Everything Elliot Abrams & Uri Sadot Want You to Believe about Settlements Is Wrong

Last week, Elliot Abrams and Uri Sadot co-authored yet another defense of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s settlement policy.  At the heart of their case is this assertion:

 Israel's actual settlement construction pace has reached a historical low.  Only 507 housing units were approved for construction by Netanyahu’s government in the first six months of 2014, a 71.9 percent decrease from the same period in 2013… 

What does the data actually say? 

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Peace Now: Unprecedented land confiscation of 4,000 dunams near Bethlehem

The Civil Administration declared 4,000 dunams (990 acres) as State Land near the settlement of Gva'ot west of Bethlehem. As far as we know, this declaration is unprecedented in its scope since the 1980's and can dramatically change the reality in the Gush Etzion and the Bethlehem area. For an explanation about state land declaration see here.

Gva'ot was established in 1984 as a Military Base between the Palestinian villages of Al Jab'a and Nahhalin. During the 90’s, the soldiers were replaced by Yeshiva students that occupied the 30 caravans on site, and in 1998 the site was included within the official Municipal Borders of the settlement of Alon Shvut, which is located 3 km away. Recently, some 10 families moved in Gvaot and established an education institution on site.

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APN's Lara Friedman in the Forward: Did Hamas Get Bibi to Freeze Settlements?

Settlements haven’t been in the news of late — and not simply because war pushed them off the media’s radar. They haven’t been in the news because since the kidnapping and murder of the three Israeli yeshiva students back in June, there hasn’t been much settlement news to report.

True, already-approved settlement construction continued unabated (and there’s plenty of it). And settlers established several new illegal outposts. And tenders were awarded for new construction in the East Jerusalem settlement of Gilo. So clearly we’re not in the midst of a full-fledged settlement freeze. However, with respect to both the West Bank and East Jerusalem, there is undoubtedly a semi-freeze: no major new settlement plans promoted through planning committees, very few new approvals granted and then for only a tiny number of units, and no new tenders issued.

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Taking Advantage: Three New Outposts

Peace Now has just announced that in the last few days, following the killing of the three Israeli teens, there have been alarming developments on the ground in settlements: Three new (serious) outposts were established and a new road to Givat Eitam outpost was paved, in addition to other several protest tents and other developments that the settlers put up in different places in the West Bank.

The settlers are taking advantage of the killing of the three teens in order to set facts on the ground that they wouldn't dare to do before. We don't know if they got a green light from the government (although such a green light could not have made the acts legal, short of planning procedures), however, those developments will be judged by the government's reaction.

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Facts on the Ground: Elliot Abrams’ Flawed Defense of Bibi’s Settlement Push

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is getting a raw deal.   That’s the line being peddled by Elliot Abrams, who has emerged in recent months as one of the staunchest U.S. defenders of Netanyahu’s settlement policy.  Rather than bury Netanyahu with criticism for expanding settlements, Abrams argue, the world should praise him for his unrecognized settlement restraint.  The facts, Abrams insists, tell the story – facts that Abrams cherry-picks and spins to build a case that is pure fiction.

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Settlements: Learn More!

Settlements

 

 

Peace Now’s Settlement Watch project is recognized worldwide as the authority on settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Comprised of two staff members and scores of volunteers, it monitors and documents the expropriation of land, establishment of new settlements and illegal outposts, expansion of existing settlements and the demographic, economic, and security ramifications of settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. This short video (below), prepared especially for APN, demonstrates the work of Settlement Watch.
Watch the video.

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Settlements: What You Can Do

Settlements

YOU can help reclaim Israel's future by standing against settlements. Here are actions you can take right now:

  • Denounce this government of the settlers. Write to Israel's Ambassador in Washington. Tell them that Americans who care about Israel will not make excuses for an Israeli government that puts the Greater Israel ideology over Israel’s own best interests.

Tell the world: Supporting Israel = Boycotting Settlements

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Ministry of Housing and Construction issued today tenders for 1466 new housing units at the West Bank (1066) and East Jerusalem (400).  The announcement comes three days after the ministry also re-issued tenders for an additional 232 housing units at the West Bank settlements.
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Peace Now: Summary of the 9-Months Talks: Unprecedented Settlement Development


During the 9 months of Secretary Kerry’s efforts in the region, the Israeli Government promoted plans and tenders for at least 13,851 housing units in the settlements and East Jerusalem - an average of 50 units per day and 1,540 units per month.

 
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Peace Now: Minister of Defense approves new settlement in Hebron, first time since the 1980s

The Minister of Defense has approved the creation of a new settlement inside the Palestinian city of Hebron, making it the first settlement in the city since the 1980s.
 
The impact of the settlement is remarkable: a large building, 4000 square meters,  that can hold more than 20 settler families (more than 120 people) and on a strategic and pivotal location: relatively distant from the other settlements inside Hebron, and on the route that connects Hebron to Kiryat Arba settlement.

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