In the Arena


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It really is galling to have Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s bigot of a foreign minister, crowing about Netanyahu’s “victory” over the Obama Administration on the issue of illegal settlement-building. For one thing, I don’t know how much of a victory this is. It continues to put Israel on the wrong side of international law. And it probably puts Israel on the wrong side of history as well: there will be no Israel in 100 years unless there is a plausible Palestinian state–and there will be no state that any Palestinian considers sufficient if Israel continues to encroach on Palestinian lands, occupied by conquest in 1967. The alleged friends of Israel who–wink, wink–support this slow-motion conquest are doing their favorite country no favors here. Long term, the policy is a disaster.

In my print column tomorrow, which is about President Obama’s foreign policy struggles, I suggest that now is the time for the Administration to follow the lead of Bush the Elder–who blocked some aid to Israel to protest settlement-building.  Israel has a right to its intransigence, however misguided, but we don’t have to reward policies that will only make peace less likely.