Sunday video series: Inside Israeli land grabs in the West Bank

by Yaniv Reich on January 31, 2010

A number of my readers have asked me about the difference between a settlement and an outpost. This distinction is typically made, in the minds of Israelis, as the difference in formal recognition by the government versus the informal establishment of small caravans, often by the most radical fringes of settler society.

This distinction, however, is contrived and designed to obfuscate public discussion on settlements. Note first that all settlements, of any size, and irrespective of whether or not they are considered part of the “Israeli consensus”, are absolutely and unequivocally illegal under international law. No country on earth, not even the US, officially recognizes the legality of the settlements, nor do they accept Israel’s unilateral annexation of Palestinian East Jerusalem.

Moreover, Israel has maintained for over four decades a complicated system of support for the settlement enterprise. This includes full-scale complicity with the IDF, which might establish a “temporary work camp” that then turns into a settlement (as well as providing security, of course). And it includes a host of institutional actors such as the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior, the judicial system, etc. These governmental organs act to legitimize many of the initially “illegal” outposts, turn them into “recognized settlements”, and make them eligible—retroactively—for full state support in the annual budget.

In the excellent clip below, the details of this grinding, incessant form of ethnic cleansing are explained in detail. Highly recommended.

The final result of this process is that Palestinians are systematically removed, in a piecemeal manner, from their land all over the West Bank, while Jews establish new communities in places where Palestinians once lived or worked. Today, 42 years after Israel took over the West Bank, more than half a million Jews live on occupied Palestinian land.

This process represents nothing less than the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

Thanks to Palestine Today for posting the video.

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