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A SETTLEMENT, John Kerry said this week, is better than settlements. Yet for years now, a practical sublation of this withdrawal versus occupation dialectic has been in place, involving the concurrence of ongoing peace talks and settler expansion into the West Bank. As I write this, news arrives both of the progress of the negotiations and the announcement of another 1,400 Jewish settler houses in Palestinian territory. Whatever the terms on paper, on the ground it is not one or the other: the peace settlement “process” now serves rather than contradicts the settlements.
FORMER US PRESIDENT Jimmy Carter, in a New York Timeseditorial “Two-State Solution on the Line,” invokes his view a month previous at the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem and reflects that
The rate of settlement growth in East Jerusalem and the West Bank is staggering. There are now more than 500,000 Israeli settlers living beyond the Green Line, in violation of international law. Their numbers have doubled since the Oslo peace accords of 1993. Thousands more settlement homes are planned or under construction.