Palestinians – Israelis – Are they ‘Doing Peace’

This week in Gaza, Hamas fired two missiles into Israeli air space. In case it is not clear to Hamas by now, firing missiles over the fence into Israel is NOT ACCEPTABLE … it is a far cry from “Doing Peace!”

As reported by NBC World News, “Israel’s defense system, the ‘Iron Dome interceptor’ shot down one missile while the other one ended up in the sea.” Hamas appears to be have shot off the missiles in response to Israel’s announcement that they will be releasing 26 Palestinian prisoners this week. One would think this would be something to celebrate; however, Hamas also displayed this exact behavior in August when prisoners were released. What could they be thinking? Isn’t Israel “Doing Peace” by releasing the prisoners? According to some, it seems they are trying to detract from the positive outcome Abbas and his negotiating team had working with the Israelis … prisoners released.

Gazans Punished For Extreme Views Of Hamas

There isn’t a whole lot of warm and fuzzy going on between Hamas and Abbas. In fact, Abbas isn’t really welcome in Gaza. Put in simple terms, Hamas has an extremist agenda that isn’t consistent with the best interests of the Palestinian people. It’s an unfortunate situation as I see it, because the People of Gaza do not deserve to be consistently punished for the poor judgment of the extreme views of the Hamas “leadership.”

While Abbas has taken the leap of faith and admitted that Israel is not going away, therefore, the People of Palestine “do want to be good neighbors;” Hamas is still fantasizing about the Great War (Intifada).

While Israel was “Doing Peace” with their plans to release prisoners, that act was certainly overshadowed by their robust announcement that they were going to build 5,000 housing units in Jerusalem and the West Bank. The Times of Israel reported that the PLO Executive Committee “threatened to take a number of steps over the coming days” to confront “the settlement onslaught” and prevent the political process from “becoming defunct and incapable of realizing its purpose.”

Knowing what a sensitive issue building additional housing in the Occupied Territories is, it makes no sense for Israel to derail peace talks at this point in the process intentionally. Or does it?

According to the Times of Israel, “Early Tuesday morning, Jerusalem municipality bulldozers destroyed a residential building in the Beit Hanina neighborhood of east Jerusalem that housed nine members of the Shweiki family, Maariv reported. On Wednesday, the three-story home of Ayman Qarash was demolished in the same neighborhood.” Israel gets a BIG FAIL for not “Doing Peace.”

Saeb Erekat and Mohammed Ishtayeh Walk Out Of Negotiations

Earlier this week, Palestinian negotiators reportedly stiffened their positions on land swaps with Israel and on the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees and their descendants. Today, October 31st, Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and a second negotiator, Mohammed Ishtayeh, handed in their resignation to President Abbas purportedly in response to Israel’s additional announcement that they intended to tear down 20 more Palestinian owned structures to make way for Jewish Settlement housing.

The week has ended with Israeli military strikes in Gaza killing four Palestinians, purportedly members of Hamas. This strike back was in retaliation for the earlier wounding of five Israeli soldiers. They were wounded in an explosion near the Israel-Gaza border. Once again these back and forth assaults on each other is not a path to peace … there is no other solution that is in the best interest of the People of Palestine.

The Palestinian negotiators must not give up, they should go back to the negotiating table. If they continue to “walk out of the room on principle” every time they get offended or when Israel pulls a stunt that offends them, they will always be walking away. Walking away is never going to lead to resolution.

International law and the International community are on the side of the Palestinians regarding many issues including illegal settlements in the occupied territories. Hamas is the thorn in the Palestinians’ side as they continue to cloud the vision, and block the mission to peace and independence.

Kimberly Jones is a global nomad with a special interest in the Middle East and North Africa. She grew up in Saudi Arabia and traveled throughout the MENA growing deeply attached to the people and the culture.