130 new settelments

In the seemingly unending cycle, Israel has announced that it will build 130 new settlements in East Jerusalem.  This comes off the heels of increasing hostility between Israel and those in the Occupied territories, and Gaza.  Today a former Islamic Jihad fighter was killed in a refugee camp in Gaza.  With in the Jewish state the political environment is also becoming increasingly volatile.  A growing divide is forming between the ultra orthodox and settler community and the rest of Israel.  As described in a recent Foreign Policy article a state within a state is forming in the settler camps popping up all around the West Bank.  And just yesterday hundreds gathered in Israel to protest against the harsh treatment of women by those in the ultra orthodox community.

These settlements are a carrot for the radical settler community.  In order to keep them quiet and subservient to the right wing government in power, more and more settlements are constructed.  Every time the settlers burn a mosque or spit on 8 year old girls for dressing immodestly, they are eventually rewarded with more settlements in East Jerusalem, or more autonomy in the West Bank.  Netanyahu is also doing this to make a point to the Palestinians that 2012 is not going to be any different from the previous years; if anything it will be a lot more dangerous and hostile.   Israel is close to the brink of very serious problems if this trajectory is continued.  Netanyahu clearly has no desire to broker any sort of peace between Israel and the Palestinian people.  Instead he prefers to stay the course and heighten tensions with those living in the West Bank and Gaza.  And with Fatah and Hamas working hard to broker some sort of unity government deal, Netanyahu is really being pushed into a corner.  While another intifada might be to pessimistic,  it will be very difficult for Israel to continue on this path in the foreseeable future.  The Middle East is changing, albeit slowly, and Israel needs to catch up.  They will no longer be top dog in the region, able to do and say whatever pleases them.  If Israel wants to continue to be a thriving and stable country, serious change need to take place internally, especially within the political class.  Otherwise 2012 is going to be a very bloody year for Palestinians, Israelis, and the Arab world.

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