„The image of Israel that comes through in all this is that of a country that is actively seeking to prevent peace negotiations and foreclosing any effort at a compromise that could end the conflict. But while Israelis can and do debate the wisdom of their governments’ actions, the one thing we can definitively say about the settlement moves is that they will have zero impact on the prospects of revived negotiations with the Palestinians or on a successful outcome of such talks if they ever resumed.
The main reason why settlements don’t prevent peace is that the Palestinians have already repeatedly turned down offers that would have given them a state and sovereignty over almost all of the West Bank. Settlements existed before those peace offers were made and their continued existence, with or without a few extra units, wouldn’t prevent the Israeli people from accepting a compromise based on a genuine desire to end the conflict for all time if the Palestinians were ever capable of doing so. (…)
Of course, to Israel’s critics and foes, the semantics of settlements and even legal questions about land aren’t significant. They believe the presence of any Jews in any part of the territory that Israel seized from Jordan (which illegally occupied what it dubbed the ‚West Bank‘ to differentiate it from its land east of the Jordan River, from 1949 to 1967) is illegal. But that sentiment, shared by the Palestinians, is not based in law. Israel has a strong legal case for its right to the land based on the League of Nations’ Mandate for Palestine that set aside the country as a national home for the Jews. The Palestinians who live there have their own case for wanting it to be part of their putative state. That is a dispute that can be resolved by compromise, something that the Israelis have consistently proven willing to do and which the Palestinians have consistently opposed. (…)
The overwhelming majority of Israelis have always been willing to accept two states provided they were sure that this meant no more war or terrorism. And that is something a Palestinian people whose national identity is still inextricably linked to the century-old war on Zionism has not yet shown itself capable of doing. So long as they consider Tel Aviv ‚stolen land‘ as much as the ‚pirate outposts,‘ peace is impossible.
Focusing on the settlements is the tactic the Palestinians have invented since the Oslo Accords to excuse their strategy of avoiding peace. It’s a shame the U.S. government; the UN and liberal publications like the Times echo their talking points. But in doing so they are merely helping the PA avoid talks and making the already dim chances for peace even more unlikely.“
(Jonathan S. Tobin: „What Israeli Settlements Don’t Do“)