This New York Times headline feels like deja vu all over again: Diplomats Desperately Try to Save Mideast Talks. What imperils the talks? Those warlike Israelis are thinking about building houses again!
Israel’s decision this weekend to end its freeze on West Bank Jewish settlement construction sent diplomats on three continents into desperate activity on Monday as they tried to keep Middle East peace talks alive. And although the discussions covered many topics, in the end they came down to one stubborn goal: how to end settlement construction.
The question, the world’s leaders say, is not how to end suicide bombing or missile launching or threats of nuclear destruction, but how to end home-building! We live in a world gone mad. Concern about the possibility that Jews might build houses spread quickly around the world:
While Israeli and Palestinian negotiators huddled in Washington, Tony Blair, the international envoy to the process and former British prime minister, shuttled around Jerusalem. And in Paris, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France met with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and extended an invitation to him and Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, for a meeting there next month. Both accepted.
Mr. Sarkozy called on Monday for an end to Jewish settlement building, as did the United Nations secretary general and the American and British governments.
If only the “international community,” such as it is, could get as exercised over mass murder and threatened genocide as over the prospect that Jews might live on the West Bank, the heart of historical Israel.
All of this hysteria is directed toward the overriding objective that “peace talks” go forward–that is, that the Palestinians not walk out on them. Why the world’s governments should care so much about peace talks that have gone on for decades without leading to peace, in a tiny corner of the globe that has little or no tangible influence on the rest of the world–sort of like Sudan, say, but with a tiny fraction of the violence–is a mystery.
PAUL adds: It isn’t just houses that threaten peace. Israeli settlers in the West Bank celebrated the end of the building moratorium by pouring concrete for a new day care center, the construction of which had been halted due to the ten-month ban. The notion that such construction is a threat to peace tells us everything we need to know about the “peace process.”