Haaretz (Editorial)
February 2, 2009 - 1:00am

The news that Israel has invested close to NIS 200 million in Mevasseret Adumim, a new Jewish neighborhood east of Jerusalem where 3,500 housing units are slated to be built, reveals the real intentions of the outgoing government. As Amos Harel reported in Haaretz yesterday, for the past two years, Israel has invested massive amounts of money on infrastructure for the construction of housing units to create a contiguous bloc between Ma'aleh Adumim and East Jerusalem.

Over the past decade, the U.S. government has objected to any Israeli construction in the area. But even more worrying than the harming of U.S. interests or the pouring of public funds into a project whose future is uncertain are the serious contradictions between the government's declared policies and its actions. Most disturbingly, the construction reveals that the government sought to entrench the Israeli occupation of the West Bank at the same time that it spoke about reaching a settlement with the Palestinians.

During his tenure as prime minister, Ehud Olmert held extensive talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni engaged in parallel negotiations with Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qureia. The ostensible aim of those talks was to reach an agreed settlement - but now that has turned out to be a ruse. As his term neared its end, Olmert made some of the bravest declarations ever by a prime minister about the need to end the occupation and reach an agreement - but now that has turned out to be a fraud. As he talked and talked, and the negotiations dragged on and on, the government did the opposite of what it said its aim was.

The only purpose of Mevasseret Adumim is to break up the West Bank, ruin ties between Jerusalem and Ramallah, and wreck the last chance of reaching a peaceful settlement.

One cannot talk about a two-state solution while doing everything to thwart any chance that it will come to be. One cannot talk about ending the occupation while keeping on building in the West Bank. Actions, after all, speak louder than words.

The chances of creating a Palestinian state amid the Jewish settlements in the West Bank are dim even without the added complication of Mevasseret Adumim. Such government hypocrisy and contradictions between stated policies and actions need to be halted before the new U.S. administration gets involved. If you want peace, you don't invest in the construction of Mevasseret Adumim.


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