Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Israel defies US with plan for 240 new homes on Palestinian land.

Netanyahu's regime are giving Obama their answer to his calls for an end to all settlement building:

Israel's defence ministry has proposed legalising 60 existing homes at a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, and building another 240 homes at the site, despite US calls for a halt to settlement growth.

Construction at the outpost, known as Water Reservoir Hill, near the Talmon settlement, north of Ramallah, would "greatly damage" the freedom of movement of Palestinian farmers in the area, according to Bimkom, an Israeli planning rights group.

It said the construction plan was put forward for public inspection shortly after the Israeli government was formed this spring and was first approved by Ehud Barak, the defence minister. It was now awaiting final approval.
But Bimkom added: "In virtually all cases, plans deposited for Israeli settlements were subsequently approved."
Obama has made his opinion on this matter crystal clear. The settlements are against international law and the practice must end. Is there anyone who still thinks that Israel wants peace but is prevented from doing so because of the lack of the "partner in peace" she claims to be searching for?
So far, Israel has resisted Washington's pressure for a halt to construction in settlements and the issue is fast becoming a test of wills between the two governments. In an interview yesterday Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, said arguing about settlement activity was a waste of time. Last week, the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, told Israel's foreign minister, Avigdor ­Lieberman, that Washington wanted "to see a stop to the settlements".
The regimes of Netanyahu and Obama are now at loggerheads. Netanyahu is openly holding the wishes of the American president in contempt, by stating that the things which Obama has insisted upon are, "a waste of time".

Obama needs to remind Israel of just how much she relies on the US. The first thing he could do is to remove the automatic American vetoing of any UN resolution which criticises Israel. Simply take it away and allow Israel to feel the full wrath of the international community.

Netanyahu has said his government will not stop "natural growth" within settlements to accommodate population growth. However, the plans for Water Reservoir Hill, known in Hebrew as Givat Ha'breicha, appear to stretch far beyond any definition of natural growth.

Bimkom said the plan covered 86 hectares (212 acres) and stretched across agricultural land belonging to the village of al-Jania, which is home to 1,200 Palestinians. The only way the farmers could reach their land was along a road which, under the new plan, would become an internal part of the settlement and therefore off-limits to Palestinians. "The new plan, which incorporates part of the road, will disable residents of al-Jania to work their lands and will greatly damage their freedom of movement," Bimkom said.

The group said the plan also appeared to give a green light to other unauthorised settlement outposts, including four others near the Talmon settlement. All settlements on occupied land are illegal under international law.

Netanyahu is openly challenging Obama's authority. He is giving up the pretence that he is seeking a "partner for peace" and is making yet another land grab.

It is obvious that words alone will not be enough to rein in Netanyahu. Obama needs to take some form of action to make his displeasure felt, as it is blatantly clear that it is not enough to make it simply known.

Click title for full article.


nunya said...

I swear the only thing that is going to make it stop is just to cut off all aid.

Kel said...

It certainly needs more than harsh words, doesn't it?