8.13.2013

NYT editors just can't crack the mystery of why Israel continues to sabotage the peace process

Quite a revealing editorial in the Times today, titled "Shortsighted Thinking on Israeli Settlements." The editors start by criticizing Israel for its latest drive to illegally expand settlements in the West Bank; the government is planning to build more than 1,000 new housing units in East Jerusalem and other stolen territories. Specifically, it's the timing of this announcement of new settlements that irks the NYT, coming just days before the resumption of what are called "peace talks" between the Israelis and the Palestinians. No one should be particularly surprised about the timing, of course. Israel is a lunatic state, after all, and seems to genuinely enjoy doing things like this any time anyone is getting the slightest bit optimistic about the "peace process." The NYT, though, is apparently genuinely puzzled by Israel's actions:
Why further complicate these already complicated negotiations three days before they start? And why add to the abundant distrust that already divides the two sides after nearly two decades of failed peace efforts? 
These two questions rest on one very basic assumption, one that informs virtually all mainstream discussion of Israel and the fraudulent "peace process," namely, that Israel wants peace, i.e., a two-state settlement. The only reason the NYT considers it such a mystery why Israel has needlessly "complicated" these negotiations and "added to the abundant distrust" is because it just assumes, as a truism, that Israel wants peace.

But if you consider the possibility that Israel does not want a two-state settlement, then, suddenly, pretty much everything starts to make sense. The oh-so-confounding timing of this settlement announcement is no longer confounding. Everything about Israel's conduct over the last few decades indicates that Israel has no interest whatever in a two-state settlement with the Palestinians; as Noam Chomsky often puts it, Israel has chosen "expansion over security" at every single turn. This "conflict" could end right now if Israel had any interest in accepting the solution favored by virtually every government and population in the world.

The editorial closes with a plea to Netanyahu to show the "courage" to freeze settlements in the name of advancing the cause of peace. Again, the premise is, of course, that Netanyahu actually desires peace, and simply lacks the courage or the judgment to make it happen. But why is this just assumed? What evidence is there to support it? All the evidence, in fact, seems to point the other way.

What was that about a guy named Ockham and his razor?

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Previous posts on this topic here, here, and here.