Settlements are not worth this fight
Finally the Americans have called out Israel on its settlement policy. It took the embarrassment of a Vice President for the U.S. to finally say: enough is enough. While this move may be a milestone in the overdue recalibration of U.S. policy vis a vis Israel it does not help the peace process.
As a mediator America should not erect preconditions for peace talks, but remove them. Obama created new hurdles when he called for an unconditional settlement freeze last year. He had to back down, lost leverage in Israel in the process and became one of the most unpopular U.S. Presidents in Israel. It was the messy compromise of a temporary and limited settlement freeze that led to this week's mess. Everybody has gotten a share of the embarrassment. At first it was President Obama, this week it is Prime Minister Netanyahu. Now, he faces a choice: either he endangers his countries most important alliance of or he endangers his coalition.
When America takes on its ally Israel, it must know exactly why. A calculated conflict during the end game may lead to a peace agreement. But there is no end game and there is no strategy behind this week's conflict. It is just a symbol conflict over an important, but isolated issue.
To read the full article in German, click here.