Alternatives to a UN Vote?


Settlement construction is up 660% this year

Richard Silverstein has written a delicious rant in response to the latest American effort to dissuade the Palestinian Authority from seeking UNGA recognition in September. The newest American proposal is to…wait for it…open up a new set of negotiations with Israel. For those not paying attention, this is ridiculous because the UN bid is a response to the complete inability of negotiations to provide any progress on the issue. Take it away Richard:

This is the big deal that will make the PA climb down from their horse galloping toward an independent state?  Really?  This?  All I can say to Obama is: have you lost all semblance of reason?  Is that what you mistake for a real policy?

Here’s the money quote, the one which sent me over the top when I read it, the one that sounds an awful lot like that dabbling wunderkind, Dennis Ross:

“If you put the alternative out there, then you’ve suddenly just changed the circumstances and changed the dynamic,” a senior administration official involved in the flurry of diplomacy said Thursday. “And that’s what we’re trying very much to do.”

“An alternative?”  How is this “proposal” an alternative?  Is doing nothing and promising nothing an alternative to statehood?  And if it is, in whose eyes?  In Ross’ eyes and the eyes of his boss?  As far as I’m concerned you can take ‘em all and dump ‘em in the Potomac.  That’s how much use I have for this crowd of jokers and charlatans.

Part of this magnificent new plan involves a Very Important Statement by the Quartet.  Now, this isn’t just any statement, this is a statement of Importance:

A statement by the Quartet would be more than a symbolic gesture. It would outline a series of meetings and actions to resume talks to create a Palestinian state.

Well, why didn’t you say so?  That changes everything.  I’m on board now.  I’m firing up my computer to demand that Abbas stop this statehood nonsense because the Quartet cavalry are here to save the day for Palestine.  They’re going to “outline a series of meetings and actions!”  Huzzah and Hosannah, all Palestine’s problems will shortly disappear.  Just trust in Brother Tony and Brother Barack.  They’ve got your back, Palestine.

Palestine should withdraw their UN bid because this time will be different! The last round of negotiations halted when Israel refused to stop building settlements on Palestinian land. And in 2011, settlement construction is only up 660% from last year:

With the end of the building freeze, construction has started up in Judea and Samaria (Yesha) communities. In fact, said the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), building jumped 660% in Judea and Samaria during the first half of 2011, as compared to the previous year.

While the statistic was certainly breathtaking, the actual numbers on the ground were less impressive: Construction started on 546 new homes in Yesha communities during the period. Still, it was a sharp improvement over the number of housing starts in the first half of 2010, when only 72 housing starts were announced.

The Yesha Council – the settler organization – is talking about how a 660% increase is not enough. In the first half of 2011, 546 new settler buildings were constructed; the Yesha Council is calling for 500 new buildings a month for the rest of the year. Clearly, Israel is willing to negotiate justly with the Palestinians. Continued settlement construction crushed negotiations last year, but this year is clearly different. Why bother with the UN?

Photo from Diplomacy and Power


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