I don't know why Netanyahu is using violence against settlers as a way to push the settlement issue off the table. Jewish settlers in the West Bank and Gaza don't deserve Israel's protection, because they shouldn't be there in the first place.
"If the Obama administration accepts the myth that dismantling settlements is impossible for Israel, there are no prospects for peace. The settlements are illegal under international law. Yet settlers have been pampered for more than 40 years, and their violence against Palestinians is consistently tolerated. Peace depends on the Israeli government rectifying the problem they and their predecessors created.
The settler enterprise is a deliberate strategic creation of Israel, beginning with the occupation in 1967. This enterprise has been indulged and enlarged by every Israeli government since then.
From the outset, this was a project to colonize and control Palestinian land. It still is. As Ariel Sharon said in 1998: "Everybody has to move; run and grab as many hilltops as they can to enlarge the settlements, because everything we take now will stay ours. Everything we don't grab will go to them.”
(Rashid Khalidi is the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University, and director of the Middle East Institute of Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs. He threatened Obama's election because they were colleagues at the University of Chicago and he is Palestinian-American. Obama assured voters that he did not consult Khalidi on foreign policy.)
Last night, 4 Israeli settlers were killed by Hamas gunmen in Hebron. Obama condemned the senseless killing. He didn't condemn Israel's Operation Cast Lead, which killed 1,400 Palestinians, or the Flotilla raid. Settlers responded, saying
"The only response that will show our resolve against terror is to commit ourselves to building and, effective Wednesday evening, we will bring this senseless freeze to an immediate end … We will respond in the way that we know best – by building and strengthening our nation."
So my first question was answered. Abbas is supposed to apologize for Hamas like Muslims are supposed to apologize for 9/11. This is why he will lose clout in the peace talks and Palestinians won't be able to meet the expectations of their occupiers. Again. Tragically, Obama is continuing a long legacy of letting Palestine disappear.