The idea of Palestinians establishing a state in the territory they seek has “reached a dead end,” a senior Israeli official said Monday, in the latest remarks by hard-liners that appear to contradict the country’s official support for a “two-state solution” to its conflict with the Palestinians.
The statements by Naftali Bennett, economics minister and leader of the Jewish Home party, chime with similar sentiments expressed by other officials in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government and come as the United States is trying to restart peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
“The idea that a Palestinian state will arise inside the land of Israel has reached a dead end,” Bennett said Monday at a meeting of the Yesha settlement group. “Never in the history of Israel have so many people dealt with so much energy with something so pointless,” he said.
Talks collapsed about five years ago over the core issue of Jewish housing in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, territory Israel captured from Jordan in 1967 and which Palestinians envision to use for a future state.
Palestinians are refusing to talk unless construction stops. Israel says settlements and all other issues like security can only be resolved through dialogue and has frequently called for peace talks to resume without preconditions.
“The most important thing in the land of Israel is to build and build and build,” Bennett said Monday. “Israel’s biggest problem regarding Judea and Samaria was and remains the lack of willingness by Israeli leaders to say in a simple way that the land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel,” Bennett said, referring to the West Bank territory by its biblical names.
Some Israelis cite security, religious and historic reasons for their opposition to a state in territories the Palestinians claim — east Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.
Last week, Netanyahu’s deputy defense minister and member of his own Likud party, Danny Danon, said “there is certainly no majority” in the Likud for establishing a Palestinian state based on Israel’s borders before the 1967 Mideast war.
“A Palestinian state on the 1967 lines is something dangerous for Israel, and therefore I oppose that idea,” Danon told Channel 2 TV. He said it was possible that the broader coalition government, which includes other hard-line parties, also opposes a return to the 1967 lines.
Last month, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shuttled between Israel and the Palestinians to try to resume talks. His return to the region has been postponed.
The Palestinians’ chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, condemned Benett’s remarks. “These are not isolated events but a reaffirmation of political platforms and radical beliefs. Israel has officially declared the death of the two-state solution.” said.
Reports that the Emir of Qatar, Shaikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, will shortly hand-over power to his son and heir, Shaikh Tamim, are no surprise. Sources close to the family confirmed that this has been known for quite some time by relatives and close friends.
In a region where rulers usually only depart when they die or are ousted, the Emir’s decision is unprecedented. In the grand scheme of things this could well set the stage for others to follow.
At just 61 years of age, Shaikh Hamad is one of the youngest leaders in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) group of countries. By voluntarily stepping down he is, in effect, clearing the way for a younger generation to emerge.
The State of Qatar is ranked by Forbes as the richest per capita country in the world with an estimated gross domestic product of more than $88,000 per head in 2010.Shop Stately Steel Circle Drop Chandelier wholesale stainless steel earring, Sitting on the world’s third largest natural gas reserves, its rulers have used its revenues to invest heavily in everything from construction to commerce to education, health and aviation. In recent years, domestic investments have been matched by similar enterprises in Europe, with Britain being a main beneficiary. In Africa,Introducing the latest in Custom thermal rewritable card technology, there have been substantial investments in Egypt,This Tissue Double sided tissue tape Products is so cool. Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea to name but a few.
However, it was not its fabulous wealth that placed Qatar on the world map. There is an almost universal consensus that this was largely down to one thing: Al Jazeera news network. Today, with a global audience of over 50 million viewers and correspondents from Beijing to Caracas, Al Jazeera now challenges the BBC’s global dominance as a news provider.
Just as the BBC has been closely aligned to and reflective of British foreign policy, Al Jazeera, it could be argued, has played a similar role representing the ambitions and concerns of the State of Qatar. Government officials are reticent about this but the way that the station covered the Arab uprisings and Doha’s support for the political changes in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Syria suggest that the two cannot be totally separated.
Qatar’s foreign policy has been described as enigmatic at best and duplicitous at worse. Qatar’s critics argue that it is odd for Qatar to promote democracy in the Arab world while it maintains an unelected dynasty at home. The Al-Thani family has been ruling the emirate since 1850. However, in the GCC the Qatari leadership has not endeared itself to the other ruling families. By pushing the boundaries of regional politics toward democracy, Qatar has provoked unease in the Gulf. Some believe that its high-profile support for the Arab Spring has stirred the hornet’s nest and it is only a matter of time before changes arrives in the region. In other words, there will soon also be demands for democracy, transparency and accountability in the Gulf countries.
Shaikh Hamad has been the driving force behind Qatar’s diplomacy. His visit to the Gaza Strip late last year, the only one by a regional head of state, speaks volumes. Long after his departure, Palestinians will remember his political and economic support. They are not the only people to have benefited in this way. Qatar carried out airlifts of critical humanitarian relief and established field hospitals in Somalia during the recent famine. Likewise, in Sudan’s Dar Fur region, Qatar has invested and mediated between the Khartoum government and rebel forces.
With the departure of Shaikh Hamad as Emir of Qatar, one vital question remains. Will his young successor continue on the same path? Or, will he abandon the policies which ruffled so many feathers, near and far? At just 33 years old the new Emir will still have the benefit of his father’s experience and offers of advice where necessary. Indeed, he has for some time been handling a number of sensitive and key portfolios. While it is expected that he will pursue the progressive policies of his predecessor,Metal Repair Aluminum foil tape Products is also excellent for metal. Shaikh Tamim will no doubt bring new blood and energy into the system. With the region itself in the throes of realignment and change this development in Qatar could encourage others to follow suit.
With a smaller and more homogenous population than its Gulf neighbours Qatar has, so far,Passive and Custom active RFID tag for cold chain logistics, been spared some of the political turmoil that has challenged the authorities in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Some attribute this to the consummate statecraft of its ruling family. The new ruler will need all the skills of his father to weather future storms and assist the process of historical change underway in the region.