Two years ago, Israel declared a 10-month construction moratorium–which the PA ignored for nine months, was finally dragged to the negotiating table, and then left a month later, ostensibly because Israel would not extend the moratorium the PA had ignored. Now, with negotiations nowhere in sight, Israel has announced tenders for 336 settlement units — 294 in Beitar Illit (a large community just outside Jerusalem) and 42 in Karnei Shomron (a small one).
If the “peace process” ever produces a peace agreement, Beitar Illit and Karnei Shomron will remain part of Israel. In January, the Washington Institute produced a detailed study, entitled “Imagining the Border,” mapping out a deal in which Israel keeps 80 percent of the settlers while annexing 4.73 percent of the West Bank — including Beitar Illit and Karnei Shomron — creating a contiguous Palestinian state with a 1:1 land swap. Neither Beitar Illit nor Karnei Shomron is an “obstacle to peace” — much less some new houses within them.
The Jerusalem Post reports the PA has responded to the announcement by accusing Israel of destroying the peace process, harming “not only Israeli-Arab peace, but also the entire world peace,” showing why it “prompts us to go to the UN.” Actually, the PA statement shows why its time has come and gone. Having rejected three offers of a state in the past decade, having announced in 2009 it was unwilling to negotiate further, having repeatedly failed multiple tests since, unable to form the rudimentary institutions of a state even after its vaunted two-year plan, unwilling to recognize a Jewish state (much less defensible borders for it), it now issues ludicrous press statements about areas it knows are not going to be part of a Palestinian state.