The peace process between an unpopular Palestinian leader and an unwilling Israeli government is going nowhere fast, as the latest round of prisoner releases saw 26 Palestinians released amid a flurry of condemnation from the Israeli right, despite the releases having been negotiated months ago as part of a “confidence building” measure that was designed to kickstart the talks.
With that done, the Israeli government has pushed through another round of settlement expansions that are themselves an overt violation of that deal with the Palestinians, and spun as necessary to “placate” the Knesset hawks who oppose the peace process at any rate.
And the 1,500 units is just part of the story, as Israeli media are now quoting officials saying the new round of expansions will amount to a total of around 5,000 settlement houses in occupied territory.
The 5,000 are in addition to thousands of other settlement units announced since the talks began, and are in stark contrast to the deal which allowed for a one-off expansion of 1,000 units inside existing settlements in return for the prisoner releases.
Since Israel staggered out the releases into several stages, they seem to believe they can announce a new round of expansions each time they let some Palestinians out of prison, and that 1,000 can quickly become several thousand each time.