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The Problem of West Bank Settlements
You can’t understand the Palestinian perspective without understanding the issue of settlements in the West Bank. It’s their biggest source of irritation, it makes many Palestinians’ lives insufferable, and it’s probably Israel’s most contentious policy. So let’s understand why Israel is there in the first place, why it’s building settlements there, and what will happen to them.
Why Israel Settles the West Bank
You need to understand the Israeli perspective about the West Bank before understanding the settlements.
Jews had been there for thousands of years, and in the late 1800s, some started settling there again. The secular ones wanted a place to live in peace. The religious ones wanted to live in the Promised Land. The locals didn’t want them, and many were massacred at the hands of Arabs, so much so that some settlements in the region fully disappeared1.
When Israel fought the war of 1948, it was fighting for its survival and that of the Jews. When it took over the West Bank in the Six-Day War in 1967, it was pre-empting another attack by Arab neighboring states. Six years later, in 1973, Arab neighbors were at it again in the Yom Kippur War.
This was not new, as Jews had been suffering persecutions, massacres, and expulsions for 3,000 years at this point.
Then of course, there was the Holocaust.
Since 1973, there have been two Intifadas, plenty of terrorist attacks, and constant violence between Israel and Palestine. To this day, neither Hamas nor Fatah—in power in Gaza and the West Bank respectively—publicly accept Israel’s right to exist, and regularly promote the chant From the river to the sea, which can be interpreted benevolently as the destruction of the State of Israel, or more broadly the elimination of Jews along with it.
The very point of the existence of Israel is to make sure this does not happen. The result is that Israel will always put its security first.
This is important: Israel’s first goal is its survival. It will do anything it can to secure it.
And nothing makes Israel more secure than controlling the West Bank.
The West Bank is a physical barrier against enemies from the east.
It helps control the Jordan valley, which is yet another layer of defense.
From the heights of the West Bank, the entire area can be monitored.
Without the West Bank, Israel was 15 km wide at its narrowest, and only coastal plain.
Without the West Bank, Israel is super easy to attack.
One does not have to be a military expert to easily identify the critical defects of the armistice lines that existed until June 4, 1967…. The gravest problem is on the eastern boundary, where the entire width of the coastal plain varies between 10 and 15 miles, where the main centers of Israel’s population, including Tel Aviv and its suburbs, are situated, and where the situation of Jerusalem is especially perilous. Within these lines a single successful first strike by the Arab armies would be sufficient to dissect Israel at more than one point, to sever its essential living arteries, and to confront it with dangers that no other state would be prepared to face. The purpose of defensible borders is thus to correct this weakness, to provide Israel with the requisite minimal strategic depth, as well as lines which have topographical strategic significance.—Yigal Allon, Israel’s foreign minister in 1976, essay in Foreign Affairs.
So this is Israel’s #1 thought about the West Bank: It needs to control it to secure it.
The ABC of Israeli Settlements
Until the 1990s, all the West Bank was thus under full control of Israel. Then, Israelis and Palestinians reached historic agreements called the Oslo Accords. One of their most consequential provisions was the split of the West Bank into areas A, B, and C:
Area A is where the core of the Palestinian population lives: cities like Jericho, Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin, Bethlehem, and Tulkarem. It represents about 18% of the West Bank surface area. The civil and security authority in these areas were devolved to the Palestinians.
Area B regions are smaller Palestinian population centers and the surroundings of big ones. There, Palestinians also took over civil authority, but security remained jointly administered by Palestinians and Israelis. This accounts for about 22% of the West Bank area. Areas A and B are supposedly off-limits to Israeli citizens. They accommodate ~90% of the Palestinian population of the West Bank.
If you are keeping up, you’ve calculated that the remaining 60% of the territory is Area C. Yes, that’s the blue area on the map above, and you can imagine that it severely hinders the presence of Palestinians2. A big chunk of it is kept for security purposes, but not all.
The goal of the Oslo Accords was to slowly devolve Area C to Palestinians, as more aspects of a peace agreement were agreed upon and Palestinians proved the safety of Israel was guaranteed. But the negotiations fell apart, and it never happened. We’ll talk about this next week.
A lot of the land in Area C is dedicated to Jewish settlements—new constructions in land that was previously lightly or not populated3.
This is what settlement growth looks like at the border between Israel and the West Bank since 1984:
Every year, more settlements and the construction of a few thousand houses are approved.
There is a method to the process. I haven’t read it anywhere explicitly, but by collating pieces here and there, it looks to me like some Israeli governments follow four strategies to create facts on the ground.
The Four Strategies of Settlement Growth
1. Border Settlements
First, there are the border settlements, created just on the border between Israel and Palestine. We saw a gif example earlier in Modi’in Illit.
This is probably the most pragmatic and successful strategy of Israeli settlements: If there are Jews on both sides of the border, what sense does it make to separate them by a future border with Palestine? What sense does it make to keep them in Palestine?
These settlements were reinforced by the barrier that Israel has been erecting close to the historic borders from after the 1948 war—but not quite on the border. Israel has consistently built that barrier inland of the West Bank: If you split it physically, over time the Palestinian life on the Israeli side withers, and it makes sense to keep that region for Israel.
This strategy works so well that, over the years, peace negotiations have consistently included these areas in a future Israeli country.
Once the barrier is constructed, people tend to see it as a future promise that this settlement will remain also in Israel, and therefore it's accelerated this process.—Drora Edkus, who tracks settlements for the Israeli pro-peace organization Peace Now. Source.
2. Piercing the West Bank
The second strategy is to pierce the West Bank with Israeli roads and settlements.
As you can see, the farther inland, the more you see orange “outposts”, and not actual settlements. If I understand correctly, these outposts are illegal settlements that the government of Israel tolerates to establish facts on the ground. Also,
I assume the goal is to eventually have continuous Jewish habitation, so that the same principle applies: We can’t split land continuously inhabited by Jews! I hypothesize that settlers think these corridors would be part of Israel, or would be so established that a Palestinian state would need to account for the presence of substantial amounts of Israelis in their midst.
Of course, if these corridors were granted to Israel, a Palestinian state that doesn’t include Jews would not be viable anymore, because it would be limited to an archipelago of disconnected islands. Each one of them would become more and more independent from the others, wouldn’t be able to coordinate, and would drift apart.
I can imagine a Palestinian state that must accommodate Israelis—already today Israel has plenty of Arab Israelis. But I would have a hard time conceiving a peace solution that gives these corridors to Israel. This strategy sounds like a long shot to me: The Palestinian population in the West Bank is about six times higher than the Jewish one right now. Granting this land to Israel would require a lot of Jews settling there for a very long time, while an ever-growing Palestinian population remains contained in non-contiguous areas. Even then, this strategy is so aggressive and blatant that I would admire the chutzpah if it weren’t contemptible. I will call this strategy the Best WankTM 4.
Whenever Israel approves a new settlement and the world is up in arms and says these are all illegal, what the world means is, “We won’t accept these facts on the ground as a relevant factor in future peace negotiations, so all the money, time, and effort you’re spending there is going to be wasted, those people will have to move, and in the meantime you’re causing all this pain that could be avoided.” It’s not just the world who thinks this: Many Israelis do too, as we’ll see in the next article.
In all the serious peace plans I’ve seen, these corridors are not integrated into Israel. It might be one of the reasons why the Israeli Nationalist Bloc always stalls or stops these negotiations.
The only world in which this works is if Israel maintains the status quo for decades to centuries. Some are thinking very long-term.
That said, I wouldn’t fully discount this strategy for the short term, either. This shapes so much of the lived experience in Palestine that 74% of Palestinians think the two-state solution is no longer feasible due to settlements’ expansion. Exactly what part of Israel—including the current government—wants.
These settlements now, there are dozens, and they are cutting the West Bank into bits and pieces, and there is no more chance for a viable Palestinian state to be created in the future.—Hana Nasir, Bethlehem's Palestinian mayor. Source.
This leads us to the third strategy, East Jerusalem, where Israel combines the first two strategies.
3. East Jerusalem
If you have a hard time figuring out what's going on here, that’s a feature, not a bug.
First, notice the many Jewish settlements that are on the border with Israel (green line). These will very likely be integrated into Israel if and when it splits with Palestine. But also, notice how there are other settlements that are not on the border. Looking at this map and being generous, I’d assume they are the outgrowth of old settlements. Being cynical, I would assume that their goal is to split Palestinian areas, and increase the transportation costs between them so much, that they drift apart, become poorer, Arabs leave, and Jewish settlers can eventually be taken over.
This is why one of the most contentious settlements of all is Ma’ale Adumim, and why developing the corridor that joins it with East Jerusalem (the E1 Zone) causes so much ire among Palestinians and consternation around the world.
In all the serious peace plans I’ve seen, the bordering settlements are incorporated into Israel, and the ones farther out are not.
Finally, we have the fourth strategy: the Jordan Valley.
4. Jordan Valley Security
The argument for the Jordan Valley is that it’s necessary to Israel for its defense from invaders from the east—Jordan, Syria, Iraq, even Iran, by missiles or airplanes. As we saw, this does have some logic: Israel has been invaded from the east three times in less than a century, and its sworn enemies—Syria and Iran—are there. On top of that, the Jordan Valley is in a depression, which is quite different from the mountains on both sides. Controlling it allows Israel to monitor most movement there, and adapt defenses to potential threats.
That said, it’s one thing to have military presence, and a very different one to have settlements. Israel has a track record of starting military outposts and following them with settlements.
And of course, Jordan Valley has this name because of the “Jordan” thing—the river. Stuck between these two mountain ranges, this river carries most of the freshwater in the region. If you want free freshwater for agriculture, you need to control the Jordan.
For these reasons, I think this strategy is very out there, that those who came up with it were quite deluded, and so far I haven’t seen serious peace plans that consider allocating it to Israel5. Yes, Israel should be allowed to have some military presence there, but not civilians.
This is why Trump’s plan for peace in the Middle East would show a full integration of the Jordan Valley into Israel, excluding Jericho:
We will talk about peace negotiations in an article next week. In the meantime, I just want you to take this away: One part of Israel, which includes nationalists and very religious people, has been strategically and consistently planning and executing a plan to nibble at the West Bank’s territory. They’ve done this through settlements, and it’s having a real impact on prospects for peace in any two-state future negotiations.
We see the historical pattern of increasing the Jewish population [in settlements], of ensuring Israel's security by doing so, by trying to make sure that our second and third generation continue to live there, by drawing in additional sectors of Israel's population, and actually making that piece of territory as much of Israel as physically possible.—Settler spokesman Yisrael Medad. Source.
Of course, none of it would be real if settlements were just pencil on paper. They’re not.
This year, the number of Israeli settlers in the West Bank has reached 500,000. Add about 250,000-350,000 in East Jerusalem6, and the number of Jews in the West Bank is already higher than the number of Palestinians who left Israel in 1948.
You might wonder how Israel can grow the West Bank population so fast. It’s a combination of two factors: immigration and fertility.
Jewish settlement is incentivized economically. Housing in the West Bank is 25-50% cheaper than in Israel, not because of direct grants, but because of government incentives like discounts on land and development expenses, grants for mortgages, state investment in apartment infrastructure, subsidies for commuting and rental expenses, more funding for schools. Remember the big Ma’ale Adumim settlement I mentioned before? It’s close to Jerusalem, so some of its settlers are commuters interested in cheaper living costs.
As for fertility, the Palestinian fertility rate used to be much higher than Israel’s, but it’s now shrinking fast, while the Israelis’ is stable or rising.
Palestinian fertility is shrinking like in all other Arab countries:
Meanwhile, the fertility rate of Israel has remained high for two reasons: Israeli women tend to have more children than those in other Western countries, and the more religious people are, the more children they have.
Although some Haredim (“ultra-orthodox”) leave ultra-orthodoxy, they don’t leave quickly enough for the group to shrink. The share of Haredim in Israel, which already accounts for 16%, will therefore continue to grow in the coming decades, increasing overall Jewish fertility with it, and providing more settlers, if this policy continues.
I assume the way the more nationalist Israelis read this data is this: If these trends continue, the Jewish population will start increasing faster than the Palestinian, giving Israel an edge over the long term. According to Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper traditionally critical of the nationalists:
Some on the right wing who support Jewish settlement in the West Bank say time and demography are working in Israel's favor rather than that of the Palestinians, and they conclude that if the number of Palestinians in the West Bank is relatively low, and the demographic demon is nonexistent, there is no need to enter negotiations about the establishment of a Palestinian state. Instead the time has come to discuss how to annex the territories to Israel.
This is Israeli realpolitik.
So these are the four strategies that Israeli nationalists are using to settle the West Bank, supported by policies that accelerate the demographic takeover.
But all of this is focused on Area C, the parts reserved for Israelis. What about life in Areas A and B, where most Palestinians live?
Is It an Apartheid State?
When people say “Israel is an apartheid state”, they are usually confused.
There are 2M Arab Muslims in Israel—about 20% of the population—and they have broadly7 the same legal rights as Jews8. They have education and professional opportunities that few Arabs have in any neighboring country. They can vote and get elected in a way that no Arab can9, and are more prosperous than in the vast majority of neighboring Arab countries. They overwhelmingly condemn Hamas’s attack10.
The nuance that critics miss is that Arabs are treated very differently in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank. In Israel, they are nearly equal citizens. In Gaza, they are blockaded11. And in the West Bank, they are in a state that has some similarities and some differences with apartheid.
In what ways is it similar?
Palestinians can’t freely go in and out of their A and B areas into the C areas, which surround them.
Palestinians can’t leave the West Bank without Israel’s permission, since Israel controls all its borders.
From what I can read12, Israeli forces sometimes sweep civilians to document their identity and create files for them.
In some places, the Israeli military is present in the midst of Palestinian populations, like in some parts of Hebron.
This is because Hebron is unique in having Israeli settlements in its midst.
The set of laws that apply to Israelis and Palestinians is different in the West Bank. Israelis are ruled by the laws of Israel, while Palestinians are ruled by military orders such as 101 and 1651.
Military Order 101 doesn’t allow gatherings of more than 10 people for political purposes, unless the Israeli military receives advance notice with names of all participants. It also makes activities like waving a flag or political symbol into offenses carrying prison terms and fines.
Military Order 1651 allows the military to arrest and detain Palestinians without charge or trial for prolonged periods and defines charges under military law, redefines categories of age to allow higher penalties for children, and has surprising features like declaring that throwing stones at people or property can carry a ten-year jail sentence.
Of course, there’s the barrier to separate Israelis from Palestinians.
This barrier has a reason to be: It was erected during the 2nd Intifada, and it succeeded at cutting the number of Palestinian terrorist attacks on Israelis. Anything that reduces violence like that is praiseworthy. But some of the sections of this barrier seem to have another goal: specifically, splitting Arab areas from each other, hoping to wither communities on the Israeli side13.
But I think the most condemnable part of this all is the violence, day in, day out.
This is an extremely hard topic to verify independently, because there’s rampant misinformation. There are thousands of articles on the topic, but as we recently saw with the bombing of the hospital in Gaza, mainstream media in the west have a clear bias against Israel14.
I rounded up a few videos to paint a picture. I tried to verify them independently, but I couldn’t. I’m sure some of them are not what they seem, but I’d be surprised if none were. If you want to contribute your own videos, or your debunking, please do15.
The following videos claim that there are soldiers who throw children’s bikes in dumpsters, some Palestinians are evicted because they meet with other people, some schools are destroyed, 13-year-old girls are arrested, protestors shot—including 16-year-olds killed by snipers—some are killed for throwing rocks, or shot in the back while walking away. It’s not just the military: Settlers also seem to behave with impunity, like illegally searching a Palestinian car, shooting from afar with assault riffles, or point blank. This page, from an Israeli newspaper critical of Israeli nationalists, gathers dozens of small-scale incidents.
If terrorism is defined as the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims, some of these instances sound awfully close to it. For example, when a settler shoots a Palestinian point blank, was that self-defense? Should he be tried? If the Israeli state doesn’t prosecute this type of event (does it?), it seems like unlawful intimidation against civilians in the pursuit of political aims to me.
I’m still thinking about these labels, and haven’t formed a full opinion. I don’t think this is the same type of terrorism as Hamas’s. What Hamas did in Israel revels in inhumane brutality. Civilian horror was the goal, and they were proud of it. They raped, multilated, decapitated, and they recorded it and proudly posted it on social media. I abhor it.
This is not that. It’s a constant trickle of small-scale violence. The type that the Israeli government would hide because it’s not proud of it, it knows it’s wrong. This is important: Is it thoroughly condemned, or covertly supported? I don’t know.
But it adds up over time. If Hamas’s terrorism is a bomb, this is a river carving out its bed. Sometimes, rivers can be more powerful than bombs.
What does the Israeli side think?
I mentioned before why Israel is settling the West Bank. It’s all about security. But Palestinians don’t give much of it.
It’s not just the past: the pogroms before independence, the three Arab attacks on Israel, the two Intifadas…
When Israel did give Palestinians more independence, like in Gaza or by withdrawing from parts of the West Bank in the Oslo Accords, it’s been systematically followed by increased violence, like Hamas’s takeover in Gaza and the 2nd Intifada, much more aggressive than the 1st one. So Israelis did try to give authority to Palestinians.
To this day, when Palestinian minors are killed, they are frequently associated with terrorist organizations. The Palestinian Authority pays stipends to terrorists, or to their families when they die. Palestinians send fire kites to burn settler farmland. According to Israel’s military, the IDF, settlers attacked Palestinians in 838 incidents in 2022, while Palestinians attacked Israelis 281 times, killing 31. IDF forces foiled 500 terrorist attacks, and confiscated 250 weapons. Here’s a list of all Israeli victims of terrorism.
The Israeli government would argue that this violence doesn’t happen in most of Zone A (where the Palestinians have full authority) or Zone C, where Israelis do.
Others would argue that these activities are crucial to monitor violence: Three attacks on Israel from foreign states came through the West Bank, and there is persistent terrorist activity there.
Another response from Israelis is that Palestinians could easily have a democratic government in Zones A and B that would improve local conditions and tries to reach peace. If they don’t, it’s because Arabs can’t make it happen, or just don’t want to make it happen. Fatah in the West Bank is corrupt. Hamas in Gaza is a terrorist organization.
It’s also true that the worst of this system can be seen in specific places, like inside Hebron, a hotspot for this type of report. Other places vary in their degree of aggressiveness.
Personally, I don’t think it matters too much.
What I see is a cycle of violence, and both sides are doing many very bad things they should not. They’re both using whataboutism to justify it. It’s time to stop.
What Should Israel Do?
If we summarize all of this, Israel has been building settlements for decades. Part of the aim was to ensure its security, and that is justified. But it goes beyond that. This is a purposeful strategy to settle Israelis, claim land for Israel, and in some cases make a future Palestinian state less viable in the West Bank, all while having made daily life in the region extremely hard.
Palestinians are not saints. They could have organized themselves in a democracy, they could stop feeding daily violence, and more importantly, they could pressure extremists to stop terrorism altogether and keep their leaders accountable. However, there are human rights. Nobody should be treated the way they’re treated. Nobody should be left stateless for 70 years. Nobody should be chained to their land without the possibility to travel abroad.
Even if the current Israeli government wanted peace, its next steps would not be straightforward. It withdrew from Gaza, and the result was a radicalized region managed by a terrorist organization. Neither Hamas in Gaza nor Fatah17 in the West Bank recognize Israel’s right to exist, and both promise to maintain the struggle until it disappears.
So should Israel continue this oppressive policy to guarantee its security, or should it stop and risk its population? I think this is the wrong question.
Violence leads to violence. It pushes the moderates to the extremes. It fuels the cycle of vendettas. If the daily face of Israel is an armed bully, this is what Palestinians will see. When Palestinians see Israelis arrest and kill their compatriots, they will be divided as enemies for generations. And if Israelis have a calculated strategy to take over land piece by piece, they can’t look straight in the eye of the international community and say: We’re doing everything we can. They’re not. New settlements mean Israel doesn’t want peace with a Palestinian neighboring state.
Right now, Israel is at war with Hamas—which is strongest in Gaza, but also has a presence in the West Bank. It makes sense to fight the terrorists.
But in the medium to long term, and especially in the West Bank, Israel should reduce the aggressiveness of their military18, keep settlers accountable, stop unilaterally creating new settlements, stop abetting illegal outposts, and consider freezing the growth of the most polemic settlements. More importantly, it should work diligently towards peace and a state for Palestine—as long as Palestinians truly want it19.
What I’ve described today is not a view all Israelis share. In fact, Israel is nearly torn by questions like the settlements. What’s happening in Israel? What are the different factions there? How do they see peace and a state for Palestine?
And why have Israel and Palestine not reached peace in the past?
What could peace look like in the future?
These are the next questions we will cover.
For example, Kibbutz Kalya in the Jordan River Valley was originally established in 1929, destroyed by the Jordanians in 1948, and rebuilt in 1968. Kfar Etzion was established in 1927, then abandoned due to Arab violence and rebuilt a number of times in the 1930s. In early 1948, due to the fighting, women and children were evacuated from the kibbutz. The men who remained fought the Arab Legion (the Jordanian army) and local militias, but lost and were massacred. In September 1967, only 3 months after Israel re-captured the territory, the surviving children—those who had been evacuated 19 years earlier and were now young adults—led the re-establishment of the present-day settlement in the same place where they were born and their fathers were murdered.
99% of Area C is excluded from Palestinian use. 70% is within settler municipal boundaries, where permits for development are denied to Palestinians. Israeli planning in Area C allocates 13 times more space to Israeli settlers than to Palestinians. Israeli settlers have been allocated about 790 square meters per capita, whereas Palestinians only have been allocated about 60. There are about 400,000 Israeli settlers there and 300,000 Palestinians, or about 10% of the entire West Bank Palestinian population.
When I look at pictures of Israeli settlements, they nearly always look like new fenced communities in the middle of nowhere. Nearly all these settlements have been built on state land, not used privately. When there’s a legitimate private Arab claim, the Israeli Supreme Court usually orders the settlements evacuated. (E.g., Mitzpe Kramim). Some settlements are in the middle of Palestinian areas though, like in Hebron and East Jerusalem. These are unique places: As far as I understand, Jews used to live there until the early 20th century but were expelled during clashes with Arabs, and are now trying working towards rebuilding these settlements. An example is Beit Hadassah, a bloc within Hebron. It was built by Jews in 1893, operated as a free medical clinic, destroyed in 1929, rebuilt in 1931, abandoned in 1936, and resettled in 1979 amid much drama.
Those who came up with this strategy must have had strong visions that excited them a lot, but they were not interacting with the real world at the time.
Note that Palestinians also care a lot about this area, and when they reference “from the river to the sea”, they mean this river, and all the area up to the Mediterranean. They entail the elimination of the State of Israel, and depending on who you ask, an ethnic cleansing along the way—although the official position of both Fatah and Hamas is just the elimination of the state, they are more ambiguous about the elimination of Jews. When asked point blank, they deny it, but I’ve seldom seen Palestinian media make a point about separating the State of Israel from Jews.
This number is very hard to find. I can’t navigate the Israeli statistics website easily, and every place quotes a different number. Since it’s extremely politicized, I’m not surprised: Israelis want it to look huge, and vice-versa for Palestinians. This is an average of respectable numbers I’ve seen. The number of Palestinians in East Jerusalem appears to be around 350,000, although this is from Al Jazeera, which is biased, too. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz, however, seems to agree. Conversely, West Jerusalem seems to have about 350,000 people in total, nearly all Jews.
There are some disparities, highlighted by the fact that Israel is officially the nation-state of the Jews. Jews from anywhere in the world can get the Israeli nationality, but of course not Muslims. Critics argue that about 65 Israeli laws are discriminatory against Arabs. When I browsed them, they went from totally reasonable (eg, revoking the Israeli citizenship for terrorists who receive money to attack Israel) to dubious (eg, Arabs are not forcefully conscripted into the military, but can join voluntarily. Since veterans have plenty of benefits, Arabs might not benefit from them. Some Arabs suffer from social pressure not to join the military. But here I’d say: They can still have access to these benefits. Just volunteer. It’s hard? Yes. So is serving.), to maybe discriminatory (eg, to live in some places, you need to write an application, and the factors to be accepted leave room for interpretation), to probably discriminatory (eg, Jews can establish Jewish councils to maintain Jewish institutions and assets, but there’s no equivalent law for Muslims).
It seems like Arabs might suffer some economic discrimination. I skimmed this paper, and there seems to be some, although I wasn’t convinced by all the referenced papers. I stopped looking into it because it’s not core to this article. If somebody wants to make a strong case in one direction or another, please do so in the comments.
Israel’s democratic integrity is the 11th highest in the world. The highest one for an Arab country is Kuwait, the 46th—nearly on par with Iran’s. The first big Arab country on the list is Jordan… just below Venezuela. Iraq’s is below, and only there because the US imposed it. Muslim Arabs have had one of their parties as part of a governing coalition (Ra’am), and Arab Muslims consistently get 10-15% of the seats in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. Anecdotally, several Arab-Israeli figures have publicly manifested their allegiance to Israel after the massacres.
80% of them do, according to this poll. Note Google Translate refers to “Israeli Westerners”, but a correct translation is “Arab Israeli”, as I confirmed by translating with ChatGPT, and the context of the article suggests.
By Israel and Egypt. I dislike the term open-air prison because it has one valid aspect (Gazans can not go in or out of Gaza) and one that isn’t valid (a prison is for criminals. This is not what Israelis say of Gazans. This is not a retaliation, it’s to prevent aggression).
As you can see on the map from the section “Piercing the West Bank”.
Dozens of the most prominent media, including the BBC, The New York Times, and the Washington Post, accused Israel of killing hundreds of Palestinian children after taking Hamas’s word for it. It turns out it was not an Israeli strike, it might have been a Palestinian rocket, and the rocket didn’t even hit the hospital, only the parking lot.
The propaganda is a hugely important part of the conflict. I might tackle it in an article. In the meantime, it’s relevant to realize that, although some of it might be propaganda, it’s propaganda that works.
Especially because there’s now an official definition of apartheid, but so far the UN has not settled on a definitive answer on the topic.
It used to during the Oslo Accords, but not anymore.
For example, stop using live ammo on stone throwers.
This doesn’t mean Palestinians have no responsibility. They do, starting with the very basics of allowing their neighbor to exist.