An Elusive Israeli Position on the Peace Process

  • 21 November 2010

The recent Israeli position of linking the resumption of negotiations with Palestinians to obtaining written guarantees from the US over a promised package for Israel—that the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his last visit to Washington—clearly reflects the policy of evasiveness and ambiguity adopted by the Netanyahu government over the peace process. The proposed package includes US providing 30 state-of-the-art aircraft to Israel along with a joint security agreement. In lieu of this, Israel would put a freeze on the building of colonies for 90 days in the West Bank. During this period, an initiative to reactivate direct negotiations with Palestinians would have to begin, even though the Netanyahu government seeks to rob it of its contents by avoiding to put a freeze on settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, and that the US should not put pressure to issue subsequent orders to freeze the building of settlements after that time limit.

This means that there is an Israeli insistence not only to resume building of settlements after the expiration of the three-month period but also that the US and Arabs should not object to any settlement projects that might occur in East Jerusalem during this time limit, where it is assumed that a resumption of negotiations will take place again. This is taking place at a time when the Netanyahu government is continuously warning Palestinians of taking unilateral measures. These elusive Israeli positions clearly indicate that Netanyahu government is the main obstacle in the resumption of negotiations, and that it has adopted a clear agenda against breaking the deadlock in the peace process. The Netanyahu government also seems prepared to give up some decisions and commitments once it faces resistance from the extremist's opposition— whether they be members of the government, opposition or settlers—which shows that it will not start taking serious measures towards the peace process unless it obtains the approval of extremist elements who push for lifting of the freeze on settlements, as most opponents of the three month freeze belong to the extremist "Shas" party. Again, earlier actions of this government suggest that it responds to the voice of extremism, and does not care about international pressure in order to allow resumption of negotiations once again.

The overall position taken by the Netanyahu government since it came into power clearly shows that peace is not included in its agenda, and that it has adopted a colonial program to Judaize, whose essential aim is to impose the "Israeli Peace" rationale and make it impossible to establish a real Palestinian state that possesses the necessities of life and continuity. Therefore, an effective international stand should be taken in the near term with the Israeli government to prevent it from destroying all that has been achieved for peace in recent years, forcing it to commit itself to references of the peace process, not by words alone, but through tangible practical steps.