Who are the rightful land owners and who shall live where is an argument that has stagnated in the Middle East for decades with heads of major Western powers achieving little via peace talks.
Lev Cherkasski has recently toured the region and writes on matters not generally covered in foreign, mainstream media. GC.Ed.
The United Nations Human Rights Council has stopped short of accusing Israel of war crimes following a six-month inquiry into settlement activity in the West Bank. The report found that Israel is pursuing a policy of annexing the Palestinian territories through its policy of settlement expansion, thereby further complicating the creation of a viable future Palestinian state. Asked directly whether or not Israel had committed war crimes, Christine Chanet, one of the authors of the damning report, replied that “its offences fell under Article 8 of the International Criminal Court [‘ICC’] statute. Article 8 of the ICC statute is the chapter of war crimes. That is the answer”. For a body whose sole purpose for existence appears to be bashing Israel, the report has lived up to the expectations of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
To put things into perspective, it is often claimed that Israeli settlements violate international law and their mere existence puts into threat the likelihood of a future Palestinian state. These facts alone might lead the casual observer to take them at face value. What is very often forgotten however, is that Israel has previously offered to dismantle settlements in the West Bank in the event of a future peace deal. Having set the precedent for this in the Sinai withdrawal in 1979 and the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, Israel has proven to be a credible partner for peace when it comes to genuine negotiations and compromise.