News Release

Sharon’s Settlement Policy


President Bush has indicated that he would like to delay any Mideast conference. The following analysts are available for interviews on Israel’s continued building of settlements in occupied territory:

The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem has released a new report titled “Land Grab: Israel’s Settlement Policy in the West Bank.” Montell is the executive director and Lein is a researcher for B’Tselem, while Felner is a former director. Montell said today: “The research reveals that while the built-up areas of the settlements constitute only 1.7 percent of the land in the West Bank, the municipal boundaries are over three times as large: 6.8 percent. Regional councils constitute an additional 35.1 percent. Thus, a total of 41.9 percent of the area in the West Bank is controlled by the settlements…. International humanitarian law prohibits an occupying power from transferring citizens from its own territory to the occupied territory…. The Israeli settlements are illegal.”
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Halper, the coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, said today: “If the Palestinians are to be held accountable for their terrorist actions, then Israel must be held accountable for the structural violence inherent in its occupation (house demolitions, land expropriation, destruction of agricultural land, impoverishment through economic closure, induced emigration and the like), as well as for policies and acts of state terrorism (attacks on densely-populated civilian centers with F-16s and Apache gunships, a disproportionate use of violence against civilian populations, Israel’s policy of assassinations, and the indiscriminate use of snipers)…. The Israeli government believes it has defeated the Palestinians once and for all. What is left is to construct a type of rule that leaves Israel firmly in control of the West Bank, including Jerusalem– and its settlement network intact– yet relieves it of direct rule over the territories’ 3 million Palestinians.”
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Aronson is editor of Report on Israeli Settlement in the Occupied Territories. He said today: “Sharon’s territorial preferences were formed decades ago, and they have not changed significantly over time…. The reference to the need to protect existing settlements and to plan new ones is a key element in current Israeli policy…. Settlements, not Palestinian towns, will enjoy uninterrupted continuity. Palestinians, not settlers, will bear the primary burden created by security arrangements for the latter….”
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Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University and a founding member of SUSTAIN (Stop U.S. Tax-Funded Aid to Israel Now), Lance said today: “The U.S. has endorsed tacitly or directly Israeli policy on the settlements — we’re continuing to fund the occupation with taxpayer money. The United States has been giving almost $3 billion direct bilateral aid and $5 billion in aid from all sources a year. The U.S. has prevented meaningful UN action to stop Israel’s settlement policy. Without U.S. support, the settlement building and the occupation could not go on.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167