Wednesday, December 5, 2012

(Opinion) Palestinian UN statehood bid: Israeli reaction proves that it has no interest in peace

After decades of largely fruitless negotiations with Israel, Palestine decided take a new approach of advancing their cause through the UN and have successfully enhanced their status to a non-member observer state. The Palestinian have realized that the path to peace cannot be reached by negotiating with Israel, who have, for last 60 years, been the world’s leading practitioners of salami tactics from the growth of kibbutz’s in the early twentieth century, to the effective land grabs via the growth of settlements and the use of deadly force.

Palestine has always been at a disadvantage in negotiations due to the fact that Palestine is not a state and for the most part, doesn’t have anything that Israel wants, except land. Add into the mix the U.S. unwavering support of Israel despite this disparity; Palestinians have been trapped in a constant cycle of conflict (which favours the stronger and well-funded Israel) and peace talks that serve as the quintessential demonstrations of bad faith negotiations. Israel have proved time and again that it has no interest in peace or coming up with a logical solution to the conflict with its wickedly disproportionate responses to defeatist rocket attacks by Hamas and its constant expansion into the west bank via settlements.

If there was any need for proof of Israel’s lack of interest in peace or logical solution, we would only have to observe Israel’s reaction to Palestine’s enhanced status. In an act that can only be described as state retribution for the Palestinian Authority abandoning the negotiation table, Israel “seized more than $120m (£75m) in tax revenues it collects on the behalf of the Palestinian authority”[1]

While Israel’s finance minister regurgitated the official story that the money was taken to pay down a debt incurred by  the Palestinian authority owed to the Israel electric corporation, It was revealed by a ‘Israeli official’ that “the move was in response to the UN vote”[2]. This is nothing new as Israel have “frozen   the monthly revenues as sanction against the PA, resulting in the late payment of salaries of thousands of public servants in the West Bank and Gaza”[3].

However Israel saved its most pernicious announcement for last as it proposed it will “build 3,000 new homes in settlements across the pre – 1967 Green line” but more importantly, Israel plan to “push ahead with development  of an area known as E1” which will pretty much destroy the two state solution as the project  “ would close off  East Jerusalem – the intended future capital of Palestine”[4] .

Israel  plan to kill the two state solution through further encroachment into the West Bank is counterproductive and  even drew the ‘condemnation’ of its two foremost allies, the US and Britain[5]
The chances of their expansion plans bearing are almost certain to go ahead as both Europe and the United States have done nothing to stop similar encroachment into the West Bank.

 A prime example of  US impotence in stopping Israel settlement expansions  is the case of Har Homa when  “Condoleezza rice said in 2007 that Har Homa should not be built. Five years later it is a fact on the ground”[6].  Israel’s most recent slice into the west Bank will effectively kill peace as effectively there literally will be nothing to talk about as the plan favoured by just about everybody is under serious threat .

In sum, while it was a good move by the Palestinian authority to further their cause through the UN, Israel threatens to make their effort obsolete as they plan to effectively “concrete over the solution”[7].   

[1] H. Sherwood, 2012, Israel seizes $120m in Palestinian tax revenue over UN statehood vote,
[2] Ibid
[3] Ibid                                                                                                                                       
[4] Ibid
[5] Ibid
[6] The Guardian, 2012, Israel-Palestine: concreting over the solution,
[7] Ibid

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