In an apparent retaliation for the successful bid for nonmember observer status at the United Nations by Palestinians, Israel announced plans to build settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank. This, of course, is nothing new. During decades of brutal occupation by the Israeli government, Palestinians have watched Israel gobble huge chunks of their land to build Jewish settlements all over the West Bank. What’s new is where Israel plans to put this development.
This latest settlement plan usurps Palestinian land that would separate the West Bank cities of Ramallah and Bethlehem from Palestinian East Jerusalem, which Palestinians see as the future capital of the state of Palestine. Such a development would obstruct the establishment of a contiguous Palestinian country. The upshot of Palestinians losing this mass of land: the death knell for a two- state solution.
Many would argue that the current Israeli administration does not want a two-state solution, but prefers a one-state solution. That would leave Israel in charge of all the land currently in dispute. The argument makes sense in light of Israel’s apparent disinterest in negotiations and its ongoing land grabs in the West Bank for Jewish settlements that continuously shrink the land owned by Palestinians.
This latest proposal comes after decades of human rights violations by the Israeli government against the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza – confiscation of land, demolition of homes, bulldozing olive trees that provide the economic lifeblood of so many, onerous checkpoints throughout the West Bank that prevent free movement, a security barrier built on Palestinian land and separating many from their farms, indefinite detention without charges, the land and sea blockade of Gaza that keeps people in a virtual prison and prevents the free flow of food and goods. . . The list of atrocities is almost endless and the suffering of the Palestinian people, confined in ghettos created by Israel, knows no boundaries.
This not to excuse Hamas. Launching rockets at Israeli civilians cannot be justified. But even a cursory look at the history of the Palestinian people at the hands of Israel helps us understand, if not approve, those actions.
The current Israeli proposal is being widely condemned around the world. Although the United States stood almost alone in voting against the Palestinian bid for United Nations observer status, it has strongly condemned the Israeli proposal. The problem – in the past, Obama administration protests have been answered by Netanyahu with a finger in the president’s eye. That finger in the eye has always exposed the Obama administration’s toothlessness on the Jewish question. Billions in military aid from the US continue along with a one-sided, pro-Israel Middle East policy.
How long before the Obama administration gets tooth implants and says enough!
Comments on this development:
Tommy Vietor, National Security Council spokesman:
“We reiterate our longstanding opposition to settlements and East Jerusalem construction and announcements. We believe these actions are counterproductive and make it harder to resume direct negotiations or achieve a two-state solution.”
Daniel Kurtzer, former United States Ambassador to Israel and Egypt:
“This is one of the most sensitive areas of territory and I would hope the United States would lay down the law.”
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