Thursday, March 11, 2010

Israeli Settlements, Joe Biden and the "Peace Process"

An Illegal Israeli Settlement Behind Israel's Illegal Wall

On Monday, Israel approved the building of 112 new homes in the illegal Israeli settlement in Beitar Illit outside Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank. This is after Israel declared it would temporarily halt its settlement expansion during ten months (after international pressure, most notably from the U.S.) in November last year; and the night before U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Israel in an attempt to restart the so-called peace process in the Middle East.

Israel says the move had nothing to do with Biden's visit to Israel and Palestine. 

On Tuesday morning, Israel approved the construction of another 1,600 homes in occupied East Jerusalem, all the while insisting that the announcement had nothing to do with Biden's attempt to restart peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians.

Okay. If they say so.

Ma'ale Adummim, One of the Largest Illegal Israeli Settlements in the West Bank

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has kept saying that Palestine will not return to any form of peace talks with Israel unless and until Israel keeps its word and freezes all settlement expansion--until they show real commitment to the peace process. This was until a few days ago when he suddenly decided to return to indirect talks with Israel with the U.S. as a go-between.

What happened?

Is Abbas selling out again? Or is it another Goldstone Report case? --Remember last year when Abbas surprised everybody by agreeing to postpone the vote on the UN Goldstone Report on the war crimes that were committed by Israel (and, to a much lesser degree, Hamas) during the 2008-2009 war on Gaza? It turned out he was pressured by Israel to do so, and that if he didn't in fact defer the vote, Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin said that the West Bank would be turned into a second Gaza.

But why would Israel pressure Palestine into agreeing to renew peace efforts? It doesn't exactly seem as if Israel wants peace. Unless it's the peace the U.S. has as its vision:

U.S. Vice President Biden did condemn Israel's continued settlement expansions on Tuesdays visit to Israel, and said that Israel is undermining the trust that is needed to restart the peace negotiations. But at the same time, he said that the goal of these negotiations is a Palestinian recognition of the "permanence and legitimacy of the Jewish state of Israel."

The legitimacy of the Jewish state of Israel. Not of Israel as a democratic state that provides the same protection and privileges to all its citizens, no matter who their mother and father are.

This is like, during the time when South Africa was apartheid, asking the indigenous population to recognize the legitimacy of South Africa as a White State. And recommending the creation of a Black State alongside it, so that the Whiteness of South Africa wouldn't be jeopardized.

Seriously.

"How Do You Sleep at Night"
Graffiti on the Palestinian side of Israel's Apartheid Wall in the West Bank

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6 comments:

Tarek said...

well dear Ruby from wat i know, which is not a lot, the Palestinian went back to peace talk so that the US and the EU stop talking that its the Palestinians who doesn't want peace, that's y Abbas asked for a short period of time, and everyone knows that during this time there wont be any agreement... and Abbas knows that israel wont give them anything new, this way his gives them no reason to accuse Palestinians of being the ones who puts obstacles in front of the peace talks...

Mirkhaaa said...

..and I quote "ARE U SERIouESSSSSSSSSSS?!?!?!" Mr Ban ki Mon and Biden condemned the talking of the new settlements, altho Biden is saying the Israel will always have Americas help and support, he delayed dinners and will not continue the peace conference because of these "news" from Israel. So its a good start.. now PLEASE Ki MOn, Biden, Obama, Reinfeldt, Hallonen and all the other world leaders.. PUT A STOP TO ALL THIS BULL CRAP!!!! We wont stand for this.. and we wont sit for it either... I forgot the main part of what I wanted to say.
xox

Ruby said...

This is very likely. But it's like when you have kids: if you threaten them with something ("If you don't stop hitting your little brother, you will not get any dessert after dinner!") and then don't follow through, you teach them that they can do whatever they want without any consequences. Abbas needs to be firm and show Israel that when he says that he will not return to peace talks until Israel shows real commitment and halts all settlement expansions, he means it. If he gives in to appease the U.S. or the EU or whatever and returns to peace talks, then he's essentially giving Israel a green light to do whatever they want without any repercussions. He is teaching them that Palestine will always bend to their rules.

Anyway, I think at this stage, the whole weight shouldn't be on Palestine to resume peace talks anyway, seeing as how Israel keeps bullying them into accepting their unacceptable behavior. It is time for the international community to step in and make it clear for Israel that it cannot continue like this. Not by publicly condemning Israel's actions, but by military, economic and diplomatic sanctions.

Ruby said...

The above was in response to Tarek.

Mirkhaaa: It IS a good start that they finally condemn Israel's actions in such "strong terms" and I, too, wish they would follow this by real action to actually stop Israel from harming not just the peace process, but the safety and the freedoms of the Palestinian people.

Tarek said...

thats why Mr. Yaser Abed Rabbo announced yesterday that if the peace talks doesn't work out between the 2 sides there is no one to blame but the US for forcing the Palestinian to go into peace talks, while israel didn't freeze the building of settlements... and he holds the US responsible for any failure in the peace process ....

Ruby said...

Yes. Actually, the U.S. shouldn't even pretend to be committed to finding a solution until they stop supporting Israel's occupation and apartheid policies and practices with military and economic support.