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14 August 2013
Israeli Settlement Announcements Since the Resumption of Negotiations
– August 13
I am sending the message
from here to all the parties
in the negotiations: The
land of Israel belongs to
the nation of Israel
(Naftali Bennet, Israeli
Minister of Economy
and Religious Affairs)
After the first trilateral US-Israel-Palestine meeting in July 30
2013 to resume peace negotiations, the Government of Israel has escalated announcements of illegal settlement activity all over the occupied State of Palestine, particularly in and around occupied East Jerusalem. From the beginning of July until August 13th Israel has promoted
3090 settlement units.
The last announcement was made on August 12th with 891 new units in the illegal settlement of Gilo, on lands belonging to Beit Jala in the Bethlehem District. These illegal settlement activities were coupled with the preparation of new infrastructures, such as new road network that benefits the connectivity of Israel illegal settlements enterprise.
There is no difference between “settlement blocs” and other settlements: All are illegal.
Israel has created the term “settlement blocs” to attempt to legitimize construction in areas which it assumes would remain under Israeli control if a final status agreement is achieved. On the ground, a “settlement bloc” refers to a fixed area that is unilaterally defined by Israel and which is not limited to areas where construction has taken place. In actual terms, the blocs annex all illegal Israeli colonial settlements in that fixed area, including all land between them, thus maximizing the land available for illegal Israeli colonial settlement expansion. This is a deliberate attempt to colonize more land, and to thwart the emergence of a genuinely independent, sovereign, and contiguous Palestinian state, making a negotiated outcome implausible, if not impossible.
There is no difference between Israeli settlements in Occupied East Jerusalem and settlements in the rest of the Occupied West Bank.
The legal status of East Jerusalem is the same as the rest of the Occupied State of Palestine. The fact that Israel has attempted to unilaterally change the status of Jerusalem has been rejected by the international community through UNSC Resolutions 476 and 478 among others. This is the view of the United Nations, the International Court of Justice, the International Committee for the Red Cross, and virtually all states except Israel. These settlements constitute war crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (1998). A failure to describe these settlements in their accurate political context deprives audiences of the opportunity to understand a principal source of the Palestinian-Israeli issue: Israel’s illegal confiscation and colonization of Palestinian land. They are built in violation of customary international law on land confiscated from Palestinian villagers who are prevented from accessing, cultivating or living on their ancestral lands.