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Debate: Israeli settlements

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-=== Are settlements justified? Is expansion defensible or should it be halted, settlements disabled? ===+=== Are settlements justified? Is expansion defensible? ===
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===Background and context === ===Background and context ===
-[[Image:Israeli settlements in the West Bank.jpg|right|100px]]+Israeli settlements are communities inhabited by Israelis in territory that was captured during the 1967 Six-Day War. Such settlements currently exist in the West Bank, which is partially under Israeli military administration[1] and partially under the control of the Palestinian National Authority, and in the Golan Heights, which are under Israeli civilian administration.[[Image:Israeli settlements in the West Bank.jpg|right|100px]]
-Israeli settlements are communities inhabited by Israelis in territory that was captured during the 1967 Six-Day War. Such settlements currently exist in the West Bank, which is partially under Israeli military administration[1] and partially under the control of the Palestinian National Authority, and in the Golan Heights, which are under Israeli civilian administration.+
-International bodies, including the United Nations Security Council, the International Court of Justice, the European Union, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch and some legal scholars have characterized the settlements as a violation of international law. Israel, the Anti-Defamation League, and other legal scholars disagree with this assessment. (See Legal background)+International bodies, including the United Nations Security Council, the International Court of Justice, the European Union, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch and some legal scholars have characterized the settlements as a violation of international law. Israel, the Anti-Defamation League, and other legal scholars disagree with this assessment.
 + 
 +Many US administrations have called on Israel to halt its settlements, and have even called them illegal. In 2009, the Obama administration also called on Israel to halt its settlement construction. Yet, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected these calls. Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, for example, was quoted in a May 31st, 2009 article as having said: "I want to make it clear that the current Israeli government will not accept in any way the freezing of legal settlement activity in Judea and Samaria [West Bank.]"[http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1089247.html]
''See [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_settlement Israeli settlement] for more background.'' ''See [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_settlement Israeli settlement] for more background.''
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*'''[[Argument: Israeli settlements do not impede creation of Palestine| Israeli settlements do not impede creation of Palestine]]''' [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/07/AR2009040703379.html Elliott Abrams. "The Settlement Freeze Fallacy". The Washington Post. April 8, 2009]: "Is current and recent settlement construction creating insurmountable barriers to peace? A simple test shows that it is not. Ten years ago, in the Camp David talks, Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat approximately 94 percent of the West Bank, with a land swap to make up half of the 6 percent Israel would keep. According to news reports, just three months ago, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered 93 percent, with a one-to-one land swap. In the end, under the January 2009 offer, Palestinians would have received an area equal to 98 to 98.5 percent of the West Bank (depending on which press report you read), while 10 years ago they were offered 97 percent. Ten years of settlement activity would have resulted in a larger area for the Palestinian state." *'''[[Argument: Israeli settlements do not impede creation of Palestine| Israeli settlements do not impede creation of Palestine]]''' [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/07/AR2009040703379.html Elliott Abrams. "The Settlement Freeze Fallacy". The Washington Post. April 8, 2009]: "Is current and recent settlement construction creating insurmountable barriers to peace? A simple test shows that it is not. Ten years ago, in the Camp David talks, Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat approximately 94 percent of the West Bank, with a land swap to make up half of the 6 percent Israel would keep. According to news reports, just three months ago, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered 93 percent, with a one-to-one land swap. In the end, under the January 2009 offer, Palestinians would have received an area equal to 98 to 98.5 percent of the West Bank (depending on which press report you read), while 10 years ago they were offered 97 percent. Ten years of settlement activity would have resulted in a larger area for the Palestinian state."
- 
-*'''Jewish settlements are not part of any "occupation".''' [http://www.jr.co.il/articles/politics/expand.txt Michael Freund. "Israel Has Every Right to Expand Settlements". The Chicago Sun-Times. May 15, 2002]: "Israel did not 'occupy' these territories, as the Palestinians and others would have you believe. In the 1967 Six-Day War, Arab armies massed on Israel's narrow borders, vowing to destroy the Jewish state. In a war of self-defense, Israel succeeded in overcoming its enemies, in the process taking control over Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Under international law, territories are considered 'occupied' only when they are taken in an act of aggression - something which clearly does not apply to Israel's case." 
- 
-*'''Jews have a historical right to settle in West Bank and Gaza.''' [http://www.jr.co.il/articles/politics/expand.txt Michael Freund. "Israel Has Every Right to Expand Settlements". The Chicago Sun-Times. May 15, 2002]: "It was 35 years ago this month that Israel prevailed in the 1967 war, returning to places such as Hebron and Shilo. For two thousand uninterrupted years, Jews had lived in the ancient Jewish quarter of Hebron, near the Tomb of the Patriarchs where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are buried. Only in 1929, when local Arabs massacred them, was the Jewish community forced to flee the city. What could be more historically just than to rebuild the Jewish presence there? [...] Jews have a moral, legal, historical and Biblical right to settle the territories. Israel's settlements matter, then, because they are at the forefront of righting a historical wrong, one in which Jews were previously barred from living in their ancestral homeland due to Arab rejectionism and hatred."  
- 
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====Con==== ====Con====
-*'''Israeli settlements impede creation of Palestinian state.''' [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/10/AR2009041003085.html Gregory Eow. "Israel Must Give Up the West Bank Settlements". Washington Post Editorial. April 11, 2009]: "Previously, we had thought it was Palestinian intransigence that prevented a two-state solution. A look at the settlements demolishes this explanation. The settlements and the maze of Israelis-only roads and military checkpoints to sustain them makes clear that successive Israeli governments -- Labor and Likud alike, as Mr. Abrams noted -- have actively pursued policies aimed at colonizing the West Bank. [...] That prevents the establishment of a viable and contiguous Palestinian state"+*'''[[Argument: Israeli settlements impede creation of Palestinian state| Israeli settlements impede creation of Palestinian state]]''' Former US president Bill Clinton: "The Israeli people also must understand that . . . the settlement enterprise and building bypass roads in the heart of what they already know will one day be part of a Palestinian state is inconsistent with the Oslo commitment that both sides negotiate a compromise."[http://www.cmep.org/documents/settlements.htm]
- +
-:French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner: "Nothing justifies the settlement expansion which constitutes an impediment to peace, as well as an obstacle obstructing the development of the Palestinian economy."[http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/986489.html] +
- +
-:Secretary of State Hilary Clinton: "We think it is in the best interests (of the peace process) that settlement expansion cease. That is our position. That is what we have communicated very clearly. [...] And we intend to press that point."[http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090527/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_us_israel]+
- +
-*'''Settlement activities damage negotiations.''' Condoleezza Rice said in a November 7th, 2008 visit to the West Bank: "Settlement activity, both actions and announcements, is damaging for the atmosphere of negotiations. And the party's actions should be encouraging confidence, not undermining it. And no party should take steps that could prejudice the outcome of negotiations."[http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090527/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_us_israel]+
- +
-*'''Israeli monopoly on force ensures settlements are enforced unlawfully.''' [http://www.merip.org/newspaper_opeds/oped092405.html Stephanie Kuory. "Israeli Settlements Illegal and Getting Worse". The Middle East Research and Information Project. September 24, 2005]: "Settlements are constructed under Israeli military or private security protection. Israel's Ministry of Defense provides weapons to settlers, which are then used by militants to harass Palestinians into vacating their land. Reports on settler violence by B'Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, document that settlers fear little or no retribution from Israeli law enforcement because of a history of superficial investigations -- only 8 percent of Palestinian complaints are probed -- and light sentencing or pardons for the few settlers ever convicted. The same reports note that Israeli military and police often do not intervene to prevent attacks although they are present at the time."+
 +*'''[[Argument: Israeli settlements taint negotiations and peace process| Israeli settlements taint negotiations and peace process]]''' Condoleezza Rice said in a November 7th, 2008 visit to the West Bank: "Settlement activity, both actions and announcements, is damaging for the atmosphere of negotiations. And the party's actions should be encouraging confidence, not undermining it. And no party should take steps that could prejudice the outcome of negotiations."[http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090527/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_us_israel]
 +*'''[[Argument: General statements against Israeli settlements| General statements against Israeli settlements]]''' UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's spokeswoman Michel Montas: "The secretary-general calls on the government of Israel to halt settlement expansion and reiterates that the fulfillment of Road Map obligations by both parties is an important measure underpinning the political process between them."[http://www.ynet.co.il/english/articles/0,7340,L-3517478,00.html]
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====Pro==== ====Pro====
-*'''Jews (like any race) have right to live in Palestinian territory.''' [http://www.jr.co.il/articles/politics/expand.txt Michael Freund. "Israel Has Every Right to Expand Settlements". The Chicago Sun-Times. May 15, 2002]: "Indeed, there is something very troubling about the fact that a US Secretary of State would object to the erection of a house based on the religious or ethnic identity of its owner. In the olden days, we had a word for such views - it was called racism. And segregation. [...] To deny people the right to live in a certain area because they are Jews is no different from denying African-Americans or Hispanics or any other ethnic group the right to live where they please. And to suggest that the exercise of that right is somehow an "obstacle to peace" and must be halted is to capitulate to the haters and allow them to dictate who may live where. We can not allow that to happen."+*'''[[Argument: Jewish settlements are not part of any "illegal occupation"| Jewish settlements are not part of any "illegal occupation"]]''' [http://www.jr.co.il/articles/politics/expand.txt Michael Freund. "Israel Has Every Right to Expand Settlements". The Chicago Sun-Times. May 15, 2002]: "Israel did not 'occupy' these territories, as the Palestinians and others would have you believe. In the 1967 Six-Day War, Arab armies massed on Israel's narrow borders, vowing to destroy the Jewish state. In a war of self-defense, Israel succeeded in overcoming its enemies, in the process taking control over Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Under international law, territories are considered 'occupied' only when they are taken in an act of aggression - something which clearly does not apply to Israel's case."
- +
 +*'''Israeli settlements may be unfortunate, but are not illegal.''' It is one thing to argue that settlements are unfortunate, and even that they make a peace settlement more difficult, but it is entirely another to argue that they are illegal. Many seem to confuse these ideas. They are entirely different and must not be confused. Any international legal case against Israel must solely focus on the relationship of Israel's actions to the strict letter of the law, such as the Geneva conventions.
 +*'''[[Argument: Israeli-only roads were built to protect against attack| Israeli-only roads were built to protect against attack]]''' [http://www.think-israel.org/meir-levi.settlements.html David Meir-Levi. "Occupation and settlement: the myth and reality". Front Line Magazine. June 24, 2005]: "It is also important to note that the so-called 'apartheid roads' did not exist prior to Arafat's 1994 ascent to power, nor are they apartheid. During the decades from 1967 on, Israelis and Arabs used the same roads, many of which ran as main streets through the towns and villages of the West Bank, bringing in millions of tourist dollars to hitherto impoverished small-town Arab merchants. Only after Arafat began his terror war, and Israelis driving through Arab towns found themselves in mortal danger, did Israel build the 'Israelis only' (not 'Jews only') roads. Rather than take punitive measures against Arab offenders who murdered or injured Israeli motorists (Jewish, Christian, and Moslem), the government decided instead to create this by-pass system so that Israelis could reach WBGS destinations without exposing themselves to terrorist attacks."
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====Con==== ====Con====
-*'''Israeli settlements violate international law on war and occupation.''' [http://www.btselem.org/English/Publications/Summaries/200205_Land_Grab.asp "Land Grab: Israel's Settlement Policy in the West Bank". The Israeli information Center for Human Rights. May 2002]: "International Law. The establishment of settlements on the West Bank violates international humanitarian law, which establishes the principles applying during war and occupation. International humanitarian law prohibits the occupying power to transfer citizens from its own territory to the occupied territory (Fourth Geneva Convention, article 49). The Hague Regulations prohibit the occupying power to undertake permanent changes in the occupied area, unless these are due to military needs in the narrow sense of the term, or unless they are undertaken for the benefit of the local population."+*'''[[Argument: Israeli settlements violate international law| Israeli settlements violate international law]]''' President Carter, April 1980 interview: “Our position on the settlements is very clear. We do not think they are legal.
 +:Secretary of State Cyrus Vance before House Ctee. on Foreign Affairs, March 21, 1980: "U.S. Policy toward the establishment of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories is unequivocal and has long been a matter of public record. We consider it to be contrary to international law and an impediment to the successful conclusion of the Middle East peace process…Article 49, paragraph 6, of the Fourth Geneva Convention is, in my judgment, and has been in judgment of each of the legal advisors of the State Department for many, many years, to be. . .that [settlements] are illegal and that [the Convention] applies to the territories.”[http://www.cmep.org/documents/settlements.htm]
-*'''Israeli settlements are a form of annexation.''' [http://www.btselem.org/English/Publications/Summaries/200205_Land_Grab.asp "Land Grab: Israel's Settlement Policy in the West Bank". The Israeli information Center for Human Rights. May 2002]: "The Israeli administration has applied most aspects of Israeli law to the settlers and the settlements, thus effectively annexing them to the State of Israel." +*'''[[Argument: Israeli settlements are a form of annexation| Israeli settlements are a form of annexation]]''' [http://www.btselem.org/English/Publications/Summaries/200205_Land_Grab.asp "Land Grab: Israel's Settlement Policy in the West Bank". The Israeli information Center for Human Rights. May 2002]: "The Israeli administration has applied most aspects of Israeli law to the settlers and the settlements, thus effectively annexing them to the State of Israel."
-*'''[[Argument: Settlements create separate/unequal laws for Israelis/Palestinians| Settlements create separate/unequal laws for Israelis/Palestinians]]''' [http://www.btselem.org/English/Publications/Summaries/200205_Land_Grab.asp "Land Grab: Israel's Settlement Policy in the West Bank". The Israeli information Center for Human Rights. May 2002]: "This has taken place although in formal terms the West Bank is not part of the State of Israel, and the law in effect there is Jordanian law and military legislation. This annexation has resulted in a regime of legalized separation and discrimination. This regime is based on the existence of two separate legal systems in the same territory, with the rights of individuals being determined by their nationality."+*'''[[Argument: Israel uses sham legal tools to justify settlements| Israel uses sham legal tools to justify settlements]]''' [http://www.btselem.org/English/Publications/Summaries/200205_Land_Grab.asp "Land Grab: Israel's Settlement Policy in the West Bank". The Israeli information Center for Human Rights. May 2002]: "Particularly evident is Israel's manipulative use of legal tools in order to give the settlement enterprise an impression of legality. When Jordanian legislation served Israel's goals, Israel adhered to this legislation, arguing that international law obliges it to respect the legislation in effect prior to the occupation; in practice, this legislation was used in a cynical and biased manner. On the other hand, when this legislation interfered with Israel's plans, it was changed in a cavalier manner through military legislation and Israel established new rules to serve its interests."
-*'''[[Argument: Israel uses sham legal tools to justify settlements| Israel uses sham legal tool to justify settlements]]''' [http://www.btselem.org/English/Publications/Summaries/200205_Land_Grab.asp "Land Grab: Israel's Settlement Policy in the West Bank". The Israeli information Center for Human Rights. May 2002]: "Particularly evident is Israel's manipulative use of legal tools in order to give the settlement enterprise an impression of legality. When Jordanian legislation served Israel's goals, Israel adhered to this legislation, arguing that international law obliges it to respect the legislation in effect prior to the occupation; in practice, this legislation was used in a cynical and biased manner. On the other hand, when this legislation interfered with Israel's plans, it was changed in a cavalier manner through military legislation and Israel established new rules to serve its interests."+*'''Israeli-only roads to settlements are unlawful.''' Israel has built Israeli-only roads to its settlements. This institutionalization of discriminatory policies is unlawful, or at least wrong in a modern democratic society.
|- |-
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-=== Natural expansion: Is the "natural expansion" of settlements justified? ===+===Rights: Are Israeli settlements consistent with Israeli and Palestinian rights? ===
|- |-
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====Pro==== ====Pro====
-*'''Israeli settlements should be able to expand "naturally".''' The "natural expansion" of Israeli settlements is important to allow. This is a situation in which population growth as well as modest immigration into settlements expands a settlement, modestly. It is instructive to consider what it would mean to "freeze" such "natural expansion". It would almost necessarily mean placing limits on the number of offspring couples could have as well as the number of jews that can immigrate into a settlement. This is practically infeasible. And, for this reason, the "natural expansion" of Israeli settlements should be allowed.+*'''[[Argument: Jews have historical right to return to West Bank| Jews have historical right to return to West Bank]]''' [http://www.jr.co.il/articles/politics/expand.txt Michael Freund. "Israel Has Every Right to Expand Settlements". The Chicago Sun-Times. May 15, 2002]: "It was 35 years ago this month that Israel prevailed in the 1967 war, returning to places such as Hebron and Shilo. For two thousand uninterrupted years, Jews had lived in the ancient Jewish quarter of Hebron, near the Tomb of the Patriarchs where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are buried. Only in 1929, when local Arabs massacred them, was the Jewish community forced to flee the city. What could be more historically just than to rebuild the Jewish presence there? [...] Jews have a moral, legal, historical and Biblical right to settle the territories. Israel's settlements matter, then, because they are at the forefront of righting a historical wrong, one in which Jews were previously barred from living in their ancestral homeland due to Arab rejectionism and hatred."
 + 
 +*'''[[Argument: Jews and others have right to live in Palestinian territory| Jews and others have right to live in Palestinian territory]]''' [http://www.jr.co.il/articles/politics/expand.txt Michael Freund. "Israel Has Every Right to Expand Settlements". The Chicago Sun-Times. May 15, 2002]: "Indeed, there is something very troubling about the fact that a US Secretary of State would object to the erection of a house based on the religious or ethnic identity of its owner. In the olden days, we had a word for such views - it was called racism. And segregation. [...] To deny people the right to live in a certain area because they are Jews is no different from denying African-Americans or Hispanics or any other ethnic group the right to live where they please. And to suggest that the exercise of that right is somehow an "obstacle to peace" and must be halted is to capitulate to the haters and allow them to dictate who may live where. We can not allow that to happen."
 + 
 +*'''[[Argument: Israelis have equal claim as Palestinians to settle in West Bank| Israelis have equal claim as Palestinians to settle in West Bank]]''' [http://www.jewishmag.com/77mag/settlements/settlements.htm Daniel Kaganovich and Michael Butler. "Why We Support Israeli Settlements". Jewish Magazine. March 2004.]: "The word 'settlement' itself has acquired negative connotations and when used in the familiar formula 'Israeli settlements on Arab land' automatically concedes the superiority of the Arab claim to the West Bank. We do not concede this claim; neither does the State of Israel."
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====Con==== ====Con====
-*'''Israel encourages settlements; they are not growing "naturally".''' [http://www.btselem.org/English/Publications/Summaries/200205_Land_Grab.asp "Land Grab: Israel's Settlement Policy in the West Bank". The Israeli information Center for Human Rights. May 2002]: "The Israeli governments have implemented a consistent and systematic policy intended to encourage Jewish citizens to migrate to the West Bank. One of the tools used to this end is to grant financial benefits and incentives to citizens - both directly and through the Jewish local authorities. The purpose of this support is to raise the standard of living of these citizens and to encourage migration to the West Bank." It is difficult, therefore, for Israelis to say that the "natural expansion" of settlements is justified and should remain into the future. There is nothing "natural" about the growth of Israeli settlements; it has been directly encouraged by the state. All future requests to allow the "natural growth" of such settlements should, therefore, be met with significant skepticism and doubt. +*'''[[Argument: Settlements create separate/unequal laws for Israelis/Palestinians| Settlements create separate/unequal laws for Israelis/Palestinians]]''' [http://www.btselem.org/English/Publications/Summaries/200205_Land_Grab.asp "Land Grab: Israel's Settlement Policy in the West Bank". The Israeli information Center for Human Rights. May 2002]: "This has taken place although in formal terms the West Bank is not part of the State of Israel, and the law in effect there is Jordanian law and military legislation. This annexation has resulted in a regime of legalized separation and discrimination. This regime is based on the existence of two separate legal systems in the same territory, with the rights of individuals being determined by their nationality."
 + 
 +*'''[[Argument: Settlements undercut Palestinian rights to land| Settlements undercut Palestinian rights to land]]''' [http://www.merip.org/newspaper_opeds/oped092405.html Stephanie Kuory. "Israeli Settlements Illegal and Getting Worse". The Middle East Research and Information Project. September 24, 2005]: "While expanding settlements Israel simultaneously contains Palestinian development. It unlawfully confiscates property, denies Palestinians the right to register their land and restricts Palestinian growth to limited areas, thereby reserving available land for settlement expansion. In order to ensure Israeli citizens have access to their settlements, Palestinians face restrictions on movement, including 600 physical barriers on West Bank roads, and endure long waits at checkpoints."
 + 
 +*'''[[Argument: Settlements violate basic Palestinian human rights| Settlements violate basic Palestinian human rights]]''' [http://www.btselem.org/English/Publications/Summaries/200205_Land_Grab.asp "Land Grab: Israel's Settlement Policy in the West Bank". The Israeli information Center for Human Rights. May 2002]: "The establishment of the settlements leads to the violation of the rights of the Palestinians as enshrined in international human rights law. Among other violations, the settlements infringe the right to self-determination, equality, property, an adequate standard of living, and freedom of movement."
 + 
 +*'''[[Argument: Israel uses violence to unlawfully back settlements| Israel uses violence to unlawfully back settlements]]''' [http://www.merip.org/newspaper_opeds/oped092405.html Stephanie Kuory. "Israeli Settlements Illegal and Getting Worse". The Middle East Research and Information Project. September 24, 2005]: "Settlements are constructed under Israeli military or private security protection. Israel's Ministry of Defense provides weapons to settlers, which are then used by militants to harass Palestinians into vacating their land. Reports on settler violence by B'Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, document that settlers fear little or no retribution from Israeli law enforcement because of a history of superficial investigations -- only 8 percent of Palestinian complaints are probed -- and light sentencing or pardons for the few settlers ever convicted. The same reports note that Israeli military and police often do not intervene to prevent attacks although they are present at the time."
|- |-
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-=== Intentions: === +=== Natural expansion: Is the "natural expansion" of settlements justified? ===
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====Pro==== ====Pro====
-*'''Settlers are pioneers in the heartland of Israel.''' [http://www.jr.co.il/articles/politics/expand.txt Michael Freund. "Israel Has Every Right to Expand Settlements". The Chicago Sun-Times. May 15, 2002]: "The fact of the matter is that Jews choosing to live in the West Bank and Gaza are pioneers. They are returning to live in the heartland of Israel, the place which served as the cradle of Western civilization and religion."+*'''[[Argument: Israeli settlements should be able to expand "naturally"| Israeli settlements should be able to expand "naturally"]]''' The "natural expansion" of Israeli settlements is important to allow. This is a situation in which population growth as well as modest immigration into settlements expands a settlement, modestly. It is instructive to consider what it would mean to "freeze" such "natural expansion". It would almost necessarily mean placing limits on the number of offspring couples could have as well as the number of jews that can immigrate into a settlement. This is practically infeasible. And, for this reason, the "natural expansion" of Israeli settlements should be allowed.
 + 
 + 
-*'''Israelis have equal claim as Palestinians to settle in West Bank.''' [http://www.jewishmag.com/77mag/settlements/settlements.htm Daniel Kaganovich and Michael Butler. "Why We Support Israeli Settlements". Jewish Magazine. March 2004.]: "The word 'settlement' itself has acquired negative connotations and when used in the familiar formula 'Israeli settlements on Arab land' automatically concedes the superiority of the Arab claim to the West Bank. We do not concede this claim; neither does the State of Israel."  
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====Con==== ====Con====
-*'''Settlements undercuts Palestinian right to control their land.''' [http://www.merip.org/newspaper_opeds/oped092405.html Stephanie Kuory. "Israeli Settlements Illegal and Getting Worse". The Middle East Research and Information Project. September 24, 2005]: "While expanding settlements Israel simultaneously contains Palestinian development. It unlawfully confiscates property, denies Palestinians the right to register their land and restricts Palestinian growth to limited areas, thereby reserving available land for settlement expansion. In order to ensure Israeli citizens have access to their settlements, Palestinians face restrictions on movement, including 600 physical barriers on West Bank roads, and endure long waits at checkpoints." +*'''Israel encourages settlements; they are not growing "naturally".''' [http://www.btselem.org/English/Publications/Summaries/200205_Land_Grab.asp "Land Grab: Israel's Settlement Policy in the West Bank". The Israeli information Center for Human Rights. May 2002]: "The Israeli governments have implemented a consistent and systematic policy intended to encourage Jewish citizens to migrate to the West Bank. One of the tools used to this end is to grant financial benefits and incentives to citizens - both directly and through the Jewish local authorities. The purpose of this support is to raise the standard of living of these citizens and to encourage migration to the West Bank." It is difficult, therefore, for Israelis to say that the "natural expansion" of settlements is justified and should remain into the future. There is nothing "natural" about the growth of Israeli settlements; it has been directly encouraged by the state. All future requests to allow the "natural growth" of such settlements should, therefore, be met with significant skepticism and doubt.
- +
-*'''Settlements violate basic Palestinian human rights.''' [http://www.btselem.org/English/Publications/Summaries/200205_Land_Grab.asp "Land Grab: Israel's Settlement Policy in the West Bank". The Israeli information Center for Human Rights. May 2002]: "The establishment of the settlements leads to the violation of the rights of the Palestinians as enshrined in international human rights law. Among other violations, the settlements infringe the right to self-determination, equality, property, an adequate standard of living, and freedom of movement."+
- +
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 +
===Pro/con sources=== ===Pro/con sources===
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*[http://www.btselem.org/English/Publications/Summaries/200205_Land_Grab.asp "Land Grab: Israel's Settlement Policy in the West Bank". The Israeli information Center for Human Rights. May 2002] *[http://www.btselem.org/English/Publications/Summaries/200205_Land_Grab.asp "Land Grab: Israel's Settlement Policy in the West Bank". The Israeli information Center for Human Rights. May 2002]
*[http://www.ynet.co.il/english/articles/0,7340,L-3517478,00.html "UN chief: Israel should halt settlement expansion"] *[http://www.ynet.co.il/english/articles/0,7340,L-3517478,00.html "UN chief: Israel should halt settlement expansion"]
- +*[http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/israeli-settlements-not-conducive-to-peace-cannon-says/article1151976/ "Israeli settlements ‘not conducive' to peace, Cannon says". Globe and Mail. May 25, 2009]
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|WRITE CONTENT FOR THE "Con" BOX ABOVE THIS CODE colspan="2" width="45%" bgcolor="#F2F2F2" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top: 0.5em ;"| |WRITE CONTENT FOR THE "Con" BOX ABOVE THIS CODE colspan="2" width="45%" bgcolor="#F2F2F2" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top: 0.5em ;"|
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==External links== ==External links==
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*[http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/28/world/middleeast/28mideast.html Mark Landler and Isabel Kershner. "Israeli Settlement Growth Must Stop, Clinton Says". New York Times. May 27, 2009] *[http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/28/world/middleeast/28mideast.html Mark Landler and Isabel Kershner. "Israeli Settlement Growth Must Stop, Clinton Says". New York Times. May 27, 2009]
*[http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article6315072.ece "President Obama tells Israel: stop expanding settlements". Times Online. May 19, 2009] *[http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article6315072.ece "President Obama tells Israel: stop expanding settlements". Times Online. May 19, 2009]
-*["US-Israeli settlements agreements 'illegal and nonbinding'".  
*[http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/05/05/us.israel/index.html "Biden prods Israel on settlements". CNN. May 5, 2009] *[http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/05/05/us.israel/index.html "Biden prods Israel on settlements". CNN. May 5, 2009]
*[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/19/israeli-settlers-reject-o_n_205052.html "Israeli Settlers Reject Obama Call To Halt Building". Huffington Post. May 19, 2009] *[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/19/israeli-settlers-reject-o_n_205052.html "Israeli Settlers Reject Obama Call To Halt Building". Huffington Post. May 19, 2009]
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*[http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L21658003.htm "Solana says shocked at Israeli settlement growth". Reuters. January 21, 2007] *[http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L21658003.htm "Solana says shocked at Israeli settlement growth". Reuters. January 21, 2007]
*''"US-Israeli settlements agreements 'illegal and nonbinding' - Abbas's spokesman". BBC. May 25, 2009'' *''"US-Israeli settlements agreements 'illegal and nonbinding' - Abbas's spokesman". BBC. May 25, 2009''
 +*''"US-Israeli settlements agreements 'illegal and nonbinding'".''
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Are settlements justified? Is expansion defensible?

Background and context

Israeli settlements are communities inhabited by Israelis in territory that was captured during the 1967 Six-Day War. Such settlements currently exist in the West Bank, which is partially under Israeli military administration[1] and partially under the control of the Palestinian National Authority, and in the Golan Heights, which are under Israeli civilian administration.

International bodies, including the United Nations Security Council, the International Court of Justice, the European Union, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch and some legal scholars have characterized the settlements as a violation of international law. Israel, the Anti-Defamation League, and other legal scholars disagree with this assessment.

Many US administrations have called on Israel to halt its settlements, and have even called them illegal. In 2009, the Obama administration also called on Israel to halt its settlement construction. Yet, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected these calls. Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, for example, was quoted in a May 31st, 2009 article as having said: "I want to make it clear that the current Israeli government will not accept in any way the freezing of legal settlement activity in Judea and Samaria [West Bank.]"[1]

See Israeli settlement for more background.

Contents

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Peace process: Do Israeli settlements help or hamper the peace process?

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Pro

  • Israeli settlements do not impede creation of Palestine Elliott Abrams. "The Settlement Freeze Fallacy". The Washington Post. April 8, 2009: "Is current and recent settlement construction creating insurmountable barriers to peace? A simple test shows that it is not. Ten years ago, in the Camp David talks, Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat approximately 94 percent of the West Bank, with a land swap to make up half of the 6 percent Israel would keep. According to news reports, just three months ago, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered 93 percent, with a one-to-one land swap. In the end, under the January 2009 offer, Palestinians would have received an area equal to 98 to 98.5 percent of the West Bank (depending on which press report you read), while 10 years ago they were offered 97 percent. Ten years of settlement activity would have resulted in a larger area for the Palestinian state."


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Con

  • Israeli settlements impede creation of Palestinian state Former US president Bill Clinton: "The Israeli people also must understand that . . . the settlement enterprise and building bypass roads in the heart of what they already know will one day be part of a Palestinian state is inconsistent with the Oslo commitment that both sides negotiate a compromise."[2]
  • Israeli settlements taint negotiations and peace process Condoleezza Rice said in a November 7th, 2008 visit to the West Bank: "Settlement activity, both actions and announcements, is damaging for the atmosphere of negotiations. And the party's actions should be encouraging confidence, not undermining it. And no party should take steps that could prejudice the outcome of negotiations."[3]
  • General statements against Israeli settlements UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's spokeswoman Michel Montas: "The secretary-general calls on the government of Israel to halt settlement expansion and reiterates that the fulfillment of Road Map obligations by both parties is an important measure underpinning the political process between them."[4]
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International law: Are settlements lawful under international law?

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Pro

  • Israeli settlements may be unfortunate, but are not illegal. It is one thing to argue that settlements are unfortunate, and even that they make a peace settlement more difficult, but it is entirely another to argue that they are illegal. Many seem to confuse these ideas. They are entirely different and must not be confused. Any international legal case against Israel must solely focus on the relationship of Israel's actions to the strict letter of the law, such as the Geneva conventions.
  • Israeli-only roads were built to protect against attack David Meir-Levi. "Occupation and settlement: the myth and reality". Front Line Magazine. June 24, 2005: "It is also important to note that the so-called 'apartheid roads' did not exist prior to Arafat's 1994 ascent to power, nor are they apartheid. During the decades from 1967 on, Israelis and Arabs used the same roads, many of which ran as main streets through the towns and villages of the West Bank, bringing in millions of tourist dollars to hitherto impoverished small-town Arab merchants. Only after Arafat began his terror war, and Israelis driving through Arab towns found themselves in mortal danger, did Israel build the 'Israelis only' (not 'Jews only') roads. Rather than take punitive measures against Arab offenders who murdered or injured Israeli motorists (Jewish, Christian, and Moslem), the government decided instead to create this by-pass system so that Israelis could reach WBGS destinations without exposing themselves to terrorist attacks."
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Con

Secretary of State Cyrus Vance before House Ctee. on Foreign Affairs, March 21, 1980: "U.S. Policy toward the establishment of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories is unequivocal and has long been a matter of public record. We consider it to be contrary to international law and an impediment to the successful conclusion of the Middle East peace process…Article 49, paragraph 6, of the Fourth Geneva Convention is, in my judgment, and has been in judgment of each of the legal advisors of the State Department for many, many years, to be. . .that [settlements] are illegal and that [the Convention] applies to the territories.”[5]
  • Israeli-only roads to settlements are unlawful. Israel has built Israeli-only roads to its settlements. This institutionalization of discriminatory policies is unlawful, or at least wrong in a modern democratic society.


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Rights: Are Israeli settlements consistent with Israeli and Palestinian rights?

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Pro

  • Jews have historical right to return to West Bank Michael Freund. "Israel Has Every Right to Expand Settlements". The Chicago Sun-Times. May 15, 2002: "It was 35 years ago this month that Israel prevailed in the 1967 war, returning to places such as Hebron and Shilo. For two thousand uninterrupted years, Jews had lived in the ancient Jewish quarter of Hebron, near the Tomb of the Patriarchs where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are buried. Only in 1929, when local Arabs massacred them, was the Jewish community forced to flee the city. What could be more historically just than to rebuild the Jewish presence there? [...] Jews have a moral, legal, historical and Biblical right to settle the territories. Israel's settlements matter, then, because they are at the forefront of righting a historical wrong, one in which Jews were previously barred from living in their ancestral homeland due to Arab rejectionism and hatred."
  • Jews and others have right to live in Palestinian territory Michael Freund. "Israel Has Every Right to Expand Settlements". The Chicago Sun-Times. May 15, 2002: "Indeed, there is something very troubling about the fact that a US Secretary of State would object to the erection of a house based on the religious or ethnic identity of its owner. In the olden days, we had a word for such views - it was called racism. And segregation. [...] To deny people the right to live in a certain area because they are Jews is no different from denying African-Americans or Hispanics or any other ethnic group the right to live where they please. And to suggest that the exercise of that right is somehow an "obstacle to peace" and must be halted is to capitulate to the haters and allow them to dictate who may live where. We can not allow that to happen."


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Con

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Natural expansion: Is the "natural expansion" of settlements justified?

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Pro

  • Israeli settlements should be able to expand "naturally" The "natural expansion" of Israeli settlements is important to allow. This is a situation in which population growth as well as modest immigration into settlements expands a settlement, modestly. It is instructive to consider what it would mean to "freeze" such "natural expansion". It would almost necessarily mean placing limits on the number of offspring couples could have as well as the number of jews that can immigrate into a settlement. This is practically infeasible. And, for this reason, the "natural expansion" of Israeli settlements should be allowed.



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Con

  • Israel encourages settlements; they are not growing "naturally". "Land Grab: Israel's Settlement Policy in the West Bank". The Israeli information Center for Human Rights. May 2002: "The Israeli governments have implemented a consistent and systematic policy intended to encourage Jewish citizens to migrate to the West Bank. One of the tools used to this end is to grant financial benefits and incentives to citizens - both directly and through the Jewish local authorities. The purpose of this support is to raise the standard of living of these citizens and to encourage migration to the West Bank." It is difficult, therefore, for Israelis to say that the "natural expansion" of settlements is justified and should remain into the future. There is nothing "natural" about the growth of Israeli settlements; it has been directly encouraged by the state. All future requests to allow the "natural growth" of such settlements should, therefore, be met with significant skepticism and doubt.
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Pro/con sources

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External links


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