Illegal Israeli Settlements in the West Bank

August 24, 2009
Food for thought….
Illegal Israeli Settlements
Illegal Israeli Settlements

Right now there are over 300,000 settlers living in the West Bank. 

The map doesn’t show the illegal (by Israeli and International standards) outposts that are popping up all over the West Bank in reaction to Western pressure on Israel’s settlement activity.

The Palestinian population of the West Bank is 2.5 million.

Housing and construction minister Ariel Attias (member of the religious Shas party) said last week “there is no freeze, there is a waiting period”.

According to the Israeli organization Peace Now, anyone who visits the illegal settlements can see large and small construction sites where construction continues at a rapid pace. Conversely, construction at isolated settlements continues through various settlement-freeze “bypass” tracks.

Peace Now added that government-sponsored construction only constituted about 40% of all construction in the territories: most of the building is undertaken through private initiatives from settler groups and right leaning organizations, so even if there is a complete freeze, 60% of all illegal construction will continue as before.

When I first arrived in the West Bank I was not expecting to see as many settlements as I did.  Everywhere you drive in the West Bank you pass illegal settlements and outposts–all on the tops of the hills, like medieval forts or something.  They are all surrounded by fences and have watch towers, and lights to light up the land around the settlement.
There are isolated settlements and there are ‘settlement blocs’…settlement blocs are whole areas of land given to the settlers, connecting settlements and outposts to make them more secure from their ‘scary Arab neighbors’. 
The Palestinian villages near settlements are the worst affected.  The settlers aren’t comfortable with having Palestinians nearby, so some villages have curfews put on them, so that when the settlers have activities or whatever they dont have to even SEE a Palestinian as they travel through Palestine. 
In addition to that, the Israeli government has come up with policies to scare or intimidate their Palestinian neighbors into abandoning their land.  The settlers want as much land as possible.  So they close Palestinian roads or confiscate them for “Jewish-only roads”.  They block entrances to villages so that the residents can’t even drive into their own village.  Instead they have to park and climb over this huge earth mound or concrete block or pile of boulders to enter their village.
The settlers also contaminate Palestinian land and water by dumping their sewage down the hills onto Palestinian villages below.  Not very neighborly is it?
In addition to the settlements, Israel also puts all the factories that wont pass inspection because of the toxic waste and other pollutants they produce in the West Bank to avoid dealing with any problematic “laws”.  So they pollute Palestinian land with toxic waste, and use Palestinians as cheap labor at the same time.
The settlements are illegal according to international law and must be removed.  Colonialism is supposed to be over….but Israel has revived that outdated and immoral practice–its alive and well in the West Bank.

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