What Palestinians Think of Illegal Settlements

Today’s Washington Post (11/2/09) notes the White House’s apparent softening towards the Israeli side in Mideast negotiations (the headline is “Israel Putting Forth ‘Unprecedented’ Concessions, Clinton Says,” a good indication of the current administration stance). The Post tells us that the Palestinian position “appears to have hardened in recent days,” with “little room to negotiate on the key demand for a settlement freeze.”

But the paper’s summary of the Palestinian position does little to explain this “key demand”:

The Palestinians regard the land occupied by about 300,000 West Bank settlers as part of a future Palestinian state, and consider continued settlement activity an effort to influence negotiations.

Israel promised to halt settlements under previous international agreements, and Palestinian officials say they want those promises fulfilled.

The primary Palestinian objection to Israeli settlements is not that they are “an effort to influence negotiations,” or because Israel has “promised” to do something about them. These settlements, as colonies established in the wake of a military occupation, are violations of international law; any attempts to obscure that reality misinform readers.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.