It's Not the Settlements - Rick Richman (Commentary) original website not accessible at time of sending this email
Immediately after the UN voted last week to vilify Israel, Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy national security advisor, held a conference call to argue that the Obama administration was motivated by its "grave concerns" about "the continued pace" of Israeli settlement activities.
Rhodes said, "Since 2009, the number of Israeli settlers in the West Bank has increased by more than 100,000."
The figure of 100,000 sounds significant until you realize that 80% of it has been in the settlement blocs "everyone knows" Israel will retain in any conceivable peace agreement.
The 20,000 person increase east of the separation barrier translates into less than 1% of the population in the disputed territories over a period of eight years.
The vast majority of Israeli settlement activity has been within settlement blocs that no one can realistically expect Israel to dismantle.
During the Bush administration, the U.S. and Israel agreed on a formula for settlements: building could continue within the boundaries of existing settlements, but not outside them, so that construction would not affect the amount of land available for a Palestinian state, which was more than 90% of the disputed territories.
It was the Obama administration that reneged on that agreement in 2009 and made an issue out of something that had already been resolved.