Aid pack­age hurts peace process

Baltimore Sun - - MARYLAND VOICES - Joanne Heisel, Columbia

Ku­dos to Richard C. Gross for telling the truth about the Is­raeli-Pales­tinian “peace process.”

As Mr. Gross states, Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu of­ten claims he sup­ports peace talks with the Palestinians. But his ac­tions and those of his ad­min­is­tra­tion tell a com­pletely dif­fer­ent story. Take just one fig­ure — the num­ber of Is­raeli set­tlers liv­ing in the oc­cu­pied West Bank and East Jerusalem — and it be­comes clear that Mr. Ne­tanyahu has no in­ten­tion of ever agree­ing to a Pales­tinian state in Is­raeli-oc­cu­pied ter­ri­to­ries.

Ac­cord­ing to Amer­i­can Friends Ser­vice Com­mit­tee, “In 1993 when the Oslo ac­cords were signed, there were ap­prox­i­mately 110,000 Is­raeli set­tlers liv­ing in the West Bank and 146,000 liv­ing in East Jerusalem. In 2013 there were ap­prox­i­mately 350,000 Is­raeli set­tlers liv­ing in the West Bank and as many as 300,000 liv­ing in East Jerusalem. Build­ing the fa­cil­i­ties needed to ac­com­mo­date this in­creased pop­u­la­tion has led to mas­sive set­tle­ment con­struc­tion in both ar­eas.” And this con­struc­tion con­tin­ues to this day.

Mr. Gross is ab­so­lutely right when he states that the $38 bil­lion U.S. mil­i­tary aid pack­age to Is­rael that the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion re­cently ap­proved re­moves any lever­age the United States may have had to nudge Mr. Ne­tanyahu to the peace talks ta­ble. On the con­trary, it re­wards the prime min­is­ter for his ob­sti­nacy re­gard­ing peace talks with the Palestinians.

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