137. Israel must stop settlements

It was reported in your paper on January 19 that the Prime Minister of Israel promised "that all new housing starts in the occupied West Bank must get full Cabinet approval." This is just not good enough. All construction work must stop.

According to Jordanian sources, so far, 73.6 percent of the occupied West Bank were seized by Israel under different pretexts. Also, according to a census published by the Council of Settlements of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, the Jewish population of the occupied territories grew by 5 percent in 1994 and reached 141,200. Under these conditions, the whole peace process becomes meaningless. This peace process is based on UN Security Council resolution 242, that is on the exchange of land for peace. If this trend continues there will be soon nothing left to exchange.

Israel's ultimate goal is not a secret. It is not interested in solving the conflict but in containing it. The continuous building of settlements, the expansion of existing ones and the construction of a highway system to enable Jewish settlers to bypass Palestinian cities and villages can only mean one thing, the bantoustanization of the West Bank, that is its partitionment into isolated parts: Jenin/Nablus in the north, Ramallah in the center, Hebron in the south and East Jerusalem. Whether Israel will succeed remains to be seen.

January 24, 1995