If Israel was really dedicated to peace, they would not be expropriating another 1,000 acres of West Bank land for settlements
Less than one week after the latest conflict in Gaza, which left 1,500 Palestinian civilians dead, Israel is already provoking Palestinians. Israel announced a land appropriation in the occupied West Bank yesterday. The biggest theft of Palestinian land in thirty years.
Some 400 hectares (988 acres) in the Etzion settlement bloc near Bethlehem were declared “state land, on the instructions of the political echelon” by the military-run Civil Administration. According to Reuters “Israel Radio said the step was taken in response to the kidnapping and killing of three Jewish teens by Hamas militants in the area in June.”
Peace Now said the appropriation was meant to turn a site where 10 Israeli families now live adjacent to a Jewish seminary into a permanent settlement. Peace Now claims this latest land seizure is the largest announced by Israel in the West Bank since the 1980s.
The creation of a major settlement at this location was proposed by Israel back in 2000. Last year, the Israeli Government invited bids for the building of 1,000 housing units at the site.
In defense of the theft of Palestinian land, Israel has said construction in the area would not constitute a new settlement because the site will be officially designated as part of an existing settlement several kilometers down the road.
Now, our western media has so far been extremely silent on this development. No surprise I guess seeing how it isn’t news in the Middle East if no blood is being spilt. But I bet you if hostilities flare up again due to this land grab, Palestinians will once again be blamed and receive the bigger brunt of the punishment.
To believe this land grab is in response to the deaths of a few teenagers is ridiculous. The settlements council in Gevaot said “The goal of the murderers of those three youths was to sow fear among us, to disrupt our daily lives and to call into doubt our right to the land. Our response is to strengthen settlement.”
The fact is, the massive expansion of this settlement has been talked about for more than a decade and the ball got rolling long before the deaths of those teenagers. Furthermore, if Israel wants to get into the business of trading lives for land, I think they’d owe Palestinians a country by now.
Israel has rightly been criticized over its settlement activities in the past which the UN, US and EU regard as illegal under international law and a major hindrance to the creation of a Palestinian state. So far no one has been quick to criticize Israel’s latest move other than Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who called on Israel to cancel the appropriation and said “This decision will lead to more instability. This will only inflame the situation after the war in Gaza,”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has never been a man for peace, nor has he been a supporter of a two state solution. Allowing this latest land appropriation to go through is just further proof.
People have a right to criticize Hamas, their ideology and their actions. I would like nothing more than to see a more rational, peaceful government or group take leadership over the Gaza Strip, but I can also say the same for Israel.