Mrs. Clinton’s statement was intended to clarify her remarks in Jerusalem, which had left some of her aides nonplused because she had not voiced the administration’s official position that settlements are illegitimate.

Though not a core subject in peace negotiations, Jewish settlements are a charged issue for Israelis and Palestinians because they involve building in areas that both claim as their ancestral lands.

How not to start the day: read bits like this in the Old Gray Lady, wonder why they go to pains to misinform. The words occupation, occupied land, international law, violation of international law, land seized in war, illegal annexation and the like were axed, because the Times doesn’t want you to think of the conflict like that. It’s about ancestral land claims and, in fact, colonies housing a half million Jews on the occupied West Bank (very much including East Jerusalem) are not a core subject in this nebulous thing called the peace process. No, they’re not.

Instead read this interview with Rashid Khalidi on CFR.org. He says very clearly what many others have on the need to negotiate confront the settlements:

The point is, though,that settlements were designed expressly to make a negotiated resolution of this conflict impossible. We have to accept this. They’re not just there because they happened to grow like mushrooms on hilltops. They were scientifically planned so as to cut Jerusalem off from its hinterland. They were scientifically planned to cut the West Bank into pieces. They were scientifically planned to prevent movement from point A to point B. As long as these objectives are achieved, there’s not a West Bank state. There is not sovereignty, there is not contiguity, there is not economic viability.These huge settlements have to either be removed or enormously shrunk or subjected to some other arrangement whereby the objectives for which they were established are defeated. I’m sure it would be hard for an Israeli government but otherwise you won’t have a deal, or you’ll have a deal that collapses immediately and then everybody will go back and say “well we told you so.” I’m telling you now, if you don’t deal with the root issues caused by the settlements you won’t have a viable deal.”

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Khalidi interview in Ha’aretz

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Barry Obama’s old Chicago chum Rashid Khalidi was interviewed in Ha’aretz a few days ago. On the “future of the Palestinian territories,” he said:

“Both the occupation regime and the settlement enterprise have gotten constantly stronger since the negotiating process began in 1991 – after being weakened by the first intifada. These twin processes went on steroids after the second intifada started in 2000. If these two bulldozer-like endeavors are not rapidly reversed – not halted, reversed – then there is no possibility whatsoever of a two-state solution. These processes – the consecration of the occupation regime and the expansion of settlements – have been ongoing for 41 years. I suspect that because of them, combined with the blindness of Israeli leaders and the weakness of Palestinian leadership, there is little chance for a two-state solution to be implemented. And anyone who wants to implement a real, equitable two-state solution would have to explain in detail how they would uproot all or most of the settlements. Equally difficult will be overcoming the powerful interlocking complex of forces in Israeli society that have extensive material, bureaucratic, political and ideological interests in the Israeli state’s continued control over the lives of 3.5 million Palestinians, a control that is exercised under the pretext of security.” 

Then when asked about the vacuous fever storm around his associations with Obama and his critical scholarship of Israel, Palestine and the US, he said this:

“It proved once again that to be of Palestinian origin and to be publicly opposed to the occupation and critical of U.S. policy is grounds for public defamation as a ‘terrorist.’ It attests to the survival of McCarthyite tendencies in the U.S. media and politics. It also reaffirmed that Arabs, Muslims and Palestinians specifically are still the ‘other’ in American society. A higher percentage of Arab-Americans voted for Obama than any other ethnic group besides African-Americans, and they voted in record numbers too, I believe, and yet they are still pushed aside, almost literally. For instance, two Arab-American women in hijab were removed from the camera’s gaze at one of Obama’s rallies during the election. Obama did not visit one mosque or Arab community center throughout the entire two-year campaign, and he never mentioned Arab- or Muslim-Americans in his speeches. Whatever may have been the ‘strategic’ political reasons for these actions, they show the kind of atmosphere we in the U.S. live in. 

“This situation is linked to the problematic notion that it is acceptable to create a U.S. Middle East policy which caters to Israel – and specifically to the Israeli right – and to the concerns of powerful forces like the Israel lobby that are allied to the Israeli right, but hardly at all to Arab- and Muslim-Americans. Such a policy is based on the opinions, ‘expertise’ and allegiances of Washington insiders who are not knowledgeable about all the complex realities of the region, and are mainly sensitive to Israeli concerns. Just as an Obama administration aspires to reflect the entire country in all its diversity, so should its Middle East policy-making reflect a comprehensive set of interests and concerns, and not just one narrow range of them.” 

Above, the innocuous picture revealing the shocking details of Obama’s association with Edward Said, which lay the media groundwork for publicizing the story that Obama and Khalidi may have hung out in the professors’ lounge.