Israel Continues to Prevaricate Over Peace
- 20 May 2009
US President Barack Obama was very clear in his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House last Monday over the complete faith of his administration in the “two state solution” for resolving the Palestinian–Israeli conflict. He believed that this solution was in the interest of all parties, including Israel and the United States and the whole international community. Despite this, Netanyahu persistently defied all pressure exerted on him. He limited himself to talking about “arrangements,” in which Palestinians and Israelis would live side by side, and set out conditions for such arrangements—the foremost being the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state by the Palestinians. This purported the implicit rejection of the right of return for million Palestinians—as had been agreed upon in international resolutions—as well as the need for guaranteeing security for Israel.
It is clear that the hard-line Israeli government, headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, is determined to hold on to its positions, which could well-nigh destroy all hopes of peace between Arabs and Israelis. The intransigence of Netanyahu over his radical proposals for relations with the Palestinians, despite major international opposition to such positions, underscores this point clearly. One of the important pointers in this regard is that just when Benjamin Netanyahu was preparing for his visit to Washington, Israel made the announcement that its construction of new Jewish settlements in the heart of the West Bank would go ahead. Tel Aviv’s announcement was in clear contravention with and defiance of the position of the whole world, which has been calling for an end to settlement activity as one of the main prerequisites for activating the peace process.
Netanyahu presides over a radical right-wing government, and came to power based on an extremist agenda that is opposed to the peace process and describes negotiations as a “waste of time.” His advisors confirm that he will not go back on his positions regarding peace, despite US, European, and international opposition to such positions. During his visit to Washington, Israeli Prime Minister revealed the true face of his government and its inimical nature towards all hopes for peace, which contradicted the picture painted by Israeli President Shimon Perez earlier that Netanyahu was committed to the peace plan and agreements that were signed by his predecessors.
The Israeli position threatens to destroy years of deliberation and effort made in the path for peace, a position that has become very clear to the world. In the face of this threat, it is essential that the influential international forces put pressure on Israel to commit to its basic references of the peace process, without any prevarication, as in its absence the Middle East region will be exposed to catastrophic scenarios—particularly if hopes for reaching a just, comprehensive and real peace are lost.