The United States strongly condemns settler violence and does not accept the legitimacy of Judea and Samaria settlement expansion, a top Obama administration official told the American Task Force on Palestine, JTA reported.
Philip Gordon, the National Security Council coordinator for Middle East policy, emphasized perceived Israeli transgressions in describing the difficulties afflicting renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in an address Tuesday evening to the annual gala dinner of the ATFP.
“The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement expansion,” Gordon said, an apparent reference to new housing starts announced by Israel in recent weeks.
Citing attacks by settlers on Palestinian olive groves, he said, “We also strongly condemn settler violence.”
Of course, it is well known that no olive tree is ever pruned by Arabs – they’re all cut down brutally by settlers who, let’s face it, hate olive trees and are even prepared to violate the laws off Shabbat to take down those poor trees.
Like on Saturday, Oct. 19, as reported by Ma’an, Israeli settlers chopped down more than 100 olive trees in “the village of Qaryut early Saturday.”
“Ghassan Daghlas, a PA official who monitors settler activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement of Eli destroyed over 100 trees.”
Here’s a telling factoid in the same Ma’an story: “According to a 2012 report on Israeli settler violence released by the Palestine Center, a Washington-based nonprofit, every year the olive harvest period sees the highest peak in attacks on Palestinian civilians and property.” So, you prune your tree, then you realize there are so many broken branches rolling on the ground, they shouldn’t go to waste, and you come up with this ingenious story about settlers who are violating the Sabbath because they hate olives so much.
Gordon praised both sides for renewing talks and for confidence building measures, noting that Israel has released prisoners convicted of terrorist attacks and that the Palestinians have suspended bids to achieve statehood recognition.
You see the difference between the two sets of gestures? The released prisoners are gone, and even if the Palestinians walk from the negotiations table tomorrow, the prisoners will stay gone. But the suspended bids for statehood – they can be unsuspended at any time.
It’s so cool when you can do that…
However, in citing elements that do not create a “conducive atmosphere” for the talks, Czar Gordon did not mention Israeli complaints about the Palestinians, including a spate of recent rocket attacks and the Israeli sense that Palestinians are not doing much to discourage incitement to violence. Heck, they’re doing much of the inciting themselves, over their official TV.
He praised Israel for removing some restrictions inhibiting Palestinian movement in Judea and Samaria, but called on it to do more.
According to JTA, The ATFP is a leading advocate for a two-state solution, and works closely with a broad array of Jewish and pro-Israel groups. Many of them were represented at the gala dinner.
Jewish groups collaborating with ATFP include Americans for Peace Now.
Much of the above report was filed by JTA, but we felt compelled to correct some of the items presented as facts in the initial copy. We did so much fixing, that we feel it can no longer be presented as a JTA report. But the original news gathering for this report was definitely done by JTA.