The Great Debate UK
from The Great Debate:
In June 1980, when an American president, Jimmy Carter, objected to Jewish settlements in Israeli-occupied territories, the Israeli government responded by announcing plans for new settlements. At the time, settlers numbered fewer than 50,000.
In 2010, another American president, Barack Obama, is calling for an end to settlements he considers obstacles to peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Israeli authorities responded by announcing new ones, illegal under international law. Settlers now number close to half a million.
In the three decades between 1980 and 2010, there have been multiple U.S.-Israeli spats over the issue and they often fell into something of a pattern, spelt out in 1991 by James Baker, President George H W Bush's secretary of state: "Every time I have gone to Israel in connection with the peace process ... I have been met with an announcement of new settlement activities. It substantially weakens our hand in trying to bring about a peace process." That is as true now as it was then.
Also part of the routine: suggestions from critics of Israeli policy that the United States uses its vast aid program to Israel as a lever to change its behavior. "Cut off the Cash and Israel Might Behave" said a headline at the height of the latest U.S.-Israeli spat over settlements. The headline ran over an essay in a British newspaper, The Independent, by Avi Shlaim, a professor of international relations at the University of Oxford who served in the Israeli army.
The folder in which to file that idea might be labeled Wishful Thinking.