Israel Moves Closer to Forming a Single State, Grabs Largest West Bank Plot in 30 Years for Settlement Construction
by: David Harris-Gershon on August 31st, 2014 | 1 Comment »
Israel has appropriated nearly 1,000 acres of private, Palestinian land for settlement construction near Bethlehem, its largest West Bank land grab in 30 years, an unprecedented move which right-wing, single-state advocates in Israel have been advancing.
The appropriation’s original motivation, set in motion in June, was revenge for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens. Now, the land has been designated for a major settlement of up to 1,000 housing units, a move Palestinian officials and peace groups fear could ignite tensions still bubbling beneath the surface after the conflict in Gaza.
Palestinian owners of the land, which includes olive groves used by local farmers, have been given 45 days to appeal. However, history shows that such appeals rarely have any efficacy, and that the move will likely be carried out unless there is political intervention within Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government.
Peace Now, a staunch critic of Israel’s settlement policy, expressed alarm by the move, and noted its implications for the two-state solution:
“As far as we know, this declaration is unprecedented in its scope since the 1980s and can dramatically change the reality in the Gush Etzion and the Bethlehem areas.
“Peace Now views this declaration as proof that Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu does not aspire for a new ‘Diplomatic Horizon,’ but rather he continues to put obstacles to the two-state vision and promote a one-state solution.
“By declaring another 4,000 dunams as state land, the Israeli government stabs (Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas) and the moderate Palestinian forces in the back, proving again that violence delivers Israeli concessions while non-violence results in settlement expansion.”