There were some interesting, and unexpected comments from The Washington Post in the January 1st editorial titled: Overheated rhetoric on Israeli settlements.
- But the reaction is also counterproductive because it reinforces two mistaken but widely held notions: that the settlements are the principal obstacle to a deal and that further construction will make a Palestinian state impossible.
- The exaggerated rhetoric is offensive at a time when the Security Council is refusing to take action to stop the slaughter of tens of thousands of civilians — including many Palestinians — by the Syrian regime. But it is also harmful, because it puts pressure on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to make a “freeze” on the construction a condition for beginning peace talks. Mr. Abbas had hinted that he would finally drop that demand, which has prevented negotiations for most of the past four years, after the General Assembly’s statehood vote. If Security Council members are really interested in progress toward Palestinian statehood, they will press Mr. Abbas to stop using settlements as an excuse for intransigence — and cool their own overheated rhetoric.