Monday, 27 September 2010

Israel asks for "peace," whilst resuming colonisation

Israel's 10-month moratorium on construction in the West Bank is over. Construction contractors are expecting to begin work on 500 to 600 new homes in the coming month. As a result, several Palestinian organisations are opposed to continuing direct negotiations with Israel.

However, according to the Jerusalem Post, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said that this shouldn't affect "the goal of reaching a historic  peace agreement between our two peoples."

In full, he said;
I hope that President Abbas will remain in the talks and continue with me on the path of peace which we started three weeks ago, after many in the world have now realized that my intentions of reaching peace are serious and sincere and that I honor my commitments.

I say to President Abbas, for the sake of both our peoples, let us focus on what is truly important – accelerated, sincere and continuous talks to reach a historic framework agreement within a year.
The only problem is that, for the vast majority of Palestinians, these settlements are "truly important." They represent the steady colonisation by Israel of all viable land within the occupied territories, whilst any "historic framework" will merely leave Palestinians crowded into the barren remains.

Already, Israel is siphoning off water supplies for itself and pumping raw sewage - shit, in a word - back to the Palestinians. And alonside the theft of resources is the physical occupation of land.

Before the moratorium was imposed, Israeli settlements saw their population grow over from 177,411 to 267,163in just the seven years from 1999 to 2006. At the same time, the Palestinian refugee population has been growing at a rate of 100,000 per year, the fallout from the 1948 and 1967 wars compounded by the continuing forced eviction of families to make way for settlers.

And the rhetoric of Danny Danon, Ayoob Kara and Tzipi Hotovely from the Likud Party, quoted by Ha'aretz, made clear the nationalist ideology underpinning the occupation;
"This is what I wanted to see - blue and white in every corner," said Kara, speaking to around 2,500 people at the annual World Likud convention at Revava. "I came to be with you all. Residents here respected the freeze; the most important thing is to continue the peace process. The result of the freeze was zero. It gave us nothing and it gave the Palestinian Authority nothing. As a wounded Israel Defense Forces veteran I think Israel's security depends on your settling here." 

Quoting a Talmudic saying, he said, "If [a man] comes to slay you, slay him first." 

Zeev said: "This day unites the entire people of Israel, not only World Likud. The residents of Judea and Samaria are native to Israel through a historical link. That's the issue that should lead us today regarding our rights in the face of the Quartet and the United Nations. We were born here and this is the land of our fathers forever. In the name of God we will succeed." 

Hotovely told the crowd she was "proud to be a member of a party that was elected to preserve our right to exist in this country."
One could well imagine the same rhetoric coming from any hard-right party in Europe or America. It is nothing less than the doctrine of racial-religious nationalism.

With such a tendency prevailing amongst the settlers, it is easy to be sceptical about any "restraint" they may show. And certainly ordinary Palestinians have no reason to trust that we won't merely see the continuation of business as usual.

Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has already complied with Netanyahu's demand not to protest the end of the settlement freeze. Repeated threats of a walk-out have come to nothing.

But Abbas appears to be in it for his own gain. His presidential term expired in 2009, and his unilateral extension a year later. Still, he remains at the head of the Palestinian Authority, his own position apparently the only thing he has managed to secure.

And with Hamas out of bounds for negotiation, based on wholly hypocritical reasoning, ordinary Palestinians have no voice.

No matter how "historic" the "framework agreement" may be, there will be no serious peace . Not when those negotiating at the top table are a nationalist pursuing a policy of colonial expansion and a "leader" willing to sell out the rights of his people to maintain his own position.