Shattered Peace: Israel-Palestine + Israel: Siege Mentality
Outrage follows outrage in Israel and Palestine. Yesterday’s atrocity is quickly forgotten as a new one occurs. There is a dizzying vortex kidnappings, stabbings, killings of teenagers and rabbis, attacks on synagogues and mosques, rockets, invasions, bombings, curfews, collective punishment, and demolition of homes. Meanwhile, Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land, contravening international law, continue unabated. Occasionally, Washington says they are “unhelpful.” But there are no consequences. U.S. policy, meek rhetoric aside, enables settlements. The so-called peace process is dead. The Palestinians feel hopeless and desperate. Their prospects for a viable state seem more remote than ever. The prescription for more violence is in place. Can these polarized and deeply divided communities live together or are they destined to be in perpetual conflict? What would constitute a just and lasting peace?
From Kissinger to Kerry, U.S. Secretaries of State engage in endless rounds of shuttle diplomacy. They issue rosy statements about progress and breakthroughs. But little changes. Israeli policy has created concrete facts on the ground. Settlement building on Palestinian land, illegal under international law, has expanded over decades. Some 500,000 Israelis live in settlements from Ariel to Ma’ale Adumim. Jeffrey Goldberg writing in Bloomberg.com calls them “self-destructive.” New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman says they constitute “tacit annexation of the West Bank” and “is not winning Israel friends in Europe or America.” The West Bank, supposedly the home of a future Palestinian state has been sliced and diced into pieces. Israeli-only roads and so-called security barriers and walls are turning Palestinian areas into isolated enclaves. Thus the fabric of a just and lasting peace is tattered and becomes more remote.
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