The comatose peace process between Israel and the Palestinians has taken another round of near-death blows. The recent terror attack in Jerusalem that murdered three Israelis was troubling enough to Israel, but the Palestinian response to that attack—or lack thereof—was serious enough to not just result in a complaint from Israel to the United States. It led to a grim assessment by Israel of the potential for peace at all, delivered to the American envoy who was in town to discuss how to revive that very peace process.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. Envoy Jason Greenblatt that “the actions of the Palestinian leadership in recent days severely impairs the chances of achieving peace,” according to a press statement from Netanyahu’s office.
Those troubling actions, Netanyahu told Greenblatt on Wednesday, include “the Palestinians’ refusal to condemn yesterday’s terrorist attack, the Palestinian call to try Israelis before the International Criminal Court in The Hague and the Palestinian accession to Interpol.”
That last act refers to the vote by the international police agency to add the nonexistent “State of Palestine” as a member, according to the Ma’an News Agency. Netanyahu called it a “step which violates signed agreements with Israel.” Israel and the Palestinians have reached understandings in the past, which stopped short of a full resolution of their conflict, such as the Oslo Accords.
Netanyahu warned Greenblatt that “the Palestinian diplomatic warfare would not go unanswered.”
That Israeli response may come in the form of expanded homesteads in the historical land of Israel. Netanyahu alluded to such a potential response in comments on Wednesday commemorating 50 years of Israeli settlement in the Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria, as well as the Golan Heights and the Jordan Valley—all of which represent territory claimed by Arabs but are also historically part of the Land of Israel.
In his comments, which were released by his office, Netanyahu said, “Settlement is important to you my friends. It is no less important to me and therefore, I tell you clearly and before anything: There will be no more uprooting of communities in the Land of Israel!”
Presumably referring to the withdrawal from Gaza, Netanyahu went on to say that keeping their territory is “not just a question of links to the homeland, though it is certainly that, but first of all, that is not the way to make peace. We will uproot neither Jews nor Arabs. We did not receive peace; we received terror and missiles! We will not go back to this.”
Netanyahu then blamed “that uprooting” as the start to “what is currently going on in the Middle East,” referencing the rise of terrorists in the region.
Said the Israeli leader, “Any area that falls to radical Islam becomes a base for destruction, violence and death. Therefore, we will not abandon our national home to danger. Instead we will strengthen the home, with momentum. When I say momentum I mean not just words but also momentum, movement.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, September 27, 2017)