An analyst says Israel is ‘absolutely not’ interested in peace as Tel Aviv’s violation of peace agreements, attacks on Palestinians and continual construction of new settlements in the occupied territories clearly indicate.
The comment comes as Last month; Israeli officials said they would go ahead with plans to build 6,500 settler units on Palestinian territory despite the opposition of the United Nations and the international community.
The presence and also the continued expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine are major obstacles for the efforts to establish peace in the Middle East.
More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds in 1967.
The UN and most countries regard the Israeli settlements as illegal because the territories were captured by Israel in a war in 1967 and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbids construction on occupied lands.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Hani al-Bassous to further discuss the issue. He is joined by Abdallah Abdallah with the Palestinian Legislative Council and reporter and political analyst Maxine Dovere.
What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.
Well, what about that Mr. al-Bassous, now Mr. Abdullah is saying that the youth are taking basically this action now in their own hand and they’re very enthusiastic. How likely is Israel going to allow them to stay out there much longer?
Well, I don’t think the Israeli army will let those people to stay there for a long time. We understand from the beginning that the occupation forces in Palestine have violated international law and are building more settlements in Palestine especially in the West Bank and mainly in Jerusalem al-Quds, for the past years this was accelerated as a process after the establishment or after the acknowledgment of a Palestinian state as a non-member state at the UN.
Now we can only understand the only way to stop the Israeli settlement is Palestinian youth and Palestinian young people who can stand to defend the Palestinian land in West Bank and everywhere in Palestine.
The occupation forces have never listened to the Palestinians. For the past many years we can understand that the settlements were the main obstacles for peace and now we can understand that the Israeli occupation forces would like to build more settlements not to give the Palestinian people any chance to establish their own state in the West Bank and Gaza strip as it’s been recognized by the UN.
And we can understand at the same time the UN itself and the United States and many European countries have done nothing to stop the Israeli settlements and I think now what has been left for the young Palestinian people is to take an action, such an action is to resist and to protest.
We can understand at the same time that all the Palestinian young people have been doing for the past 2 days are nonviolent protests in Jerusalem and the West Bank against the Israeli policy and building some tents as a protest against the Israeli policy to build new settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem al-Quds. This action by the Palestinian people might turn to violence because the Israeli army will not stop settlements.
Mr. al-Bassous, your take on what Miss Dovere has said? According to international law these settlements are illegal but she says that people are living there now so it’s something that needs to be discussed if it’s really legal or illegal; your take Sir?
Well, I think even if those people living there those are settlers; they live at the expense of Palestinian land and expense of the rights of the Palestinian people it’s an illegal act; it’s an illegal activity; it does not matter if they live there for one day or they live there for one hundred years-it’s still against international law and this is not acceptable.
We can understand now the UN general assembly has accepted Palestine as a state on 1967 border and this includes the whole Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem and we can see that many settlements were built and expanded and new settlements are still being built in the West bank and Jerusalem.
This is a violation of international law and it does not matter if your guest in New York accepts the fact that people living in settlements would make it legal. This is not legal. It’s illegal; a de-facto situation even if it’s been built here for fifty years it does not change the situation.
We can understand as Palestinians that the state of Israel was established in 1948 at the expense of the rights of the Palestinian people and if you occupied all Palestine 1967 this does not make a sate at the expense of the Palestinian people.
We can understand that we have 6 million Palestinian refugees that would come back to Palestine and live in their own land one day and as I said again the Palestinian people would have the right to protest in the West Bank and would have the right to go back to live in the West Bank, in Jerusalem and everywhere they come from and the international law has to come to a point in which we can take such people into the court. International humanitarian law has to be implemented otherwise what’s going on nowadays is illegal.
Your take Mr. al-Bassous on this, our guest in New York says that basically Israel wants to live in peace; however in your perspective the actions that it’s showing and has shown does it show that it has respect for Palestinians; can live in peace and wants to live in peace in your perspective?
Absolutely not. I think Israel and the Israeli occupation forces do not want peace; they do not like peace at all. We have the chance since 1993; since they signed also an agreement with the PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization] to establish a Palestinian state and to establish peace and prosperity and to have security.
But we have witnessed for the past twenty years now we have witnessed violation of the Palestinian rights; violation of the peace agreements; an attack on the Palestinian people in Gaza, in the west Bank building new settlements; building settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem; all these are violations of the Palestinian rights how can we understand peace by what the Israeli government is doing nowadays and I think with the support of the international community...