If settlement unfreezes, there’s an app for that


There’s been a lot of speculation about whether Israel is gong to extend the (partial) settlement freeze past Sept. 26, per pleadings by President Obama and threats from Mahmoud Abbas.

Much attention has been given to the Iran component of Israeli ambasdsador Michael Oren’s Yom Kippur talk at Adas Israel congregation in DC, via the Washington Jewish Week.

I’m not sure asking for backing in case it comes to a military confrontation is so new — it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to come to that, just that it remains, like Mrs. Havisham’s cake, eternally on the table.

More interesting is the plea for backing if Israel gives up land

Let’s return to that Kafkaesque scenario in which you wake up one morning and find yourself transformed into Israel’s prime minister.

You know that to create that neighboring state that you’re going to have to give up some land, but not just any land, but land regarded as sacred by the majority of the Jewish people for more than three thousand years. You know that a great many of your countrymen have made their homes in these areas and that numerous Israelis have given their lives in their defense. You know that Israel has in the past withdrawn from territories in an effort to generate peace but that it received no peace but rather war. And, lastly, you know that many Arabs view the two-state solution as a two stage solution in which the ultimate stage is Israel’s dissolution.


Support us as we grapple with these towering challenges. Back us in our efforts to defend ourselves from terrorist rockets. Uphold us if we have to make painful sacrifices for peace or if we decide that the terms of the proposed treaty fail to justify those sacrifices. Stand with us as we resist Iran’s efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. Respect the decisions we take through our democratic system and respect the risks that we, more than any other nation, take.

It’s not exactly new — Oren said in his pre-Rosh Hashanah interview with Jewish media that the Netanyahu government was already grappling with how it would deal with the American Jewish right. But it’s becoming a theme, and a signal that the Netanyahu government is working out how to frame a substantive announcement.

Another signal is this leak, via the Jerusalem Post, that Israel is pressing the U.S. government to give up Jonathan Pollard. Netanyahu tried to garner a similar get from his 1998 negotiations at Wye. I don’t think it’s going to happen — it’s certainly not going to happen in exchange for a three-month extension on the freeze — but it shows that he’s grappling with how to sell whatever’s coming to hawks.

In case there is no freeze, however, Americans For Peace Now has made it easier to track the defrost — i.e., settlement growth. It has posted an interactive website (available as an app for i-devices, and soon for droids as well) that tracks settlement growth as soon as APN gets the data.

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