Bearing Witness

PLO office: Israel failed to implement all Road Map obligations after Annapolis

Since parties renewed their Road Map commitments at that Annapolis conference last November Israel has not fulfilled even one of their obligations, according to a report released Friday by the negotiations affairs department of the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

The report records serious violations during the first nine months following the meetings in the United States, which were intended to kick-start a process for peace by 2009.

Despite US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s eight visits to the region since the Annapolis conference, the Negotiations Support Office at the PLO recorded violations to promises to halt settlement activity, attacks against Palestinian homes and property, internal West Bank checkpoints, among others.

According to the Road Map, to which Israel renewed its commitment in November 2007, they were to “freeze all settlement activity” which included any ‘natural growth’ of settlements.

In annexed East Jerusalem, construction projects currently underway will see 3,484 more homes and housing units opened in the area.

In the West Bank

Government-sponsored construction in the settlements increased 45% from the nine month period before the Annapolis conference to the nine-month period following the renewed agreement. Thus, after Israel had promised both the Palestinians and the United States to halt construction, an additional 697 government-sponsored homes were built in the West Bank settlements.

Permits were issued for private construction projects in West Bank settlements at an increased rate than preceding the Annapolis conference. During the first half of 2008 (January-June), private construction began on 500 settlement housing units, which is a 36% increase over the 369 units initiated in the first half of 2007.

The report also noted an increase in infrastructure building and planning, including roads, water lines, tunnels, rail lines and police stations. Most of the infrastructure is designed to permanently link the settlements with West Jerusalem, and undercut Palestinian transportation systems and institutions.

Settlement outposts

The Road Map states that Israel must “immediately dismantle settlement outposts erected since March 2001;” the Road Map was reaffirmed at the Annapolis talks. Of the approximately 110 outposts in the West Bank, approximately 58 of which were established after March 2001, none was dismantled since Annapolis.

The only exceptions to this are a handful that were removed by the Israeli army immediately or shortly after being established, or others that were only partially dismantled. The report cites Peace Now in its estimation that approximately 125 new structures have been added to the outposts since Annapolis, including at least 30 permanent houses.

The report expressed concern over the recent decision by the Israeli cabinet (3 November) to cut off funding and other direct government support for a what were labelled “unauthorized outposts.” While it might be seen as a step in the right direction, the language used to talk about the move indicates that the government will only dismantle the 26 outposts identified as unauthorized.

The concern of the report writers was that deconstruction will stop with these 26, which does not come close to satisfying the Road Map obligations, which refers to all 58 outposts.

The second concern was the agreement reached between the Israeli Ministry of Defence and settler leaders, which would have all those evacuated from the “unauthorized outposts” to locations in other West Bank settlements, further violating the Road Map conditions.

* This article was taken from the Maan News Agency.

* Actions speak louder than words.

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November 20, 2008 - Posted by | Media | , ,

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