Mohamed Al-Nuseir, who lives in Bethlehem, was shocked to learn on Saturdfay the Israel government was seizing his land in order to build 1,00 units in Jerusalem to house settlers. The decision came on the eve of President Bush’s visit to Israel where his goal was acting as a mediator between the opposing factions. Israel’s move to build more housing in east Jerusalem is apparently based on the view that Bush has relatively scant interest in such issues. In addition to the new housing, the Israel army announced establishment of new checkpoints that hinder the free movement of Palestinians on the West Bank. Last week, ?Fatima Sidr, 32, was forced to give birth in the middle of the street because Israel soldiers at the Hebron checkpoint would not allow her husband to get her to the hospital.
Bush apparently does not believe a Paletinian state can be created this year, but hopes there can be an agreement “on the definition of the Palestinian state.” There is indication Bush will continue allowing West Bank housing until Palestinian authorities halt terrorist attacks. Of course, terrorists can impetus to attack because Palestinians believe their rights are being ignored. As of this point, the only pressure Bush exerts upon Israel is to dismantle illegal outposts that have been built without authorization. Of course, at most, these outposts all together contain less than a thousand people. Any Israel government would be more than happy to exchange these few settlers for the right to continue West Bank settlements.