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Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, continually talks about the Palestinians coming to the negotiation table without conditions. This has been the basic strategy of the Israeli government to present a narrative that portrays the Palestinians as petulant and indifferent towards real peace. The real story has been otherwise. The Israelis, empowered at every level by the U.S., have used peace negotiations to increase their hold on territory that has long been ear-marked as land for a Palestinian state. During the negotiations of the so called “peace process”, every Israeli government has seen the increase in illegal settlements in the West Bank.Even Ronald Reagan said the settlements were counter-productive to peace in the Middle East.  The U.S. tells the world that it does not agree with the construction of settlements in the West Bank, but when it comes down to the final wash up, they reject the idea of declaring the Jewish settlements to be illegal and therefore evade having to put real pressure on the Israelis to stop their illegal and oppressive behaviour. The following article was published on the Mondoweiss website on September 27th 2011.

Let’s negotiate over how we divide the pizza while I eat the pizza
Sep 27, 2011 05:22 pm | Philip Weiss

Just got this from today’s State Department briefing. This is the very first question. And spokesperson Victoria Nuland tells the Palestinians to just lie down and accept another 1100 colonists usurping their land. This is why the Europeans are shocked by us and the Palestinians are outraged and Larry Derfner is writing, at 972, that Israel has lost America as an ally because it has crushed our credibility.

QUESTION: Can I ask you about the Israeli announcement of settlement expansion in East Jerusalem? Do you have a reaction to that announcement?

MS. NULAND: We do. You won’t be surprised that we are deeply disappointed by this morning’s announcement by the Government of Israel approving the construction of 1,001 housing units in East Jerusalem. We consider this counterproductive to our efforts to resume direct negotiations between the parties, and we have long urged both parties to avoid actions which could undermine trust, including in Jerusalem. And we’ll continue to work with the parties to try to resume direct negotiations.

QUESTION: What does this say to the Palestinians now? You’re working hard to try to get them to, well, not drop their bid but maybe not act on it for a while at the Security Council. What does this say to them about the ability to get talks going again and getting the Israelis to hold back on the settlements?

MS. NULAND: Well, as I said, we consider it counterproductive. That doesn’t change the fact that we believe, the President believes, the Secretary believes that the best way – the only way, in fact – to get to two states living side by side in peace, in security, is through direct negotiations. So we will continue to try to use the days and weeks ahead to get there, and we are urging both parties to take advantage of the proposal that the Quartet put forward last Friday to come back to the table.

Israel-Palestine: A Christian Response to the Conflict

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September 2011