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Jeffrey Goldberg

Middle East Mess Isn't About Settlements

If you don’t understand what ails the Middle East, how can you possibly fix it?

In an interview with Charles Gati in Politico Magazine, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who served as national security adviser to Jimmy Carter, proves once again that he is a man of profound religious faith. He worships at the Church of Linkage, which holds that Israel's settlement policy on the West Bank is the primary cause of Middle East instability and a principal cause -- if not the main cause -- of the U.S.'s troubles in the Muslim world.

Before I go on, the usual caveats: The settlement project -- especially those settlements far from Jerusalem that have been planted in the middle of thickly populated Palestinian areas -- is a strategic and moral disaster for Israel. The settlements should be dismantled. They threaten Israel's standing in the world; they threaten to undermine the very nature and purpose of Israel. And so on. I'vewritten before about the threat that settlements pose, at great length.