The efforts of Israel and Palestine may fail if the Israeli leadership continues to expand illegal Jewish settlements, Sergey Melkonyan, a researcher at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told Izvestia.
“So far, the Israeli leadership has not presented an “entry strategy”, but, on the contrary, is raising the stakes. The position of the Israeli leadership on the legalization of existing settlements and the issuance of permits for the construction of new housing units remains uncompromising. This gradually leads to a change in the fragile status quo, which is supported not only by the Palestinians, but also by external actors,” the expert explained.
He also noted that if Israel does not take control of the situation, then a whole range of security problems can await it: lone attacks, mass pogroms, balloons with explosives from Gaza, and then rocket attacks.
“A picture is emerging in which neither the Israeli nor the Palestinian authorities are able to fully control the situation on earth. This could lead to renewed tensions in the direction of Gaza, or even to a new intifada. The current trend suggests that the situation will remain unresolved in the coming weeks. And, of course, in this case, it can reach its peak closer to Ramadan,” the expert added.
Israeli and Palestinian security chiefs met in Jordan on February 26 and held their first high-level talks in years. The main purpose of the meeting was to relieve tension on the eve of the holy month of Ramadan. It arrives on March 22 and just might serve as a catalyst for a wider escalation.
Israel during the summit in Aqaba pledged to suspend the construction of settlements in the West Bank. The joint statement said that the Jewish state will not “discuss the establishment of any new settlements for four months and will cease approving any new settlements for six months.” Jewish settlements in the West Bank, according to international law and UN Security Council resolutions, are considered illegal.
According to the Haaretz newspaper, the signed agreements do not mean that the construction of new settlements is cancelled. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to build more than 7,000 new housing units will come to fruition after a temporary suspension. Israel also, according to the publication, has not given up on the idea of legalizing another nine new settlements built by Jewish settlers without the permission of the Israeli government.
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