The media do the public a great disservice by implying settlements are holding up the current stalled Israeli Palestinian peace talks.
Let's start with the word "settlement." Do we even know what that means? Illegal East Jerusalem -- Last time, I checked Jerusalem is Israel's capital. It is the capital for regional, economic and spiritual purposes. There are places throughout Jerusalem that are unsafe, surely, and there are neighborhoods like Gilo (perceived as a settlement but in reality, a mere 7 miles from the central bus station) housing Muslim and Jews. But Israelis could live there if they choose. In the future, it may be a part of a viable Palestinian state, but until such time, it is a part of Israel. It is the country's capital!
Security is always at the forefront. Gaza was forfeited, and in return, Hamas sent rockets into southern towns of Ashkelon, Ashdod and Sderot, hell-bent on killing Israelis. An evacuation from Southern Lebanon led to the rise of Hezb'allah's rockets raining down on northern cities, and a war in 2006.
The media pretend that a few more thousand homes in Jerusalem will produce more division while neglecting terrorism, shootings, bombings and other terrorism. Insisting that the problems would abate if Israel evacuated families out of Jerusalem, neglecting the fact that terrorists have routinely struck Israelis on roads, like 443 connecting Jerusalem with Modiin, is a reckless assertion. Someday, Modiin will be seen as a settlement, and so will other sleepy, suburban towns throughout the Israel.
According to Honest Reporting, which monitors media bias in the Mid East:
"The media's new frontline has moved to Israel's capital city. The media have, in many cases, played into the hands of those on the Palestinian side who need little excuse to stoke existing tensions or creates new ones."
If Obama wants to be loved by all sides, meaning to the historically hostile Muslim side and by radically divergent Jewish voices, then he runs the risk of alienating and having Israelis mistrust him even more. That is the root of the skepticism toward him here.
Before the media throw out words like settlements or occupation, know its context and history first.
Jared Feldschreiber is a writer and journalist living in Israel