"WASHINGTON The United States, a veto-wielding permanent UN Security Council member, will use "the tools that we have" to block a resolution condemning Israeli settlements, a top US diplomat said Thursday." AFP Report That is Agence France Presse; anyone seen mention of this in a U.S. media outlet?MJ Rosenberg comments:"The settlement issue should be an easy one for the United States. Our official policy is the same as that of the Arab world. We oppose settlements. We consider them illegal. We have repeatedly demanded that the Israelis stop expanding them (although the Israeli government repeatedly ignores us). The administration feels so strongly about settlements that it recently offered Israel an extra $3.5 billion in U.S. aid to freeze settlements for 90 days. It is impossible, then, for the United States to pretend that we do not agree with the resolution (especially when its language was carefully drafted to comport with the administration's official position)."In case you missed Bernard Avishai's piece in the Sunday NYTimes magazine: "A Plan for Peace That Still Could Be." Former PM Olmert and President Abbas look at their intense negotiations before Olmert left office. There may be a bit of wishful remembrance here, but it shows that it is not so much the issues that divide the Israelis and Palestinians as the politics.

Margaret O’Brien Steinfels is a former editor of Commonweal. 

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