Wednesday, December 05, 2007

So Much For Peace in the Middle East

After the much trumpeted 'success' that was the meeting in Annapolis, it comes as no surprise to hear that the Israeli government are doing their best to undermine any hopes for peace:

Israel's housing ministry said yesterday it plans to build 307 new homes in a settlement in East Jerusalem, drawing swift condemnation from Palestinian officials.

Tenders were published for housing units in Har Homa, a settlement to the south-east of the city on land captured by Israel in the 1967 war and later annexed. East Jerusalem is now home to around 200,000 Jewish settlers. Most of the international community does not recognise Israel's annexation of the east of the city.

The announcement comes days after the peace conference at Annapolis in the US intended to restart long-stalled negotiations on an agreement to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

Palestinian officials said yesterday the tenders were in breach of the US road map for peace, which leaders from both sides agreed at Annapolis would again be the basis of talks.

Israel, however, says the road map does not apply to Jerusalem. Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert, said: "Israel will abide by all its obligations under the road map. Its obligations apply to the West Bank, Jerusalem is different. Jerusalem is our capital. It is Israeli sovereign territory."

Of course, it is not recognised as 'their' capital by the international community, but I guess that is a minor detail for a government that has long treated the international community with disdain. In actual fact, Tel Aviv is the recognised capital of Israel. This is clearly an attempt to provoke the Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem and clearly undermines the whole peace process. Just remember this when the blame for the collapse of the peace process is put at the door of the Palestinian people because if anything in life is certain, it's that the Palestinian people always end up being blamed for any collapse in the peace process.