Study: Jewish settlements doubled over 10 years

Study: Jewish settlements doubled over 10 years


TULKAREM, A study published by the Applied Research Institute- Jerusalem (ARIJ) said that the Israeli occupation increased the area of Jewish settlements in the West Bank by 85% between 1996 and 2007.


The study further added that Jewish settlements are the cornerstone of the Israeli policy of Judaizing the occupied Palestinian lands.


According to the study the process building the Jewish settlements in various parts of the West Bank and in particular in the Jerusalem district started immediately after the occupation in June 1967 to impose changes on the ground in an attempt to get control of most of the occupied Palestinian lands.


Various Israeli occupation governments encouraged the building of new settlements and the expansion of the existing ones at the expense of Palestinian lands which were confiscated at various pretexts, the study noted.


The study also noted that some settlements were expanded by 126% since 1996 such as Beitar Elit to the south west of Bethlehem district, or even 143% of its area in 1996 such as Mashouki Darajot to the east of Bethlehem district. Other settlements in the West Bank witnessed expansion between 50% to 100% of their areas in 1996.


In addition to “official” confiscation of Palestinian lands for Jewish settlements, the study noted that large areas of land around the settlements are stolen from their owners through settlers assaults on land owners around the settlements to stop them from cultivating their fields, then the settlers place barbed wire around those fields ready for confiscation.


This is in addition to declaring swaths of land around settlements as “closed military areas” by the IOF, again ready for confiscation.


The study concludes by saying that accelerating the expansion of settlements in the West Bank aims to impose painful facts on the ground and reflect contempt of the various security council resolutions such as resolution 446, 452 and 465.


The study further concludes that the Israeli occupation seems to have no intention to stop the settlement activity as these settlements doubled since the Oslo accords. This is in addition to the thousands of Dunums of Palestinian lands confiscated to build Jewish only roads to serve the settlements, since the accords, further diminishing the Palestinian lands, isolating Palestinian communities from one another and limiting the expansion of Palestinian towns and villages.