Jewish settlement on West Bank – continuation of talks, but impossibility of armistice

Azerbaijan, Baku, June 4 / Trend , U.Sadikhova/

Expanding the Jewish settlements in the West Bank will not cause suspension of the negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis, but experts do not exclude braking of armistice signing between the parties.

"Jewish settlements is an obstacle to establish an independent Palestinian state," Director of Al Quds Center for Political Studies Oraib al-Rantawi told Trend in a telephone conversation from Amman. "So, even if the negotiations on the policy of settlements in the West Bank continue, it is understandable that it will be impossible to sign a truce."

Despite demands of Arab countries and the United States from Israel to cease building Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories in the West Bank, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman during his first official visit to Moscow, said that settlement construction does not obstruct the peace process in the region, the "Vesti" TV channel reported.

"I constantly hear the statement that the settlements in Judea and Samaria are an obstacle to peace. And what was by 1967, when there was not a single Israeli settlement there? Even then, there was no peace," Lieberman told journalists.

However, the Israeli Foreign Minister stated that he was ready to resume peace talks with the Palestinians, the Israeli Haaretz newspaper reported.
 
Al-Rantawi believes that if the settlements hinder the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, how it is possible to advance in the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians.

"Any negotiations in the region aims to achieve existence of two states, Jewish and Palestinian," he said. "If the settlements are an obstacle to this, how can we advance the peace process in the region?"

U.S. President Barack Obama at a meeting with the head of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Washington said that the construction of settlements in the territories where Palestinians want to establish an independent state should be stopped, because one of the points of the road map is stop of the settlement policy.

The total number of settlers in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is a half million, and the number of settlements is 121, RIA Novosti reported.

Israel's governing coalition intends to expand the settlements by 40 percent, the Israeli media reported.

However, analysts doubt that the Arab countries will refuse from the negotiations due to expanding the construction.

British Expert on Middle East Chris Doyle believes that earlier, Palestinians continued the negotiations with Israel without stopping the construction. "They have actually continued the negotiations with the Palestinians without the freezing the settlements last 16 years," Head of the Council for Arab-British Understanding (CAABU) Doyle told Trend in a telephone conversation from London.

Doyle added that they have done, so the Olmert administration, despite the Israeli commitment to freeze the settlements it never happened and yet there are talks between Palestinians and Israelis.

"The problem is now that the peace process is delayed, but there are not any results," Doyle said.

He does not exclude that these settlements are going to be troubles on the independent Palestinians state and the end of the.

But observers believe that political unity in the Palestinian government is an important fact in the peace process.

Expert of the Israeli Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies Hillel Frisch thinks that Palestinian interior split between the governing Fatah party and opposition Hamas has a negative impact on the peace process.

"The Palestinian division is more serious than the Jewish settlements that is the much more problem, so if [Mahmoud] Abbas takes something, the other [Hamas] doesn't accept."

Member of the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations Raymond Tanter agrees with this opinion and believes that as long as there is a separation of political authority within the Palestinian community between the West Bank and Gaza and the Iranian regime supports Hamas in Gaza with arms and funding, there are no viable peace talks.

The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, which is supported by Iran and the Lebanese party Hezbollah, controls the Gaza Strip since the summer of 2007, after the expulsion of the ruling Fatah forces from the enclave.

Despite several rounds of negotiations of Fatah and Hamas under Egypt's mediation to establish the government of a national unity, the parties have so far been unable to agree.

"Hamas is unlikely to compromise with the Palestinian Authority. So settlement expansion is not as important as the influence of Tehran in blocking the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians," Professor and Analyst of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy Tanter wrote to Trend in an email.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the main allies of the U.S. in the Middle East, after the latest Israeli attacks on Gaza in January, urged Hamas to stop the flow of Iranian weapons into the enclave.

Mahmoud Abbas at a news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the March in Ramallah also urged Iran to stop interfering in the internal politics of Palestine.

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