An interesting column on what Obama should tell his team: What Obama should tell his Middle East team | Stephen M. Walt.
Listening to the news on the settlements in Israel and their leadership makes me sad. Makes me sadder knowing that the settlements are cheered by evangelicals in this country who have appropriated a foreign country's policy issues for their narrow reading of an ancient text. That makes me really sad.
But here was something that caught my ear the other day--that, unfortunately, makes this worse. NPR reported that the construction was already continuing on projects already planned. But, and this was almost a throw-away line, they said that new projects would probably not soar in the next few months, primarily because the Palestinian construction workers would not have access during a Jewish holiday.
Seriously? Israelis are completely unwilling to negotiate with Palestinians, are looking the other way while their government interns them in Gaza, and refuses to consider halting settlements, but they will use them as cheap labor?
For some reason, when I thought of Israeli settlements, I pictured hard working Kibbutz-dwelling Jewish Fundamentalists building their small houses by hand, or in groups. I resented them for their fundamentalism and their rigidity. But now I hear that they are using the Palestinians they hate for labor? Kind of like the running joke about building a wall on the border with illegal Mexican labor. But more to the point, it reminds me of Apartheid South Africa, or how that could have been had the white minority had the backing of evangelicals everywhere who were convinced that their settlement among the heathen was God's will, and a key to the end times.