The truth behind the settlements

Between 1947-1949, 750,000 Arabs living in the British Mandate of Palestine abandoned their homes as a war between 6 Arab armies (Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon, which was actually used as a military strategic position and only commanded two battalions) and the newborn Jewish state was imminent. It is estimated that approximately 560,000 Arabs out of the 750,000 who left Israel, did so because of the orders given by these 6 armies. Adding to this, historian Benny Morris, understands that although it was not a state policy, the Tzahal generals knew that David Ben-Gurion did not wanted Arabs in the conquered lands. However, today Israel lives another reality. After the Six-Day War, in which Israel tripled its size, the issue of Israeli borders has not been resolved. Following the peace agreements between Egypt and Israel in 1979, Israeli settlements in Sinai were evacuated and returned to Egypt in 1982. In 2005, unilaterally, the late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced the evacuation of Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip.

Undoubtedly, this was a test to see how the Palestinian Authority (PA) could handle portions of Gaza and Jericho entirely, and of course, they failed. In 2006, the terrorist group Hamas won the parliamentary elections of the PA and in 2007 carried out a coup d’etat in the Gaza Strip. In the case of the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem, they were annexed by Israel in 1981 and 1980, respectively. But then, where in the equation is Judea and Samaria? Since the 1970s, Israel has built 121 settlements in that territory, boasting a population of approximately 400,000 settlers in Judea and Samaria. Interestingly, 80% of these settlers are within 3 kilometers of the armistice line achieved after the Israeli-Arab War in 1949.

In December 2014, the Supreme Court of Israel ruled that the Amona settlement in Samaria is illegal since it was built on private Palestinian property. So it was evacuated and demolished a few months ago. However, after giving in to the pressure of the religious in his government, Netanyahu and his coalition approved in the Knesset a bill that legalizes approximately 4,000 houses distributed among 50 settlements in Judea and Samaria. And not only this, but to fulfill the agreement he made with the residents of the Amona settlement, Netanyahu approved-for the first time in two decades-the creation of a new settlement in Samaria for these settlers. For those of us who believe in peace and in having a Jewish majority state, we see these moves with concern, since if Judea and Samaria are annexed, the 2 million Palestinians would also have to stop being treated under military law. And that’s the only truth.

About the Author
José Lev Gómez is an MA candidate in Security and Intelligence at the University of Buckingham in England and has a degree in Neuroscience with a minor in Israel Studies from the American University in Washington, DC. José has interned at the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico, at the College Republicans National Committee and The David Project in Washington, DC. In addition to his interest in Spanish politics, diplomacy and security issues in the Middle East, José has worked as coordinator of events related to Israel for American University Hillel and as an events assistant for the Center for Israel Studies at the American University. He recently completed a diplomatic internship at the Iraqi Kurdistan Delegation in Washington, DC. In addition to collaborating with this newspaper, José writes for Diario Judío (Mexico) and has written for newspapers such as El Nuevo Día (Puerto Rico), El Vocero de Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico), Latino Rebels (United States) and Red Alert Politics (United States). José is the author of two books: "Panorama Internacional: Una mirada a la geopolítica e historia mundial (2016-2017)" and "Puerto Rico: El nocivismo del insularismo y el colonialismo", and he completed his final project in Israel Studies on the "Relations of Israel with Basque and Catalan Nationalism.
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