Friday, April 6, 2007

Growth of the Settlements 1968-1980

Today is Day 14,237 of the Maintenance of the Immoral (and Illegal) Settlements on the West Bank

Micah.6:8 “He has told you, O man, Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God."

Much of the material that will be included in this and some of the posts to follow has been taken from: “Land Grab” Israel’s Settlement Policy in the West Bank, May 2002, a publication of B’TSELEM – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories; Tikkun Magazine; Americans for Peace Now; the Foundation for Middle East Peace; and Christian Peacemaker Teams CPT;; the U. S. Campaign to End the Israel Occupation; Healing Israel/Palestine by Michael Lerner. There has been no independent attempt to verify the facts presented.

In 1967 Theodor Meron, legal counsel of the Israel Foreign Ministry concluded in a memo “civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.” Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention prohibits a nation from transferring its citizens to occupied territory.

Nevertheless, after Rabbi Moshe LevInger and his merry band of 80 squatters (those who settle on lands of others without legal authority) occupied the King David Hotel in Hebron in 1968 and announced his intention to stay, no action was taken to remove him. Successive Israeli Governments have continued to support the growth and expansion of settlements. In 1978 an opinion of the Legal Adviser of the Department of State in the administration of President Jimmy Carter stated “the establishment of the civilian settlements in those territories is inconsistent with international law.”

1968 – A new religious group, Gush Emunim (block of the faithful) argued that it was forbidden for Jews to return land to the Arabs, and that the outcome of the war was a product of divine intervention. These “modern-Orthodox created settlements in the West bank and pushed the agenda of Israeli expansionism. Over the next 25 years, the Gush Emunim movement encouraged Israelis to settle in the West Bank and Gaza, sometimes buying land, but often occupying and expropriating land from Palestinians.

1968 – 1972 – Jewish Israeli citizens founded 11 settlements – Mehola Kalya, Argamar, Rosh Zurim, Gilgal, Ma’ale Efrayim, Massu’a, Mevo Horan, Hamra, Mizpe Shalem, Har Gilo and Kiryat Arba

1977 - After the Likud came to power in 1977, the government began to establish settlements throughout the West Bank, particularly in areas close to the main Palestinian population centers along the central mountain ridge and in western Samaria. This policy was based on both security and ideological considerations.

1977 – July – Menachem Begin refuses President Jimmy Carter’s request to freeze settlement activity.

1977 – September - Ariel Sharon, minister of agriculture unveils “A vision of Israel at Century’s End” calling for the settlement of 2 million Jews in the occupied territories.

1978 - April 21, 1978 opinion of the Legal Adviser of the Department of State in the administration of President Carter the Congress on the legal status of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. “While Israel may undertake, in the occupied territories, actions necessary to meet its military needs and to provide for orderly government during the occupation, for the reasons indicated above the establishment of the civilian settlements in those territories is inconsistent with international law.”

1980 – There are now 53 settlements where approximately 12,500 Jewish Israeli citizens live.

The Israeli Government recently revealed as announced in the following Americans for Peace Now Press Release that, in fact, many of the settlements were built illegally (according to Israeli law) on private land.

"FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - March 14, 2007 CONTACT: Ori Nir - (202) 728-1893
Washington, D.C.— Israel's Peace Now movement today released official data it received from the Israeli government, validating the findings of its November 2006 report that vast portions of Israeli settlements in the West Bank are built on land which the government recognizes as privately owned by Palestinians. According to the data, which the government recently provided to Peace Now following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, one third (32.4 percent) of the Jewish settlements' land in the West Bank is privately owned. The data confirm assertions made earlier by Peace Now that the vast majority of the settlements and outposts (131 out of 162) are either partially or completely situated on privately owned land. The 2006 report was based on 2004 data leaked to Peace Now. The new data are both official and up-to-date. "The new data, which come officially from the hands of Israel's Civil Administration in the West Bank, not only vindicate Peace Now but also underscore the need for Israel and America to vigorously work together to roll back the settlement enterprise in the West Bank," said Debra DeLee, president and CEO of Peace Now. Last year's groundbreaking report shattered the oft-repeated claim that settlements are built exclusively on public lands. The Israeli High Court of Justice has a long established precedent that privately owned lands cannot be taken for settlement construction."

On April 25, 1980 I had the good fortune to sit in on a presentation by the Hon. Arie Lova Eliav who stated that his belief that Palestinians also have a right to the land led him being a prominent member of the Labor party to leadership of the doves “It also is the basis for his opposition to the present policy of establishing Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. This land, under his proposal is being held for the Palestinians subject to their agreement on demilitarization and other conditions.”

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