Israeli settlements are the sticking point in the Israel-Palestine conflict and one of the main reasons peace deals have failed to sustain in the region. They also complicate efforts for the two-state solution, killing any hope for Palestinians to ever have their freedom from the atrocities and tyranny.
In December, the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved a resolution calling settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem “a flagrant violation under international law.”
The resolution sparked a debate across the world, drawing the ire of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who is now facing increasing pressure to deal with the settlements.
But what is an Israeli settlement and why does it matter?
To put it simply, settlements are segregated residential areas built by Israel on occupied Palestinian land. The settlers literally push the native Palestinians out of their houses and subject them to military checkpoints, unnecessary violence and discriminatory travel restrictions.
For instance, there are separate roads built specifically for settlers that Palestinians cannot use.
These communities also violate international laws, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention, which forbids states from transferring their citizens to the occupied land.
To solidify its hold in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Israel has been demolishing the Palestinians houses and building suburbs in its place, encouraging the Israelis to live on the stolen land. Since the IDF soldiers protect the settlers, there isn’t much the Palestinians can do about it on their own.
Although in 2005 Israel removed all 8,000 settlers from the Gaza Strip, it refuses to disband all the other settlements, which Palestine won’t accept.
Around 200,000 Israelis now live in East Jerusalem combined with the roughly 400,000 settlers in the West Bank – which is significant, given Israel’s size.
Learn more about the controversy in the video above.
Banner / Thumbnail Credit : Reuters