Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Israel to demolish 23 illegal settlements in one day.

Netanyahu's government are throwing a bone towards the Obama administration by promising to remove 21 outposts from the West Bank. This is the emptiest of empty gestures.

Outposts can literally mean a couple of caravans. So, this gesture goes no way towards Israel fulfilling her responsibilities under international law, especially as Netanyahu is refusing to stop settlement building in the West Bank.

These outposts are defined as illegal by the Israeli government because they have not received planning permission. But under international law all settlements built on occupied territory are illegal.
We are now expected to clap like Salty the Seal because Israel has vowed to remove 1,200 illegal settlers, at a time when Israel has 500,000 illegal settlers living in the West Bank and Netanyahu is planning to build even more homes for settlers on stolen Palestinian land.

The reaction worldwide is totally against Netanyahu's proposals.

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, said today: "What is required from Israel is to freeze all settlement activity. When Israel meets these demands, we will be ready to go to the final negotiations."

France's foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, meanwhile summoned the Israeli ambassador to Paris to complain about Jewish settlements. "These activities must be stopped," warned Kouchner, "otherwise there will be no chance to found an independent Palestinian state that administers itself and also guarantees Israel's security."

Britain's foreign office minister, Ivan Lewis, told MPs: "Israel should freeze all settlement activity, including the natural growth of existing settlements, and dismantle all outposts erected since March 2001."

Sweden, current president of the EU, also urged Israel "to refrain from provocative actions in East Jerusalem, including home demolitions and evictions." It added: "Such actions are illegal under international law."

Under the dreadful presidency of George Bush such empty posturing by the Israelis would have been applauded. He would have spoken of how this proves that Israel is seeking peace. Thankfully, the administration of Obama appears to be a much more realistic one which will recognise this pitiful posturing as exactly what it is. An attempt to legitimise the further theft of Palestinian land on the West Bank.

From the reactions of Britain, Sweden and France one gets the feeling that the world has been waiting for someone like Obama to deal truthfully with what is taking place in the Middle East. Israel is throwing crumbs towards international opinion whilst planning further theft.

I am pleased to see that so few countries are buying into this blatant subterfuge. Netanyahu is offering crumbs whilst he plans to steal a steak.

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