Tag Archives: road map

Illegal West Bank Outposts Must Go, Says Olmert

Prime Minister Olmert of Israel emphatically told his ministers that all illegal outposts on the West Bank must be dismantled as soon as possible. He termed the outposts, which were build withoout authorization by government authorities, to be a “disgrace” which should be remedied as soon as possible in order to put Israel in accordance with the road map laid out for peace negotiations with Palestinians. His comments came days after President Bush had commented those installations “ought to go” for the future of peace. Olmert told his colleagues, that Bush, “repeated the absolute commitment of the US that no agreement between us and the Palestinians can be implemented on the ground before the full implementation of the road map both in Gaza and the West Bank.”

Israel’s government has a choice– give up a few dozen scattered outposts that mainly provide home to a few hundred people or give up possession of housing that provides homes for 250,000 Jewish settlers. It is clear the Olmert government is going to protect the existing West Bank settlements and will not pay much attention to the needs of a few hundred settlers. The question ignored by Bush and Olmert is why should Palestinian leaderes accept loss of land to settlers who initially entered territory that was not part of the original state of Israel carved out by the UN?

End Settlement Expansion Declares President Abbas

Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas told a donors conference that Israel must make significant changes in West Bank settlements if there is to be a chance for peace. “I’ll be eager to implement all our commitments,” he claimed,”under the road map and I expect the Israel side to do the same comprehensively, and without excuses by them. I expect them to stop all settlement activities without exception.” The strong words reflected the increasing feeling among Palestinian authorities that something must be done to have specific accomplishments as soon as possible. Many economists believe the Palestinian economy needs an end to restrictions in order to get farm production back to prior levels and to ensure that people are working, not being idle. Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livnia emphasized to the group that creation of a “Palestinian state is in Israel’s interest.”

The continued economic depression among Palestinians does not benefit either side in the conflict. Idleness only encourages people to spend their time listening to voices of discord. A healthy and vibrant Palestinian economy only stands to benefit the chances for peace. Donors have promised over a billion dollars of aid including over $500 million from the United States.