I hear a lot of Israeli anger. I can hear their teeth grinding and nostrils flaring. Barack Obama isn’t in touch with Israelis. We don’t like how he characterizes our problems. I don’t hear many solutions though. I hear a lot of scoffing at Obama, but not a lot of evaluation. Israel is shooting itself in the foot with its diplomatic approach.  Another neighborhood here or there is actually, well, neither here nor there.  It hasn’t gotten us anywhere.  Even so, it’s not on the same level of Palestinian statehood whatsoever. An Israeli response can be larger in scale, yet still be more diplomatic and appropriate.

Lay the groundwork for an Israeli plan to deal with the West Bank that will happen with or without a Two-State Solution, with or without negotiations. The settlement blocs of Gush Etzion, Maale Adumim and Ariel are part of the consensus. All the major players in diplomacy don’t just think, they know that these will be part of Israel no matter what the fortunes of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Without any traction politically, annexing these areas amount to a symbolic gesture, but one equal in weight to the declaration of a “State” of Palestine.

Neve Daniel in the settlement bloc of Gush Etzion

The diplomatic retaliation here would be to go with the flow but to do so aggressively. These areas have merely remained ‘unannexed’ to make it seem as though they are still cards on the table. Even the Palestinians know that these blocs aren’t up for discussion. They know there’s no waiting around to see if Efrat or Beitar will be dismantled. These cities are happening.

It is a rational and an appropriate policy to annex these towns that will on the one hand have little impact on the final outcome of a theoretical peace deal, while on the other sending a more diplomatic message to the world that unfair treatment toward Israel in international forums like the United Nations will warrant reciprocal actions. Sidestep negotiations, Mr. Abbas, for we will sidestep them as well.