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Monday, January 10, 2005

as the election distracts, the annexation proceeds

friday's haaretz contains a story by aluf benn describing the booming construction in the settlement bloc of gush etzion, where i used to live. settlement expansion has been constant throughout the "peace process" while never receiving the appropriate level of attention in the press and in public pronouncements. as the world is distracted by the election spectacle that has failed to excite palestinians and by the gaza "disengagement", israel is quietly expanding its west bank settlements with the tacit support of american leaders, although the construction is in violation of promises sharon made to george bush (and less importantly, a war crime). the facts that are beginning to be established on the ground are: (1) the west bank will be split into two by a corridor of jewish settlements, and (2) the annexation wall will form the new border between israel and the palestinian territories. the article also introduces a term that i hadn't heard before, "the blue line":


"At the Defense Ministry they have completed the demarcation of the "Blue Line," which will establish the boundaries of Jewish settlement in the West Bank."

as informed people know, israel never intended to accept a palestinian state with the border on the green line, which is the line determined by the armistice agreements following the 1948 war, and which world opinion has traditionally favored as the border for the two state solution. when israel agrees to return to negotiations, we can expect that the presuppositions will include everything between the green line and the annexation wall as belonging to israel, and everything within the blue line as "disputed" area that the palestinians must compromise over if they're serious about peace.

article highlights:

"The official level is advancing the declaration of state lands in the A-1 plan to link Jerusalem to Ma'aleh Adumim, which is perceived on the left as a deathblow to the final status agreement because it will cut the northern West Bank off from the southern part and prevent the Palestinian state from having essential territorial contiguity."

"According to Peace Now, the main building effort in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank is now focused on the area between the Green Line and the separation fence, and it is aimed at turning the fence into Israel's permanent border. There are many signs of this on the ground. The huge gate that has been set up in the fence near Alfei Menashe, on the road that goes up to Karnei Shomron and Kedumim, looks like a border crossing point and not like a temporary barrier, even though the smiling female soldiers there make do with hearing the drivers speak Hebrew and don't ask for identification."

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