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August 11: More Settlements

Lawrence Bush
August 10, 2016

Israeli-settlementIsraeli Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel announced on this date in 2013 that 1,187 new housing units would be built in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. His move was denounced by Meretz MK Zehava Galon as an effort “by the [Israeli] government . . . to assassinate the political negotiations” with the Palestinians, which were scheduled to resume three days later. Peace Now complained that Ariel’s announcement “elucidates the importance of a settlement freeze and proves the government’s less than genuine intention to negotiate seriously.” Israel’s settlement policies date back to Israel’s conquest of Palestinian lands in the Six-Day War of 1967, after which the Labor-led government of Levi Eshkol adopted the Allon Plan, which sought to partition the West Bank between Israel and Jordan. Settlement was intensified by the Likud-led government of Menachem Begin, and has by now brought more than half a million Jewish Israelis to the West Bank and East Jerusalem (up from 350,000 in 2013). According to B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, from 1967 to late 2013, 125 Israeli settlements were established in the West Bank, as well as some 100 unofficial “outposts.” All of them violate international law and the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit an occupying power from transferring citizens from its own territory to the occupied territory (Article 49).

“Palestinian terrorism has to be rejected and condemned, yes. But it should not be translated defacto into a policy of support for a really increasingly brutal repression, colonial settlements, and a new wall.” --Zbigniew Brzezinski

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.