Chris Patten writes in the Financial Times:
As we all know, peace will come to the Middle East when Israel and Palestine agree to a two-state solution, with a viable Palestinian state rising from the rubble of more than 60 years of turbulence to live peacefully alongside Israel within the 1967 borders as modified through negotiation. All that is required is political will, brave leadership and a following wind. However, visitors to Israel and occupied Palestine may require increasing quantities of blind faith to go on repeating this mantra. There is no other acceptable outcome. But the chances of the dynamic external interventions necessary for this to happen seem slight.
In the West Bank you see more construction of large urban developments than I have seen anywhere in Europe (apart from perhaps the southern Andalusia coast before the credit crunch). These are primarily Israeli settlements, the colonies planted illegally in Palestinian territory and now housing about half a million people. There are 149 of these colonies according to the UN’s Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs and there are a further 100 outposts – the smaller “facts on the ground” that are destined to grow.
As the Obama administration has told us there is an “unprecedented freeze” in settlement activity. Who is fooling whom?