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Peace Now's Hagit Ofran: Criteria for A Meaningful Settlement Freeze

Hagit Ofran, the director of Peace Now's Settlement Watch, has an important analysis over at the Huffington Post laying out the criteria for a meaningful settlement freeze.   In a nutshell, she writes that a freeze must:

(a) have no loopholes -- (for more on loopholes, see our "5 Bogus Reasons for Opposing a Settlement Freeze),
(b) be transparent, especially with respect to any construction that Israel insists on "completing" despite the freeze;
(c) not include anything that could be interpreted as US permission or approval for any settlement construction -- now or in the future -- anywhere, and not include anything that could be interpreted as establishing new "understandings" about where Israel thinks it can build, and
(d) apply not only to construction but also planning. 

Perhaps the most important take-away from her analysis is the following:  yes, we'd prefer a freeze that includes every single structure and is permanent.  But let's remember:  a freeze is not an end in itself.  The goal here is to get a freeze that is politically significant and sufficiently credible to help launch serious negotiations that, if they succeed, will render the details of the freeze irrelevant, since a final status agreement will resolve the issue, once and for all.  A freeze that at a minimum meets the criteria laid out by Hagit, while not the perfect airtight freeze we would love to see -- for Israel's own sake -- would nonetheless be politically significant and sufficiently credible to help launch such negotiations.  For this reason, we would gladly support such a freeze.