By: Fadi Zanayed (written Sep., 2010)
There are veiled hints coming from the Israelis that they would like to see separate Palestinian entities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. To encourage this, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor stated recently that if the current negotiations on a final peace settlement broke down, Israel will exercise a “bottom up” approach in which existing Palestinian Authority powers in the autonomous zones established in the 1990’s throughout the West Bank could be extended in various ways, with “other authorities, jurisdictions and powers.”
This “bottom up” approach means that the illegal settlements and the apartheid wall that runs through towns and separates relatives and farmers from their crops will remain as is or increase in the coming years—as they have since the 1993 Oslo Accords. The occupation will continue as well.
It also means that the principle behind all of the agreements between Israelis and Palestinians that the West Bank and Gaza Strip are “one contiguous” land will be violated. The sad part about all this is that the Palestinian Authority is being lead down this narrow path--willingly.
The US and Palestinian negotiators do not see this dark side of the Israeli quagmire agenda. Israel is taking measures should the peace talks fail. To avert blame for such failure and due to the growing international pressures, especially after its Gaza War debacle and its handling of the flotilla fiasco, Israel will grant PA President Mahmoud Abbas more “authority jurisdictions and powers.” Such appeasement will keep the ruling party of the West Bank, Fatah, happy and quite for a time. In the meantime, Israel will illegally commandeer more Palestinian lands in order to build more illegal settlements while it completes its wedge between the West Bank and Gaza Palestinians.
In the 1990’s Israel gave the Palestinians guns to police themselves. This gesture only gave Israel the superficial justification to use helicopter gunships and tanks to attack the residents of the Palestine during the 2nd Intifada. This mollification will be repeated again as Israel will attempt to calm the West Bank Palestinian’s anger, i.e. give them a little but take much more back—a trade-off of perceived authority for the continuation of illegal settlement construction.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s coalition is in a quagmire itself over the settlement freeze which is about to expire this Sunday, September 26, 2010. If Netanyahu lets the settlement freeze expire, he will save his coalition and thus his power as prime minister. If he does this, he will be blamed for failed peace talks as the Palestinians have threatened to walk away from those peace talks. International pressure is on Netanyahu to extend the settlement freeze.
If Netanyahu continues the settlement freeze, his coalition will collapse and so will the peace process.For damage control purposes the “bottom up” idea has been floated in the media by Meridor. The damage control message to the world from Israel is that Israel will give more “authority, jurisdiction and powers” to the Palestinians. The conniving message to Netanyahu coalition members is that the settlement construction will go on.
( © Copyright, Fadi Zanayed. Publication or distribution of this material is allowed provided its content is not altered and the source and its author are cited.)