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'Natural Growth' of Israeli Settlements

Israeli settlement construction, including "natural growth", obstacle to a two-state solution

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama emphasized in his Cairo speech the
importance of getting rid of Israeli settlements as an essential
building block to a two-state solution. However, even as Israeli Prime
Minister Benjanmin Netanyahu warms up to the idea of a demilitarized
Palestinian state, and has stated that he "has no plans to start
building new" settlements, Netanyahu has said "natural growth" within
the settlements is an inevitability of keeping the existing sites.

Daniel Kurtzer wrote in the Ha'aretz that the term 'natural growth'
has been historically recognized as a "concept[...]being abused as a
justification for expanding settlements. The Obama administration is
pursuing policies that every administration since 1967 has articulated
- that settlements jeopardize the possibility of achieving peace and
thus settlement activity should stop."

Daniel Levy and Amjad Atallah wrote in The Huffington Post that the
"West Bank settler population has almost 500,000
including East Jerusalem. The vast majority of that was under the
rubric of natural growth, and there are vast expanses of land annexed
to settlement municipalities awaiting construction."

Even if Netanyahu's right-wing coalition agrees to a total
moratorium on settlement building, more than half of the occupied West
Bank is already annexed. "Netanyahu's 'vision' offered absolutely no
advance on the 1976 Allon Plan for annexation of most of the occupied
West Bank, or [former Prime Minister] Menachem Begin's Camp David
'autonomy' proposals. The goal remains the same: to control maximum
land with minimum Palestinians." Hasan Abu Nimah and Ali Abunimah wrote
in The Electronic Intifada.

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