Construction and development of settlements beyond the official limits of jurisdiction - July 2007
A special report presented by the “Peace Now” Settlement Watch
Dror Etkes and Hagit Ofran
One of the recurring claims of the various Israel government spokespersons over the past few decades regarding construction in the settlements was that it only occurs within the “boundaries of the settlement”. Words of that nature were even uttered by Prime Minister Olmert during a recent meeting with Abdullah, the King of Jordan (May 15, 2008), during which he promised that: “the construction of settlements is only being carried out within the approved designated lines”. However, through the years, Israel’s spokespersons made deceptive and manipulative use of the concept of “settlement areas” in order to continue, in fact, to make it possible for settlements to grow and develop without almost any restrictions. The construction in settlements “within their boundaries” continued, in contradiction to the commitment of those very same governments to maintain “political restraint”, where the vision of a future Palestinian state plays a major role. In this context, it is important to remember that the State of Israel’s official position is that no new settlement has been established anywhere in the West Bank for over a decade. As an aside, we should like to add that this was the reason that a need arose for the establishment of “outposts”, where the goal was to circumvent the ban on the establishment of official new settlements.
This report was written in order to achieve three goals:
A. Expose the system of considerations which guided the architects of the settlement project when they drew up the boundaries of settlement jurisdiction;
B. Discuss the way that Israeli governments used these jurisdiction to promote and reinforce their political goals, first and foremost of which was the expansion of the settlement project; and
C. Provide an accurate comparison between the official and actual boundaries of the settlements.