Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Israel is planning a new settlement of 240 homes, thus showing its disagreement with the Obama call to end any and all new settlements.

Like most of Israel's recent settlements, this one is being built on Palestinian land.

Rory McCarthy writes for The Guardian:

"Construction at the outpost, known as Water Reservoir Hill, near the Talmon settlement, north of Ramallah, would "greatly damage" the freedom of movement of Palestinian farmers in the area, according to Bimkom, an Israeli planning rights group."

The Israeli government says that these new homes were approved a while ago and have been in the works. But the development is bound to antagonize both the Palestinians and those Americans who want the settlements to stop.

Reports McCarthy:

"The Israeli government insisted the homes were part of old proposals. "These houses have been completed, and there has been no approval given for new houses," one official said.

"The plan, which follows a pattern over many years of settlement growth, appears to challenge directly Barack Obama's administration, which has issued several clear calls for an end to the practice."

It would appear that Netanyahu et al. have decided that Israel will not negotiate cessation of new settlements. Apparently, Netanyahu believes that Israel as divinely favored, has a right, nay a duty, to expropriate and develop all of the land that the Jews of old inhabited. Thus we see Israeli settlers flouting mundane law regarding ownership of property, especially that belonging to Palestinians. The fact that the Palestinians have legal title simply has no meaning when compared to the settlers' vision of a reconstituted Israel. This situation cannot bring peace to Israel.

Writes McCarthy:

"So far, Israel has resisted Washington's pressure for a halt to construction in settlements and the issue is fast becoming a test of wills between the two governments. In an interview yesterday Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, said arguing about settlement activity was a waste of time. Last week, the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, told Israel's foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, that Washington wanted "to see a stop to the settlements"."

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