansion directly undermines any chance of reaching a peace agreement...Why? Because it emboldens settlers and their advocates...Because settlement expansion further complicates the situation on the ground...Palestinians interpret these moves as indications that Israel is not serious about peace [and the Pals. have given us so much evidence about their sincerity and seriousness about peace? this is BS].

And we're "unnatural":

It means not buying arguments about settlements needing to expand to accommodate "natural growth," bearing in mind that growth in settlements is not "natural" in any way, but is the result of government policies designed to attract Israelis to settlements and keep them there.

And they admit: "settlements" are not a legal question:

The government of Israel has the power to freeze settlements completely. Whether it does so is strictly a question of political will, not legal authority.

When will these media outlets permit balance, so that other voices can be heard and read?