Wednesday, March 9, 2011

World must not forget about Palestine

As Middle East turmoil rages on, Israel continues to expand colonies with impunity

Despite all the turmoil that is taking place across the Middle East, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict should not be forgotten. After all, achieving peace is critical for the future of the region.

And the question is not whether the Palestinians and the Arab world at large are interested in reaching a final resolution on the matter. Rather, it is whether Israel is honest in its claims for wanting peace.
Recent events have indeed indicated otherwise. The Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics' (ICBS) recent release of the number of colonies under construction is alarming. Accordingly, the rate of construction of colonies in the West Bank has quadrupled since the temporary building freeze had ended in September last year.
During the 10-month freeze period, over 1,175 housing units have been completed and over 114 housing units are already under construction. In addition, there are a number of units that are being built without proper permission from the authorities.

Hence, these numbers reflect an approximation of the construction that is taking place. Furthermore, a group of colonists have organised their efforts to launch a large-scale campaign calling on the authorities to allow the construction of colonies in full force.
Needless to say, the illegal construction of colonies is of great importance in any negotiations. As Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas starts his visit to the UK and other European countries, it is important that the agenda of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is highlighted once again.
Without the involvement of major powers, reaching a final resolution of the conflict would prove to be impossible. And this fact should be at the core of the discussion when the Quartet meets soon in Paris as bringing the peace process back on track is instrumental to the future of the Middle East.

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