The Oslo Accords was a mile stone. It acted as framework for future negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, to discuss “final status issues”, ultimately leading to peace in the region. The first time in history the Israeli government and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) came face to face to lay the vital ground work over three main areas: a land for the Palestinians, the status of Jerusalem and Israeli Security. However, from the moment of their conception they were doomed to fail, and analysing the political climate in Israel today, the terms which could have potentially guaranteed some sort of peace between Israeli and Palestinian neighbours, has deepened the antagonisms felt on either side.
We are bombarded with US Zionist fuelled propaganda, victimising Israelis and painting the picture of a blood thirsty Arab, of course, all under the façade of “good journalism” ….apparently. Whilst yes, we would be uneducated and naïve to deny that Palestinian violence does exist, I cannot help but recall the words of Mahatma Ghandi “a woman who retaliates to a man attempting to rape her by slaps and bites, is not considered violent”
There is no peace in the region, for numerous reasons, enigma of Jerusalem’s status, IDF violence, sanctions on Gaza, the “apartheid wall” in the West Bank etc, failure of the international community, but, the main reason, as have hit the news lines amidst the tragedies the Middle East is suffering, is pretty mundane, but in this instance our proverbial root of all evil – the creation of more settlements.
The expansion of Jewish homes into the West Bank not only contradicts the spirit of the Oslo Accords as well as being a flagrant violation of international law, it also adds connotations of imperialism and a clear goal on the Netanyahu agenda to squeeze the Holy Land dry of Palestinians. This new decision to expand at least another 500 settlements into the West Bank and around the Palestinian neighbourhoods of Jerusalem is unwelcoming to the peace process and according to Nabil Aby Ridainah, spokesperson for President Mahmoud Abbas; “the decision is wrong and unacceptable and will only create problems”. These settlements have come to our attention once again, however, this time, not because of Israeli perpetration, but in Itamar, a religious and deeply nationalistic settlement/town/whateveryouwanacallit near the Palestinian city of Nablus. A family of five were found stabbed to death in their homes, Israeli Intelligence for the Occupied Territories, Shin Bet, have claimed the alleged assassins; Palestinian militants from a nearby village.
This has created hysteria in the Israeli Press over the past week, as well as spurring disapproval and shock amongst the Palestinian community, this incident sparks a multitude of arguments, to which this article will not lend itself to (for now). Instead the focus will be on the settlements themselves, and what this means for the peace process. Shin Bet, has openly explained that the Itamar killings and the expansion of settlements are not a coincidence. Obviously, and I am not condoning the actions of the murderers, but, these settlements mean a lot more than just a few extra houses. Its impact stems deep within Zionist ideology, of capturing all the historic land of Palestine and eradicating the Holy Land of anything remotely non-Jewish. This clearly goes against the foundations of the Oslo Agreement and confronts it with a cold hard fist on negotiation refusal. In other words, as the settlements continue, the peace process is stalled. However, Netanyahu has boldly explained that these settlements are not an obstacle to peace, “because their expansion should not bother those who genuinely want to make peace with us”. The tickling irony of such a statement makes it absolutely laughable, but, when we remind ourselves of the seriousness of the situation, it shows an unyielding stance of coming to some middle ground with both the Palestinians as well as International Law.
Views expressed in articles are the author’s and do not represent Comment Middle East
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