observations and opinion
The great failure of Israeli settlement policy in the occupied territories is the failure to explain it. The world stares at it like some kind of wanton act of reckless abandon, when in fact it is a very simple negotiating strategy.
When we imagine (or engage in) bargaining we typically see each side incrementally surrender slices of what they have, until they reach some middle ground. But that can’t work with the Palestinian situation because the political leadership of the Palestinians remains formally resistant to recognizing Israel’s right to exist. This triggers a defensive crouch for Israel, which sees no “partner in peace.”
Absent such a partner, Israel cannot negotiate through mutual compromise. So they negotiate through something else: an hourglass strategy which tells the Palestinians that the land will disappear, if they don’t drop their genocidal anti-Israeli stance.
Will it work? Maybe. Israel doesn’t want to leave thousands of hostages out on its periphery — it doesn’t need that. But it needs to threaten it. It also needs credit for compromising when it finally stops doing what it doesn’t want to do.
What’s astounding is the possibility that John Kerry doesn’t grasp that. Or maybe he does and is being helpfully duplicitous complaining about the settlements. Maybe.