A confluence of events is increasingly pointing to Israel taking action in the very near future to extend its sovereignty over a substantial part - if not all - of the 61% of the West Bank it has totally controlled since 1967 - unless Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas ends his posturing and submits to considerable loss of face by announcing he is now prepared to resume negotiations with Israel without preconditions of any kind.
Abbas himself only last week declared the negotiating processes begun under the Oslo Accords in 1993 and the Bush Roadmap in 2003 to be "clinically dead" (whatever that means). If he is not prepared to at least try to breathe life into those stalled processes by unconditionally returning to the negotiating table - he will be presiding over the irreversible end of those negotiations. Israel is not going to continue to mark time waiting for Abbas to end his political filibuster.
Abbas's attempts to procure international pressure to be brought to bear on Israel to freeze building activities in the West Bank as a condition of resuming such negotiations have failed. He has literally been left to hang out to dry.
His meeting with Russian President Putin - during Putin's visit to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan this week - clearly indicated his desperation and frustration - as revealed in the following press release:
We assured the president that the way to peace is through negotiations with Israel, and we continue to call for him to hold an international peace conference in Moscow, as we previously agreed. We asked our friends to help us to release our prisoners who were arrested prior to 1994, who it was agreed with Israel would be released, but have not yet been freed, If it (Israel) frees these prisoners, there could be a meeting with Mr Netanyahu for a session of dialogue but that doesn't mean negotiations...
Only one person - President Obama - can possibly resuscitate the negotiations by inducing Israel to impose a building freeze for a limited time in the West Bank or release more prisoners than the thousands it has already done so.
This would require Obama to grant a pardon to Jonathan Pollard who has been rotting away in American prisons for the last 26 years for spying for Israel. Since Israeli President - Shimon Peres - tried and failed to secure Pollard's release in the past two weeks - Abbas would need a miracle for Obama to change his mind and save Abbas from the hole which he has dug for himself.
Another indicator of Israel's readiness to end the logjam in the West Bank for the last 19 years came with Israel's response to the suggestion this week by the United Nations Human Rights Council President - Laura Dupuy Lasserre - that a fact-finding mission on West Bank settlements might be despatched as early as July. This news was met with a curt response from Eviatar Manor, deputy director-general for international organizations at Israel's Foreign Ministry - who stated:
It is important for us to remind everyone that we are not going to cooperate with this fact-finding mission. They will not be allowed to enter the country or go to the West Bank...
Any decision to extend Israeli sovereignty into the West Bank will not be harmed by the finalisation of a Report this week by The Committee to Examine the State of Construction in the West Bank.
Chaired by Retired Supreme Court Justice Edmund Levy and including District Court Judge Techiya Shapira and former Ambassador and Foreign Ministry Legal Advisor Allan Baker - this Committee has reportedly found that the West Bank is not under occupation rule,
The Committee is reported to have :
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