THE US SPECIAL envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, who negotiated the basis of the power sharing agreement in the north of Ireland, yesterday postponed a planned visit to Palestine.
This came after Israeli PM Netanyahu’s latest provocative speeches – supporting 1600 new settlement houses to be built in occupied East Jerusalem, and that a number of the area’s holy places were to be Israeli heritage sites. These led to fighting and major clashes around the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem.
Mitchell had intended to begin shuttle diplomacy between the Palestinian President Abbas and Netanyahu, after the Arab states had given permission to Abbas to participate, despite the fact that Israel was still engaged in settlement building.
Netanyahu’s announcement of the new settlement, made while Vice-President Biden was visiting Israel to boost shuttle diplomacy, brought a halt to any diplomatic measures that were being considered.
In fact, there were massive clashes around the Al-Aqsa Mosque as Palestinians sought to protect it from settlers and Israeli police and soldiers, and also clashes in refugee camps all over the West Bank.
Netanyahu’s actions have been condemned by both Biden and US Secretary of State Clinton, and there have been US demands on Netanyahu that he must halt the settlement building, at least until the negotiations get going.
The United States is, in fact, seeking to bolster up the rear of its coming operations against the Iranian revolution, by pacifying sections of the Palestinians and Arab nationalists, by looking as if it intends to establish a Palestinian state.
The US preference is an entity that will be part of a federation with Jordan, allowing Israel to annexe the West Bank settlements and establish Jerusalem as its capital, in exchange for chunks of the Negev Desert being transferred to the Palestinian entity.
Netanyahu is now doing his best to upset these plans since he favours establishing a ‘Greater Israel’ over a much bigger area.
Although he has apologised for the timing of the settlement announcement, Netanyahu has stood by Israel’s policy, telling the Knesset on Monday there can be ‘no curbs’ on Jewish building in Jerusalem.
The effect of this was seen on Monday, when Israel’s ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, told the Israeli media that ties between the US and Israel were at their lowest point since 1975.
Israel and the US falling out is definitely in the interest of the Palestinians, the Arabs , the Iranians and all of the peoples of the Middle East and the Gulf, who will be hoping that the differences deepen.
It also creates the conditions for the launching of the Third Intifada by the Palestinian masses supported by the Arab masses to achieve the establishment of the independent sovereign Palestinian state.
The struggle by the masses in East Jerusalem who have taken to the streets to defend the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the clashes taking place in the towns and cities of the West Bank, such as Hebron, to defend the ‘holy places’ are in fact the opening clashes of the Third Intifada.
The Palestinian state will only be established by revolutionary means, by the masses of Palestine and the Arab world supported by the workers of the world.
The Palestinian state must have East Jerusalem as its capital.
The West Bank must be cleared of all of the settlements and the state must encompass East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian refugees must have the right to return to the homes that they were driven out of, and the state of Palestine must be secular and socialist, where Arabs, Christians and Jews can live side by side in peace.
The world’s trade unions must impose a complete worldwide boycott of all Israeli goods and all goods produced in Israeli settlements, and keep the boycott on until the state is established.
This is the way forward.