ISRAEL has ruled out peace and even an interim accord with the Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian people, kicking the ‘peace process’ into the gutter.
More than 15 Israeli air strikes on Thursday, Friday and early Saturday destroyed Gaza Strip water, power and roads infrastructure and killed seven Palestinian bystanders.
At the same time Israel extra-judicially assassinated three leading Palestinian anti-occupation activists.
The northern West Bank meanwhile is being cut off.
The ten deaths brought the Palestinian death toll to more than 3,960 since the outbreak of the Al Aqsa Intifada (uprising) against the 38-year-old Israeli occupation on September 28, 2000.
Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom promised a long-term military escalation against the Palestinian population, under the Israeli occupation since 1967.
‘The message cannot be one of silence and restraint. . . we will continue to hunt them everywhere, all the time,’ he told Israel Radio on Thursday.
Israel’s open-ended military escalation is based on the just-proclaimed Israeli policy of ruling out peace with Palestinians in the foreseeable future.
Israel’s Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz on Friday ruled out peace with the current Palestinian leadership, telling the Yediot Aharonot, ‘I doubt very much that one day we can reach a peace accord with the present leadership of the Palestinians. We must wait for the next generation.’
Reviving Israel’s policy toward late President Yasser Arafat, Mofaz tried to disqualify the incumbent President Abbas as an Israeli partner.
‘Abu Mazen (Abbas) is a one-man show,’ Mofaz was quoted as saying. ‘Behind him, there is nothing, only emptiness. Governmental vacuum. In fact, there is no one to talk to.
‘Abu Mazen and his colleagues in the Palestinian leadership. . . haven’t done a thing so far. The Palestinian Authority is not an address for us.’
Mofaz ruled out the Quartet-drafted and UN-adopted ‘Roadmap’ peace plan, which envisages a two-state solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict according to the declared vision of the US President George W Bush.
Bush declared last week that there would be no Palestinian state during his presidency.
Mofaz said: ‘Furthermore, we cannot reach interim agreements and I don’t think that a Palestinian state will see the light of day in the coming years,’ he concluded.
Criticizing Mofaz’s remarks, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said Mofaz’ statements were symptomatic of Israeli contempt for Palestinian institutions, bred by years of Israeli occupation.
‘I don’t think Israel’s problem is with this generation or that generation of Palestinians or this person or that person, Israel’s problem is with the whole Palestinian people,’ Erekat said.