Commentary: No detente in sight for Israel-Palestine
One week in solitary confinement and a fine of EUR 60 euros is the punishment that Marwan Barghouti, a leading member of the secular movement Fatah, has received for urging the Palestinian Authority to immediately end its security cooperation with Israel in a letter released on the 10th anniversary of Yasser Arafat's death. AFP reported that the 55-year-old militant, who is serving a life sentence on five counts of murder related to the second intifada in 2000, called for Palestinians to put up an "overall and armed resistance" against Israel.
For Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, those words are incendiary and could only make the situation worse, risking a new intifada. However, what was genuinely incendiary are the actions, allegedly of Israeli settlers, who set fire to a mosque on the night between 11 and 12 November in the village of al-Mughayr in the West Bank, according to the Italian news agency Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA).
Over the past year, the number of such attacks against Muslim holy places, reportedly by Israeli extremists, have increased significantly in Jerusalem and Trans-Jordania, and many disapprove of the Israel government's failure to prevent them.
Furthermore, Netanyahu’s project to build 200 new houses in Ramot, a Palestinian area, is increasing tensions between the two populations, without taking into consideration the inner conflicts in the Palestinian section.
President Abu Mazen, indeed, has accused Hamas of responsibility for the intimidating aggression against his own party members during the commemoration of Arafat’s death. The new government, created last June after a reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, is already starting to sway.
Resolution of the situation in the Middle East still seems really complicated, and Netanyahu’s and other Israeli rulers' decisions are absolutely not helping to reach a detente.
If the Palestinians' basic human rights to demostrate and freely express their own ideas will continue to be disrespected while attacks by Israeli extremists are tacitly accepted and legitimized, it will be quite difficult for conflicts in the area to end any time soon.
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