Is Israel Truly Serious About Moves Toward Peace?

  • 25 December 2007

Despite hopes raised at the Annapolis Conference in the US few months ago, and the launch of peace negotiations between Israel and Palestinian sides on final status issues thereafter, Israel has sought to obliterate any hope for the realization of any real development in the peace process. It has always sought to impose its own points of view and has taken care of its internal considerations at the expense of making any commitments related to the peace process. This reflects Israel’s lack of seriousness towards securing fair and lasting peace with Palestinians and the Arab world. Tel Aviv’s recent declaration of new settlements during the second session of talks between Israel and the Palestinians yesterday is related to final status issues, and provides clear evidence of Israel’s lack of seriousness in this regard. Israeli Construction Minister recently announced a proposal in Israel’s budget of up to US $25 million for the building of 740 houses in two settlements in 2008. The budget of the past year had allocated funds for the building of 1,000 houses in the same two settlements. The Palestinian President, Mahmud Abbas “Abu Mazen,” has called the new Israeli settlements as the biggest obstacle on the road to peace. He has asked the question, which all Arab people desiring peace in the Middle East and the world, are asking: Why is this settlement activity taking place at a time when talks for the final status are underway?

The answer to this question is obvious when seen in the context of the long history of Israeli procrastination and deceit throughout the peace process, since the Madrid Conference of the early 1990s. Since that date, Israel is always trying to impose a fait accompli. Negotiations merely lead to new facts on the ground that Israel then promotes in the negotiations, not by enforcing the logic of legitimacy but by the logic of “fait accompli.” The settlements are part of the design to ‘judaize’ Jerusalem, and to this end millions of dollars are earmarked that leaves Palestinians with nothing to bargain for when the time for negotiations arrives.

International forces promoting the peace process, mainly the US, have shown inclination in the recent past to take serious and effective measures for reviving the peace process and the establishment of a Palestinian state and they should now pressure Israel against obstructing the peace process, and speak out against the party that is scuttling the peace negotiations. It is time to put an end to Tel Aviv’s dubious policies against the path to peace because this historical conflict will have to have a real solution.