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  1. #1
    Darth Brooks Darth Brooks is offline

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    The Settlements are the greatest impediment to Israeli-Palestinian Peace.

    It is becoming clear that Israel's new Prime Minister, Benjamin (Bibi) Netanhyahu, is currently on a collision course with the new President of the United States, Barak Obama, over the steps Israel is being required to take to show it's committement to bringing about a Peace agreement with the Palestinians in the format of the long preferred two-state solution.
    The American administration has called for a complete settlement freeze in order that they can progress with negotiations with Palestinians and the Arab world at large for a comprehensive regional peace agreement.

    But, for the slow learner, what exactly do they mean by this ?

    Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem are included in the US demand that Israel halt "settlement" construction, including for natural growth, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told The Jerusalem Post during a press briefing on Monday.

    "We're talking about all settlement activity, yes, in the area across the line," he said, referring to neighborhoods in Jerusalem over the Green Line, or pre-1967 armistice line, in response to a question on where America's calls to halt construction in the settlements would be applied.


    US: Settlement freeze includes east J'lem | Israel | Jerusalem Post

    The current right wing Israeli government maintians that this is unreasonable as the "Natural Growth" of the settlements need to be catered for. By natural growth they are referring to the housing units that would be required to house the offspring of the people currently living in settlements who wish to move out of their paternal homes yet continue to live at the same location. Or in the words of Israel's Bibi :

    "We can't accept the idea that families will not bring children into the world, or that children will have to move away from their parents"

    The problem with all this, is that in the eyes of most of the world, the settlements i.e. all construction East of the 1967 Armistice Line are illegal under International Law. For example, below is the statement by B'tselem the Israeli Human Rights group on the illegality of the Settlements under International Law
    __________________________________________
    [SIZE="2"]International law

    The establishment of settlements in the West Bank violates international humanitarian law which establishes principles that apply during war and occupation. Moreover, the settlements lead to the infringement of international human rights law.

    The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits an occupying power from transferring citizens from its own territory to the occupied territory (Article 49). The Hague Regulations prohibit an occupying power from undertaking permanent changes in the occupied area unless these are due to military needs in the narrow sense of the term, or unless they are undertaken for the benefit of the local population.

    The establishment of settlements results in the violation of the rights of Palestinians as enshrined in international human rights law. Among other violations, the settlements infringe the right to self-determination, equality, property, an adequate standard of living, and freedom of movement.

    The illegality of the settlements under international humanitarian law does not affect the status of the settlers. The settlers constitute a civilian population by any standard, and include children, who are entitled to special protection. Although some of the settlers are part of the security forces, this fact has absolutely no bearing on the status of the other residents of the settlements[/SIZE]


    _____________________________________________

    The primary requirement for the success of a Two-State Solution is a viable contiguous land mass upon which the proposed Palestinian State can come into existence. It cannot be denied that without this minimal requirement the Two-State Solution is not possible. Many argue that with the extent of settlement construction already present in the lands East of the 1967 Armistice Line, the Two-State Solution is already defunct and only a One-State or Bi-National State Solution is now practical. A look at the map of the current state of settlement construction across the West Bank , along with the intricate maze of checkpoints and access roads suggests a very poor prognosis indeed for the likelihood of the formation of a contiguous state from the fragmented areas of land left unaffected by the settlements and the illegal infrastructure which services them.

    http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/fullMaps_Sa.nsf/luFullMap/968C7B002996C08E85257401004E9B70/$File/ocha_ACC_pse080106.pdf

    This burning issue of the settlements is not the only problem facing the parties who truly wish to seek a just and lasting peace agreement for this decades long conflict but for Bibi and Barak it seems to be the issue over which they are both destined to lock horns and show to each of their constituencies the strength of their resolve.
    For Barack Obama nothing less than US international prestige is at stake here as he hopes to prove that the US is the only broker capable of bringing the parties together under fair circumstances.
    For Bibi it is his position as Prime Minister that is on the line as he dares not show weakness in the face of this rising US pressure.
    For the settlers it is a day of reckoning that has been long in the making and for the Palestinians it is their last hope of forming an Independent Palestinian State.
    So there can be no doubt that the stakes are high and that this question of the Settlements must be dealt with comprehensively in order that the last chance for peace is not missed.

    Znet: Israel’s Settlement Blocs Carve Up the West Bank | International Solidarity Movement Palestine

    As Palestinians, we have expressed our willingness to live together on this land with the Jewish people, and to live in one democratic state with Jewish Israelis as equal citizens. However, most Jewish Israelis and their politicians have clearly stated that they must live in a Jewish state, not in a state for all of its citizens. For this reason, we agreed to live in two states- Palestine side by side with Israel.
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  2. #2
    Interista Interista is offline
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    It is becoming clear that Israel's new Prime Minister, Benjamin (Bibi) Netanhyahu, is currently on a collision course with the new President of the United States, Barak Obama,
    Unfortunately it's not clear at all. I'm looking forward to Obama putting his money where his mouth is as regards the 'settlement's but I feel I'll be waiting a long time.

    Aside from the fact that Obama's 'demand' is actually very modest and nothing really new. Most US administrations have regarded the squats as illegal, and Obama is only demanding a 'freeze', not a dismantlement of all the settlements. There is no hope of a viable Palestinian state unless ALL the settlements are dismantled, which means that the half million people living there illegally either leave or apply for Palestinian citizenship. Nothing else will do.
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  3. #3
    Darth Brooks Darth Brooks is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Interista View Post
    Unfortunately it's not clear at all.
    It is quite clear from the language of the US administration what they are demanding, but accordingly it is not clear what the US intends to do if this demand is not met. And that is where we are now.

    The agreement to stop all settlement development is not a condition for the agreement of peace in itself, but a demand of Israel to show good faith in the Two State option (along the lines of the Israeli demand of the Palestinians to recognise Israel as the State of the Jewish people).

    You cannot talk about dividing the cake with your enemy while you are carving it up and eating it in front of him.

    Once you stop eating it people will take you more seriously when it comes to talk about giving some of it back.
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  4. #4
    swansandtyphus swansandtyphus is offline

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    There is no hope of a viable Palestinian state unless ALL the settlements are dismantled, which means that the half million people living there illegally either leave or apply for Palestinian citizenship. Nothing else will do.
    What if the settlers do not leave or do not apply for Palestinian citizenship?

    Anyway the settlements are not the issue.

    Palestinians are not interested in a state comprising Gaza and the West Bank.

    They have been interested in only one thing since 1948 and one thing only.

    They want all the Jews to get out of the entire region or be killed and they want the entire region which is now Israel to become Palestinian territory.

    "From the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea" has been the slogan of the Palestinians from the very start.

    The late Yasser Arafat wore his headscarf to represent the shape of the future Palestinian state he and others like him envisioned.

    Ask any Palestinian or read any book about the Israel-Arab conflict and you will see that the Palestinians and Arab world have consistently refused any compromise.
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  5. #5
    Darth Brooks Darth Brooks is offline

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    The settlements are illegal.




    "Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and an obstacle to peace and to economic and social development [... and] have been established in breach of international law."

    International Court of Justice Ruling, July 9, 2004


    Palestine Monitor Factsheet - Israeli settlements

    [SIZE="1"][FONT="Arial Narrow"] There are currently 121 Israeli settlements and approximately 102 Israeli outposts built illegally on Pales-tinian land occupied by Israel in 1967. All of these settlements and outposts are illegal under international law and have been condemned by numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions. Israeli outposts are considered illegal under Israeli law.

    These settlements and outposts are inhabited by a population of some 462,000 Israeli settlers. 191,000 Israelis are living in settlements around Jerusalem and a further 271,400 are further spread throughout the West Bank. The settler population has grown consistently between 4-6% per year over the last two decades, a much higher rate of growth than Israeli society as a whole (1.5%).

    Approximately 385,000 settlers in 80 settlements will be located between the Separation Wall and the Green Line if Israel holds to projected plans.

    In 2008, amidst the ‘settlement freeze’ agreed upon in the Annapolis framework, tenders for new settle-ment building increased by 550% from 2007. Actual settlement construction has increased by 30% since the launching of the new round of peace talks. Settlement building around Jerusalem has increased by a factor of 38.

    A total of 9,000 further housing units have been approved in East Jerusalem, and approximately 2,600 new housing units are being built east of the Separation Wall, comprising 55% of all settlement construc-tion activity.

    Settlements are built on less than 3 percent of the area of the West Bank. However, due to the extensive network of settler roads and restrictions on Palestinians accessing their own land, Israeli settlements domi-nate more than 40 percent of the West Bank.[/FONT][/SIZE]
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  6. #6
    yanshuf yanshuf is offline

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    This ruling is not binding, and in contradiction to the UN charter which maintains the recognition of the League of Nations in Jews right to settle in whole of the Land of Israel.
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  7. #7
    Darth Brooks Darth Brooks is offline

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    One to Watch

    Israeli Settlements are Killing 2-State Solution

    According to the extremist settler leader Daniella Weiss - thats the whole point of the settlements. To ensure that no Palestinian State can come into Existence "in the Land of Israel".
    Very informative 13 minute long video on the issue here :

    Israeli Settlements are Killing 2-State Solution - The Washington Note
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  8. #8
    L'Chaim L'Chaim is offline
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    Well seeing as the settlements make up a tiny percentage of the West Bank, it's hardly the greatest impediment to peace. The greatest impediment to peace imo is the Palestinian groups that can't even agree among themselves what they want, which leaves Israel in the position of not having any peace partners to negotiate with
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  9. #9
    Nodin Nodin is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by L'Chaim View Post
    Well seeing as the settlements make up a tiny percentage of the West Bank, it's hardly the greatest impediment to peace.
    ...considering how Israel wants to hold onto them, the 'secure roads' to them and the way they'd split the West Bank into sections etc, yes indeed they are a great impediment. As is the attempted annexation of Arab East Jerusalem.
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  10. #10
    L'Chaim L'Chaim is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nodin View Post
    ...considering how Israel wants to hold onto them, the 'secure roads' to them and the way they'd split the West Bank into sections etc, yes indeed they are a great impediment. As is the attempted annexation of Arab East Jerusalem.
    You'll find that most of the settlements are on Jewish owned land........especially the ones in East Jerusalem, where har homa is the major settlement. Har homa was built on land purchased from non-resident Arabs in 1971, by a consortium of Jews and Jewish businesses and was sold on to developers in the late 80s and early 90s. Just prior to this sale to developers there was a title challenge filed by Arabs and the title of the land was cleared in open court going back to to the original records of the Ottoman Empire, which showed that the people who sold the land to the Jews were the legal owners and were well within their rights to sell it to whoever they wanted. Do you expect Jews who bought that land legally to return it for nothing? It's Israeli owned land that was bought and paid for. Palestinians have no claim to it.
    Last edited by L'Chaim; 3rd July 2009 at 04:32 PM.
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