Israel’s hollow declarations

A Palestinian boy rides his bicycle next to Israel’s separation barrier in Qalqilia. (Wesam Saleh, Maan Images)

Dror Etkes, Ynet News, Jun 30, 2007

Once again, for the countless time in the past decade and a half, a senior Israeli statesman is declaring openly that Israel is not interested in maintaining its control over the Palestinians.

This time it was Prime Minister Olmert, who upon the Sharm summit’s conclusion on Monday declared that Israel has no intention of dictating the way of life in the Palestinian Authority.

And it is indeed unpleasant to put a damper on such a rare joyous occasion such as a four-way summit where such noble declarations are made, yet the simple facts (which, unfortunately, very few people in Israel take the time to confirm) do not quite match such declarations.

Olmert’s problem, and in fact the problem faced by all of us, is that in reality one cannot fool all the people all the time.

Certainly not the Palestinians, who continue to see on a daily basis how more land is being taken away and paved under the wheels of the settlement and annexation machine, which does not rest even for a day.

At one location land is being seized for building the fence, with “only” 80 percent of it being built east of the Green Line, that is, in West Bank territory. Elsewhere land is being seized in favor of expanding one or another “consensus settlement.”

Simultaneously, at the heart of the West Bank, settlers who are fans of organic agriculture, plant vineyards on land that up until recently was worked by Palestinian farmers, while yet another bypass road is being paved on land confiscated with the High Court’s approval for “public benefit.”

After all, in the West Bank everything is always done for public benefit – the Israeli public that is (which accounts for only 10 percent of the West Bank’s population).

In order to calibrate the national expectation gauge of the Sharm el-Sheik summit and the festive declarations that followed it, it would be worthwhile for us Israelis to one day clarify to ourselves, among the other terms we use routinely in order to describe our realities, the term “consensus.”

The conflict in this country is between Israelis, most of them the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of immigrants, and the Palestinians, who are the natives of this land. The conflict’s focal point is the legitimacy of the collective existence of both these groups.
To read the full article please visit Ynet News.
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