Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Understatement of the day

Maybe you've noticed the tensions in the Middle East lately. Or should I say: the slightly more tense than usual tensions in the Middle East. It started off with news of more Israeli settlements being announced with the subtlety of a sledgehammer to the groin during VP Biden's diplomatic trip to Jerusalem and has since escalated into a childish one-upping of snubs, terse statements, flow charts about Israeli building codes, photo ops, photo op snubs, and the general level of childishness one would expect from the Middle East peace process.

It has, of course, thrown the Israel/Palestine negotiations into chaos. Which isn't a surprise, seeing as how everything does that. The breakfast you had this morning? That really fucked up the peace process. But in explaining how recent diplomatic tensions between Israel and the US have risen stemming from the Biden/settlement incident, one of the biggest understatements in the history of the peace process might have been dropped in an attempt to sweep this whole kerfuffle under the rug.
The Jerusalem municipality has approved 20 new apartments for Jews in an Arab neighborhood of east Jerusalem, the city said Wednesday, in a move that could stir a new diplomatic crisis with the United States just as Israel's leader is in Washington on a fence-mending visit.
The Obama administration is seeking "clarification" of the latest building plan and continues to believe Israeli construction in Jerusalem is destructive to the Mideast peace process, said White House spokesman Tommy Vietor.
Jerusalem city officials have tried to play down the project as a zoning issue.
Yes, a zoning issue. One of the biggest problems in the Middle East peace process, settlements, has been distilled down into "zoning issues". Well that is correct, much like World War II started with zoning issues in the Sudetenland. This is slightly different that what's going on in Haiti, which is reeling in the aftermath of some building code issues.

The unnamed Jerusalem city officials are right, it's just a problem stemming from the fact that Israeli zoning and building codes are based in the Book of Genesis. You trying getting those laws changed.

So a round of applause for the Jerusalem city officials. Your gift for understatement is not lost on us. Well played.

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