In a move which most analysts agree portends another massive expansion of the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, the Civil Administration has brought in a special team to “remap” some 15,000 acres of “state-owned” land in the territory.
The remapping on the one hand is done to label territory as “military fire zones,” which is then used to justify the military expelling the Arabs living in those areas. The mapping is also a chance to declare Palestinian homes in those areas, even those built before the occupation, as “illegal” and give the land to settlements.
Israel’s far-right coalition has been massively expanding settlements in recent years, and it’s latest rightward shift is expected to fuel another round of building. That the remap is far larger than past ones suggests this building could be bigger than anyone figured.
Even as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested he’s willing to negotiate a peace deal with the Palestinians along the Arab initiative, there is a growing sense that as the settlements expand in strategic areas and the Palestinian territory shrinks, the endeavor is quickly becoming an irreversible roadblock to Palestinian statehood.
In many ways this has been deliberate, with Israeli officials openly admitting that they are expanding it parts of the West Bank to ensure that there can be no contiguous Palestine there. With a growing, and hugely politically powerful group of settlers in the West Bank, there is less and less likelihood that Israel will ever come to the table to seriously negotiate.
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