I strongly disagree with the Obama administration’s excessive posture about settlements in Israel (“What About The Arab States?” Editorial, April 30). It’s time to reduce the rhetoric and reset the agenda.
The issue isn’t settlements; the issue is negotiations. If Palestinians object to settlements or oppose building permits, negotiate. Israel has shown it is ready to take risks for peace. The administration should never ask Israel to negotiate against itself.
It’s not too late to put the onus back where it belongs: on the Palestinian Authority.
Moreover, the controversy over settlements has eclipsed a vital element of U.S.-Israel relations that is going well: Washington’s guarantees of Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge (QME).
QME may be among the three most important letters in our partnership with Israel. QME says that the United States will ensure that as Israel’s adversaries advance their military capabilities, we will keep Israel ahead. Essential to QME is Israel’s ballistic missile defense program. Israel is surrounded by the daily threat of missiles and rockets coming from different places at different ranges. The United States is partnering with Israel in funding and deploying a multi-tiered defense program to track and thwart these missiles. And, we are cooperating on radar and missile technologies that can track an object the size of a softball launched in Iran and enable Israel to intercept and destroy it over Iranian airspace.
The military relationship between Israel and the United States remains strong. But military support alone is not enough. The peace process must be based on the premise that if Palestinians want progress, they have to show up and negotiate. And the United States will ensure the strength of its closest ally, irrespective of what happens in the negotiations.
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