SETTLEMENTS

AP reports that Israel is taking a serious, if relatively painless, step in the peace process:

Israel’s military dismantled an uninhabited West Bank settlement outpost Monday, taking a first step toward meeting part of its obligations under a U.S.-backed peace plan.

The troops tore down the small group of empty trailers of the Neve Erez South outpost, then removed a water tower that made up a nearby outpost called Armona, settlers said.

They were the first of dozens of outposts dotting isolated West Bank hills to be removed, as called for by the “road map” to Palestinian statehood by 2005. However, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, facing growing opposition from his constituents, has been evasive about whether he would remove all sites targeted in the plan.

The settlements have always been a major stumbling block to the process, although certainly not the biggest. The failure of the Palestinian leadership to put an end to the murder of Israeli civilians and the fact they won’t even publically acknowledge the right of Israeli to exist won’t be as easy to deal with as moving a couple of unoccupied trailers.

And, as an aside to the Axis of Weevil membership, who knew they had trailers way over yonder in Israel?

FILED UNDER: Middle East
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.