By Alauddin Masood, Weekly Pulse Magazine, September 02, 2013
Ignoring world outcry, Israel pushed forward with plans to construct 1,500 more apartments in east Jerusalem. The Israeli settlement construction move, which is one of the thornier issues separating the states of Israel and Palestine, could undermine the US-brokered Israel-Palestine peace talks that were resumed last month after a three year stalemate over Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
Israel is pushing development in the neighbourhood of Ramat Shlomo, a project that had also raised tensions with the US. Israel first announced the plans in 2010 during US Vice President Joe Biden;s visit to Israel, sparking a diplomatic rift with Washington that took months to mend.
Israel annexed east Jerusalem following the 1967 war with its Arab neighbours and claims the area as an inseparable part of its capital. The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of their hoped-for state. The area is home to Muslim, Christian and Jewish holy sites.
While Israelis consider east Jerusalem enclaves neighbourhoods like others in the city, the international community does not recognize Israel’s annexation of the area and rejects the areas as illegal or illegitimate settlements.
Neither party has reportedly expressed much optimism for a major breakthrough and the negotiators have met largely in secret, alternating between Israeli and Palestinians locations, and revealing no details on talks.
On August 26, 2013, Israeli troops shot dead three Palestinians during an early morning raid to arrest a suspected militant in the West Bank. In view of Israeli obduracy and brutalities on hapless Palestinians, all earlier attempts at brokering peace, and more particularly the 1993 Oslo peace process and the ‘road-map to peace’ unveiled in Washington on 30th April, 2003, ended in failure.
The road-map was prepared by a quartet – comprising of America, European Union, United Nations and Russia, and it was unveiled after sidelining duly elected leader of the Palestinians, Yasser Arafat because Sharon refused to work with him. The road-map was expected to lead to an “independent, democratic and viable” Palestinian state by 2005. It proposed a two-nation, mutual security solution to the conflict and creation of the Palestinian state in three phases.
The root cause of the Middle East problem is Israeli occupation of Arab lands and attempts at blocking efforts envisaging implementation of UN resolutions regarding establishment of a Palestinian state over areas where the Palestinians have been living traditionally since the dawn of human civilization.
Non-resolution of the Palestine issue poses a grave danger to the world peace. In view of the gravity of the situation, the international community needs to realize its obligations and make concerted efforts for the resolution of Palestine issue.
The Palestinian problem resulted because the British permitted large scale migration of the Jews to the Palestine during their mandate over the areas, which resulted in swelling the number of the Jews to one-third of the total population from 1/12th till 1917 when the Muslim rule over the area came to an end.
The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on 29th November, 1947 for the partition of Palestine in to Arab and Jewish states, allowing 43 per cent of the area (11,800 kilometres) to the Arab state and 57 per cent of the territory (14,500 kilometres) to the Jewish state, while subjecting Jerusalem city to special international regime. A day before the expiry of the British mandate, the Jews proclaimed the State of Israel on 9th April, 1948 thereafter the Palestinians have been victims of murders, forcible eviction from their properties, demolition of their houses and diversion of water channels from their farms and orchards to the properties newly acquired by the Jews.
Since its inception, the racist state of Israel has been extending its jurisdiction through occupation and annexation of Arab territories. Now, it practically controls some 80 per cent of the entire Palestine against 57 per cent, as envisaged by the UN General Assembly through its resolution.
As proofs of racist polices being pursued by the Zionist state of Israel, one may cite the following: In order to create Israel, which defines itself as a Jewish state, it considered necessary to expel most of the then existing non-Jewish population, which out-numbered the Jewish population two-to-one at the time. The determination of whom to expel was simple. Jews stay, non-Jews leave.
Then let’s take migration. Who could become citizens of the newly-cared state of Israel? Jews, of course, and also their non-Jewish members of the immediate family, hoping that they would eventually adopt the faith of their brethren-in-faith. The third illustration is the matter of housing in Israel where more than 93 per cent of land is off limits to its non-Jewish citizens and areas in the West Bank and east Jerusalem has been extensively used for establishing new settlements.
In its pursuits, the Zionist state has throughout enjoyed the backing of the US Jewish lobby and tacit support of the US government, which has been extending it not only political support, but also military and economic aid, on a massive scale, ever since the founding of the Jewish state.