Breaking news from Israel
As opposition stiffens, US calls on Israel to pull back from settlement plan
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Diplomatic crisis brewing over Israel’s announced plans to construct 3000 homes in what is known as the E1 area of Judea & Samaria (West Bank) as major European governments summon Israeli ambassadors to express their concern.
Here are my thoughts on this issue;
- The EU were guarantors of the Oslo Accord and they were mainly silent (abstained) or supported the unilateral Palestinian non-member status at the UN recently which was in breach of their Oslo commitment.
- The Israeli announcement was to approve plans for homes in the E1 area, not to construct them. In my opinion, construction will not take place until the Palestinian take further unilateral steps against Israel. It’s diplomatic high stakes poker.
- Israel threatened to send IDF forces into Gaza after calling up 57,000 troops. I see this latest move as a similar warning threat to the Palestinians following their provocative UN move. It warns them that we too can take unilateral steps to counter their continuing breach of their agreements with Israel.
- Despite the diplomatic rebukes and noisy shouts of “illegal”, Israel is within its rights to build in the planned locations in E1 based on the fact that a number of homes are within the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem while others are within the boundaries of Maale Adumim, and the requests for planning permission have been lodged with the government for decades.
- Many look at Israeli intention to plan and build in the E1 area as nail in the coffin of a Two-State solution. As an advocate for alternatives to a failed 2-State agreement I advise cool heads. It will not be the end of the world, and could open up the possibilities of equally good, if not better solutions to the Palestinian problem. Other options have been buried under the weight of EU, American, and Arab rejectionism. They need time and breathing space for the concepts to germinate and take root. Time is on their side as we witness the unraveling of the road map to nowhere.