They Say, We Say: "Palestinians act as if settlements are everywhere"
We know that pro-Israel does not mean blindly supporting policies that are irrational, reckless, and counter-productive. Pro-Israel means supporting policies that are consistent with Israel's interests and promote its survival as a Jewish, democratic state.
You've heard the arguments of the religious and political right-wing, and so have we. They've had their say. Now, we'll have ours.
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Are settlements really a problem?
All Israel really insists on keeping is the major built-up areas in West Bank settlements, also known as the settlement blocs. Palestinians act as if settlements are everywhere, but the truth is that most of the West Bank - the historic heart of Eretz Yisrael - is still in Palestinian hands. The fact that this is still not enough for the Palestinians proves how unreasonable and unwilling to compromise they are, which is why a peace agreement is impossible.
Settlements control almost half of the West Bank's territory, between their built-up areas and other land under their control. They are spread across the entire length and breadth of the West Bank, connected by dedicated infrastructure and bolstered throughout by the Israeli army. They have exclusive authority over almost half the land and form a network of control that makes normal Palestinian life and development virtually impossible throughout the entire West Bank.
The route of Israel's West Bank "separation barrier" demonstrates how meaningless it is to focus on the built-up area of settlements, including in the so-called “settlement blocs.” The barrier, which penetrates deep into the West Bank, de facto annexes 9.5% of the West Bank to Israel. It follows a route that was manifestly guided not by security needs but rather aimed at accommodating settlements and settlement expansion plans. This 9.5% is many times the built-up area of settlements - underscoring the fact that Israeli territorial ambitions across the 1967 lines are not limited to the built-up areas of settlements.
It should be noted, too, that "Settlement bloc" is an informal term, having no legal definition or standing, either under Israeli or international law. The blocs and the settlements they contain are not recognized by the Palestinians or the international community as having any special status compared to other settlements, either now or in terms of a future peace agreement. For its part, Israel has always left the size and borders of the blocs undefined, allowing their informal borders to grow year after year, as construction has systematically thickened the "blocs" and expanded them to include settlements and land located at a greater distance from their centers.