The Palestinian leadership, Arab governments and international community condemned the new Israeli settlement plans in Jerusalem. Washington warned these actions are “incompatible with the pursuit of peace”, the Kingdom of Jordan said they violate the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Palestinian leadership warned they further inflame tensions in Jerusalem and will “lead to an explosion”.
However, the Israeli leadership is deaf to Palestinian and international warnings regarding the consequences of settlement activities. Less than three months after implementing with impunity a policy of scorched earth in the Gaza Strip, Israel directs its offensive against Jerusalem, and with similar objectives.
The Israeli regime aims to destroy every expression of Palestinian resistance while it pushes President Mahmoud Abbas to become the head of a demilitarized Palestinian autonomy. As seen from Israeli high windows Abbas has no alternative; he either becomes a collaborator with Israel or he will be marked as an international terrorist.
In this offensive the Israeli police, which have become a militarised force acting in the Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, uses surveillance balloons equipped with cameras and other technological gadgets to repress any form of social unrest in the city.
The police plan to deploy more uniformed and undercover forces at trouble spots and at sensitive times, and to utilise technologies for patrolling, detecting, and preventing unrest.
As part of its offensive, the police have embarked on a major recruiting campaign, hoping to sign up young Israelis for a career in law enforcement. Television, radio, newspaper, and website campaigns have kicked off, emphasising the important responsibility police have in keeping peace in the country, as well as the benefits for which police are eligible.
Vowing a vigilante attitude Nir Barkat, the Israeli mayor of Jerusalem, claims credit for the ongoing offensive.
“At my request, the prime minister has instructed to reinforce the police to be able to operate and carry out operations against rioting, including the addition of personnel and special units, using new technology and increasing intelligence”, said Barkat.
Israeli Housing Minister, MK Uri Ariel (Jewish Home), called upon the internal security minister and police commissioner to allow the State “to broaden the control given to police forces in the field”.
MK Ariel is planning to move into a settlement in Silwan, one of the flash points of tensions in the city.MK Ariel is planning to move into a settlement in Silwan, one of the flash points of tensions in the city.
Despite the peaks of violence reached by Israel during the past year, the Israeli government is not presenting a new political perspective. On the contrary, we are witnessing a return to the 1980’s attempts by General Ariel Sharon to re-engineer Middle East politics and delete the Palestinians as a political actor.
Sharon plans enjoyed at least partial support by Washington, at least at the early 1980s, but they faced major Israeli opposition, especially after the Sabra and Shatila massacre.
Netanyahu does not have the support of the American administration, but he believes there is a window of opportunity as the US administration is too weak ahead of mid-term elections. Netanyahu is also counting on European difficulties in implementing a continental policy and he totally disregards the Arab political stances on the conflict.
Israeli attempts to abuse its perceived window of opportunity render Jerusalem’s Palestinian population as alone as the Palestinian resistance was in Gaza a few months ago. The Palestinian popular committees confront a high-tech and ruthless police force that for the moment won’t stop at anything to impose order in the city.
However, it is also clear that the Israeli police are marching to defeat: their actions will only inflate Palestinian resistance without suffocating the indomitable wish for freedom.