Crisis Point for Israel/Palestine!

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Father Dave

Father Dave

We have reached crisis point for Israel/Palestine.

Things have been moving rapidly over the last few weeks:

Operation Pillar of Cloud might have been designed to solidify Netanyahu’s electoral standing but it had some unexpected consequences. The visit of Mohamed Morsi to Gaza gave de facto international recognition to the Hamas government, and Hamas’ leader, Khaled Meshaal, has never looked stronger!

Meanwhile Mahmoud Abbas – Chairman of Hamas’ rival faction, Fatah, and President of the Palestinian National Authority – has won recognition for Palestine as a non-member state at the UN, and can now likewise work from a position of strength with regards to both negotiations with the Israeli government and in his efforts to bridge the Fatah-Hamas divide.

Netanyahu’s response was vitriolic – the withholding of revenue for government employees in the West Bank and then the announcement of thousands of new settlement blocks in the highly sensitive area known as E1!

We should not underestimate the significance of these new settlements. If they go ahead, they will lie between Gaza and the West Bank, making a contiguous Palestinian state a complete impossibility.

The Fatah spokesperson responded to Netanyahu’s announcement by saying that this was a ‘red line’, and that these settlements would be the final nail in the coffin for the long-hoped-for two-state solution. Meshaal then responded with a defiant speech before thousands of Hamas supporters in the Gaza Strip, promising to take back all of modern-day Israel “inch-by-inch”, which he said he would never recognize.

Netanyahu has now responded to Meshaal with equal aggression, stating that Israel will never withdraw unilaterally from the West Bank as it did from Gaza, meaning that the Palestinians have his promise that the Occupation will never end!

And so the battle-lines are drawn, but not in quite the same way as they were in the first and second intifada.  Israel is now enjoying less support internationally than at any time since 1948! And with Avigdor Lieberman ever on the rise in Israeli politics, it is likely that Netanyahu’s government will move even further to the right in the coming days and months, and further away from any language of peace, which can only result in even greater international isolation.

So what will happen next?

God only knows!

A full-blown third intifada, complete with rockets and every form of violence that the beleaguered Palestinians can muster is certainly a real possibility.

Alternatively, it may be that Abbas in unity with Meshaal are now in a position of strength from which they can leverage for a genuine contiguous Palestinian state set along the pre-1967 borders. Certainly the two Palestinian factions could count on broad international support for such a push. We can only pray!

What cannot happen now is that business continues as usual, with Netanyahu pretending that he’s working peacefully for the establishment of a Palestinian state while simultaneously expanding the settlements so as to ensure that it can never happen.

Father Dave
www.fatherdave.org…
www.how2changetheworld.com…

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December 10, 2012
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