The Russian Federation, USA, ONU and EU discuss ways to move ahead after the Israeli government decided to suspend the dismantling of ten illegal colonies.
The document presented to the Israeli and Palestinian authorities on Thursday called for the immediate dismantling of the illegal Israeli colonies in Palestinian territories and called for a halt to the colonisation process in general. By “illegal colonies” the document drawn up by the Quartet means all colonies set up after March 2001 when Ariel Sharon’s right-wing government came to power. Israel immediately proceeded with the destruction of what was described as a “wild colony” near Hebron on the West Bank, which turned out to be a disused trailer.
Ten more illegal colonies were then listed for destruction but Israeli defence Minister Shaul Mofaz decided to halt the process while the juridical situation of these colonies was examined. The decision has caused different reactions with Israel. Efie Eytam, Israel’s Habitation Minister from the ultra-nationalist National Religious Party, declared that “the majority of the colonies which are supposed to be illegal are in fact legal”, congratulating himself on the Defence Minister’s plan. However, Yosef Paritsky, Minister for Infra-Structures of the moderate Sninui Party, expressed his “shock” at the decision, stating that “The wild colonies are illegal and the state should dismantle them independent from any pressure from abroad”.
The question facing the Quartet is how to move forward. The statement “from abroad” is indicative of a feeling among many Israelis and Palestinians that it is they who should be managing their own affairs, not a collection of foreign states.
The plan, which aims to set up the state of Palestine within three years, is currently being discussed by the representatives Andrei Vdovin (Russian Federation), Terie Roed Larsen (UNO), Nicholas Burns (USA) and Miguel Moratinos (EU).
For the guidelines of this plan to be successful, both sides will have to be big enough to give and take.