Lara Friedman writes: On December 31, 2012, Time Magazine published an article entitled, “The West Bank’s 2012: The Year of the Israeli Settlement.” Earlier this week, the Israeli Peace Now movement released a new report that makes a case for a different title: 2009-2013: the Years of the Israeli Settlements. The new report (which I co-authored) details the Netanyahu government’s record on settlements over the course of its past 4 years in office. The results are incontrovertible: by every objective measure, the Netanyahu government has demonstrated that it is determined to use settlements to destroy the very possibility of the two-state solution.
Peace Now documents how, under the Netanyahu government, constructed started on 6867 new units in settlements. More than one-third of these starts were in settlements located east of the planned route of Israel’s separation barrier—areas that it cannot plausibly be argued will remain under Israeli control after a Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. In the years preceding the Netanyahu government, only 20 percent of new construction was in settlements in these areas. Much of this new construction was triggered by the Netanyahu government, which tacitly encouraged settlers to begin new construction in the period leading up the 10-month settlement “moratorium” and then insisted that such construction must be allowed to continue during the moratorium.
Peace Now also documents the record number of tenders for new construction in settlements issued under the Netanyahu government, following the expiration of the settlement “moratorium.” We’re talking about tenders for 5302 new units in settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem—a number that erases the impact of the moratorium. [Continue reading…]