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Brit Tzedek v'Shalom
Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace
Letter to the Editor: Squeezing Israel
The Jewish Week
By Gil Kulick
Regarding "Washington Now ‘An Obstacle to Peace’ " (Editor’s column, June 5), the road map signed by the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority in April 2003 states categorically: "GOI (Government of Israel) freezes all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements)."
No ifs, ands or buts. Unfortunately, the Bush administration, which engineered the road map, chose to look the other way while Israel ignored that commitment, continuing to build new housing and enticing more and more settlers into the West Bank — on both sides of the separation barrier — at an accelerated pace.
President Barack Obama, to his credit, has abandoned that charade. Gary Rosenblatt laments that even though Netanyahu "appears ready to shut down illegal outposts ... [t]hat doesn’t seem to be enough to satisfy Obama." Nor should it satisfy him or anyone who recognizes that ongoing settlement activity, even so-called "natural growth" (much of which is in no way natural), does more than anything else to convince Palestinian would-be peacemakers of Israel’s bad faith. More power to Obama, who deserves the unwavering support of Jews who recognize that insisting on a total settlement freeze is, in Rosenblatt’s own words, "a dose of tough love to get peace talks back on track."