Today Likud Minister Yisrael Katz indicated that the freeze on Israeli construction in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is over. During his announcement he alluded to a religious claim to the land. Settlers who refer to Barak Obama as ‘Hussein Obama’ and consider the freeze a sin promptly laid the cornerstone for a kindergarten.
As we know from Annapolis, the Road Map and the Mitchell Report into the origins of the Second Intifada on which the Road Map was based, the freeze on settlement activity is a precondition of a two state solution. As noted by writers in the August 10th edition of Bitter Lemons, there is no peaceful one state solution waiting in the wings if the two states solution fails – the alternative is tension, violence, extremism, hatred.
- Hagit Ofran’s Settlement Watch East Jerusalem.
- Will Israeli defence minister Ehud Barak strengthen his call for an extension to the freeze?
- Gershom Gorenberg of South Jerusalem on the role of highly politicised religious ideology in the occupation and its enforcement.
- The New Israel Fund on settlements, loyalty and the nakba.
A small sample of the many Israelis who are fighting settlement expansion:
- Peace Now documents and fights the Israeli settlers’ projects in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
- Gershon Baskin of the Israeli Green Movement and the Israeli-Palestinian Centre for Research and Information sketches the the ongoing talks with more insight than many other English language commentators
- Jessica Montell, Executive Director of B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Centre on Human Rights, writes in Foreign Policy on the role of settlements in resolving the conflict.
- Gush Shalom, the Israeli Peace Bloc.
A turning point for the worse in the conflict has been predicted, and this may well be it. It’s hard to see how Mahmoud Abbas will be able to continue the current peace talks under these circumstances.
And yet all political problems have solutions. Will the Green Party offer support for those Israelis who work for an end to the occupation, or is it hamstrung by its policy to ostracise all Israel without distinction?