December 17 2009
Robert Serry, the United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East peace process said Thursday that recent activities by both Israel and the Palestinians are not contributing to settling their conflict and confidence remains low as 2009 draws to a close, according gto reports by Schlomo Shamir in Ha'aretz, an Israeli paper.
"Even the genuine progress taking place in parts of the West Bank runs in parallel with negative trends. We are in a race against time to overcome the contradictions on the ground and the crisis of confidence between the parties, and move decisively towards a political end game," he said.
The Associated Press, in its releases today, has a story about the village of Quariout, caught in the middle of the changing landscape as Israel rapidly continues to build settlements, where before there were only small arab villages. In this village, what once had been pasture and farmland, owned primarily by arabs, now splotches of red-roofed settlements have broken up the landscape in and near the village. The arabs call it the taking of their land, and the new Israeli settlers insist that it is nothing more than their return to their biblical homeland. The real questions is who is right? An even more important question is when the Israelis will actually produce on their commitment to stop the settlements and get on with negotiations.
My bet is that real negotiations will never take place--and whatever discussions do occur will only be from a position of strength for the Israelis, and crippling restrictions imposed on the arabs by Israel and their puppy dog, the US.