With all due respect to Peter Beinart and others like him who argue that the “settlements” are at the core of the dispute between the Israelis and the Palestinians, the fact is that there were settlements when Egyptian President Anwar Sadat entered into an agreement with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, when Jordan’s King Hussein entered into an agreement with Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin and when PLO President Yasir Arafat entered into a series of agreements with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — yes, that same Netanyahu (“Pushing Morality, A Victim Of Myopia,” Editor’s column, March 23).
The areas occupied by the settlements represent a small part of the whole. Anyone who knows anything about the extended negotiation process knows that, in the end, the Israelis will retain some of the settlements in exchange for a mutually agreed-to swap of Israeli land going to the Palestinians. A map reflecting that mutually agreed-to swap, with defined borders, was drawn at the conclusion of the final discussions between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2009.
The settlement “issue” is nothing but a red herring, reflecting the inability of the Palestinians to bring closure to the misery and suffering afflicting their people.