RAMALLAH, September 19 (JMCC) - As Palestinians seek recognition of a state at the United Nations this week, the reality on the ground speaks of growing Israeli occupation. In this feature, the Associated Press explores
Palestinian frustration with the 20-year peace process with Israel.
Israel has kept a tight grip on the occupied lands, even while engaging in sporadic talks — frozen since late 2008 — on the terms of Palestinian statehood. It has annexed east Jerusalem, enforces a border blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza and retains ultimate say in the West Bank, despite limited self-rule there by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s government.
Israel remains the final arbiter for some 4 million Palestinians who often can’t travel, trade or even build homes without Israeli permission. Ambitious plans can’t advance, such as building an international airport in the West Bank or issuing a currency, the Palestine pound, to replace the Israeli shekel.
“It’s not going to change anything in my life,” Mofid Sharabati, a plumber in the city of Hebron, said Sunday of the bid for U.N. recognition.
His family of seven lives in the Israeli-controlled center of Hebron, where some 500 Jewish settlers live. For the past five months, Israel has blocked Sharabati’s plans to enlarge his cramped home even though he says he has a building permit. He was never given a reason, but says he believes it’s because of pressure from settlers.
Many Palestinians are losing hope, saying they’ve tried everything to dislodge Israel’s occupation — negotiations, a violent uprising, nonviolent protests.
Abbas’s U.N. bid grew from the same desperation.