What Does Israel Want?!
- 28 February 2010
Days after the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to include West Bank’s Ibrahimi and Bilal Ben Rabah mosques in the ‘Israeli national heritage sites’ list, Haaretz newspaper revealed that the country has approved construction of 600 new housing units in a settlement neighborhood in East Jerusalem. These developments call for few simple questions – What does Israel want? And, where will its radical policies take the Middle East? All indications confirm that the Netanyahu government is serving the interests of the extremist right – be it those that want to judaize Jerusalem and expand settlements or those who threaten the Al-Aqsa mosque, damage it and, when it comes to that, even demolish it.
The Israeli government does not realize the consequences of its policies because of the arrogance of its military power which deludes it into believing that peace is no longer among its list of priorities, or a subject to be discussed on its agenda. Since coming to power, the extremist Netanyahu government has taken major strides on the path of Judaizing Jerusalem, obliterating its Islamic characteristics and attacking sacred places in the West Bank, besides expanding settlements and threatening the Al-Aqsa mosque. It is obvious that this policy is moving ahead with no precluded red lines and the Israeli government’s actions are encouraging extremist jews to ask for more so as to reach their ultimate goal which is the demolition of the holy Aqsa mosque. Perhaps what was recently disclosed by the Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage confirms this contention. The foundation indicated that a Jewish organization has submitted a proposal to the prime minister to declare the Aqsa mosque as part of the Jewish heritage list similar to the Ibrahimi and the Belal ben Rabah mosques.
The Israeli decision to incorporate some of West Bank’s Islamic entities to the Jewish heritage list has caused angry reactions and has led to clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces. This has the potential to quickly degenerate into a situation of dangerous proportions in the future which, in turn, can destroy any chances of a resumption of peace negotiations. Israel works through its policies to increase strife, animosity and hatred in the region and acts contrary to the approach prescribed for peaceful coexistence among the people. The international community should therefore move strongly to stop this because violence will only breed more violence and extremism on the one hand will only lead to more extremism from the other. Under these circumstances, the voices of moderation will retreat and the region will enter into dangerous conflict.
What is pertinent to note here is that as Israel threatens Jerusalem, Al Aqsa mosque and other holy sites in West Bank and expands settlements, the gap between Hamas and Fatah movements continues to deepen and Palestinian reconciliation remains frozen, unable to evade a cycle of accusations and counter-accusations.