U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Rabat -- 4-4-14 photo by Reuters-Stringer // Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after delivering a statement-11-12-12--REUTERS-BAZ RATNER
I’ve been following the war & peace conflict between Israel and Palestinians for many years. There’s been some slight hope since this past July of renewed peace talks producing results. A plan for solving some of the territorial disputes, and establishing a Palestinian state was given a basic structure. It seemed everyone was tiring of injustice, and intifadas. The violence has taken a deep toll on both sides.
Bethlehem West Bank- 2000- Body of Moayad Usama Jawareesh, Age 13- Resident of Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem, killed by Israeli soldiers
Photo by Larry Towell from No Man's Land
But last week the headlines were of collapse—that our Secretary Kerry was upset with both sides, and Prime Minister Netanyahu was upset with Palestinians for signing 15 treaties on international issues, a move that bids for recognized statehood circumventing the peace talks. [see articles below] It seemed a bold move out-of-the blue this past Tuesday. But this same day I’d read a short news-feed sidebar in our local paper, reporting that the Israelis the day before had re-bid a contract to move ahead with the building of 708 new settlement homes in the contested areas—totally out-of-bounds vexing the peace process. This fact was not much mentioned by the major media.
After making numerous searches I found this from the Israeli side:
Chief negotiator Tzipi Livni said that an announcement last week by Housing Minister Uri Ariel that Israel wanted to build 708 housing units in a disputed community in East Jerusalem was timed to “torpedo” the efforts to make peace.
And this from the Palestinian side [both in same Washington Post report]:
“Israel wants never-ending negotiations, negotiations for the sake of negotiating, while it buys time to build more settlements,” a top Palestinian official, Yasser Abed Rabbo, told Voice of Palestine radio.
f course it’s more complicated, and reading of the articles below just begins to give some of the scope of the problems. But something new appeared in that short local newspaper sidebar. The reason that the settlements contracts had to be re-bid by the Israeli government was that no contractors had submitted bids. There was no interest.
Perhaps just business decisions, but it could signal that there is a new wisdom growing amongst more and more people of the region. Peace will come, but it has the price of justice, which cannot be paid with violence, nor intimidation.
Netanyahu vows retaliation after Palestinian treaty move
Kerry warns U.S. is evaluating role in Middle East peace talks
Netanyahu blames Palestinians for collapsing peace talks
“Israel: Bid on settlement homes moves ahead” 4-4-14 Port Huron Times Herald [no link given at their online site]
Also of interest ---
Leaders Deny Report of a Truce in Mideast Violence
Peace Accord Bets Trigger Palestine Stock Trading Surge
Israeli Settlement Building Soars—Israeli settlement building in the West Bank more than doubled last year to a 13-year high, the country's statistics bureau said. - WSJ, 3-3-14