Dramatic Increase in Israeli Settlement Construction
by Stephen Lendman
Peace Now compiled disturbing evidence. More on it below. It calls itself “the leading voice of Israeli public pressure for peace.”
It wants Israel’s occupation ended. It has over 10,000 global members.
Settlement Watch is one of its important initiatives. It reports on ongoing construction. Doing so undermines peace. It prevents peaceful conflict resolution.
It denies Palestinian self-determination. It hardens ruthless occupation. Maintaining it violates international law.
Fourth Geneva’s Article 49 states:
“Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.”
Displacing Palestinians, destroying their homes, other property and personal possessions, stealing their land, as well as letting settlers occupy it directly contravenes Article 49’s mandate.
Peace Now compiles its information from published government, civilian organization and media reports, on the ground observations, aerial photography, and satellite images.
They’re compared with previous surveys. Changes are assessed. They’re quantified. They’re grim. They show continued settlement expansions.
Since 1967, Israel established 124 West Bank settlements, 100 outposts, and 12 neighborhoods.
Settler enclaves were built in East Jerusalem areas. They include the Old City’s Muslim Quarter, Silwan, Sheikh Jarrach, Mount of Olives, Ras al-Amud, Abu Dis, and Jabal al-Mukabber.
In 2005, 16 Gaza settlements were dismantled as part of Israel’s disengagement plan. Residents were shifted to other settlement locations.
Occupied Palestine reflects militarized colonization and discriminatory apartheid. It’s worse than what South Africa experienced. Separate and unequal is policy.
Civil law governs settlers. Military orders deprive Palestinians of all fundamental rights. They have no control over their daily lives. Their land is systematically stolen.
They’re denied free expression and movement. Their homes are bulldozed and destroyed. They’re uprooted and displaced.
They’re forbidden from returning to land once theirs. They’re denied redress. West Bank reconfiguration plans intend to isolate them in ghettoized bantustans. Sovereign viability is impossible.
Two states once were possible. No longer. Israel controls over half the West Bank. It has much of East Jerusalem. More is added daily. When completed, Israel’s Annexation Wall will control over 10% of Palestine.
One state comprised of Israel and Occupied Palestine alone works now. Nothing else is viable.
Conditions go from bad to worse. Militarized occupation, land theft, dispossessions, inequality, a permanent non-Jewish underclass, instability, and conflict are institutionalized.
September 1993 Oslo was Palestine’s Versailles. In 20 years, settler population tripled from 200,000 to over 600,000 now. It’s growing exponentially.
It’s on confiscated Palestinian land. Their resources are stolen in the process. Their fundamental rights are denied. They have no say whatsoever over their daily lives.
Militarized occupation controls them. They’re ruthlessly exploited. They’re treated like subhumans. Conditions exceed South African apartheid harshness.
Peaceful conflict resolution remains a convenient illusion. Ongoing talks assure more betrayal.
Peace Now’s “Settlements 101” section calls them “Israeli civilian communities built in territory conquered by Israel in the Six Day War (June 1967).”
They’re in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Golan. Under international law, they’re illegal. Israel’s High Court ducks the issue.
Israel funds and subsidizes construction. Pro-Israeli organizations and high net worth individuals contribute.
Israelis are incentivized to take advantage. They enjoy a much improved life style at far less cost. Government subsidized benefits lure them.
Others take advantage for ideological reasons. They believe Judea and Samaria belong exclusively to Jews.
Outposts are built without official government approval. Some are state subsidized. Few were forced to evacuate. Affected settlers were relocated.
From 1967 to 1977, around 30 settlements were established. They were mainly in Jordan Valley locations. Population numbered about 5,000.
Under Prime Minister Menachem Begin (1977 – 1983), things changed dramatically. A new pattern emerged.
Heartland/central ridge West Bank settlements were established. Construction tempo increased.
Dozens of new settlements were added. Increasing amounts of Palestinian land were stolen. Construction continues unabated.
Variations of Yigal Allon’s post Six Day War plan persists. Elements include:
- permanent militarized occupation;
- “maximum land with minimum Arabs;”
- dispossessing Palestinians from areas Israel wants exclusively for Jews;
- annexing all valued parts of Judea and Samaria;
- controlling Greater Jerusalem;
- claiming the international city as Israel’s exclusive capital;
- establishing settlements, military bases, free-firing zones, commercial locations, tourist sites, nature reserves; no-go areas, Jews-only roads, checkpoints, other barriers, and other exclusively Jewish areas;
- stealing Palestinian resources; and
- cracking down hard on resisters.
Peace Now’s latest survey shows a 70% settlement construction increase. It’s measured from January through June 2013 when compared to the same 2012 period.
Construction of 1,794 units were completed. During the same period, 2,840 units were under construction.
The October 2003 Geneva Initiative established a draft Permanent Status Agreement. It exists. It was never implemented.
Its provisions include peaceful conflict resolution. Settling all justifiable claims. Mutually recognizing Israeli and Palestinian sovereignty.
Resolving borders. Settling internal and diaspora Palestinian refugee issues. Annexing large settlement blocks to Israel.
Recognizing Israeli controlled East and West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Accepting Palestinian controlled East Jerusalem as its seat of government.
Demilitarizing Palestine. Resolving longstanding conflict issues. Agreeing to work cooperatively toward doing so. Internationally verifying both sides comply.
Over 60% of January through June construction starts violated Geneva Initiative terms.
Dozens of government-declared illegal outpost units were completed. Around 180 schools, synagogues, public and other buildings were started. So were 74 industrial and agricultural facilities.
“At least 86% of the construction (1,469 units) was carried out without tenders, in settlements were (they’re) not required before construction.”
“This means that the ‘tender moratorium’ declared by the government until the prisoners release on July 2013 was not a general construction freeze, but only of a small part of the construction in the settlements.”
Two July tenders (plus East Jerusalem ones) were for settlements east of the Geneva Initiative line.
They’re in Efrat and Ariel. They’re settlements where compromise is hardest to reach.
Peace Now said 44% of construction starts were east of the Annexation Wall’s planned route. About 32% were build on its west side.
Israel talks peace, instigates conflict, steals all Palestinian land it wishes, claims a divine right to do so, blames victims for its transgressions, and remains unaccountable.
Might over right persists. So does claiming Jewish exceptionalism, supremacy and specialness.
Palestinians are isolated on their own. Governments able to help do nothing. Media scoundrels suppress longstanding injustice.
Israel takes full advantage. Palestinian liberation remains a distant dream. Maybe in the fullness of time, they hope. They’re on their own to achieve it.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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