Monday, December 29, 2008

Settlements, continued...

Matthew Yglesias is among the many calling for US pressure on Israel to halt settlements:
Under the circumstances, throwing up our hands and saying “it’s too hard!” isn’t an option. We can decide we don’t want to be involved, which would mean unwinding the ties of collaboration and assistance between the US and Israel, or we can try to play a constructive role in bringing an end to the conflict. I’m not personally sure of how you do that. But I’m quite certain that the first step would be pressing Israel — hard — to stop expanding settlements in the West Bank and start dismantling them. To show to Palestinians interested in a two-state solution (perhaps including some Hamas people or perhaps not) that there’s credibility on the other side. I think Israelis wouldn’t welcome such action by us, but ultimately it would be in their own best interests. On the other hand, those who really do think the best thing for the United States is to just wash our hands of the whole mess have an obligation to really stand behind that belief and urge us to wash our hands of the situation. But just proclaiming a pox on both houses while in practice heavily subsidizing one side isn’t a viable option.
That's the first step we can make, but the Arab states in the region can make a step also, and that is to denounce terrorism and stop funding Hamas and Hezbollah. So yes, there's things people can and should do, and a role to play in the East and the West to come to a solution. Also, I think Yglesias is partially wrong about Israelis welcoming the US pressure. I think some would actually agree pretty strongly, but feel their own voices drowned out by the settlers...

It's not as though all Israelis are happy to have their military bombing Gaza, but many of them I think are confused, feel helpless, and are confounded by a mix of feelings on the issue. Just like a lot of Americans--and probably a lot more Arabs than we would imagine.