Israel is among the few genuinely democratic societies in the Middle East, but its policies in the west Bank only reveal that a democratic nation can be stupid and warlike. Peace Now, an Israeli based organization, issued a report which clearly proves the present Olmert govenment has been violating agreements and pledges it made to Palestinians and to the United States by refusing to halt construction of new housing on the West Bank. According to Peace Now figures, the Housing Ministry began construction during the January- June period of 433 new settlement housing units which represents double the number built-240- last year in the same period. More than 1000 new buildings representing 2,600 housing units were under construction. Of these, 55% were built on the eastern side of the concrete and steel barrier Israel has built on the West Bank.
According to the US initiated road map to which Israel agreed, new housing construction was to cease. Secretary of State Rice who has arrived in Jerusalem today, has said: “I think it it no secret I have said it to my Israel counterpart that I didn’t think that settlement activity is helpful.” Israel Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni insists “the Israel government’s policy is not to expand settlements, not to build new settlements and not to confiscate Palestinian land.”
Perhaps, the foreign minister might get together with the housing ministry and inform them of her beliefs because either the housing people don’t know about Israel foreign policy or someone is lying. As Peace Now notes, “construction has continued” and “undermines the possibility of a peace agreement.” That is the bottom line.