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Wednesday July 7, 2010 6:46 PM (EST+7)
Jewish settlers control 42 per cent of West Bank says report

Read more: settlements, West Bank, occupation, Benjamin Netanyahu, B‘Tselem

RAMALLAH, July 7 (JMCC) - Jewish settlers control more than 42 per cent of the occupied West Bank reveals a new report by B’Tselem. Released just as the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Washington to discuss Israeli-Palestinin peace talks, the report claims that this represents a powerful obstacle to the creation of a Palestinian state. The report draws on official Israeli military maps and population statistics.

The jurisdiction of some 200 settlements, illegal under international law, cover much more of the occupied Palestinian territory than previously thought. And a large section of the land has been seized from private Palestinian landowners in defiance even of an Israeli supreme court ruling, the report said, a finding which sits uncomfortably with Israeli claims that it builds only on state land.

While most of the Jewish settlement activity is concentrated in 1 per cent of the West Bank, settler councils have in fact fenced off or earmarked massive tracts of land, comprising some 42 per cent of the West Bank, B'Tselem said.

And despite the outlawing by Israel of settlement expansion on private Palestinian land, settlers have seized 21 per cent of land that Israel recognises is privately-owned.

Under international law, any Jewish settlements built on occupied territory are illegal. These include all the settlements in the West Bank, and thousands of Jewish homes in East Jerusalem, the Arab-dominated sector of the city annexed by Israel after the 1967 Six Day War. The international community still regards East Jerusalem as occupied territory. Despite firm commitments from successive Israeli governments to dismantle illegal outposts built after 2001 and to cease expansion of the settlements, Israel has provided millions of dollars worth of incentives to encourage poorer families to move into the West Bank. Some 300,000 settlers live in the West Bank.

Read more at the Independent…






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