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Unprecedented Settlement Construction Exposes Sham Peace Talks

Talks began last July. They were dead on arrival. No resolution whatever was achieved. Israel abhors peace.

It craves violence and instability. It doesn't negotiate. It demands. It's all take. It's no give. Peace talks mock legitimacy.

So did multiple earlier rounds. They began decades earlier. They achieved nothing. Things are far worse now than then.

They're a deplorable charade. Both sides agreed to continue them until April 29. D-day arrived. Resolution remains as distant as ever. Chances for peace are nil. Believing otherwise is fantasy.

Throughout months of talks, Israeli lawlessly demolished over 500 Palestinian homes and structures. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported it.

Nearly 900 Palestinians were forcibly displaced. An entire Jordan Valley village was destroyed.

Throughout the negotiating period, nearly 3,700 Palestinians were lawlessly detained. Thousands of political prisoners languish in Israel's gulag.

Multiple daily community incursions target Palestinians lawlessly. Beatings and arrests follow. Children are vulnerable. So are women. Barbarism defines Israeli policy.

On April 29, Peace Now headlined "9 Months of Talks, 9 Months of Settlement Development."

Unprecedented constructions occurred. "During the 9 months of Secretary Kerry’s efforts in the region, the Netanyahu Government promoted plans and tenders for at least 13,851 housing units in the settlements and East Jerusalem…"

"(A)n average of 50 units per day and 1,540 units per month" were built. Doing so exposed sham peace talks duplicity.

Israel dragged them out to steal land. If they continue, months more same old, same old is certain.

Israel wants all valued Judea and Samaria land incorporated into Greater Israel. According to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), stolen West Bank land includes over 60% of historic Palestine.

Construction expands it daily. Since July 2013, Israel's Civil Administration approved a record 6,919 acres as state land.

In 1999, a so-called Blue Line task force was established. It's redefining Palestinian land. It's stealing it for Israel.

Its land considered most valuable. It potentially links Israeli towns with others.

Dror Etkes represents Rabbis for Human Rights. He tracks settlement policy.

"Anyone examining the places where territory was added to the land under settlement jurisdiction, and the work of the Blue Line team from early 2013 until today, is forced to conclude that from the perspective of the Israeli government, there is no Oslo, no fence, no negotiations," he said.

"This can be seen both in terms of the size of the land and the location of the places where the mapping was done."

"The approach guiding the Civil Administration is that all of Area C is designated for the expansion of Israeli settlements, as has indeed been happening in the field over the past 20 years."

Peace Now explained, saying 13,851 units include:

  • "Tenders for 4,868 units - 2,248 in West Bank settlements and 2,620 units in East Jerusalem."
  • Tenders for another 1,235 units were reissued. They reflect "calls for bids" to buy unsold units.
  • Plans promoted 8,983 units - 6,561 in West Bank settlements and 2,422 in East Jerusalem.

West Bank plans include:

  • 4,793 units in isolated settlements (73%); and
  • 1,768 units in settlements close to the Green Line (27%).

Throughout nine months of peace talks, tender numbers were four times higher compared to previous years.

From July through December 2013, construction on 828 new units began. It's nearly double the comparable 2012 period.

Two new outposts were established without Israeli authorization - Brosh in the Jordan Valley and Givat Eitam south of Bethlehem.

A new settlement was approved in Hebron city center for the first time since the 1980s.

Four unauthorized outposts were legalized - Nahalei Tal and Zayit Ra’anan near Ramallah, Givat Sal’it in The Jordan Valley, and Elmatan near Qalqilya.

A new Leshem settlement near Salfit was established. It houses 60 Israeli families. Expect many more to follow.

In East Jerusalem, two large-scale tourist projects were promoted in Palestinian Silwan's community.

An Issawiya area national park was approved. Israel's Housing Ministry published tenders for 24,000 units.

It did so in several West Bank Settlements. It includes the sensitive E1 area.

It's located between Ma'aleh Adumim and Jerusalem.

Israel plans developing Mevasseret Adumim neighborhood. At issue is establishing territorial contiguity.

It's creating a greater Jerusalem. It's doing it by Judaizing Palestinian neighborhoods.

It's part of Israel's ethnic cleansing process. Displacing Palestinians provides land for Jews. It's longstanding Israeli policy.

Peace Now was clear and unequivocal, saying "construction and the announcements of settlements" destroyed the peace process.

It "created facts on the ground…They proved more than anything else that the Netanyahu Government did not mean to go for a two states solution but rather acted in order to strengthen the Israeli control over the Occupied Territories."

In the 1980s, Israel's Supreme Court ruled land seizures for military purposes and settlement construction illegal.

Israel responded by declaring nearly one million dunams state land. It stole Palestinian territory doing so. It didn't matter. It's lawlessly confiscated.

Israel's Blue Line task force is reexamining land seized. It's doing so to confirm its state land status.

Israeli agencies can't authorize construction without doing it. Settlement leaders want things expedited.

Stealing land takes time. Israel fakes legitimacy doing it. Palestinians are defenseless. They can't stop Israeli marauding.

They can't stop losing land they most value. They can't achieve peace, equity and justice through talks.

Longterm struggle alone works. No other way is possible. Not now. Not ever.


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