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Commentary :: Civil and Human Rights

BTL:Israeli Withdrawal from Gaza Accompanied by Destabilizing Expansion of...

...Settlements in the West Bank ~ Interview with Neve Gordon, of Ben-Gurion University, conducted by Between the Lines' Scott Harris
Israeli Withdrawal from Gaza([search]) Accompanied by Destabilizing Expansion of Settlements in the West Bank

Interview with Neve Gordon, of Ben-Gurion University, conducted by Scott Harris

The evacuation of some 9,000 settlers and their supporters from Israeli occupied Gaza -- and four smaller settlements in the West Bank -- was completed without the much of the violent resistance and national discord initially feared. Now that the settlers have been forced out, the Israeli army will be demolishing houses and other infrastructure left behind. The Palestinian Authority, not yet certain about the extent of their new power after the Israeli withdrawal, are making plans to build apartments for Gaza's desperately poor population on the land once occupied by Jewish settlers.

The unilateral decision by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to close the Gaza settlements, was accompanied by a parallel plan to continue expanding Israel([search])'s 120 settlements in the occupied West Bank. The current population of more than 220,000 settlers in the West Bank, not including those living in East Jerusalem, has been expanding at the rate of 10,000 a year. Israelis and Palestinians advocating a resumption of peace talks believe Sharon's policy of expanding West Bank settlements is a key obstacle standing in the way of negotiating a lasting peace agreement.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Neve Gordon, who teaches political science at Israel's Ben-Gurion University. He considers the affect of Sharon's withdrawal of settlements from occupied Gaza on the long stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

Neve Gordon's article, "Will Withdrawal Make Gaza a Frontier Ghetto?" was published in the Aug. 18 edition of In These Times magazine, can be read online at www.inthesetimes.com

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