A look back at the history of settlements which prevent the prospects for Palestinian statehood under a negotiated peace agreement.
By Seth Eislund | J Street | Aug 27, 2020
‘In June alone, Israel demolished 30 Palestinian homes in the West Bank (not including East Jerusalem) – the same number demolished throughout the entire first five months of 2020.’
— Israeli human rights organization NGO B’Tselem Report
Creeping Annexation is a decades-long project
Since Israel took control of the West Bank following its victory in the Six-Day War of 1967, the Israeli government has supported settlement construction on captured, occupied territory. This policy commenced just months after the end of the war, with successive Israeli governments basing much of their settlement policy in the first decade of occupation around what was known as the ‘Allon Plan’, which envisioned the annexation of large parts of the West Bank.
The settlement movement had an even more expansive view of Israel’s right to the occupied territory, pushing for the government to support Israelis in building settlements — and displacing Palestinians — across the entire West Bank. With increasing encouragement from the government, the number of Israelis living in the West Bank has ballooned from just 1,500 in the early years of occupation to almost 430,000 in the broader occupied West Bank and 220,000 in occupied East Jerusalem.
Paving the way has been a process of dispossession and land seizure designed to expand Israeli settlements and restrict the territory available to the roughly 3 million Palestinians who live in the region. The process has involved the weaponization of zoning regulations and construction permits, the demolition of Palestinian homes, schools and medical facilities and a refusal to recognize private property rights. It’s a project which not only violates international law and the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, but which jeopardizes hope for a two-state solution, makes territorial compromises increasingly difficult and threatens Israel’s long term future as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people.
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