When Will Israel End Its Aggressive Practices?

  • 7 July 2008

Israel continues its aggressive practices against the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip despite the Egyptian-brokered truce agreement with Hamas and the ongoing negotiations intended to reach a peace deal before the end of the year. These policies prove that Israel is not serious about its adherence to agreements it reaches with the Palestinians and that what it announces to the media and what actually happens on the ground are different things, wholly or in parts. Israeli bullets and armor do not differentiate between the young and the old, men and women, or between the West Bank and Gaza, and actually affect all sectors, age groups, and areas equally. These Israeli practices have increased Palestinian suffering under inhumane conditions at all levels.

These repeated Israeli policies are not limited to siege, closure, or raids. They have also affected the various aspects of the political process – from bilateral negotiations to regional and international efforts to speed them before it is too late – which, after overcoming inactivity that lasted many years, finds itself again at a stalemate. Israeli President Shimon Perez's pronouncements that there is no hope for peace because of Palestinian divisions and President Mahmoud Abbas' weakness have exposed Israel's true position regarding peace. Israel will not respect its previous agreements and promises at the Annapolis Conference for a Palestinian state before the end of American President George Bush's term, and will not honor its international commitments. Such positions remain a source of instability in the future in light of repeated tensions and stormy conditions in the area that quiet down for a while only to get worse later.

The international community is called upon to exert great pressure on Israel to end its aggressive practices that, if continued, will lead to more crises, not only regarding the agreement with the Palestinians but also in relation to stability and security in the Middle East. The continuation of the practices of siege and closure, in addition to the growing settlement activity in the West Bank, will generate more violence against Israel and hinder any efforts to bridge the chasm between Palestinians and Israelis. The Palestinians also should not give Israel the excuse to continue its aggression in Palestinian areas by working to heel wounds and reorganizing their domestic front. Only that will deprive Israel of the opportunity to continue to isolate the Palestinians and sow division and discord between them, two practices helping its interests and settlement activities in Palestinian lands.