Meanwhile, in the Middle East’s only democracy, settlements continue to grow:
Some 1,700 dunams of land in the northern part of Efrat were declared state land last week, paving the way for the West Bank settlement to start the process of seeking government approval to build there.
The Civil Administration issued the declaration after rejecting eight appeals by Palestinians against the move. A ninth appeal was accepted, and the land covered by this appeal was consequently removed from Efrat’s jurisdiction.
Barack Obama and George Mitchell need to make a serious effort to stop this. Opposition to settlements has long been official United States policy, but the overwhelming tendency has been for U.S. administrations to turn a blind eye to settlement expansion. The expansion itself is an impediment to peace, and American unwillingness to stand behind our own policy commitments is devastating to our credibility in the region.
Incidentally, my understanding is that a dunam is equal to a square meter, meaning that we’re talking about around 18,300 square feet.