Connect these dots:
From The Guardian:
The number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank grew by more than 15,000 in the past year to reach a total that exceeds 350,000 for the first time and has almost doubled in the past 12 years.
Figures from Israel’s population registry show a 4.5% increase in the past 12 months. Most of the newcomers moved into settlements that many observers expect to be evacuated in any peace deal leading to a Palestinian state.
There are an additional 300,000 Jews living in settlements across the pre-1967 border in East Jerusalem, the pro-government and mass-circulation newspaper Israel Hayom reported.
Putting a finer point on these statistics, Dani Dayan, chairman of the settlers Yesha Council had this to say in a recent NY Times op-ed:
(We) aim to expand the existing Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, and create new ones. This is not — as it is often portrayed — a theological adventure but is rather a combination of inalienable rights and realpolitik. Even now, and despite the severe constraints imposed by international pressure, more than 350,000 Israelis live in Judea and Samaria. With an annual growth rate of 5 percent, we can expect to reach 400,000 by 2014 — and that excludes the almost 200,000 living in Jerusalem’s newer neighborhoods. Taking Jerusalem into account, about 1 in every 10 Israeli Jews resides beyond the 1967 border. Approximately 160,000 Jews live in communities outside the settlement blocs that proponents of the two-state solution believe could be easily incorporated into Israel.
…Our presence in all of Judea and Samaria — not just in the so-called settlement blocs — is an irreversible fact. Trying to stop settlement expansion is futile, and neglecting this fact in diplomatic talks will not change the reality on the ground; it only makes the negotiations more likely to fail.
In essence, Dayan is calling for a kind of a one-state solution here – albeit one that does not extend citizenship rights to non-Jewish residents. (Although in fairness to Dayan, he does say they should be given “freedom of movement.”)
Still can’t figure out what’s going on here? Let’s connect the final dot. While the Jewish population in Area C of the West Bank is increasing, Israel is demolishing homes, evicting Palestinians, and moving them into Areas A and B at an ever-increasing pace.
Here’s Mya Guarnieri, writing in +972:
At the same time that Israeli settlements are expanding unchecked, the state is putting the Palestinians and Bedouins who live in Area C under extreme, unrelenting pressure, as exemplified by this week’s report by Haaretz that Defense Minister Barak has ordered the demolition of eight Palestinian villages to make way for IDF training.
Demolitions of homes and structures in 2012 have seen an increase. According to a source at the United Nations, between January 1 and April 27 of 2011, 352 Palestinian and Bedouin were forcibly displaced from their homes in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The same period of 2012 saw “at least 487″ people lose their homes.
It’s a one-two punch intended to increase the Jewish population in the West Bank as much as possible and deplete the Palestinian population as much as possible to ready the area for annexation. Susya, a Palestinian village that is under threat of demolition, is an example of how this works. The village has been destroyed numerous times since the Jewish settlement of Susya was built there in 1983, despite the documents proving it belongs to Palestinians and the fact that this small community has no where else to go.
Israeli pressure on the Palestinian and Bedouin residents of Area C has resulted in a drop in the Arab population in the same area.
And then there’s the Levy Committee Report, which denies that there is an occupation and, according to some observers, lays the legal groundwork (at least in the mind of the Israeli government) for a unilateral annexation of Area C.
It’s not a matter of if. It’s a matter of when.
OK, I’ll say it for you: Israel has no intention of creating a two-state solution. It is creating it’s own “one-state” solution by increasing the Jewish population in the West Bank and warehousing Palestinians in Bantustans throughout Areas A and B. By any other name this would be called an “apartheid” state.
If there are those who disagree with my calculus, I’m certainly open to hearing alternative explanations. In the meantime, here are two questions I’m still unable to answer: when will our community be ready to call out this illegal and immoral behavior? And what will we be willing to do about it?