Welcome to FMEP’s Weekly Settlement Report, covering everything you need to know about Israeli settlement activity this week.
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November 22, 2019
- Trump Administration Reverses U.S. Policy on Legality of Israeli Settlements
- A Quick Review of U.S. Settlement Policy
- Reactions to the New U.S. Settlement Policy
- European Union Rejects Conflation, Upholds Labelling of Goods from Settlements
- Will the Trump Admin Implement Conflation by Changing U.S. Labelling Policy?
- Netanyahu Backs Bill to Annex the Jordan Valley
- Tender Published for First Ever Ma’ale Adumim Hotel
- Bonus Reads
Questions/comments? Contact Kristin at email@example.com
On November 18th — on the heels of the European Court of Justice’s ruling in support of accurate labeling of settlement products — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that a comprehensive legal review by the State Department concluded that Israeli settlements are not “per se inconsistent with international law”:
“We believe that what we’ve done today is we have recognized the reality on the ground. We’ve now declared that settlements are not per se illegal under international law, and we have provided…the very space for Israel and the Palestinians to come together to find a political solution to this very, very vexing problem.”
According to a senior White House official, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman drove the effort to change U.S. policy on settlements, a mission that the ideologically-driven Ambassador began working on from the early days of his appointment. Friedman, who is much closer to President Trump than Secretary Pompeo, offered a much more succinct and direct description of the latest policy shift, tweeting:
“After commissioning a lengthy and comprehensive review of the issues, Secretary Pompeo has concluded that Israeli civilian settlements in Judea and Samaria are not categorically illegal.”
Pompeo also stated that the U.S. will defer to Israeli courts concerning the legality of specific settlements – in effect suggesting that the U.S. is treating Israel as the sovereign power in the West Bank with sole authority to determine the legality/illegality of construction in it (a position which is arguably indistinguishable from recognition of Israeli annexation):
“we recognize that – as Israeli courts have – the legal conclusions relating to individual settlements must depend on an assessment of specific facts and circumstances on the ground. Therefore, the United States Government is expressing no view on the legal status of any individual settlement. The Israeli legal system affords an opportunity to challenge settlement activity and assess humanitarian considerations connected to it. Israeli courts have confirmed the legality of certain settlement activities and has concluded that others cannot be legally sustained…”
As a reminder, the Israeli High Court of Justice is currently weighing major cases related to settlements, and specifically to the right of Israel to retroactively “legalize” illegal settler construction by means of seizing private Palestinian land. These cases highlight the fact that, in the opinion of Israel’s top law enforcement official, Israel has the right to suspend the rule of law to expropriate privately owned Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank and give it to Israeli settlers; the only disagreement he has with the Knesset is over the method of doing so. Specifically, the cases revolve around two competing legal strategies for legalizing outposts, as put forward by the government of Israel:
- The “market regulation” principle is a legal strategy developed by Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandleblit in November 2017. According to this principle – which contradicts any notion of rule of law or the sanctity of private property rights – Israeli settlement structures and outposts built illegally on private Palestinian land can be legalized by the State if the State determines that the Israeli settlers acted “in good faith” when they took over and built on the land. The principle has been twice accepted by the Jerusalem District Court as a valid basis for taking land/legalizing settlement structures; it is now pending, on appeal, before the Israeli High Court, in two separate cases (the Mitzpe Kramim outpost case and the Alei Zehav outpost case). How the Court rules in these cases will, in effect, be the final decision on the constitutionality of the “market regulation” principle. (Note for readers who are deep follow this issue in detail: the market regilation principle was first advanced in relation to the Haresha outpost; the State subsequently found yet another basis (in this case, construction of a road) for temporary expropriating privately owned Palestinian land to pave the way for the retroactive legalization of Haresha).
- The settlement “Regulation Law” was passed by the Knesset in February 2017. Its purpose is, in effect, to direct the Israeli government to literally suspend the rule of law to seize privately owned Palestinian land for the benefit of settlers. The law was quickly challenged by civil society groups and has ever since been frozen while the High Court of Justice considers its constitutionality. Despite the freeze, in December 2018 the Israeli Cabinet voted unanimously to endorse a bill – called the “Young Settlements Bill” or “Regulation Law 2” – that, on the basis of the Regulation Law, directs the government to treat 66 unauthorized outposts built on privately owned Palestinian land as legal settlements, while giving the government 2 years to find a way to legalize them retroactively. It should be noted that Israeli Attorney General Mandleblit opposed both the Regulation Law and the “Young Settlements Bill,” and in fact called on the High Court of Justice to overturn the Regulation Law (in favor of his own “market regulation principle.” In a letter to the High Court Justices, Mandleblit argued that implementing the “market regulation principle” is “a more proportionate and balanced measure than the arrangement prescribed in the Regulation Law,” providing a more narrow legal basis by which Israel can strip Palestinian landowners of their rights (estimating that 2,000 structures can be legalized under the “market regulation principle,” compared to an estimated 4,000 under the Regulation Law).
FMEP tracks all Knesset, Cabinet, and Judicial action related to annexation in its Annexation Policy Tables. For Knesset legislation related to annexation, see Yesh Din’s handy Annexation Legislation Database.
The Nov. 18th announcement adds yet another chapter to the decades-long dance of U.S. Presidents articulating the stated U.S. policy vis a vis Israeli settlements, which by and large has remained remarkably consistent.
The closest U.S. policy has ever come to calling the settlements illegal was under the Carter Administration, which produced the Hansell Memorandum to Congress stating that the U.S. holds settlements are “inconsistent with international law.” However, Carter’s Chief of Staff wrote an even further in a memo where he wrote “Our position on illegal settlements is well know.” The memo used the term “illegal” 16 times.
In 1981, U.S. President Ronald Reagan softened the Carter Administration’s language, instead insisting that settlements are merely harmful to the peace process, language which has been echoed, if not in exact wording, by all the following administrations. Notably, President Reagan was the first U.S. President to call for a settlement freeze.
Under Pres. George H.W. Bush, the stated U.S. policy was to “oppose new settlements in territories beyond the 1967 lines.” Bush then insisted on conditioning U.S. loan guarantees to Israel based on Israel’s settlement activity.
The “Roadmap” produced by President George W. Bush insisted on a settlement freeze and the evacuation of outposts.
The Obama Administration continued to call for a settlement freeze. At the tail end of the Obama Adminstration, in December 2016, Pres. Obama abstained from vetoing (but did not actively support) the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which declared that Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.” While pains have been taken by the U.S. to perfectly enunciate its publicly stated policy, successive Israeli governments have continued to build settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem without consequences.
Noura Erekat, Palestinian human rights attorney, legal scholar, writer, and assistant professor at Rutgers University, explains the consistency in U.S. settlement policy over the years:
“This is not necessarily a reversal in U.S. policy, only in its stated policy. For 50 — for more than five decades, since 1967, all U.S. administrations have talked out of both sides of their mouth. On the one hand, they have condemned settlements as counterproductive to peace and as a contravention of international law, and, on the other hand, have provided Israel with the unequivocal diplomatic, military and financial aid in order to entrench their settlements. Even the Obama administration, as it was abstaining on U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334 condemning the settlements as a flagrant violation, has been part of the problem. They issued that abstention only two weeks before they left office. Simultaneously, the Obama administration increased aid from $3 billion to $3.8 billion a year. And in 2012, that same administration used its first veto at the Security Council to condemn a resolution, a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning settlements using exact U.S. foreign policy language on settlements. So, what we’re seeing now is not a sharp reversal of U.S. foreign policy on the question of settlements and Palestine, but instead the culmination of it. For us to blame this on Trump is basically to exculpate ourselves and to create a revisionist history. Instead, we should be accountable and actually take responsibility for how we have been part of this problem.”
The overwhelming majority of the international community holds that all Israeli settlements and outposts in the West Bank are illegal pursuant to Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states (as excerpted by Amnesty International):
“The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” It also prohibits the “individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory”.
The following are statements made by key international actors, organizations, and civil society organizations in reaction to the U.S. settlement announcement. Reactions from Israel – both predictable and unpredictable – are nicely summarized and analyzed by The Times of Israel settlements correspondent Jacob Magid here.
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad Malki called on the international community to issue a firm response to the U.S. declaration, saying in a statement:
“The State of Palestine condemns in the strongest terms the US administration’s lawless position on Israel’s illegal settlements in occupied territory of the State of Palestine, as announced by the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. This position violates international law, decades-long international consensus over the issue and determinations of the International Court of Justice, the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions and United Nations resolutions, including Security Council resolutions. The current US Administration has adopted an anti-Palestinian agenda and endeavored to empower and legitimize the Israeli colonial settler agenda. This ideologically driven and irresponsible policy, including this most recent announcement by Secretary Pompeo, proves beyond any doubt that the current US administration has aligned itself with Israel’s illegal colonial enterprise and thus fails to meet the most basic requirements to play any role in any future solution. This administration cannot and will not rewrite international law. However, the Trump administration’s disregard to the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights is symptomatic of its disregard and contempt to the rules-based international system and multilateralism, whose effects go beyond the Question of Palestine. Allowing this agenda to prevail would ensure the demise of the international order and cause irreversible damage to the achievements of humanity over the past seven decades and threatens to plunge the world into chaos and violence. The State of Palestine will not stop pursuing justice and redress for the Palestinian people. The Palestinian leadership will continue to take all measures possible to honor its moral and political responsibility towards our people, and defend their national rights including their natural right to a life of dignity, freedom and prosperity.”
Jordan Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said in a tweet:
“Settlements in occupied Palestine are a blatant violation of Int’l law & UNSCRs. They are an illegal action that’ll kill 2-state solution. Jordan’s position in condemning them is unwavering. We warn against dangerous consequences of US change of position on settlements on MEPP”
The Saudi press reported that the Saudi government rejects the new U.S. position.
U.N. human rights spokesman Rupert Colville said at a press briefing:
“We continue to follow the long-standing position of the U.N. that Israeli settlements are in breach of international law. A change in the policy position of one state does not modify existing international law nor its interpretation by the International Court of Justice and the Security Council.”
United Nations Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk said that the U.S. announcement is:
“the latest in a series of recent moves that has undermined the rules-based international order. This will only confirm a one-state reality characterized by a rigid two-tier system of legal and political rights, based on ethnicity and religion. This would meet the international definition of apartheid.”
The European Union’s High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini said in a statement:
“The European Union’s position on Israeli settlement policy in the occupied Palestinian territory is clear and remains unchanged: all settlement activity is illegal under international law and it erodes the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace, as reaffirmed by UN Security Council Resolution 2334. The EU calls on Israel to end all settlement activity, in line with its obligations as an occupying power. The EU will continue to support a resumption of a meaningful process towards a negotiated two-state solution, the only realistic and viable way to fulfil the legitimate aspirations of both parties.”
Reportedly, the state of Hungary blocked an effort by the European Union to issue a joint statement signed by all 28 member states condemning the new U.S. policy. Many European states issued independent statements, all opposing the U.S. statement.
The German government issued a statement saying:
“The Federal Government reaffirms its position with regards to Israel’s settlement policy in the occupied territories. In the Federal Government’s view, the construction of settlements is illegal under international law, represents an obstacle to the possibility of a peace process and makes a negotiated two-state solution more difficult. We wish to refer in this regard to Resolution 2334 of the UN Security Council, which reaffirms this assessment under international law. Together with its partners in the EU, the Federal Government will continue to work to achieve an amicable negotiated solution that takes into account the legitimate demands of both parties to the conflict.”
The French government released the following statement:
“Israel’s settlement policy in the occupied territories is illegal under international law, in particular international humanitarian law, and contravenes Security Council resolutions. Colonization also contributes to escalating tensions on the ground and undermines the two-State solution. Such is the constant position of France. We regret any decision likely to encourage the continuation of colonization.”
Switzerland released a statement saying:
“Switzerland’s position towards Israeli settlements is very clear: they are illegal under international law, in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention. They also constitute a major obstacle to peace and the implementation of a two-State solution. Switzerland regularly calls on the Israeli authorities to cease all settlement activity, in accordance with their obligations as the occupying power.”
Spain released the following statement:
“The Government of Spain wishes to reiterate its public and constant position on the settlements, which coincides with the collection in various resolutions of the United Nations, especially Resolution 2334 of the Security Council, of December 2016. Spain considers, as stated in the aforementioned resolution , that the settlements in the territories occupied by Israel since 1967 have no legal validity and constitute a flagrant violation of International Law. They are also an obstacle to the negotiated solution of the two States and the achievement of a just and lasting peace that meets the legitimate aspirations of both parties. Therefore, the Government of Spain calls for an end to the settlements, in line with that made by the High Representative of the European Union.”
A spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross said:
“the ICRC has repeatedly stated that Israel’s settlements policy goes against key provisions of IHL, or the law of occupation, and is contrary to its intent and spirit. The recent U.S. declaration does not change the ICRC’s position on the matter.”
The Vatican released the following statement:
“In the context of recent decisions that risk undermining further the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the already fragile regional stability, the Holy See reiterates its position of a two-state solution for two peoples, as the only way to reach a complete solution to this age-old conflict. The Holy See supports the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security within the borders recognized by the international community and supports the same right that belongs to the Palestinian people, which must be recognized, respected and implemented.”
Peace Now said in a statement:
“No declaration will change the fact that the settlements were built on occupied territory, in contravention of international law, and that they pose among the greatest obstacles to peace. It is an Orwellian absurdity to claim that greenlighting more egregious settlement activity by undermining the international consensus against them will foster better conditions for a just and viable conflict-ending agreement.”
B’Tselem said in a statement:
“The Trump Administration’s farcical announcement doesn’t just green-light Israel’s illegal settlement project, but also other human rights violations around the world by obliterating the principles of international law. In so doing, the American administration is pushing the world over 70 years backwards, to the period at the end of the 2nd world war, when only in its aftermath did the world come to terms with the consequences of the absence of such protections.”
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel said in a statement:
“Settlements and outposts are illegal under international law, and no political declaration can change that fact. The settlements, which are founded on occupied Palestinian land, lead to a continued and systematic violation of the rights of Palestinians living in the West Bank. To legalize such a sweeping violation and to justify the institutionalized legal regime of two legal systems in the West Bank-based on an ethnic-national basis violates the rights of millions of people living under occupation and cannot be justified via a baseless statement stemming from purely political interests.”
Amnesty International said in a statement:
“Today, the United States government announced to the rest of the world that it believes the U.S. and Israel are above the law: that Israel can continue to violate international law and Palestinians’ human rights and the U.S. will firmly support it in doing so.”
Human Rights Watch said in a statement:
“This changes nothing. President Trump can’t wipe away decades of established international law that settlements are a war crime.”
J Street said in a statement:
“The International Court of Justice and the United Nations have made clear the judgment of the world that Israel’s settlement enterprise is illegal under international law. This administration’s attempt to unilaterally erase those judgments only further shatters America’s limited remaining credibility in the region and around the world.”
Americans for Peace Now said in a statement:
“This latest announcement by the Trump administration will do further damage to prospects for peace, particularly if it is taken by right-wing Israeli politicians as yet another indication that President Trump will accept Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank. This damages US national interests which, as successive US administrations of both parties have held, will be served by a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Meanwhile, in bucking the international legal consensus on the status of settlements in territory occupied by Israel, the Trump administration is deepening America’s isolation. It is also chipping away at the international legal order the US helped established, which has served US interests since the end of World War II.”
Jewish Voice for Peace said in a statement:
“The pronouncement by Pompeo is just the latest atrocity in the Trump administration’s farcical peace plan: Moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, defunding UNRWA, embracing Netanyhau’s plans of massive annexation of Palestinian land, and now an attempt to undo decades of international consensus on the illegality of the settlements. That the plan is devoid of peace is no surprise, but the contempt it shows for cooperation and an agreed-upon set of ethics that safeguards the most vulnerable in war and conflict is alarming. Pompeo couldn’t be more wrong claiming that, ‘arguments about who is right and who is wrong as a matter of international law will not bring peace.’ In fact, holding ourselves and each other to principles, like those within international law, is essential to bring not just peace, but freedom, equality and justice. The Trump administration was never focused on promoting peace, but instead on propping up Netanyahu’s and Trump’s careers and perpetuating Israeli control and dominance over Palestinian land and lives at all costs. Pompeo and the Trump administration don’t get to rewrite international law.”
On November 12th, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that EU member states must properly identify products made in Israeli settlements on their labels, a decision upholding the EU’s legal distinction between Israel proper and Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.
The ECJ said in the ruling:
“[settlements] give concrete expression to a policy of population transfer conducted by that State outside its territory, in violation of the rules of general international humanitarian law…[failure to identify the point of origin of produce meant that] consumers have no way of knowing, in the absence of any information capable of enlightening them in that respect, that a foodstuff comes from a locality or a set of localities constituting a settlement established in one of those territories in breach of the rules of international humanitarian law.”
The case came to court after the Psagot Winery, located in the Psagot settlement, brought a legal challenge against France’s labelling policy, arguing that any differentiation between Israeli products and products made in the settlements is discriminatory. In June 2019, a top advocate general for the European Court of Justice issued a preliminary opinion rejecting that argument and stressed that EU law requires labelling products based on their true origin in order to give customers the necessary information to make informed purchasing decisions. Reportedly, Psagot Winery hired a prominent U.S. lobby firm (which employs former US ambassador to the EU Stuart Eizenstat) to lobby Congress on its behalf against the labeling effort.
Commenting on the ECJ’s ruling, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat urged further action, writing in a column in Haaretz:
“A large percentage of settlers live in occupied Palestine thanks to the economic incentives they receive, including benefits from international agreements signed with Israel, and the support of several organizations working freely in Western countries, such as the Jewish National Fund. That is why the decision of the European Union Court of Justice regarding the labeling of Israeli settlement products is an important step. It reiterates the international obligation of differentiation between Israel and the territory it occupies, as laid out in UN Security Council resolution 2334.Still, we believe that settlement products shouldn’t just be labelled, but banned. There is nothing ethical in trading in products made with stolen natural resources on stolen land. That is why we cannot understand why the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, still hasn’t fulfilled the mandate given to her by the UN Human Rights Council in Resolution 31/36 – to publish the long-overdue list of companies involved with the Israeli occupation.”
Unsurprisingly, the Trump Administration issued a statement criticizing the court’s ruling:
“The United States is deeply concerned by the EU requirement identified in the decision issued yesterday by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in the Psagot Case. The circumstances surrounding the labeling requirement in the specific facts presented to the Court are suggestive of anti-Israel bias. This requirement serves only to encourage, facilitate, and promote boycotts, divestments, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. The United States unequivocally opposes any effort to engage in BDS, or to otherwise economically pressure, isolate, or otherwise delegitimize Israel. The path toward resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict is through direct negotiations. America stands with Israel against efforts to economically pressure, isolate, or delegitimize it.”
As explained at length by FMEP’s Lara Friedman, forces in the U.S. have long worked to conflate Israel with its settlements as a matter of U.S. law and policy — including actions in Congress (i.e., legislation conflating the two, Congressional actions objecting to differentiation in labeling, etc.).
Speaking to Al-Monitor, FMEP President Lara Friedman warns that the timing of the Trump Administration’s settlement policy announcement might be linked to the ruling last week by a European court upholding the EU’s policy of differentiation and ruling that products made in Israeli settlements cannot be labelled “Made in Israel.” Friedman said:
“I don’t think it is a coincidence that this is happening days after the European Court of Justice ruling on labeling. That is clear. The substantive impact will depend on what flesh we [the U.S.] put on the bones. The President, the State Department can tell Customs and Border to change our policy on labeling [of goods produced from the settlements].”
If the policy change is directed by the White House, it would be doing so with ample standing in U.S. law as passed by the Congress, which for the past four years has intentionally included wording the explicitly conflates Israel with the settlements as far as U.S. law is concerned. Lara Friedman has maintained a detailed table documenting such legis;ation, which she first warned about in 2015.
Following the Nov. 18th announcement changing U.S. policy on Israeli settlements, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed to support and expedite the passage of a Knesset bill providing for the annexation of the Jordan Valley – some 25% of land in the occupied West Bank. The bill was introduced on November 3rd by Likud MK Sharren Haskell, and it calls for extending Israeli sovereignty over the area. On November 19th, Haskel tweeted that she has submitted a request to exempt the bill from the mandatory 6-week waiting period, so that it can be brought to a vote next week regardless of the fact that there is a caretaker government while Israeli political chaos continues to unfold.
In a video message posted to Twitter, Netanyahu said:
“The historic decision by the American administration from yesterday hands us a unique opportunity to set Israel’s eastern border and annex the Jordan Valley.”
Netanyahu previously vowed to annex the Jordan Valley should he be reelected, a plan which was endorsed by his rival Benny Gantz and supported by then-U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton. Notably, when Netanyahu promised to annex the Jordan Valley, he stated that he would have already enacted his Jordan Valley annexation plan if not for Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandleblit’s opposition to taking a decision of this magnitude while Netanyahu was overseeing a caretaker government.
Shlomo Eldar, columnist for Al-Monitor, discusses the politics that contribute Netanyahu’s sudden endorsement of Haskell’s bill (which had been introduced in the previous Knesset but not supported by Netanyahu):
“It is not clear how the present Knesset will vote on the bill for annexing the Jordan Valley, should it ever come to a vote. What is clear is that the issue of the valley’s annexation has created a catch-22 for Gantz and the Blue and White. A vote in favor by his alliance will lead it to lose Joint List support after the next elections. There is no chance that members of the Joint List will support a faction that endorses any kind of annexation. If Blue and White begins to vacillate and oppose the bill, then Netanyahu will criticize and ridicule them during the election campaign. Therefore Knesset member Avi Nissenkorn (Blue and White), head of the Knesset’s Arrangements Committee, will definitely try to prevent the bill from reaching the stage of a preliminary hearing. Regardless of whether Nissenkorn succeeds, it seems that annexation of the Jordan Valley is on its way, with the encouragement of the Trump administration.”
Under Netanyahu’s own annexation plan, Israel would annex land constituting nearly a quarter of the West Bank (22.3%) including 30 settlements and 18 illegal outposts. According to Peace Now, 20% of the targeted land (62,000 acres) is privately owned by Palestinians and approximately 8,775 Palestinians live in 48 Palestinian herding communities in the area he plans to annex.
In total, some 11,000 settlers and 65,000 Palestinians live in the Jordan Valley – the latter facing severe restrictions on land use and freedom of movement, and lack of access to municipal services like water and electricity. Israeli government officials have publicly and repeatedly demanded complete Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley in the context of any peace agreement, meaning that any future Palestinian state would be entirely encircled by Israel, having no international border with any other nation.
Yesh Din tracks all Knesset legislation related to annexation in this handy Annexation Legislation Database, and FMEP tracks all Knesset, Cabinet, and Judicial action related to annexation in its Annexation Policy Tables.
On November 18th, the Israel Lands Authority published a tender for the construction of a six-story hotel in the Ma’ale Adumim settlement, located in the West Bank just east of Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Post reports:
“Hagit Ofran of Peace Now said tenders have unsuccessfully been published for hotels in Ma’aleh Adumim in the past. Such development should be inside of sovereign Israel and not outside of it, she said, adding that it does not serve Israel’s interest to encourage tourism in the West Bank settlements.”
Israel’s intentional investment and green light to expanding the settlement tourism industry is a strategic endeavor intended to entrench settlements, provide for their expansion, normalize their existence within the international community, and advance their seamless integration into Israeli territory. In a recent report on companies which profit from tourism in the settlements, Amnesty International further explains:
“In recent years the Israeli government has invested huge sums to develop the tourism industry in settlements. It uses the designation of certain locations as tourist sites to justify the takeover of Palestinian land and homes, and often deliberately constructs settlements next to archaeological sites to emphasize the Jewish people’s historic connections to the region.”
- “With softening of US settlement policy, is annexation train leaving the station?” (Times of Israel)
- “Secular Israelis Flock to West Bank Settlements in Search of Good, Cheap Life” (Haaretz)
- “The Problem With Settlements Is Not That They Are Illegal. It’s That They Are Immoral” (The Forward)
- “On West Bank, No One Rests Easy, No Matter What U. S. Says About Settlements” (New York Times)
- “Stop Calling Violent Settlers Bad Apples. They Are The Inevitable Outcome Of Occupation” (The Forward)
- “West Bank settlers escalate attacks on Arab olive harvesters in annual violence” (Washington Post)
- “‘It’s So Easy to Live Here.’ Jewish Settlements Go Mainstream in Israel” (Wall Street Journal)