Instead of peace, reconciliation, equity and justice, Israel plans settlement expansions and more Walls. More on them below.
At the same time, Abbas broke his pledge about no peace talks unless settlement expansions stop. Chief negotiators Saeb Erekat and Yitzhak Molcho are meeting in Amman, Jordan. They’re joined by Quartet representatives.
Netanyahu’s spokesman Mark Regev claims “talks are intended to move forward to negotiations.”
PLO spokesman Xavier Abu Eid said, “We are just trying to create the right environment for talks.” Chief negotiator Saeb Erekat sidestepped controversy, saying “I would not make a big deal out of it.”
According to Abbas:
The meeting “was a response to a noble initiative by the brothers in Jordan in an attempt to push forward the peace process and to bridge gaps.”
“God willing, results of this meeting will be revealed in the coming two days, and based on that we will set the suitable grounds for resuming negotiations. This would be positive, and we hope Jordan will succeed.”
In fact, Abbas and other PLO leaders know decades of peace talks proved fruitless. Israel doesn’t negotiate. It demands. Settlement construction won’t stop. Neither will Israel’s Separation Wall and others on three borders – Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan. More on them below.
Claiming meeting in Amman doesn’t begin new talks is duplicitous, even though what follows is uncertain. Hamas denounced them. Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri wants them boycotted, saying they replicate a “failed policy.”
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) calls them an affront, a clear setback, and “severe political mistake,” benefitting Israel alone. The Palestinian Democratic Union (FIDA) opposes them while land theft, home demolitions, and settlement expansions continue.
They benefit Israel at the expense of Palestine. Notably, as talks began, Israel’s Housing Ministry announced 300 new East Jerusalem housing units on stolen Palestinian land. They’re part of 500 units announced in mid-December.
At the time, Housing Minister Ariel Atias said it’s “clear that in any future agreement, these neighborhoods will stay under Israel’s sovereignty,” as well as others yet to be announced.
According to the NGO Ir Amim:
“By releasing (tenders) at this time, Israel is slapping the face of King Abdullah and the entire international community, morbidly injuring the already low chances of peace talks to be renewed,” and eliminating success if initiated.
Israel’s Agenda: Settlement Construction and Walls, not Peace
Stop the Wall.org (STW) is a “Palestinian movement against the (Separation) Wall.” It wants it dismantled and Palestine liberated.
“The Wall is an integral part of the Zionist project to remove Palestinians from Palestine.”
“The Palestinian struggle is, at its core, a basic human instinct and drive for self-determination. It is a fight against expulsion and subjugation under Occupation.”
It wants Wall construction stopped, portions built dismantled, all confiscated lands returned, and compensation paid victims for lost homes, businesses, farmland, orchards, olive groves, and other property.
Projected to exceed 800 km when completed, its route is largely within the Green Line. It’s not for security. It’s land theft plain and simple, around 12% of Palestine, with:
- 34 fortified checkpoints, including three main terminals, nine commercial ones, and 22 others for cars and workers to control Palestinian movement;
- 44 tunnels, connecting 22 “small ghettos inside 3 main ghettos (West Bank’s north, central and south);”
- 634 checkpoints or other military obstructions, including trenches, roadblocks, and metal gates; and
- 1,661 km of Jews-only roads, connecting settlements and accompanying blocs, complementing the Wall.
Combined with settlements, military zones, parks, commercial developments, other closed areas, and open spaces, nearly half the West Bank will be annexed. Perhaps more eventually as land theft continues unabated.
Villages are being destroyed. Others are isolated. Israel’s scheme involves cantonizing and ghettoizing the territory, imprisoning its people, denying them basic services, controlling its water and other resources, restricting free movement, and preventing a viable two-state solution.
At an estimated $2.1 billion cost, construction involves eight meter-high Wall sections (double the Berlin Wall’s height), watchtowers, and a 30 – 100 meter-wide buffer zone for electric fences, trenches, cameras, sensors, and military patrols.
Other portions consist of razor wire topped fences, patrol roads, sand paths to trace footprints, ditches, and surveillance cameras. Communities are being encircled. Others are between the Wall and Green Line in the so-called Seam Zone. Landowners and residents need permits to access homes and farmland.
The effect is devastating. Thousands are separated from property and means of subsistence. Others lose out altogether, dispossessed to facilitate construction.
Hundreds of thousands in dozens communities are affected, including over 200,000 East Jerusalemites. They’ll be totally isolated from other West Bank communities.
At issue is lost homes, land, and livelihoods. Also the ability to access health care, education, religious sites, and other West Bank communities easily or at all.
It’s a massive land grab, a settlement expansion scheme, and plan to seize all valued land, dispossess tens of thousands, entirely Judaize East Jerusalem, and enforce police state harshness.
Through summer 2010, nearly two-thirds of construction was completed. Through December, Jerusalem projects took precedence. In Bethlehem, construction resumed in Walaja village and remains ongoing in Beit Jala.
Nearly the entire Jordan Valley is isolated as a closed military zone.
Given Wall protection, settlement expansions continue unimpeded. More than 500,000 settlers occupy confiscated land, including over 200,000 in East Jerusalem. Many more will follow. Thousands more Palestinians will lose land, homes, livelihoods and futures.
Gaza’s already surrounded by walls and razor wire. It extends 55 km from northwest Beit Lahia to Rafah. It includes 300 – 600 meter buffer zones. They prohibit Palestinians from accessing valued farmlands. Around 25% of Gaza’s most fertile areas are affected and 15% of farmers unable to work. Anyone trying to use it is shot, including children.
Israel confronts anti-Wall resisters with violence. Since 2002, thousands were injured, others killed. Thousands more were arrested, including an estimated 750 in East Jerusalem in 2010 alone. At issue is defending their villages, land and rights.
More Walls, Less Peace
Reports suggest new Israeli Walls along three borders – Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan.
Along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, a five-meter high/one km Wall will be equipped with alarms and surveillance cameras. It will separate Israel’s al-Matala kibbutz from Lebanon’s Kafr Kala village. Construction’s expected to start early in 2012.
Currently underway is a 240 km Wall from Rafah to Ein Netafim along Egypt’s border. It will end 14 km north of Eilat. It’s five meters high, equipped with radar, surveillance cameras, and watch towers. Allegedly, it’s to deter security threats and stop infiltrators, including migrants wanting work and asylum seekers.
When completed around end of 2012, another along Jordan’s border will follow for the same purpose. Fortress Israel is walling itself in along three borders.
Ilan Pappe believes the Zionist project involves constructing, then defending “a Western/’white’ fortress in the Arab/’dark’ world.”
It resembles Crusaders in Islamic lands. They’re encircling themselves within Walls and electric fences. “Most important, the Zionist belief in Fortress Israel guarantees the perpetuation of the conflict with the Palestinians, their Arab neighbors and Muslim societies as far away as South-East Asia.”
Like America, Israel needs conflict and violence to defend belligerence, repression and occupation.
At issue is how much longer by policies creating more enemies than friends and Palestinians determined to live free.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
(www.uruknet.info / 11.01.2012)