Settlement Reality Check

Israel’s construction in smaller settlements has steadily decreased; not so, Washington’s obsessive and misplaced demands for a total freeze. 

Read more at Foreign Affairs

More about: Settlements, West Bank


At the UN, Mahmoud Abbas’s Bombshell Surprises No One

For several weeks, the Palestinian press had been predicting that the head of the Palestinian Authority (PA) would make a shocking, “bombshell” announcement in his speech at the UN General Assembly. Yet the speech itself, which he gave on Wednesday, consisted of a litany of familiar slanderous complaints about Israel, followed by a declaration that he would cease to be bound by the Oslo Accords. Elliott Abrams writes:

[W]hat does [this declaration] mean? Most likely, not much. Logically, [Abbas] should have said in the next paragraph that he was resigning as head of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority, disbanding the PA, and closing every Palestinian ministry and government office. He should have announced that all security and economic cooperation with Israel was ending. He did not. Nathan Thrall, a keen observer, . . . told the New York Times that Abbas’s line was “a years-old talking point,” “old, old, old, old news,” and “definitely not a bombshell.” . . .

Why does Abbas talk himself into a corner this way, where any real or rhetorical bombs that go off are likely to injure him and his own people? Frustration, in part; politics, in part, and the desire to say something that sounds “tough.” And in part, sadly, cynicism: he knows as well or better than we—and his Palestinian listeners—do that these are just more words in yet another UN speech.

Read more at Weekly Standard

More about: Israel & Zionism, Mahmoud Abbas, Oslo Accords, Palestinian Authority, United Nations