Israel stands at a momentous time in its history when an opportunity for peace with Arab nations is now possible. However, to seize the ring of reconciliation will require imagination and trust on the part of the nation’s leaders. Unfortunately, the Netanyahu government is more concerned with votes and politics than their nation’s security. His Cabinet agree with the prime minister that construction of hundreds of new houses in the West Bank would begin even as Israel promised the American government there would be a settlement housing freeze.
Netanyahu has made clear housing construction will continue in east Jerusalem. As one Israel government official commented: “the postponement in construction is a strategic delay. We won’t give up on building in Jerusalem and will still build hundreds of construction units.” These are not the words of peace. Continued housing construction in the west bank and east Jerusalem make it difficult for moderate Muslim leaders to win over their people. Israel will construct houses on illegally seized land and proclaim it is necessary to achieve peace. Of course, the houses will hinder peace.