As you know, the all-Jewish settlements in the occupied territories is one of the key components in annexation of land. Their mere presence is a violation of international law. But sometimes these big words just don’t cut it. As we say them over and over again, they loose their meaning and deny the Palestinians the acknowledgment of their suffering. To make sure that the humanity isn’t sucked out of this post with technical detail, I’d like to start with this B’tselem video, so the stakes are clear:
Settlements to Double
Ha’aretz reports the Peace Now organization has issued a report with catastrophic conclusions:
"…the government is planning to build more than 73,300 new housing units in the West Bank… if all of the units are built, it would mean a 100-percent increase in the total number of Israeli settlers… approval has already been granted for the construction of 15,000 housing units, and is pending for a further 58,000 units."
In order to humanize the numbers, here are some details and examples from Green Left Online:
"The February 25 Scotsman reported Israel’s continuing attempt to demolish the Palestinian neighborhood of Al Bustan in east Jerusalem, to make way for a "biblically resonant" archeology theme park. The plan is set to turn yet another thousand Palestinians into refugees within their own lands…
… Another example is the expansion of the Zionist settlement of Efrat, outside Bethlehem. In this case, the expulsion of Palestinians has been approved by the Israeli courts according to a February 23 Alternative Information Centre (AIC) report. Nine affected families lodged legal appeals to stop the land confiscation. Only one was accepted…
Recently, Israel has yet again announced a route change for the wall. The change will affect the southern area, around the Alfe Menashe settlement, cutting off large areas of land from three Palestinian villages and maintaining the isolation of several Bedouin communities, according to the Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (GPAAWC). The plan also involves the construction of a new settler-only road. An older road will be allocated for Palestinian use."
Settlers’ Special Treatment
If this is what a "centrist" Kadima government does in its last days, what kind of damage will self-confessed right-wing, up and coming prime minister, Binyamin Netanyhu do? Netanyahu has been quoted in Ha’aretz, during the elections with the following "moderate" statement:
"I have no intention of building new settlements in the West Bank, but like all the governments there have been until now, I will have to meet the needs of natural growth in the population. I will not be able to choke the settlements."
The fact that the settlers were instated and then undemocratically removed by force from their home notwithstanding, there is no doubt settlers have special status in Israel. These people are rarely, if ever tried for their offenses against Palestinians and are completely backed up by the government.
The latest story (hebrew) being Public Defense moving to strike criminal records of violations perpetrated at the time of the disengagement. The real shocker is that this is just the second step to a law, that was passed half a year ago, that pardons the "disengagement resistors".