Editorial page columnist E. Thomas McClanahan hit it spot on in his opinion piece in the April 25th Kansas City Star, "Obama approach sets back Mideast process." I made some of the same points in my column of March 18, "The Quarrel with Israel."
The biggest obstacle to peace between Israel and the Palestinians is the refusal by the Palestinian leadership in both the West Bank and Gaza to accept and recognize Israel as a legitimate country and Jewish state. Vilification and delegitimization of Israel by the Palestinians and some of their supporters has been going on for years, taught in schools and propagated in the media. Palestinian leadership simply doesn't lead toward peace. The atmosphere is hardly conducive for Israel to make unilateral compromises.
Despite this situation all of the criticism about creating obstacles to peace coming from the United States government of late has been directed toward Israel.
The proposed housing units in Jerusalem are not a new settlement but would be part of an existing neighborhood. The land may be contested but so are parts of the West Bank. When the parties sit down together, and are willing to compromise and respect each other, these issues will be worked through. However, with this recent "flap" that process has been delayed yet again.
It's not about proximity talks; it's not about imposing peace; it's about face-to-face negotiations in good faith. Israel is ready. Do they have a partner? It's time for the U.S. to encourage both sides to negotiate without preconditions.