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Archivierte Meldungen aus den Jahren 1995 - 1999

From Bantustan to Palitustan
Settlement Inspection Tour

by Uri Avnery

One can know everything about the settlements, and still be shocked to the core when seeing the reality on the ground with one's own eyes. That was the unanimous impression of the 52 Gush Shalom activists who conducted an inspection tour of the settlements in the Jerusalem area, led by Michael ("Mikado") Warshawsky.

On the ground it is clear that the settlement effort is continuing with unabated vigor under the auspices of the Barak-Meretz government. The obvious aim is to create a pattern of Jewish settlements, big and small, connected by a network of superb (and practically empty) "bypass" roads. These roads are no less - and perhaps even more - important than the settlements themselves, because they imprison the Palestinian villages in small enclaves beyond which they cannot expand.

Where a "hole" exists between settlements, it is filled by gas stations (serving practically nobody),"industry parks" (as yet empty) and other devices. Some settlements, like Efrat (near Betlehem), are a thin line of houses streching many kilometers, hill after hill, so as to cut off Palestinian villages from each other.

By such devices, the settlements, while still constituting a small minority in many areas, are the dominating factor. Palestinian towns and villages are surrounded by the settlement pattern, hemmed in on all sides, unable to expand and accommodate their natural increase, unable even to utilise their land reserves - those which have not yet been confiscated under the pretext that they are, legally (meaning the arbitrary Israeli occupation law), "government land".

In order to keep the Americans quite (they are, of course, well informed), the new settlements are camouflaged as a "thickening" of existing settlements "to satisfy the natural needs of the population". It is pointed out that this happens well within the "town plans" of the settlements. In order to understand the trick, one must know that from the beginning, tiny settlements were allotted the area of big towns. For example, Ma'aleh Adumim (between Jerusalem and Jericho), with its 20 thousand inhabitants, has a bigger land area than Tel-Aviv. It can therefore expell Beduins many kilometers from the existing township, because they are residing on its "town planning" land.

Within the municipal borders of annexed East Jerusalem, the Israeli settlers constitute already a small majority. In many places, the ground is prepared for a massive influx of new settlers, doubling and even tripling the existing Jewish population.

Some people still harbor the illusion that the settlements are being created by a bunch of wild fanatics, who are dragging behind them an unwilling government. The real picture is totally different: The settlements were and still are being created by a powerful group within the establishment. This power centre, in which Arial Sharon plays a leading role, and which is much more powerful than the official cabinet, is pushing the settlement operation already for many years according to a well-prepared, detailed plan, step by step, under the auspices of successive Israeli governments, both Labor and Likud. Since Oslo it also supervises the so-called peace process, making sure that nothing said in the agreements may hinder its efforts.

The whole operation is designed to continue the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by other means, preventing any peace that does not maintain complete Israeli control over all the territory of Mandatory Palestine, leaving the Palestinians at most some Bantustan-like enclaves devoid of real independence. The immediate objective is tear off big chunks of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and annex them to Israel proper, under the title "settlement blocs".

TOI - 6 November 1999

Gush Shalom

Die hier archivierten Artikel stammen aus den "Anfangsjahren" der breiten Nutzung des Internet. Damals waren die gestalterischen Möglichkeiten noch etwas ursprünglicher als heute. Wir haben die Artikel jedoch weiterhin archiviert, da die Informationen durchaus noch interessant sein können, u..a. auch zu Dokumentationszwecken.

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