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Sunday, June 14, 2009

A 'settlement freeze' is already in effect

With Binyamin Netanyahu getting ready to give his big speech on Sunday night, the JPost reports that for all intents and purposes there is already a 'settlement freeze' in effect in Judea and Samaria.

There is virtually no growth in the populations of 95 of the 120 'settlements' over the last few years, while nearly all of the population growth in 2008 - 5.6% or some three times the national average - took place in three cities that are part of 'settlement blocs' that Israel anticipates keeping in any agreement with the 'Palestinians': Kiryat Sefer/Modiin Ilit, Beitar and Maaleh Adumim.
The population of 21 West Bank settlements was static or declined in 2007, and the population at another 74 grew by 100 people or less, according to figures compiled by The Jerusalem Post from the Central Bureau of Statistics.

Yet the overall settlement population grew by 5.6 percent in 2007 - close to three times the growth rate in the rest of the country - primarily because of the increase at the three largest communities, Modi'in Illit, Betar Illit and Ma'aleh Adumim. Modi'in Illit and Betar Illit are about half a kilometer beyond the Green Line, and Ma'aleh Adumim is some 4.5 kms. beyond it. All three are within the boundaries of the West Bank security barrier.

In 2008, the population of those three cities combined to reach 110,200 people, or 38 percent of the entire settlement population of 289,600 at the end of 2008. The three accounted for 57% of the overall growth in the settler population.

That rise marked an increase on 2007, when the population of the three major settlements totalled 103,248, and accounted for 54% of that year's overall growth.


Complete figures for 2008 are not yet available, but a survey of CBS population numbers over recent years reveals some interesting patterns.

In 2007, the settler population increased by a total of 14,500 people, through a combination of birth and migration, from 261,600 to 276,100.

Out of that number, 12,185 new settlers, or 84% of the population increase, came at a group of 25 larger settlements - ranging in size from Tekoa, with a population in 2007 of 1,455, to Modi'in Illit, with 38,047.

As in 2008, most of the 2007 growth, 7,886 people, was also at Modi'in Illit, Betar Illit and Ma'aleh Adumim. Another 30% of the overall growth in 2007, or 4,299 people, came at the remaining 22 mid-size settlements in that 25 member group.

When one looks beyond these 25 settlements, the remaining 95 settlements accounted for just 16% of the growth in 2007, amounting to 2,315 new people. And the majority of that growth was borne by a smaller subgroup of 30 settlements, which accounted for 1,993 of the overall settler population increase.

After that, a group of 44 settlements grew by only 322 people in total. Looking backward over a five year period, the growth in any one of these given settlements was less than 100.
One has to wonder what all the fuss is about.

It should be noted that part of the 'solution' that 'everyone' agrees on already is that Israel will retain the 'settlement blocs' in exchange for other land elsewhere. The 'Palestinians' have never agreed to that. And given that the Obumbler has made outreach to them a the foreign policy priority of his administration, there's no reason to believe that the 'Palestinians' ever will agree.

The United States used to be a superpower. Then it abandoned its allies and pandered to rogue regimes instead.


At 9:23 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Exactly. Its much ado about nothing. The talks are never going to get off the ground. Why the US is wasting time and energy on something that will never come to fruition is a good question - but you'd have Obumbler for the answer.

No We Can't


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