Israel is not interested in peace

There is always discussion on how much Palestinians are genuinely interested in peace. Rashid Khalidi, writing in the London Review of Books, reminds us of how Fatah and Hamas share responsibility for the current predicament.

There is rarely, however, discusion on whether Israel is interested in a genuine peace with the Palestinians; although the failure to discuss this might be more of an issue in the US (perhaps even more than Israelis own willingness to question its approach to the Palestinians?).

Henry Siegman argues the Israelis have not shown any real interest in peace:

The Middle East peace process may well be the most spectacular deception in modern diplomatic history. Since the failed Camp David summit of 2000, and actually well before it, Israel’s interest in a peace process – other than for the purpose of obtaining Palestinian and international acceptance of the status quo – has been a fiction that has served primarily to provide cover for its systematic confiscation of Palestinian land and an occupation whose goal, according to the former IDF chief of staff Moshe Ya’alon, is ‘to sear deep into the consciousness of Palestinians that they are a defeated people’. In his reluctant embrace of the Oslo Accords, and his distaste for the settlers, Yitzhak Rabin may have been the exception to this, but even he did not entertain a return of Palestinian territory beyond the so-called Allon Plan, which allowed Israel to retain the Jordan Valley and other parts of the West Bank.

On the issue of settlements, Yonatan Mendel, reviewing Hollow Land: Israel’s Architecture of Occupation by Eyal Weizmanout, points out how they are designed to ‘secure’ land for Israeli occupation:

A single settlement only marked the beginning of a ‘securing’ project: it was not enough in itself. Logic required that more settlements be built around it. Then, in order to secure the newly established blocks of settlements, a secure network of roads was needed to run between them, but in order to secure the roads, more settlements needed to be constructed along them. Which is not to forget the Wall that is needed to secure Israelis from the Palestinians, as well as securing the army patrols that secure the fences around the settlements, which secure the roads that altogether, in a bizarre way, secure Israeli citizens living in Haifa, Tel Aviv and Beer Sheba. This evolving master-plan, which begins with placing civilians in the front line and ends with layer upon layer of security to secure security, ignores the crucial fact that the settlers and settlements were the central cause of security threats and a major incitement to Palestinians. In other words, the security imperative is one of the greatest threats to Israel’s security.

(Mendel also points how Israel — which accuses Hizbollah and Palestinians fighters of hiding amongst civilians — puts its own civilians on the front line, using them secure and then expand its control of the West Bank.)

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