By Press TV
By Mohyeddin Sajedi
Israel has ordered the construction of new residential units in all illegal West Bank settlements. There is no doubt this will put the final nails in the coffin of the so-called peace talks.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says his cabinet has made the decision in response to the killing of five Israelis in Itamar, close to the northern West Bank city of Nablus.
He also said Palestinians were responsible for the killings; and responding to the fascist cries of the settlers and some members of his cabinet, the Israeli premier vowed intense confrontation with the Palestinians.
Reoccupation of the West Bank, opposition to the domain of the authority of the Palestinians in any probable talks, and letting go of the West Bank to trigger a civil war among Palestinians are the various suggestions put forward in Israel.
No Palestinian group has taken responsibility for the attacks in Itamar; however, Israel immediately and without any evidence, held Palestinians responsible.
This is while some news outlets say that an Israeli murderer or murderers might have killed the 5-member family with non-political motivations, and the family may have been victims of a personal vendetta.
Of course, it is not difficult to issue an announcement to take responsibility for the killing of the five Israelis. Previous experiences have shown that names are faked to show the righteousness of Israel in its targeting. After a while, these new and unknown names vanish into thin air.
What is important is that Netanyahu’s cabinet used this chance to go beyond the previous restrictions on the expansion of illegal West Bank settlements, and add hundreds of units to them.
Stopping the construction of illegal settlements is the demand of the Palestinian side, the European Union, the US government, the United Nations, and the Middle East Quartet.
Israel rejected US President Barack Obama’s demand for a three-month moratorium on the settlement construction and thus the US-brokered talks between the two sides were effectively drawn to a dead-end.
It is not clear what logical relationship there is between the deaths of several Israelis settling in the West Bank, which is, according to UN resolutions, occupied territory as well as the fact that Israel should immediately leave these territories, and the expansion of the settlements. Perhaps, for some in the United States, this could be reminiscent of the laws of “the Wild West”, and for many in the world, it cannot be labeled as but the “law of the jungle.”
Israel started the illegal settlement construction in the 1950s and expanded it after the occupation of the West bank and the Gaza Strip. Even before the deaths of the five Israelis, the statistics of Israel and the tenders and the NGO announcements demonstrated that settlement construction has never been stopped, especially at a time when the tranquility of the recent months in the West Bank has been unprecedented, which is to a large extent due to the Israeli-Palestinian security coordination and cooperation under the supervision of American generals. Even if several Israelis had not been killed in Itamar, Israel would still carry on with its previous plans.
Is the expansion of settlement construction part of a plot Netanyahu wants to soon announce to counter the increasing international trend of recognizing the independent Palestinian state? Many countries are expected to recognize Palestine’s statehood until September. In that month, the US’s one-year period for the establishment of an independent Palestine will be over. Perhaps this period is not important to Israel, since Israeli prime ministers have many times managed to delay the US’s deadlines. Based on the Oslo Accords, an independent Palestinian state was due to announce statehood in 1999. Based on George W. Bush’s road map in his first tenure, Palestine’s statehood would be announced in 2005. Each time, Israeli authorities managed to convince their friends in the US government and Congress to put off the deadline. The September deadline is different from other deadlines in that in this month, Palestine’s recognition will be discussed in the UN General Assembly.
Israel’s president will go to the United States. Then it will be Israeli prime minister’s turn. Soon, George Mitchell, Barack Obama’s special envoy to the Middle East, will come to Israel after months. Is there any hope left for the resumption of the talks? From Israel’s perspective, these talks may only lead to a temporary independent Palestine, a country without defined borderlines, like Israel, which after 6 decades since its declaration of existence is still temporary and has no clear borderlines. Palestinians will reject these talks, especially since Netanyahu stressed that the Israeli army will never leave the Jordan Valley, and intensified the settlement construction. Will Washington be able to pressure the Palestinian side to give another concession for the survival of the talks and postpone everything to the future? To find the answer, it could be said that the 2011 Middle East is by far different from that of 2010. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is no more in power to, once again, pressure acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas. There is no prospect in sight for the talks.
New settlement construction will be of no help to Israel to get out of international isolation, and is a sort of misusing the turbulent Middle East situation after the changes in several US allies. If Israel builds more settlements and even occupies the West Bank, it will not be able to dodge the Arab tsunami. Every country changes in the Middle East, but Israel insists on the past and on not making any changes.
The continuation of settlement construction and allowing the settlers to attack Palestinians and insisting on West Bank occupation and the Jordan Valley will result in the Palestine issue becoming an important priority for the new Arab regimes.