Wednesday December 01, 2021

Settlement violence

October 17, 2021

The Israeli government is continuing to create more and more settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, some of them effectively cutting off communication for Palestinians who live on the West Bank with parts of Jerusalem. The settlements have continued for 67 years, beginning soon after Israel came into existence as a separate state. However, until recently, such settlements were opposed by both political parties in the US. This pattern changed under former US president Donald Trump, who gave his approval for settlements which led to a massive growth in these housing buildings, allowing more Israelis to move into the West Bank area and into Jerusalem, a city Israel wishes to claim as its capital. Mike Pompeo, Trump's secretary of state recently visited one of the new settlements put up by Israel, continuing the policy begun under Trump. Israel has meanwhile kept a low-key approach, under Prime Minister Naftali Bennet, to ward off any warning or any backlash from the Biden Administration.

Israel has so far settled tens of thousands of Jewish people on land which belonged and belongs to the Palestinians. It has, however, not annexed the West Bank, which hosts 2.5 million Palestinians, both due to international pressure and because annexing the Palestinians could alter the Jewish majority of the current land, which calls itself the Israeli State. There is also the issue of how the settlements will geographically affect the territory that houses Palestinians and the Jewish people of Israel.

The manner in which some of the settlements are being built, with more and more creeping up day by day under the new silent policy, could mean that it would become impossible for a separate state of Palestine to be created alongside that of Israel. A two-state agreement is regarded by many international experts as the only way to settle the issue of Israel and give the Palestinians some kind of homeland. It would be a moth-eaten, and unequal homeland, but maybe better than none at all. Although there are many legitimate arguments to be made for a one-state solution which recognises the fact that the Palestinians' homeland was snatched from them by an occupying force. With the new settlements continuing to come up, there is now a danger that any land which is to be given the name of Palestine will be even more tattered and even less able to meet the needs of its people than the one that was conceived in the past. The world needs to take note of the new Israeli tactics and prevent more settlements from moving ahead onto hillsides, onto areas long held by Palestinians, and into locations that deliberately cut Palestine off from Jerusalem so that the future of a Palestinian state can remain a reality for the sake of the people who have lived without a home for more than seven decades.