Israelis plan new Colonies, Oil Drilling, on Palestinian Land during “Peace Talks”

The current round of so-called peace talks between Israel and Palestine is marked by so much bad faith on the part of the Israelis that only the corruption and perfidy of the Mahmoud Abbas government in the West Bank can explain why the Palestinians should subject themselves to such exploitation and humiliation.

Israel just issued tenders for over 1,700 new homes for Israelis on the Palestinian West Bank. The plan will involve demolishing Palestinian residences. This, at a time when Israel and the Palestinians are supposedly engaged in good faith negotiations that might end in a Palestinian state. At this rate, where would you even put one? (Another 3,000 such Israeli squatter homes are planned).

h/t Peace Now

Israel is planning to dig for oil in the Occupied West Bank, in violation of the Oslo Accords and of the laws governing military occupations. Israel is likewise preventing Palestinians in Gaza from developing their offshore natural gas resources.

The government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is planning to build a ‘security wall’ along the border of Palestine with Jordan. This infrastructure is designed to secure Israel’s security presence along the Jordanian border, where it has no business being, far into the future, yet again detracting from Palestinian sovereignty.

Israel this week destroyed two “residential buildings in Beit Hanina village and 2 rooms in Jabal al-Mukaber neighbourhood” in East Jerusalem, leaving 33 Palestinian civilians homeless” , adding more displaced to the some 400 who have lost their homes in Palestinian Jerusalem in 2013 alone.

Israeli squatters on the Palestinian West Bank in Migdalim just sent bulldozers to the Palestinian village of Qusra, in order to annex more land to the Israeli squatter settlement.

Militant Israeli squatters uprooted and burned 121 olive and almond trees in Nablus and Bethlehem.

38 Responses

    • “Extremist political stances and the hardening of ideological positions have prevented any progress in the peace process. The frustration caused by this has led to the development of an increasingly radical stance among adults.

      The censorship of the press has contributed to this hardening of attitudes by preventing the publication of facts which often may be useful in the search for peace.

      At the same time, religious feelings have been exploited or manipulated with a view to fostering fanaticism. Fidelity to the homeland and all hope of peace are stifled in fratricidal struggles and extremism. We can only deplore this assault on what is most sacred and intimate to the individual, and to human society.”

      p.9, Pastoral Letter of HB Msgr. Michel Sabbagh, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, on the Feast of Pentecost, 1990.

  1. To add Israel has been continuing to violate Lebanese territory. In the past couple of weeks their has been at least 3 airspace violations and 2 land violations by the army. The most recent violation was yesterday in which Israeli jets violated Lebanese airspace three separate times: link to

    Israel has also rejected US settlement plans for the border of the Lebanese/Israeli economic zone block 9: link to

    What with the air strike against a Palestinian tunnel, and the recent air strike again in Syria, it seems quite clear that Israel has no plans for Palestinian, or regional peace and instead just wants to carve out a greater Israel.

  2. Can we finally stop perpetuating the myth that the government of Israel wants peace with the Palestinians?

    Can we finally face the fact that the US government puts on sham peace talks, spies on it’s citizens, condones, aids and abets the looting of the national commons and is doing nothing to protect the human population from global climate change?

    If we can pull our heads out of our butts long enough to admit these things, maybe we can get something moving in the direction of sanity. But hey, I’m an optimist.

    • Abbas and Olmert were reportedly incredibly close to a peace deal but a small disagreement caused the whole deal to fall through. There had been progress with Olmert.

      The Oslo Accords were the product of the First Intifada. Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was lauded as Israel’s greatest hero in a poll largely to his efforts in seeking a lasting peace.

      The Gaza disengagement was the product of the Second Intifada. PM Ariel Sharon received international praise for this effort.

      Unless there is some exigency that PM Netanyahu faces, it is very doubtful that he shall seek peace. He will simply mollify the U.S. by holding peace negotiations but make offers he knows that the Palestinian Authority will deem unacceptable. He then perpetuates the status quo – which is his goal.

  3. This is clearly against international law, like all the Israeli settlements and annexations since 1967, step by step completing a ethnical “clean” Israel.

    The key to lasting peace in Israel/Palestine lies, of course, in the US, and the gathering of an international conference creating a Arab-Israeli-Palestinian Union, AIP, modelled on the EU (long suggested by peace researcher Johan Galtung). For mutual interest and benefit. Changing the warrior mind and state into cooperation and commerce.

    Now, a great part of the US decent and enlightened Jewish community are ashamed of the racist policy of the Israeli government and the apartheid opinions in Israel.

    Björn Lindgren

    • “… creating a Arab-Israeli-Palestinian Union, AIP, …”

      Given the racism that is now so much embedded in Israel such a union could never work.

      • Hi Bill Bodden,

        If your point of departure is “such a union could never work,” then it surely cannot be done.

        On the other hand, each group and country involved in the conflict has legitimate and unlegitimate goals and interests. A conference, where the region gets help from “outside,” can sort among these in a constructive way.

        It is obvious that neither the Palestinian Authority nor the Israeli government or Knesset can do this on their own or together. They need help from a Conference involving UN, EU (now making distance from US/Israel), Russia (look at what happened with the Syria agenda), and maybe even Iran (searching for regognition)?

        Germany and France had millions of dead, wounded, and mutilated between themselves after WWII. Not to mention hate. They had had (too) many wars between themselves.

        French foreign minister Robert Schuman proposed a European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) on 9 May 1950 as a way to prevent further war between France and Germany. The Treaty would create a common market for coal and steel among its member states which served to neutralise competition between European nations over natural resources, particularly in the Ruhr.

        Nobody should say this can’t be done in the Middle East/Israel-Palestine. But it takes persons with integrity and vision to do this.

        Hate and prejudice will always exist, but they are ghosts thriving on fear and our worst insticts. Given a great vision and a path of constructive solutions, including all peoples involved, fear can be shattered, and step by step be dismanteled altogether, and turned into mutual trust and security.

        The greatness of M.K. Gandhi was that he asked for the impossible.

        We should do that too.

        Cheers, Björn

        • Bjorn:

          You make a good point referring to the early developments of the European Union, but there is a difference between France and Germany then and the Israelis and the Palestinians now. There was a great impetus in France and Germany to move on from their old prejudices. Given recent polls in Israel, anti-Palestinian racism is as prevalent there as it was in America’s Deep South prior to the civil rights revolution in the 1960s. As recent reports indicate, Israelis can overcome their anti-Arab prejudices when alliances with Saudi Arabia and Egypt are to their benefit.

          Re an earlier thread that is no longer open. Your comment about Sweden’s lurch to the right helps to explain why Julian Assange doesn’t want to go anywhere near that country.

        • An economis basis for Israeli-Palestinian cooperation is not unprecedented.

          The highly successful Oasis Casino in Jericho employed Arabs and was frequented primarily by Israeli Jews. It was a model of economic cooperation that benefitted both sides.

          It was closed down during the Second Intifada and became the source of a corruption probe involving allegations of bribery – nevertheless the general concept was laudable and profitable.

      • You would have said the same thing about the American South in the days of segregation.

        The problem is rather this type of comment that argues that “Israel will never change so why try”.

    • “The key to lasting peace in Israel/Palestine lies, of course, in the US,…”

      The key to a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace does not lie in the US. Too much is made of the US’s influence, in the Near East and elsewhere. Egypt, Libya, and Syria should provide sufficient enough examples to dispel the fanciful notion that the United States can bend forces to its will and “make things happen.” There will be no lasting peace until both of the parties themselves decide they want peace.

      As long as one or both of the parties persists in imposing a hardline on the other, peace will not be achieved. Peace, like development and democracy, is only achieved when the parties themselves want it. Neither the United States, nor the European Union, nor Russia, nor anyone else can do it for them.

      • “The key to a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace does not lie in the US.”

        It would be more accurate to say, “The key to a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace does not lie ONLY in the US.”

        Given the Israel lobby and its agents in Congress and the media, the US is a factor, if not the only one.

        • I agree that the US is a factor, but it is only one factor, and not even the most important one. What I object to is the idea that the US is the one indispensable element required to bring about peace between Israel and Palestine. I object on two grounds.

          A. Such thinking way overestimates the ability of the US to force others to comply when they do not share the US vision and have their own agendas.

          B. Even more important, such thinking denies the parties–the Israelis and Palestinians–any agency to act on their own behalf. It lets each party off the hook when things don’t turn out to either party’s satisfaction, and they (both of them) respond by blaming the US for their own failure. This has happened time and again.

          Thus, I am convinced that peace will not be achieved until and unless both parties really want negotiations to succeed. The US cannot do it for them.

      • @Bill:

        It was a U.S. citizen, Ralph Bunche, who negotiated the 1949 Arab-Israeli armistice agreement that created the “Green Line”.

        The U.S. was instrumental in helping negotiate cease-fire agreements in 1956, 1967, and 1973 and of course, the Camp David Accords several years later.

        The European Union, as well as America, is likely to play a key role in any final peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians.

        • I am well aware of the history of the Israeli-Arab/Palestinian history of armistices and cease-fires, and the United States’ role in each. That’s not the issue under discussion. Those Armistice and cease-fire agreements do not come close to the effort required to gain mutual agreement on the establishment of a viable Palestinian state. That is something neither the US, nor the EU, nor Russia, nor anyone else can accomplish for the two parties. It will only happen if both Israel and the Palestinians genuinely will it to happen.

          The US and the EU will have a role, but the major role will be played by Israel and the Palestinians, if it is to result in a successful conclusion. If they are not genuinely engaged, it will not happen, regardless of US and EU efforts.

  4. Israel has been violating the laws governing military occupation for 46 years. Israeli governments have been committed to building housing settlements on the West Bank from the beginning, with the goal of creating irreversible “facts on the ground” that they have no intention of removing.

    The official United States position has always been to oppose the settlements, but each administration, Republican and Democratic, has done nothing that would actually put a bite on Israel. Instead, our leaders talk about there being “no daylight” between the US and Israel.

    This is a case of the US working against its own best interests. The much-maligned US State Department recognized this in 1948 when, under Secretary of State George C. Marshall, it recommended to President Truman to withhold official recognition of the new Israeli state. Marshall and the State Department understood that Israel represented a foreign object in the fabric of the Arab Near East. Unfortunately, Truman succombed to the forces pushing for recognition. Israel has had its way with the US ever since, save for the cojones displayed by President Eisenhower when he forcefully denounced the joint British-French-Israeli invasion of Egypt in 1956 and made them pull back.

    In terms of US interests alone, our unequivocal support of Israel has been disastrous. Our interests lie as much or more with the Arab World as they do with Israel. And that means we should maintain decent relations with Egypt under the current military run government, as well as Saudi Arabia and other states that may not have pristine examples of democratic governments. There are those who think the US uses Israel as its “cat’s paw” in the Arab World. We do not. Israel is a foreign policy burden, not a boon, for the US in the region.

  5. Professor Cole, isn’t this an outdated map? It still shows settlements in Gaza, which suggests it probably doesn’t show all the recent colonizing efforts in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

  6. A very important summary, indeed!

    See also Jonathan Cook’s latest on Israeli oil-drilling right on the green line that is — very, very likely — drawing oil from under the West Bank into Israel’s pockets:

    Jonathan Cook: Israeli investors had reason to celebrate last month with the news that Israel may soon be joining the club of oil-producing states. Only one cloud looms on the horizon. It is unclear how much of this new-found oil wealth actually belongs to Israel. The Meged 5 oil field extends over a very large area, possibly 250 sq km, with much of the reserves believed to lie under Palestinian territory in the West Bank. PA officials refer to it as part of Israel’s “theft of Palestinian national resources”.

    ARTICLE: link to

    • ” The Meged 5 oil field extends over a very large area, possibly 250 sq km, with much of the reserves believed to lie under Palestinian territory in the West Bank.”

      If so, then Israel will just expropriate this land also, and John Kerry will read from one of Hillary Clinton’s cue cards that this action “is not helpful to the peace process.”

      • Thanks

        John Kerry will read from one of Hillary Clinton’s cue cards that this action “is not helpful to the peace process.”

  7. The right thing would be for the world’s nations to embrace multi-religious tolerance and to make Jews everywhere feel safe and secure. The wrong thing is to think this is a Jewish problem or an Arab problem.

    The tragedy is that both groups deserve a great deal of respect. I think the Israelis behave in a manner that is not acceptable, but compared to what people have done in other parts of the world, it is quite remarkable that they do not resort to greater violence. True, the theft of land and water is illegal under international law, but I get the sense they steal only what they need. Sometimes a bit zealous!

    True, there is racism in all that Israel does, but it seems to be born out of the need for survival, not greed, not in the most part.

    The Palestinians also show enormous resilience. They are under constant threat of annihilation, yet they persevere, many seek higher education however they can.

    Both groups have a cohesiveness that speaks volumes about the results of millennium of civilization. This is a rare resource, and it should be preserved.

    I wonder what would happen if Greater Palestine were to become wealthy and secure, including both Arabs and Palestinians. Would these people have the mindset necessary to adapt to our changing climate? (Kudos to Dr. Cole for his frequent columns about renewable energy, which is the challenge of our time, and which offers social disruption comparable to the Black Death.)

    There are enormous tracts of land now considered too cold to settle, but that will change, and I think more rapidly than anyone dares to state publicly. Isn’t there a solution out there that might require new thinking, but would preserve both cultures and even allow them to become friends again?

    • You do not get to “steal only what they need”. Israel is a rich country stealing from an impoverished people.

      It is this mindset that is the problem. The Holocaust is long past, there is nowhere in the world where the Jews are at risk of another Holocaust. We need to stop excusing their behavior. What they are doing is racist and it is a crime.

      • I am in full agreement with you. James is too willing to give the Israelis a free pass. The Holocaust has been used too often to justify all the wrongs the Israelis are doing in Palestine.

        To my knowledge, the Palestinians were NOT responsible for the Holocaust, it was the Europeans; if there was ever a case to install a European colony of Jews fleeing the Holocaust, the place was a portion of Germany, not Palestine.

        But that ship has sailed and the Israelis have shown themselves to be ruthless land and resource grabbers…there are no two ways about it…you only have to look at the time sequence of the maps that Prof. Cole has posted so often.

        Finally, personally, I think the time for a two state solution is gone….thee will eventually be a single state perhaps rising from the ashes of an ‘apartheid’ like Israeli state…I am sorry for being very negative, but this is of course my humble opinion.

    • “… . True, the theft of land and water is illegal under international law, but I get the sense they steal only what they need. Sometimes a bit zealous!…” You lack “sense” re: “only what they need”. If that was sarcasm it didn’t come across as such. If it was sincere I found it repulsive.

    • Hi James Speaks,

      Yes, Jews should be welcome! And muslims and Christians leaving Syria, and Egypt, too. Not to forget Afghanis and Iraqis. (Sweden have given shelter and asylum to far more Iraqis than mighty, big U.S.A.)

      This morning, I listend to an interesting radio program at the Swedish Radio, SR. In the program, young Jewish women and men were interviewed because they had left Israel/Palestine to permanently live in Berlin(!). How come?

      They said that they felt safe there, could enjoy a cosmopolitan cultural scene, and enjoyed living in a city with so many “free” (low rent flats) and other facilities. Of course, the knew about the Third Reich and the Holocaust, but they didn’t bother to look closer at that.

      What they didn’t touch, however, was that they also left Israel because they saw no future in an apartheid state. (Any Jew in Israel with their senses in order, keep double citizenship and passorts, just in case.) And maybe, they would not like their (future) young serve in the Israeli armed forces, for three years I think, subjugating Palestinians, and getting brutalized.

      It is good to remember, that before the WWII, Palestinian peasants (Arab and Christian) lived peacefully together with their fellow poor Jewish neighbors in Palestine.

      Since then, especially since 1967 when Israelis became occupiers and perpetrators, Israel goes like a blind planet towards what I and many others would describe as a catastrophe. A second Nakba?

      About one hundred years ago, one million, a quarter of the Swedish population, emigrated to America. Because of poverty, lack of opportunity, religious and political reasons.

      Again to day, we live in times of global migration.

      Björn Lindgren

    • So the Israelis ‘steal only what they need’ – that’s OK then. Always assuming, of course, that the Palestinian owners don’t ‘need’ it.

      You might have a different view if it was your home or land or livelihood that was being stolen for someone else’s ‘need’.

      Extract your head – what’s going on is ethnic cleansing, pure and simple.

  8. “True, the theft of land and water is illegal under international law, but I get the sense they steal only what they need. Sometimes a bit zealous!”

    Among the Jews who moved into Palestine early in the 20th century there were many who were content to live in peace with their Palestinian neighbors. Not so a significant number who had the intention of transferring all Palestinians out of the Palestine Territories. Their descendants are now in charge and continuing the same mission.

    Stealing only what you need is still a crime.

    • Do Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein “steal only what they need”? Merkel? Our various military officers caught (or not) with their hands in the till, or outstretched for a little gratuity or whatever? link to

      What they NEEEEED? or what they WANT? With a certain insatiability, across the Game Board…

  9. When you don’t have to answer to anyone and are protected by a superpower like the US, why worry about the lives of powerless Palestinians and their property.

  10. George W. Bush fatuously asserted that the 9-11 terrorists attacked us because they hate our freedoms”. They attacked us because we (the U.S.) supports the reprehensible Israeli government commits atrocities like these!

  11. Israel’s every action should, if it has not by now, prove to the world that Israel has no desire for peace, at least a peace that would require her to give up any of their stolen occupied land. The so-called “negotiations” are a farce and when the fall apart israel and their US lawyers will be quick to point the finger of blame at the Palestinians.

    There is only one way to bring the Zionist project to its knees. Boycott, divestment and sanctions to ensure that Israel is known as an apartheid pariah state.

  12. Re Israel.

    It is not acceptable to steal. There is no legal basis for their actions. Their behavior at the negotiating tables, and away, is reprehensible. No excuses. I get it. (I have always gotten it.)

    Never have been a supporter of Israel. Have always been the gadfly who tells other, nice, white, Christians here in the South that Palestinians are people, that they have rights, and that Zionism as a religious doctrine is reprehensible. I tell this to their faces. They become angry. Good.

    It is not permissible to steal only what Israel needs. I get that.

    My point is that they are resilient.

    The Palestinians are resilient.

    This conflict, that Israel perpetuates for the purpose of stealing more land, must end. Both sides will lose.

    My point is that these resilient people need to see beyond the borders and find new, common ground. Literally.

    • “Both sides will lose.”

      One perpetual problem is choosing the right magnification in looking at social pathogens under the macroscope. I can’t find it right now, but there was an interesting article, I believe in the old “Economist” that discoursed upon the “business relations,” between Palestinians and Israelis, at the higher and also less visible levels. It seems that “side” is meaningless when wealth transfer is afoot — Palestinian Top Dawgs happy to have “their people” working, with a little trinket received, as serfs for a significant set of Evil Israeli “business interests,” Israelis happy to drink tea and shake hands with Evil Palestinians. Not in a “peace process” fraud, but “it’s just business.”

      If one looks close, under higher magnification and less polarized light, and follows the shameless slime trails of money and “relationships” across the map, can one make out any set of “national interests” that mean anything other than that the “ordinary people” get screwed, whichever side of the Line they happen to be born on? There’s your true “universal,” I think… But then, all “serious policy discussions” just have to be based on the larger personifications, don’t they? Given that a paragraph of text can only contain a very few ideas, no matter how misleading?

      • It is clear to me that when wealth generation is distributed, i.e. family farms, small manufacturing, independent fishermen, that social equality follows. When wealth is concentrated, i.e. Saudi Arabia, Google, US government defense contracts, that regardless of the political system, abuses grow.

        My point is that there is literally common ground, north of the 45th parallel, that would provide an escape route for beleaguered, resilient people. To settle there requires resilience, and faith.

  13. “This, at a time when Israel and the Palestinians are supposedly engaged in good faith negotiations that might end in a Palestinian state. At this rate, where would you even put one? (Another 3,000 such Israeli squatter homes are planned).”

    Where would you even put one. Bingo. Two state solution is over. Israel has slammed that door shut. One state, one person, one vote. Israel’s apartheid state has become apparent to millions.

  14. The US has been back rebuilding ties, massaging on ‘enduring relationship’ and promising to protect the Arab world/regimes, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Jordan, etc, presumably against Iran and their own citizens/subjects, but it seems none of it is extended towards Palestine or the Palestinians, and Israel will forever be king. The 2 state solution or Palestinian cause seems dead…

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