In your face Mr. Obama: Israel announces new settlement
by MainStreet, Tue May 19, 2009 at 04:36:53 AM EDT
.....on the very day of the first meeting of Barak Obama and Bibi Netanyahu in Washington.
This is no small matter nor coincidental, because it was obviously known by Netanyahu, who may in fact have arranged it or at least put his stamp of approval on the settlement expansion. It was clearly a swipe at the President Obama akin to the arrogance Netanyahu projected at his first meeting with Bill Clinton after his first election as prime minister of Israel. Clinton was miffed, but apparently accepted the put-down. Will Obama do the same?
The significance of this move by Netanyahu is obvious? As reported by many news agencies, after the Monday meeting, Obama was unable to secure any commitments on the two-state solution and on ending construction of settlements in the West Bank.
From the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, yesterday:
Israel has moved ahead with a plan to build a new settlement in the northern West Bank for the first time in 26 years, pursuing a project the United States has already condemned as an obstacle to peace efforts. The move comes on the eve of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's first meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, despite Western calls for Israel to halt its settlement activity.
David Elhayani, head of the Jordan Valley regional council that oversees Maskiot, confirmed to Reuters he had issued the tender last week for contractors to launch infrastructure work.
"There is full consensus among Zionist parties that the Jordan Valley must remain under Israeli control within the framework of any diplomatic deal," he said. "The Jordan Valley is necessary for the sake of national security, and woe to the administration that strays from this path."
A Palestinian representative, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, correctly called the settlement expansion a "message of defiance" from Israel to the Obama administration and its efforts to revive peace talks. "This Israeli provocation demands a U..S response and a genuine and concrete pressure on Netanyahu that would guarantee a halt to all settlement activities," he said, charging that "continuation [of settlement building] would bring down and destroy the peace process," which is undoubtedly what Netanyahu intends.
A representative of Peace Now, an Israeli peace activist group, called the move proof that "Netanyahu is not ready to commit to a two-state solution" and is striving to "prevent the creation of a Palestinian state."
Indeed, that is just what the announcement of this settlement expansion signaled: the colonization of the Palestinian territories will continue. That it is a settlement in the Jordan Valley is also significant, as Netanyahu clearly let it be known that the Jordan Valley, which conprises almost a third of the West Bank, will never be given up. There is no place for a Palestinian state in the Palestinian territories, because Israel has now colonized the majority of their lands.
In your face, Mr. Obama!