From J Street: US must force Jews to stop building new homes
Last weekend’s Israeli government announcement that it plans to seize almost 1,000 acres in the occupied West Bank for the purpose of building yet another massive Jewish settlement graphically demonstrates how the current Israeli government seems determined once again to steer the country in the wrong direction.When the war in Gaza ended, we at J Street said this was a moment of clear choice for Israel and the Palestinians. Either they could build on the cease-fire to lead their people back to negotiations and toward a resolution of the underlying conflict or they could stick to the current path -- which will not only leave the conflict unresolved but in a downward spiral. If the Administration were to go a step further and declare that it is the view of the United States that settlements are not merely "unhelpful" or "illegitimate" but illegal under international law as laid out in the Fourth Geneva Convention, ordinary Israelis would understand that their government’s determination to push on with settlements was really causing serious damage to the US-Israel relationship.
From Stand With Us:
Jews and Arabs have lived in the West Bank for centuries. Today, the Israeli and
Palestinian governments are negotiating borders for a possible future Palestinian state.
1. The West Bank, known as Judea and Samaria for thousands of years, is part of the ancient
homeland of the Jewish people and of Judaism. It was renamed the West Bank by Jordan in 1950.
2. The only time in over a thousand years that Jews were prohibited from living in the West Bank
was when Jordan occupied it between 1949 and 1967.
3. The built up areas of Israeli settlements cover approximately 1.7 percent of all West Bank land.
4. Approximately 75 to 80 percent of Israelis in the West Bank live close to or along the lines that
separated Israel and the Jordanian-controlled West Bank before the 1967 War. These areas could be
easily included on the Israeli side of a future border with minor land swaps.
5. Ninety-eight percent of Palestinians live under the administration of the Palestinian Authority
(PA) in land that covers 40 percent of the West Bank. Israel currently administers 60 percent of
the West Bank, known as “Area C,” per the interim steps mutually agreed upon during the Oslo
peace process. This virtually vacant area has two percent of all West Bank Palestinians.
6. No internationally recognized border has ever separated Israel and the West Bank. Future
borders are to be determined through negotiations.
7. The number of authorized West Bank Israeli communities has remained the same since 1993,
when Israel and the Palestinians signed the peace agreement known as the Oslo Accords.
However, since 1993, the number of structures and people in many of the settlements
8. As the Palestinian Authority has begun to improve law and order, the West Bank has
experienced renewed prosperity. Notably, the PA is in the process of building its first planned
9. No Palestinian Arab state ever existed prior to the one currently being proposed by the United States, Israel, and other nations.