Saturday, January 31, 2009

Israeli Government Concealed Knowledge of Illegal Settlements in the West Bank

It is being reported that the Israeli government is complicit in illegal construction of settlements on land that belongs to Palestinians, a violation of international law.

The human rights group Yesh Din has obtained classified documents from the Israeli Defense Ministry which indicate that the Israeli Government has known that as many as three out of every four settlements in the West Bank, have been built without proper permits and have occurred on private property. The data in the report demonstrates:

• Over 30 settlements – including longstanding settlements such as Ariel, Kochav
Yaakov, Beit El, Elon Moreh and Ofra – that were to some extent built on private Palestinian land.
• Construction activity within settlements being conducted without necessary building permits or in direct violation of the building plans.
• The extent and locations of unauthorized building in outposts across the West Bank.

The organization Peace Now, also recently released a study which documents the rapid expansion of settlements in 2008. The study indicates that 1,518 new structures were built in Jewish West Bank settlements, an increase of 60% from 2007. Further interpretation of the study indicates:

Of the news structures, which include homes and caravans, 927, or 61 percent, were built west of the security fence and 591, or 39 percent, were built east of the security fence. One-quarter of the structures east of the fence were built in outposts. The 261 structures built in the outposts represent a more than doubling of the 98 built in 2007, and include five new structures in the Migron outpost, which the Israeli government announced it would relocate to a nearby settlement.

There was also a very good report on this topic on 60 Minutes recently. You can view the report below:

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