FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from
(DV) Gordon: No Negotiations







No Negotiations
by Neve Gordon
July 5, 2005

Send this page to a friend! (click here)


Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is a man of deeds rather than words. So on those rare occasions when he does disclose his political goals it is important to pay close attention and carefully consider every word.

Incidentally, it was during his recent visit to the U.S. that Sharon revealed how he foresees the developments between Israel and the Palestinian Authority to a group of Jewish donors. He divulged a plan he has not yet talked about in Israel, at least not in a public forum.
“There won’t be negotiations with the Palestinians about Jerusalem or the settlement blocs of Ariel, Ma’aleh Edumim, and Gush Etzion,” Sharon said, adding that “they will remain eternally under Israeli sovereignty within a contiguous territory.” This straightforward sentence reveals both the method which Israel’s premier intends to embrace and a crucial element informing the substance of his plans.
Concerning the method, Sharon clearly stated that he intends to replicate the unilateralist approach he adopted vis-à-vis the Gaza withdrawal. Israel, in other words, does not plan to discuss two of the most central aspects of the occupation -- East Jerusalem and the large Jewish settlement blocs -- and will force its plan on the Palestinians. Peace, according to this Machiavellian logic, is achieved when the strong impose their will on the weak.
No less important is the substance, and particularly the two words with which Sharon concluded his sentence; namely, “contiguous territory.” This seemingly benign phrase is well worth noting, since the attempt to create a contiguous territory from the Jewish settlement blocs is tantamount to declaring war.
Allow me to explain. Ariel is a large settlement located in the heart of the West Bank’s northern part. The settlement Ma’aleh Edumim is located about 30 km southeast of Ariel, while Gush Etzion is located another 20 km southwest of Ma’aleh Edumim, and is situated in the West Bank’s southern part. Connecting these three settlement blocs means that the territory Sharon intends to offer the Palestinians will not be contiguous (except maybe by building tunnels!), and that Israel plans to annex a large portion of the Palestinian state-to-be, which is already a very small entity (22 percent of Mandatory Palestine).
No Palestinian leader can accept such a solution. But since negotiations, at least regarding these crucial issues, are not on Sharon’s agenda, the Palestinian position is, in a sense, besides the point.
The outcome of such a move will no doubt be devastating, since unlike Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza which has been endorsed by all of the Palestinian political factions, including Hamas, Sharon’s West Bank plan will be unanimously rejected. Resistance will most likely mount and the bloody cycle of violence will resume, this time with even greater vengeance.

Neve Gordon teaches politics at Ben-Gurion University, Israel, and is currently a visiting scholar Center for Middle East Studies at University of California, Berkeley. He is the editor of From the Margins of Globalization: Critical Perspectives on Human Rights and can be reached at:

View this feed in your browser


Other Recent Articles by Neve Gordon


* From Ghettos to Frontiers: What Will Happen After Israel's Withdrawal from Gaza
* Israel's Military "Justice" in the Occupied Territories
* Academic Witch-Hunt in Israel
* Undermining the International Court
* Curtailing US Hegemony in the Middle East Would Help Bring World Peace
* Court Serves Israel's Interests
* The Militarist and Messianic Ideologies
* The Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited

* What Lies Behind Israel's Assassination of Yassin?
* Demographic Wars
* Israel's Contempt for the International Court of Justice is Inimical to Its Own Interest
* There's No Democracy Like No Democracy
* Help the Israeli Refusniks Sentenced to Prison
* An Update on the Gay Couple From Jerusalem
* Help Save the Life of Fuad Moussa
* Laying Siege to Empire
* Why is the World Silent in the Face of Israeli Apartheid?
Sharon’s Preemptive Zeal

* Strategic Abuse: Outsourcing Human Rights Violations

* Nightlife in Jerusalem

* The Bad Fence

* Missing: The Right To Know

* Excavating Israel’s Past