Israel, Palestinians never intended to follow Sharm el-Sheikh agreement - opinion

Published date23 March 2023
Publication titleJerusalem Post, The: Web Edition Articles (Israel)
Until that fundamental issue is addressed and the path is cleared for ending Israel's control over the lives of millions of Palestinians denied basic human and civil rights, violence will continue to affect us. The occupation itself is an act of violence against the Palestinian people and Palestinian land. But that issue is not going to be addressed at any time in the foreseeable future

There are no leaders on both sides who are willing and ready to advance real talks for peace and ending the conflict. All of that which has been agreed is within the framework of trying to manage a conflict which refuses to be managed. Nonetheless, the agreements are important, especially at the outset of the holy month of Ramadan.

What did the Sharm el-Sheikh communiqué say?

In the Sharm el-Sheikh communiqué, Israel agreed to freeze new settlement-building initiatives for a period of four to six months. National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi, and head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) Ronen Bar probably undertook this obligation under US pressure, and without the agreement of the Israeli security cabinet. It will surely be a test of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's own standing within his government to back up his representatives at the Sharm el-Sheikh meeting.

This part of the undertakings, as well as several others, go against everything that the current Israeli government stands for. My assumption is that Netanyahu will tell his ministers that the four to six month gap in settlement building will be swiftly erased immediately after that period with new, large settlement plans. That is what happened when Netanyahu agreed to a 10-month settlement-freeze during the John Kerry initiative.

The Israelis also agreed to limit Israeli incursions into Palestinian cities, "recognizing Palestinian legal rights to carry out security responsibilities in area A of the West Bank". This is a clear demand of the Palestinians, presumably with strong backing from Jordan and Egypt. Since the beginning of 2023, 61 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, including 13 minors, mostly within Palestinian cities; not all of them were combatants. These incursions have been the most powerful impetuses for increased Palestinian violence over the past months.

In exchange for Israeli undertakings, the Palestinians agreed to upgrade the security coordination with US agreement to fund and train additional Palestinian troops. In order for this to work, and for Israel to limit or...

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