Israeli Hard Line in the Face of Peace Efforts

  • 11 October 2009

Recent statements by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman highlight Israel’s deliberate attempts at destroying the peace process, and thwarting any effort toward its revival. Lieberman has ruled out the possibility of reaching a comprehensive peace treaty that would put an end to the conflict in coming years, and has said: “Anyone who says that within the next few years an agreement can be reached ending the conflict … simply doesn't understand the situation and spreads delusions.” In fact, he went further by saying that people should learn to reconcile with the present deplorable situation, as has been the case in other issues—like the Cyprus dispute.

Such extremist views clearly show that Israel is not serious about fostering peace and does not want to respond to efforts being taken to revive the process. It is noteworthy that these statements were made just hours before the commencement of George Mitchell’s visit, the U.S. special envoy for peace in the Middle East, for deliberations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Although Lieberman's remarks are no different from his long-held views and positions that espouse militancy and extremism, which is an approach adopted by the Benjamin Netanyahu government, they come at a time when the atmosphere is charged with tensions following the recent storming of Jewish groups, protected by the occupation forces, into the Al-Aqsa Mosque and their attack on worshippers within the sacred precincts in an attempt to trigger a potentially explosive situation not only in Jerusalem, but in the whole Islamic world. Perhaps what makes these comments even more dangerous is that they match Israeli actions on the ground, whether they be related to colony-building activities in the West Bank and Jerusalem, changing the Arabic character and features of the city of Jerusalem through ‘Judaization,’ or imposing a new reality (what Israel calls ‘fait accompli) on Palestinian lands.

Undoubtedly, the most alarming issue threatening the peace process and reconciliation in the region—particularly between Palestinians and Israelis—is Israeli extremism that is fomenting corresponding extremism among Muslims, which would make moderation, peace and coexistence a difficult proposition. Perhaps, the repeated warnings issued from within Israel by the “Peace Now” movement, and Palestinian groups in recent days, over the outbreak of a third ‘Intifada’, in response to Israeli attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque clearly underscores these concerns; because when desperation becomes the means to achieve a solution, the results are catastrophic. It has become obvious that the main obstacle to the peace process is Israel itself, which is now showing its extremist colors on a daily basis. Therefore, firm international action is needed to force Israel into fulfilling its peace commitments, and to deliver a strong message that it is not above law. In the absence of this action, Israel will continue to defy the will of the international community and destroy any hopes in the peace process.