Settlement Expansion

by Peter Ogram
published in MER194

Despite Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s August 1992 assurance of a “settlement freeze” in the Occupied Territories, and despite the Declaration of Principles of September 1993, settler population expansion and Israeli land confiscation has continued.

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Settlement Expansion Update

by Michael Webb
published in MER201

With the recent election of the Netanyahu government, the issue of settlements has again emerged in the media as an issue in the “peace process.” Settlement leaders have proposed spending $4 billion to expand settlements by as many as 120,000 housing units to accommodate an additional 500,000 people by the year 2000. Ariel Sharon recently proposed immediately allowing 100,000 new settlers to settle the West Bank. The new government has already transferred $6.5 million for the construction of bypass roads, and announced the immediate construction of 3,800 new housing units on the West Bank. Netanyahu claims that the Oslo agreement’s wording is loose enough that this in no way violates the final status negotiations.

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From the Editors

published in MER203

The construction of a new Jewish settlement at Jabal Abu Ghunaym is but the latest effort by the Israeli government to assert its sovereignty over East Jerusalem and preempt the “final status” talks on the city’s future. In addition to completing the inner ring of Jewish settlements around East Jerusalem, Har Homa will eliminate Jabal Abu Ghunaym as a land reserve for the natural growth of the surrounding Palestinian communities.

Contesting Past and Present in Silwan

by Joel Beinin | published September 17, 2010

On September 1, Elad -- a Hebrew acronym for “To the City of David” -- convened its eleventh annual archaeological conference at the “City of David National Park” in the Wadi Hilwa neighborhood of Silwan. Silwan, home to about 45,000 people, is one of 28 Palestinian villages incorporated into East Jerusalem and annexed by Israel after the June 1967 war. It lies in a valley situated a short walk beyond the Dung Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City. Elad, a militant, religious, settler organization, claims that Silwan is the biblical City of David mentioned in the second book of Samuel and that the Pool of Shiloah (Siloam) located there watered King Solomon’s garden.

Withdrawal from Gaza Won't End the Occupation

by Lama Hourani | published August 13, 2005

Gaza City—“I’ll go visit Auntie Lina in Ramallah after I obtain a tasreeh (an Israeli permit) and when Erez checkpoint is open, OK mama?”

This is what my son, who is almost three years old, told me the other day after having a chat with his cousin Laila who lives in Ramallah, in the West Bank. The problem is that during the last five years I have received permission to go to the West Bank only four or five times. Although I have a West Bank identity card from Nablus, I live and work with my husband and son in Gaza City. My son already knows the world: tasreeh , tukh (shoot) and Erez checkpoint is closed.

Dismantling the Matrix of Control

by Jeff Halper | published September 11, 2009

Almost a decade ago I wrote an article describing Israel’s “matrix of control” over the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It consisted then of three interlocking systems: military administration of much of the West Bank and incessant army and air force intrusions elsewhere; a skein of “facts on the ground,” notably settlements in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, but also bypass roads connecting the settlements to Israel proper; and administrative measures like house demolitions and deportations. I argued in 2000 that unless this matrix was dismantled, the occupation would not be ended and a two-state solution could not be achieved.

Israel’s Religious Right and the Peace Process

by Nicolas Pelham | published October 12, 2009

It would be easy to describe the residents of the outpost of Amona as radicals. In February 2006 they led protests of 4,000 settler activists, some of them armed, against 3,000 Israeli police who were amassed to make sure that nine unauthorized structures in the West Bank were bulldozed as ordered. In the ensuing clashes, 80 security personnel and 120 settlers were wounded, more than the entirety of the casualties during the 2005 “disengagement” from settlements in Gaza, in a showdown that became the symbol of the West Bank settlers’ resolve to resist the state’s efforts to tear down encampments, like their own, that were erected without the state’s permission.

Livni in Principle and in Practice

by Peretz Kidron | published September 30, 2008

On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, the sitting Israeli prime minister spoke more plainly than ever before in public about what will be required of Israel in a comprehensive peace with the Palestinians and Syria. In a September 29 interview with the newspaper Yediot Aharonot, Ehud Olmert said that, to achieve peace, “we will withdraw from almost all the territories, if not all the territories” that have been under Israeli occupation since the 1967 war, including most of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. Particularly coming from Olmert, who long opposed the notion of swapping land for peace, these words might have inspired hope that deals on the Palestinian or Syrian fronts were at hand.

Bypassing Bethlehem’s Eastern Reaches

by Nate Wright | published October 7, 2008

The town of Bayt Sahour spills down the hills to the east of Bethlehem, spreading out along ridges and valleys that mark the beginning of the long descent to the Dead Sea. Up the slopes the roads carve out twisting rivers of dirt and asphalt, wending their way through clusters of soft brown stone houses, but across the ridges they run straight and smooth.

The Militarist and Messianic Ideologies

by Neve Gordon | published July 8, 2004

Two weeks after 60,000 Likud Party members voted against a pullout from the Gaza Strip, about 150,000 Israelis filled Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, calling on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government to proceed with the withdrawal plan. Those opposing the pullout from Gaza support the vision of a Greater Israel, while those favoring the pullout support the state of Israel. The first group believes that without Gaza, Israel will be destroyed; the second believes that with it, Israel will be destroyed.