the Palestinian Authority's first law adopted in 1994: the death penalty for any Palestinian who sells land to Jews. Over 100 Palestinians have died, under sentence or extrajudicially, for such sales in the last 15 years, including one last May. The Fatah (Mr. Fayyad's party) charter foresees a Palestine that is free of Jews. And recently Fatah demanded that Israel give up all of Jerusalem before it would begin negotiations on a two-state solution.
But suppose Mr. Fayyad's statement marks a tentative turn away from these positions?
The Obama administration seems determined to discourage any such shift. It remains committed to stopping growth of any kind in all Jewish settlements in the West Bank. This policy implies acquiescence in the banning of Jews from a future Palestinian state.
Why? The administration's fixation on preventing even minor construction internal to a settlement assumes that Jewish settlers are on the verge of taking over the entire West Bank. This is fanciful: There are about 200,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank, and 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. The settlers live on about 1.5% of the West Bank, and the very substantial majority are in four major settlement blocs around Jerusalem.
In the two previous administrations, the U.S. had accepted that in any reasonable peace agreement these four blocs woul
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