Settlements Will Continue to Determine Israel's Future

The government will do anything it can to sabotage the talks with the Palestinians. There is no other way to interpret the recent approval of 878 new housing units in secluded West Bank settlements.

Haaretz.
Haaretz Editorial
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Haaretz.
Haaretz Editorial

The government will do anything it can to sabotage the talks with the Palestinians. There is no other way to interpret the Civil Administration’s endorsement of plans to build 878 new housing units in secluded West Bank settlements. The government will also forge ahead with creating facts on the ground, just in case the talks get under way. The addition of 91 settlements to Israel’s national priority areas attests to this.

Saeb Erekat, head of the Palestinian negotiation team, has warned that the construction in the West Bank jeopardizes the direct negotiations scheduled to open in Jerusalem on Wednesday. Meanwhile, a State Department spokeswoman has said the United states does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity and opposes any effort to legalize outposts.

But the Israeli government is not impressed. It sees itself as a victim of diplomatic rape intended to end the dream of a Greater Land of Israel. The government is determined to battle anyone seeking to thwart this dream.

If there's any need for further proof of the government’s derangement, it's the decision not to sign the scientific cooperation agreement with the European Union as long as the agreement is restricted to the 1967 borders. Israel is the only country outside the European Union that was invited to join, but what's NIS 1.5 billion - the sum Israel will lose if it doesn't sign? And what does the government care if vital research fields are crippled as long as the delusion of the Greater Land of Israel is protected?

The cabinet members are not the only partners to these dangerous decisions. The opposition, whose voice has not been heard, is also a partner, legitimizing these decisions by its very silence. The silence of the academic community and research institutions is also inexplicable; after all, they know how to raise a hue and cry against slashes in research budgets or wages.

"We want to find a creative solution that lets Israel sign the agreement," an official who attended an urgent meeting called by the prime minister told Haaretz.

But there is no creative solution, wink or bluff that can prevent the tightening closure on Israel. It seems the settlements will continue to determine Israel's future.

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