The Oct. 15 editorial “A U.S. ‘reset’ with Israel?” stated that President Obama “erred in centering his push for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on a secondary issue: Israeli settlement-building in the West Bank and Jerusalem.”
Illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory are not secondary; they are the crux of the Israeli-Palestinian problem and have been for the past two decades.
Israel’s settlements undermine the possibility of an independent Palestinian state ever coming into being. Moreover, the attack campaigns mounted by extremist settler groups against Palestinian farmers, holy sites and even olive trees (Palestinians’ most treasured crop), thanks to a lack of serious deterrence by the Israeli government, are making the settlement issue an existential threat to not only Palestinians but also the prospects of resolving this conflict altogether. In fact, many Israelis have been complaining about the destructive effect the settlers have had on Israeli society itself.
If anything, Mr. Obama didn’t make the settlements issue primary enough.
Maen Rashid Areikat, Washington
The writer is chief representative of the general delegation of the Palestinian Liberation Organization to the United States.