The country of Israel is about as old as I am and so, for as long as I have been alive, Israel has been fighting wars of some sort or other with her neighbors just to survive as a country. Over the past 60 odd years Israel has signed peace treaties with only Egypt and Jordan. Tensions remain always high with Israel's other neighbors, however. One of the biggest stumbling blocks to Middle East peace is the issue of Palestine. The search for Palestine to become a state has been an elusive one. Negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Authority on the granting of Palestine statehood have gone no where.
Hamas, which Israel and the United States have declared to be a terrorist organization, has gained a great deal of respect and authority in Palestine. The recent hostilities between Israel and Hamas, where Hamas fired missiles into Israel and Israel responded with bombings, where many civilians were killed, only strengthened the position of Hamas. Israel has the right to protect itself from indiscriminate missile attacks and Palestine has the right for it's citizens to live free of fear of retaliatory attacks on their homes and schools. Egypt has helped broker a cease fire to end the killings in Gaza and so far it is holding.
Shortly after this, the Palestinian Authority had won it's battle to have Palestine upgraded from an observer to a "non-member" state by the United Nations. This change in status is only a symbolic gesture and carries no diplomatic weight. The US and Israel of course voted against this measure. Personally I don't see a big difference for Palestine, but it does offer them some hope of attaining statehood. Since Israel has stated publicly that she is in favor of Palestinian statehood I do not understand why Israel vigorously opposed the recent UN actions.
Shortly after the actions of the United Nations Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu announced the construction of 3,000 more homes in the Israeli occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. These are the very areas which the Palestinians hope one day will be a part of the new state of Palestine and have been the home to Palestinians for thousands of years. Israel's actions are illegal under international law and have been condemned by all countries of the world. This act was definitely in retaliation for the UN granting non-member status to Palestine. It also put another nail in the coffin for a peace agreement and show Israel has no interest in a peace agreement or granting statehood to Palestine.
What really irks me about these illegal settlements is that when the residents of these Jewish settlements are interviewed on television news programs they all say "this is our land" "this land belongs to Jews" and "this is our home". They speak with a clear Brooklyn, New York City or Australian accents! They were not born there. It is no more their home than it is mine! Palestinians were born there, farmed the land there, made their living there and die there. Why does Israel think they belong there?
Ever since Israel's existence the US has fully supported her right to peaceful coexistence with her neighbors. The US has in many instances supported Israel over our own interests in the world, especially the Middle East. We have given billions of dollars in aid and military assistance to Israel over the years and now Netanyahu thumbs his nose at the US and the rest of the world. I know he really hoped Romney would be elected so he could have free reign over the US's Israeli policies. Netanyahu has no intention of compromise and negotiating a peace treaty or granting statehood to Palestine. It's about time the US, Britain and Israel's other allies say "enough is enough" and tell Israel to negotiate in good faith or the money supply will be cut off.