.....Speaking at a security conference, Mr. Shapiro said, correctly, that Israel’s quick-moving expansion of settlements on Palestinian lands “raises honest questions about Israel’s long-term intentions” and commitment to a two-state solution. What really enraged his critics was an observation that during a time of increased violence in Israel and the West Bank, “Too many attacks on Palestinians lack a vigorous investigation or response by Israeli authorities, too much vigilantism goes unchecked, and at times there seem to be two standards of adherence to the rule of law: one for Israelis and another for Palestinians.” A statement from Mr. Netanyahu’s office denounced the second comment as “unacceptable and incorrect.”

.... Israel is moving quickly to establish facts on the ground that preclude a Palestinian state, leaving Palestinians increasingly marginalized and despairing. “It is starting to look like a de facto annexation,” one American official said. In a speech last month, Secretary of State John Kerry warned that violence, settlement-building and demolitions of Palestinian homes were “imperiling the viability of a two-state solution.” He said the number of settlers had increased by tens of thousands in five years. Thousands of Palestinian homes are said to be pending demolition.

.... With only a year left in office, President Obama is unlikely to make another run at a peace process or even apply serious pressure on Israel to halt settlement-building. With the Kerry and Shapiro speeches, the administration is hoping to prod Israelis and Palestinians to think hard about the future they are creating. Tragically, it may already be too late for the one formula that has the best chance of establishing a durable peace: two independent states, side by side.

Read the entire editorial on the NY Times

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