As we just heard, Palestinians have condemned the E1 settlement project, saying it would effectively cut the West Bank in two. Israeli officials dismiss that criticism, and they say that there are alternative routes for Palestinians who want to travel between the northern and southern parts of the West Bank.
In practical terms, a project known as E-1 would provide 3,000 or so new housing units for Israelis in an area between east Jerusalem — which the Palestinians hope will someday be their capital — and the large Israeli settlement of Maaleh Adumim.
But numbers can be deceiving: Palestinians are renewing their objections to the growing number of Israeli settlements, and many fear E-1 could tip the balance in a way that makes an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement impossible.
Originally published on Sun March 24, 2013 7:18 am
With President Clinton presiding, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (left) and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat signed an interim peace accord at the White House in 1993. Twenty years later, President Obama is heading to the region with peace efforts in the deep freeze.
Credit Ron Edmonds / AP
Every American president since Harry Truman has wrestled with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to no avail. Yet they keep trying based on the notion that the Middle East will never be calm until there's peace between these protagonists.
But as President Obama heads to Israel and the West Bank, expectations could hardly be lower. What's more, this long-standing feud, often seen as the holy grail of American diplomacy, no longer seems to hold the same urgency, according to many analysts.
Palestinian scholar Rashid Khalidi has closely watched the role of the United States as mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In his new book "Brokers of Deceit," he argues that U.S. involvement has made the goal of a lasting peace less attainable than ever. Rashid Khalidi is with us now from our studios in New York.