Monday, December 18, 2017

Israeli politician exposes scale of West Bank colonization


By Ruairi Henchy - February 25, 2015
TAGS:
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Two State Solution] [settlements] [Settlement Expansion]

The chances of a viable two state solution are quickly slipping away according to a new report on settlement building from the Israeli-American NGO Peace Now.

“These coming elections are about the future of the two state solution. Every additional year with the right-wing in power means more settlement building and reduces the likelihood of achieving two states,” the report says. The report comes in conjunction to a leak, exposed by Stav Shaffir, a Labor Party member of the Knesset (the Israeli parliament), which revealed the extent to which the Israeli government is secretly funding Jewish-only colonies

“When I got into the finance committee I discovered that Israel has two budgets, one budget is being passed legally on the Knesset floor and another secret budget that is being transferred in the finance committee,” Shaffir explained in an interview with the Israeli daily Ha’aretz. She said that in the last year alone, this secret budget amounted to around NIS 64bn (approx. USD $16.2bn), or about 15% of Israel’s national budget. 

Shaffir did not specify how much of this secret budget is being redirected to settlements in the West Bank, but intimated that the settlements were being disproportionately favoured at the expense of communities in the Galilee region and the Naqab desert in the south—areas in which Israel’s Palestinian minority is concentrated. “The government… doesn’t tell its citizens who live in the periphery, in the Negev and the Galil, that part of their money is moving unequally to the settlements,” she claimed.

Additionally, Shaffir revealed that in the past year and a half the Israeli government transferred an additional bonus of NIS 1.2bn to the settlements—a move hidden from the Israeli public. Shaffir explained that she wasn’t opposed to the process of settlement building in the occupied West Bank, which is illegal under international law; rather, she feels that Israeli taxpayer money should be more equally divided.

The new construction report by Peace Now reveals that Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has increased construction by 40% when compared with the previous administration. 68% of this construction has taken place east of the line proposed in the Geneva Initiative.

The Geneva Initiative is a model peace agreement between political leaders and public figures from both Palestinian and Israeli society. That so much of the settlement construction during Netanyahu’s term has taken place in the areas deemed by this initiative to be most obstructive to the possibility of a two state solution, suggests that the current Israeli administration is seeking to actively undermine the possibility of a viable Palestinian state.

The latest Israeli declaration of settlement expansion in January drew widespread international condemnation. The US State Department described the announcement as “illegitimate and counterproductive to achieving a two-state outcome.” The EU echoed this sentiment, saying the new settlements were “an obstacle to peace,” whereas Wassel Abu Yusef from the Palestine Liberation Organization decried the move as “a war crime.”

In February 2013, a United Nations fact-finding mission on Israeli settlements concluded, “All Israel’s settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, are illegal under international law. The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits an Occupying Power from transferring its civilian population into an occupied territory. The report calls on Israel to dismantle all its settlements, the construction of which could be considered a war crime falling under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.” 

Back to Top

Related Articles

Jerusalem first, second and last
December 16, 2017

A week of protests against Trump’s Jerusalem move
December 14, 2017

And with the swipe of a pen, Middle East peace may be dead
December 13, 2017

Most Popular Articles

Israel’s puppet war unmasks apartheid regime
The El-Hakawati theatre was colorfully adorned to host its annual International

Israel Avoids Hard-Right Shift: No Benefit for Palestinians
With many commentators predicting big wins for the settler movement in

Rushdi Tamimi becomes second victim of Israeli army in Nabi Saleh
On Tuesday November 21st, the body of 31 year old Rushdi Tamimi was

Designed & Developed by: Pixel Co