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Fatah official: Israel settlement policy 'ultimate test' for peace

A senior Palestinian source emphasizes that the settlement policy will be the ultimate test of Israeli peace policies.
A Palestinian protester scuffles with an Israeli soldier during a protest against Israeli settlements in Maasara village near the West Bank city of Bethlehem December 26, 2014. REUTERS/ Mussa Qawasma (WEST BANK - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR4JAOJ
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A senior official in the Palestinian Authority government told Al-Monitor this week that he and his colleagues were closely watching the Israeli election campaign. However, he said, “We have very little hope for a change in Israel. Even if [Labor Chair Isaac] Herzog and [former Minister Tzipi] Livni win these elections, what kind of government will be formed? Are policy changes possible? We are tired of left-wing Israelis telling us to wait for better times in your government. Since [Prime Minister Yitzhak] Rabin’s assassination we have seen everything and everybody from all political colors, yet we are now further away from statehood than we have ever been before.”

This moderate Fatah official sounded bitter and grim, even when faced with the latest findings of public opinion polls, indicating a trend in favor of the Labor Party. Expressing his despair, he said, “The words interim agreement, confidence-building measures and gradual process are all excluded now from the Palestinian political dictionary.” He gave a long account, describing how at every chapter of the peace negotiations — during the Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert and Benjamin Netanyahu governments, be it with a Republican or a Democratic administration — occupation only grew deeper, movement of Palestinians in their own country was further curbed and settlement construction continued robbing Palestinians of their lands.

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