Israeli Settlements: A Challenge to Justice

By Professor Omar M. Ramahi

Challenging Israel’s long list of myths, John Quigley perceptively entitled his 1990 book, “Palestine and
Israel: A Challenge to Justice”. Such title is more appropriate today than ever to describe Israel’s
continuous and flagrant violation of International law and all UN resolutions asserting that the West
Bank is an occupied territory. During WWII, occupied France was just that, occupied, despite all
attempts of the German occupying army to present otherwise. The West Bank is an occupied territory.

In 1967, Israel waged a war against three countries and succeeded in occupying the remaining territories
of what was historically known as Palestine. Soon thereafter, Israel immediately placed the newly
occupied territories under military rule. The West Bank, a term coined most likely in the aftermath of
the creation of Israel and the ethnic displacement of more than 700,000 Christian and Muslim
Palestinians in 1948, has become a description of the region that the UN and international law recognize
as falling under Israel occupation. For the West Bank Palestinians, 1967, signaled their fall into the
ruthless Israel occupation.

From its southern to northern tips, the West Bank spans 80 miles with a population of over 2.5M
Palestinians distributed over 12 cities and tens of small towns and villages. Compounding the tragedy
that is called the West Bank, many of its present inhabitants were ethnically removed from their
ancestors’ lands (the region that became Israel in 1948) and grouped in refugee camps with abject living
conditions. The Israeli occupation turned the West Bank into a large prison camp with tens of thousands
of Palestinian freedom fighters and occupation resistors placed in notorious prison camps reminiscent of
Europe’s recent past of Fascism and Nazism.

Immediately after 1967, Israel put into action a plan to permanently affect the demography of the West
Bank to prevent any future emergence of a Palestinian political entity. The plan set in motion a process
of cantonization of the West Bank modeled after the late apartheid regime of South Africa. More than
120 colonies, often and deceptively referred to in the media as settlements or outposts, were erected
practically all over the West bank. The objectives were the geographical division of the Palestinians West
Bank into several disconnected regions which are isolated economically and communally from each
other, and to establish a dramatic presence of colonists (a mixture of orthodox, extremist and sectarian
Jews) that will change the demographical shape of the region for years to come. These colonists
represent a breed of violent and armed dangerous men and women, with full financial and security
support by Israel. The violence against defenseless Palestinians has been documented thoroughly by
Israel‐based organizations such as Peace Now amongst others.

The plan to colonize the West Bank has gone unabated since 1967. Since 1990, the commencement of
the Oslo Peace Accord signed between the Palestinians leadership at the time and Israel, the number of
Israeli settlements in the West Bank doubled. The number of settlers (in plain English, thieves and
colonizers) swelled to 500,000.

For historical accuracy, the term East Jerusalem, which is excluded from some settlement statistics,
refers to land which is part of the West Bank. The term East Jerusalem was a creation of the conspirators
and vectors of the 1967 war. Historically, there was Jerusalem, the walled ancient city, and small towns
and villages surrounding it, many of which fell into Israeli occupation in 1967. In 1967, Israel occupied
historical Jerusalem and the surrounding villages and towns, and consequently annexed a large portion
of these occupied lands in defiance of the UN and the entire world. So the fact is East Jerusalem is UNdesignated occupied territory and Israeli sponsored settlers living there are considered occupiers of the
West Bank.

To make the colonization of the remaining part of historical Palestine more effective and brutal, Israel
erected what is, again, deceptively referred to as the Security Wall. This wall is nothing but a brazen
attempt to frustrate any remaining communal continuity in Palestinian towns bordering Israel and to
steel additional land. In fact, the Wall confiscated close to 9% of the West Bank. If Israel’s pretext of
security was indeed the reason behind the Wall, it would have placed the wall right on the boarder of
Israel similar to the fence the US erected to stop Mexican immigrants. The US fence was not placed
inside Mexican territory! The problem here lies with definitions. Israel remains perhaps the only
country in the world without a defined border, for no reasons except the very obvious‐‐ to allow further
expansion.

The world’s silence in the face of injustice and flagrant decimation of Palestinian communities
emboldened Israel to continue the Isralification of the West Bank. The comical twist in this Palestinian
tragedy is that the corner stone of Israel’s bargaining position with the Palestinians is whether or not to
continue the colonization of the West Bank, or, under most philanthropic gestures, to freeze the
colonization for few months!

To compound their misery, the Palestinians have to deal with a new reality: the emergence of
dictatorship amongst their midst—the Abbas regime. In Abbas, the so‐called President of the Palestinian
Authority, Israel and the US found their dream partner. The Abbas regime, which was created by
American financial support of hundreds of Millions of US dollars, is modeled after the junta regimes of
the infamous Banana Republics of Latin America. The Abbas regime has no legitimacy, ruling without
any popular mandate and without elections.

Israel’s grand theft of the West Bank is truly a grand challenge to justice.

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