The people of Israel for half a century have sought in vain to encounter Arab groups which seek peace rather than violence. Ironically, finally, the long desired event has come true with the emergence of President Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the Palestinian Authority, who has demonstrated a desire for peace. So, what happens when peace if possible? The Israel government decides to pursue the desire for land and politics over the desire for peace. Abbas dismissed an offer by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to implement a temporary freeze in housing settlements in the West Bank for ten months as a ploy since it still would allow housing to go on in Jerusalem. Actually, even as Netanyahu was announcing a “freeze,” Defense Minister Barak was authorizing further housing.
One is left with the impression either those in the Israel government do not know what is the policy or that Prime Minister Netanyahu is playing word games. As Abbas put it succinctly, “the Israel minister had to choose between peace and occupation.” The ball is in the court of Israel, which game will it decide to play-peace or continued impasse?