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Unprecedented Settlement Construction Exposes Sham Peace Talks

Written by Subject: Israel - Palestine
Unprecedented Settlement Construction Exposes Sham Peace Talks

by Stephen Lendman

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.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by J E Andreasen
Entered on:

A Little Trip Down Memory Lane Michael Lumish

This is the piece, dated 3/10/10, that got me booted off of Daily Kos.

I like this bit because I think that it is funny, as did others, as you can plainly see if you are crazy enough to slog through all 423 comments.

So, without further adieu:

Breaking: Jew Builds Second Bathroom in East Jerusalem
   Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem --- The entire world was shocked yesterday when this reporter revealed that retired electrician, Ehud David Netanyolmert, shook the peace process to its roots by building an illegal second bathroom in his East Jerusalem home.

“This is yet another example of Israeli intransigence,” said Palestinian Authority PM, Mahmoud Abbas. “We cannot negotiate with the Israelis if they insist upon violating international law with the continued building on Palestinian lands. Israel must pressure Mr. Netanyolmert to dismantle the illegal mini-settlement that he has constructed.”

Only slightly taken aback by the world community’s rejection of the second bathroom, Benjamin Netanyahu told the Jerusalem Post, “Israel wants peace and two states for two peoples. The Palestinians need to sit down at the negotiating table and I honestly do not see what some guy's second bathroom has to do with anything.”

In Washington, US President Barack Obama convened an emergency meeting with his cabinet in order to evaluate the situation and to determine the best response to this most recent Israeli aggression. In response to the crisis US diplomat George Mitchell claimed, “Israelis have rights, but so do the Palestinian people. While the United States remains deeply committed to Israeli security, it is entirely unclear how the second bathroom promotes that security or in any way advances the cause of peace.”

When queried about this blatant Zionist violation of international law Mr. Netanyolmert objected to the entire line of enquiry. “You people are meshuganah,” Netanyolmert said while standing in his doorway, wearing his jammies and blinking into the morning sun. “Are you honestly telling me that Vladimir Putin objects to my second bathroom on the grounds that it is an impediment to peace? Vladimir Putin? Really?”

It should be obvious to any reasonable observer that Mr. Netanyolmert’s myopia regarding Zionist aggression, and his willingness to derail the peace process, cannot be allowed to go unchallenged. The Palestinian peace organization, Hamas, therefore responded today with a flurry of Qassam and Katyusha rocket attacks on S’derot and Ashkelon. The typical Israeli myopia extended to former S’derot mayor, Eli Moyal, who, while quivering under his desk, is alleged to have told his secretary, “Second bathroom? What second bathroom? What the hell are these people talking about?”

Meanwhile, a variety of Israeli left-of-center organizations are planning a mass rally in opposition to The Second Bathroom. Naomi Chazan, of the New Israel Fund, said that dozens of people will gather outside Mr. Netanyolmert’s home in solidarity with Palestinian activists in a No Second Bathroom rally. The protestors will carry signs reading, “Get the Hell out of the Bathroom, Already!” and “Netanyolmert, Zionist Criminal Baby Killer!” and “Who Do These Jews Think They Are, Anyways?!”

Some fear that just as Ariel Sharon's stroll on the Temple Mount inevitably caused the Al-Aqsa Intifada, so Mr. Netanyolmert's violation of Palestinian sovereignty might spark a third... The First Second Bathroom Intifada.

One hopes that if the Israeli government makes the necessary concessions by evacuating the bathroom then the Palestinian Authority might be persuaded to sit down for peace talks.

But who would blame the PA if they refuse?  

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