Did you say settlement freeze? Ethnic cleansing of Palestine accelerates

by Yaniv Reich on November 16, 2009

Not only do Israeli ethnonationalist fundamentalists reject a settlement freeze, even a temporary one, they are preparing secret plans for expanding the Maale Adumim settlement, which cuts off East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank, by building another 1200 hectares and incorporating the smaller settlement of Kedar into Maale Adumim.

According to documents received by Peace Now, the Israeli NGO, these plans were drawn up by experts commissioned by Israel’s interior ministry (which is headed by the charming Shas politician Eli Yishai of “we should bombard thousands of houses in Gaza, destroy Gaza. As simple as that” fame). He now decides whether to approve the plan.

The Independent (UK) reports:

The expansion is on a highly sensitive piece of real estate that both sides see as holding the key to whether the Palestinians will have a viable state with their own corridor between the north and south parts of the West Bank.

Israeli plans also call for expanding Maale Adumim northward in an area known as E1, but US opposition has thus far stopped Israel from building residential buildings there, although a police headquarters has been established.

The new plan, if approved by the interior minister, Eli Yishai, will help pave the way for the building of 6000 housing units between Maale Adumim and Kedar and on other lands to be annexed by Maale Adumim, says Peace Now staffer Hagit Ofran. “What they have in their minds is the expansion of Maale Adumim and this is one step towards that,” Ms. Ofran said of government
planners.

Here is a map to gain some perspective on the area.

Jerusalem Map, 2006 (Source: FMEP)

Jerusalem Map, 2006 (Source: FMEP)

Pay close attention to how these efforts are “justified” in Israeli minds:

Hizki Zisman, a spokesman for the Maale Adumim municipality, said making Kedar part of Maale Adumim is an administrative matter of uniting local authorities and does not involve expropriating more land from Palestinians. He said the panel recommendation was “professional, not political” and that there was a great need to expand the settlement because of young couples needing bigger apartments.

Given that this process has continued unabated for 42 years, its hard not to conclude that Israel will never stop this ethnic cleansing without systematic and continuous pressure on both political and economic fronts.

If you think otherwise, I encourage you to articulate your case for why we should wait until the average Israeli voters are ready to hold their government, and themselves, accountable for this.

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