Israeli Colonies and Prerequisites of Peace

  • 15 December 2009

The recent decision by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to allocate $30 million for building new colonies in the West Bank cannot be ignored. It is a reward by the government to extremist colonies and to confirm its commitment to colonization, despite its extensive criticism at the international level.  This decision comes shortly after West Bank colonists attacked a mosque there, burnt it partially and desecrated its contents, in protest against a supposed government decision to put a temporary freeze on colony-building. Rather than confront the extremists, stop them from terrorizing Palestinians and desecrating their religious sites, the Israeli government has sought to appease the colonists and heed their demands as they represent its main support base. 

Colony-building has clearly been the main priority for the Netanyahu government since it came to power, and so it has not desisted from expanding colonies and allocating millions of dollars for this purpose. This explains its doggedness in rejecting the demands of the international community for putting a freeze on colony-building to begin the peace process, instead of applying merely a temporary freeze that could be retracted at any time, as happened recently. This explains Israel’s effort to use any justification, however small it may be, to resume colony-building activity. In this context, the government found the violence actions perpetrated by colonists recently to be a good reason for providing them additional financial support. These acts have probably given a lifeline to Israeli government to move ahead with implementing its objectives and extreme positions that has brought it into power.

Israel always asks the Arab side to face ‘extremism,’ while it does not feel embarrassed in rewarding its own extremist elements. In fact, it even lends protection to them. This leads to a dangerous contradiction facing the peace process. The actions by the Netanyahu government show that peace is not among its priorities, and that it has come to power on the program of building colonies, and the premise of imposing its version of “an Israeli peace,” in order to subject Palestinians into accepting reality on ground and make it impossible for establishing of a genuine Palestinian state that posses all the prerequisites of a state.

The reason behind all these actions is that Benjamin Netanyahu is working to impose a new reality, of a distorted peace process that does not depend on any international references and does not meet the requirements and legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people. Appeasing colonists is more important to Israeli government than fulfilling its peace commitments. This clearly reveals the fact that the government is not serious about engaging in the real peace process.