APN: Three-Month Balance Sheet on Settlement Freeze

I don’t usually do this, but this report is so well put together and so important, it bears re-printing in its entirety. It was produced by Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now and Hagit Ofran of Peace Now’s Settlement Watch. The good, the bad and the ugly of the settlement freeze is here for your review.

The Settlements Moratorium: A Three-Month Accounting

Settlements in Focus, Vol. VI, Issue II 

March 1, 2010

On November 25, 2009, the Government of Israel announced a 10-month moratorium on settlement construction and planning.  As we noted from the outset, the impact of this decision – both on the ground and on the Obama Administration’s efforts to launch new Israeli-Palestinian negotiations – will depend mainly on the good faith (or lack thereof) that characterizes the government of Israel’s implementation of the moratorium.

Almost three months ago we offered an early accounting of the moratorium and its impacts, in the form of a “balance sheet” showing the positive (assets), negatives (liabilities) and potential positives/negatives (accounts receivables).

Now, three months into the moratorium, we believe it is time to update this balance sheet.  The results are mixed.  While the moratorium has clearly had some positive ramifications, both in terms of slowing some settlement planning and construction and putting settlers on the defensive, this positive impact has been outweighed – especially in terms of impact on the political process – by an almost constant stream of Israeli government actions, decisions, and policies that seriously call into question its good-faith commitment both to the moratorium and to peace negotiations. 

It has also been outweighed by the development of a very problematic Israeli political narrative which holds that Netanyahu has done his part by declaring the moratorium and now the burden for action rests entirely with the Palestinians – regardless whether the implementation of the moratorium is being carried out in good faith.

So let’s get to the balance sheet. Continue reading