It was not too long ago that Israel last announced major settlement construction projects in Palestinian East Jerusalem. It was March and the US was desperately trying to convince Israel that America unconditionally supported whatever Israel wanted while concurrently trying to restart negotiations between Israel and Palestine. US Vice President Biden was in Israel and Israel PM welcomed him with the announcement of 1600 new Jewish homes to be constructed in East Jerusalem. The US was angry and the Palestinians were angry and in the end, nothing really changed.
[tweetmeme] For the first time since March, Israel has announced major colonial efforts by allowing the construction of hundreds of homes in the Arab part of the city. The decision follows the refusal of Israel to extend the construction freeze and is seen by many as yet another example of Israel to honestly take part in negotiations. Palestinians – who have threatened to walk out of talks if the colonization of the country does not stop – immediately condemned the decision. Saeb Erekat, Palestine’s chief negotiator, remarked that this decision clarified the fact that Netanyahu chose ‘settlements, not peace.’ Interestingly, no official tenders have been published, meaning that no buyers can offer proposals. Because of this, the announcement – according to Peace Now – was driven completely by politics.
Considering the continuing refusal of Israel to truly sit down with the Palestinians, the members of the Arab League are considering unilaterally requesting recognition from the UN of an independent Palestinian state along 1967 borders. Such a step could be seen as a last chance for Palestinians to develop an independent state, as the growing settlements in the West Bank – and particularly Jerusalem – are making a future Palestinian state less viable each day.
The above video was created in March by the Palestine Center to visually demonstrate the colonization of East Jerusalem. While clearly revealing Israeli intentions, the video unfortunately does not explain how this colonization process is also occurring across the entire West Bank. With the new construction in East Jerusalem, the refusal to extend the settlement freeze, the demand that Palestine recognize Israel as a Jewish state and the soon-to-be loyalty law, does anyone actually believe that Netanyahu is dedicated to peace?