Monday, 15 June 2009

Netanyahu's Stalling Tactics

Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he will recognise a two-state solution to the Middle East peace process with the Palestinians. That's nice of him or so you think until you listen on.
"In any peace agreement, the territory under Palestinian control must be disarmed, with solid security guarantees for Israel," he said and that's fair enough as long as the solid security guarantees flow back the opposite way. Israel has a long history of not being able to keep its helicopters and soldiers out of Palestinian land.
Another condition was for Palestinians to recognise Israel as a Jewish state, effectively giving up the right of return for Palestinian refugees forcibly expelled from their homes by the Israelis in 1948 and meaning they must return to an already densely populated and rapidly shrinking Palestine.
This is the first time the Likud leader, Mr Netanyahu, has accepted the idea of a Palestinian state since becoming Prime Minister.
Thanks to American pressure which was been sorely lacking down the years, Netanyahu has been forced to ignore the line in the Likud manifesto which states quite clearly that 'the Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river'. Or so we are made to think.
Israel has history of speaking out of the side of its mouth when it comes to dealing fairly with the Palestinians, the usual trick is to drag their feet, make impossible demands while continuing to build the settlements on a sizable chunk of Palestinian land and then bleat that the Palestinians are not keeping to their side of the bargain, throw their hands up in the air and walk away and move Israelis into their shiny new settlement.
Netanyahu didn't mention the settlements despite them being the most contentious point in any discussions.
Back to the Likud manifesto which actually makes it clear that any Israeli settlements on Palestinian land will become the property of Israel, thereby reducing the amount of land they will actually hand over to any Palestinian Government when the two states comes about.
"The government succeeded in significantly reducing the extent of territory that the Palestinians expected to receive in the interim arrangement. The government will insist that security areas essential to Israel's defense, including the western security area and the Jewish settlements, shall remain under Israeli rule.'
That's pretty clear and explains why a year after the US-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian peace conference in Annapolis 2008, where Israel made a commitment to freeze settlement building in the West Bank, has actually seen a surge in construction since the meeting with work beginning on building another 1,223 private and state-backed housing units. The more they can grab before any agreement, the less land the Palestinians actually get to call home.
I don't think this is anything other than yet another ploy by the Israeli Government to drag things out as long as possible while continuing to chip away at what is rightfully Palestinian land.
Hopefully Obama will be wise to these tactics and not be taken in by the ruse, telling the Israeli Prime Minister that any negotiations include Israel not only ceasing settlement construction but dismantling the ones already illegally there and handing the Palestinians back what is rightfully theirs, not just a small part of it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

dust in the wind...