Sunday, November 29, 2009

NYdailynews Editorial: Settle down, Mr. President: Pressuring Israel only makes Arabs more stubborn

(nydailynews-Editorial)Here's the latest dispatch from the annals of the "evenhanded" Mideast peace process - in which the Obama administration applies ever more pressure on Israel to make all manner of off-the-point concessions when it is clear that Palestinians' refusal to accept the very existence of the Jewish State is the insurmountable obstacle to progress.

Israel declared it was freezing residential settlements on the West Bank for the next 10 months, satisfying one of the chief demands of the Obama administration and of the Palestinians. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called this a "painful" step, and indeed for many Israelis it will be.

Secretary of State Clinton hailed the freeze, saying it "helps move forward toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

And as a reward for this supposedly momentous concession, the Palestinian response was: Take your freeze and stuff it.

They refused to return to the negotiating table because the Israelis reserved the right for Israelis to settle in East Jerusalem. Yes, in Jersualem.

Give them a square inch, they'll demand a square yard. And keep threatening and committing violence and demanding more. Because haggling over settlements has been merely a pretext for shunning progress toward a two-state peace, including recognition of Israel.

This is a truth that President Obama may now be waking up to - as he must.