Olmert's problem, and in fact the problem faced by all of us, is that in reality one cannot fool all the people all the time. Certainly not the Palestinians, who continue to see on a daily basis how more land is being taken away and paved under the wheels of the settlement and annexation machine, which does not rest even for a day.Olmert's problem is that he can't fool the Palestinians? But he's not even trying to fool the Palestinians. He's got the Quartet on his side.
At one location land is being seized for building the fence, with "only" 80 percent of it being built east of the Green Line, that is, in West Bank territory. Elsewhere land is being seized in favor of expanding one or another "consensus settlement."
Simultaneously, at the heart of the West Bank, settlers who are fans of organic agriculture, plant vineyards on land that up until recently was worked by Palestinian farmers, while yet another bypass road is being paved on land confiscated with the High Court's approval for "public benefit."
After all, in the West Bank everything is always done for public benefit – the Israeli public that is (which accounts for only 10 percent of the West Bank's population).
In order to calibrate the national expectation gauge of the Sharm el-Sheik summit and the festive declarations that followed it, it would be worthwhile for us Israelis to one day clarify to ourselves, among the other terms we use routinely in order to describe our realities, the term "consensus."
The Even-Shoshan dictionary defines the term as follows: "general agreement," "unanimity," or "homogenous position." Where then does consensus have to prevail when it comes to the issue of settlements? Are we talking about a consensus between the Labor and Kadima parties? Or perhaps a consensus between the settler Right and all those who have yet to pledge their allegiance to the notion of the Greater Land of Israel?
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