For argument that settlements need not block a two-state agreement, see How to remove settlements as a block to 2-state negotiations
The Jerusalem Light Railway connecting Pisgat Zeev to Jerusalem. “The French-based company Veolia Transport, which held 5% of CityPass’s shares, was originally meant to operate the light rail. However, due to pressure from groups united in the Derail Veolia campaign, operating within the context of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, in September 2009 Veolia agreed to sell part of its share in the project to the Dan Bus Company for $15–20 million. The sale was however unsuccessful, and Veolia agreed in October 2010 to sell its stake to Egged instead.” Wikipedia
Israeli prime minister pledges to not make any settlers leave occupied West Bank if he wins Tuesday’s general election.
By Al Jazeera
January 18, 2013
Netanyahu said ‘the days when bulldozers uprooted Jews are behind us, not in front of us’ [AFP]
Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, has said no settlements in the occupied West Bank will be dismantled if he wins next week’s general election.
In an interview with Israel’s Maariv newspaper published on Friday, Netanyahu was asked: “Can you promise that during the next four years, no settlement will be dismantled?”
“Yes,” Netanyahu answered. “The days when bulldozers uprooted Jews are behind us, not in front of us. Our record proves it.”
“We haven’t uprooted any settlements, we have expanded them,” he said, recalling that his government had established the first university in a settlement, in Ariel deep in the West Bank.
“Nobody has any lessons to give me about love for the Land of Israel or commitment to Zionism and the settlements.”
Netanyahu was alluding to the strong opinion poll showing of the pro-settler Jewish Home party which has been championing accelerated settlement expansion and looks set to take seats from the prime minister’s right-wing list in Tuesday’s election.
Hanan Cristal, an Israeli public radio commentator, said Netanyahu, the leader of the Likud party, had “in the final stretch of the election campaign, steered to the right on the question of settlements to try to woo Likud supporters tempted to vote for Jewish Home”.
Opinion polls on Friday, the last day they are allowed be published before the election, showed the Likud-Yisrael Beitenu list winning 32-35 seats in the 120-member Knesset, down from 42 in the outgoing parliament.
Jewish Home was credited with 13-14, and the ultra-Orthodox Shas party 11-12.
The centre-left Labour party would win 16-17 seats and the centrist Yesh Atid and HaTnuah, 10-13 and 7-8, respectively.
By Ari Rabinovitch, Reuters
January 16, 2013
JERUSALEM – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has allowed a record level of settlement expansion since his 10-month construction moratorium expired two years ago, an anti-settlement watchdog said on Wednesday.
The Peace Now group, publishing a report before Israel’s January 22 parliamentary election, said construction of 6,676 settler housing units in the occupied West Bank was approved in 2012, compared with 1,607 in 2011 and several hundred in 2010.
Netanyahu’s settlement policies, Peace Now said, “disclose a clear intention to use settlements to systematically undermine and render impossible a realistic, viable two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”.
The right-wing leader, forecast to win next week’s election easily, has said he is still committed to the creation of a Palestinian state in a future peace deal, as long as it is demilitarised and not a threat to Israel’s security.
Peace talks with the Palestinians collapsed in 2010 after Netanyahu refused to extend the moratorium he imposed under U.S. pressure.
After the U.N. General Assembly granted de facto recognition to a Palestinian state last September, Netanyahu stoked international concern by announcing he would step up settlement expansion, and build settler homes for the first time in the sensitive E1 corridor near Jerusalem.
Most countries view settlements, erected on land that Israel captured in a 1967 war, as illegal. Israel disputes this and cites historical and Biblical links to the West Bank.
Over the past two years, Peace Now said, Netanyahu’s government has approved a “record number” of bids from contractors for settlement construction .
Israeli authorities issued 3,148 such tenders in 2012 – the highest single-year figure in a decade – compared with 1,321 in 2011 and 663 in 2011, Peace Now said.
Last year, construction began on 1,747 settler homes in the West Bank compared with 1,850 in 2011, Peace Now said.
Almost 40 percent of the new building sites were in what Peace Now called “isolated settlements”, and not the more built-up blocs which the government says Israel will keep in any deal with the Palestinians.
Israel announced on Wednesday new tenders to build 114 homes in Efrat and 84 in Kiryat Arba, both West Bank settlements.
Peace Now, Media Release
January 16, 2013
A Deliberate Policy of Undermining the Two State Solution
The current government, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, took office on March 31, 2009. In the period since, its policies and actions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem disclose a clear intention to use settlements to systematically undermine and render impossible a realistic, viable two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
These policies and actions include:
• Construction, tenders, approval of future construction, and planning for future construction in settlements located deep inside the West Bank, east of the approved route of Israel’s separation barrier;
• A record level of tenders, approval of future construction, and planning for future construction in settlements in East Jerusalem;
• Construction, tenders, approval of future construction, and planning for future construction in settlements in both the West Bank and East Jerusalem whose location renders their expansion especially problematic if not devastating to a future peace agreement;
• Adopting a formal policy that favors “legalizing” illegal settlement construction – leading both to additional illegal construction and new illegal outposts, and to the establishment of new settlements for the first time in decades.
• Preferential funding for settlers and settlements, including funding projects intended to build support among Israelis for keeping settlements – including settlements deep inside the West Bank – as a permanent part of Israel.
For the full report and data click here