Tuesday, November 17, 2009


The government of Israel under prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems to approve new settlements on occupied Palestinian land every month. Today the BBC reports that Israel has approved 900 new homes in East Jerusalem. Remember this is land seized by Israel during the 1967 War. International law is clear that such settlements are illegal: all land seized during armed conflicts must be returned to the losing side, otherwise every nation would have carte blanche to start a war with a weaker neighbor, seize land by military force, then keep it.

The BBC reports:

"The Israeli interior ministry has approved planning applications for 900 new housing units at a Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem.

"The planning and construction committee authorised the expansion of Gilo, which is built on land captured in 1967 and annexed to the Jerusalem municipality."

So in the battle between U.S. president Barack Obama and Israeli prime minister Netanyahu about Israeli settlements, it is clear who is winning: Netanyahu. Obama seems powerless to stop the ongoing settlements. And there can be no peace with the Palestinians when Israel is holding their rightful land and continues to expand its settlements on their patrimony.

Reports the BBC:

"The BBC's Tim Franks in Jerusalem says Tuesday's announcement represents by far the largest batch of planning approvals for building on occupied territory since Mr Netanyahu became prime minister.

"The 900 housing units, which will be built in the form of 4-5 bedroom apartments, will account for a significant expansion of Gilo. The interior ministry said construction work would be unlikely to start for another three or four years once the plans gained final authorisation.

"A spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said the planning approval was "yet another step that shows and proves Israel is not ready for peace".

""This step will ruin every single attempt - European or American - to preserve the peace process," Nabil Abu Rudeineh said."

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