By : Lama Khater
It is only natural that matters reached this heinous result, i.e. that extremist settler organisations commit terrorist acts in the West Bank and Jerusalem almost on a daily basis.
The settlement project in these two areas has grown and developed significantly over the past few years, especially after the security situation was under control and the resistance operations were forcibly eliminated in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
The small settlements have now become major cities and the actual settlement statistics and figures are much larger than what has been announced. This is to the extent that the term “settlement cancer” is no longer enough to describe the reality of the matter.
It is enough to travel from the south of the West Bank to the north in order to see the reality of this disaster, as you see the settlers’ vehicles crowding all the streets, in astonishing numbers. There is no mountain, hill, or attractive area that does not have settlement housing units built nearby. If not, then the land has already been confiscated and in the process of becoming a settlement.
Since the demand for freezing settlement activity replaced the demand for removing settlements in the peace negotiations, we understood that there is a big deceptive plan underway that is being disregarded. We understood that the idea of a Palestinian state free of settlements has become part of past delusions.
Perhaps the residents of the West Bank and Jerusalem are the ones who are most aware that the Palestinian state has become one big lie because every city or large town in these areas has been faced with an equally sized or larger settlement.
Even if an agreement that obliges Israel to freeze its settlement expansion is reached, there is no chance of removing or dismantling what has already been built.
Israel is perfectly aware of this, as is the international community. However, the victims of this big deception are only those who believe and are counting on diplomatic action to achieve a state, eliminate the settlements, and end the occupation.
The main dilemma in Palestine, specifically in the areas controlled by the PA, is that the Palestinians are required to provide security for the settlements and settlers and ensure that the Palestinian public remains calm and immobilised after every crime committed by the organised Zionist gangs.
How wouldn’t they be organised when they see themselves as being powerful and facing the unarmed Palestinian people in these areas who are unable to ward off attacks and arson attempts on their agricultural land and property, as well as direct physical attacks.
This is happening and it will happen more often in light of the disparity in the balance of power and in light of the growing certainty in the ranks of Israeli observers that the PA is capable of thwarting any angry uprising that may arise after any crime committed by the settlers. It will also increase due to their awareness of how loyal Mahmoud Abbas and the PA are to their security coordination obligations.
The occupation, which is watching and is astonished by the events in the PA areas, will not be concerned or interested in reining in and deterring the extremist settler groups. Why would it when it sees that the work of these groups is contributing to reinforcing the subjugation of the Palestinian consciousness and to establishing the settlement status quo as a fact that cannot be erased?
This is because the highest ceiling of Palestinian demands is freezing settlement activity and the greatest action it will take after any crime is making promises to head to the ICC and intensifying its diplomatic activity.
The only way to remove such distortion from the face of this phase is to remove ourselves from the restrictions imposed at the moment and rise to our duty.
This distortion is considered the worst and ugliest distortion in the history of the Palestinian conflict with the occupation, as this occupation now has a Palestinian arm that is being used both willingly and ignorantly at the same time.
This has allowed the price of the occupation and settlements to be reduced for Israel and its control on the ground has increased, thus leaving nothing left of the deceptive state concept except for tight cantons in which the Palestinians will be crammed.
This is due to the leadership that has mastered the art of repressing the Palestinian will and its aspirations for freedom on an unprecedented level of evil.
International humanitarian law is very clear that occupation must only be temporary; the Israeli settlements are in direct violation of this principle. For instance, the settlements are in breach of Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention, which forbids an occupier from transferring its own civilians into the territory it occupies.
Additionally, according to Article 55 of the Hague Regulations, the occupying power’s role is to safeguard occupied properties and maintain the status quo. (T/P002/RO6)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)