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Lecturer Reviews Expansion of Israeli Settlements in Jerusalem and West Bank

January 21, 2013
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In a lecture presented at Birzeit University on November 13, 2012, cartographer and settlement expert Khalil Tufakji drew a connection between Israeli settlement underway today and the plans of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2001.

“He spoke of a Palestinian state connected by tunnels and bridges,” said Tufakji. “What we see today is the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank that sever any territorial contiguity and prevent any possible Palestinian control on major roads linking East and West, North and South," he added.



The lecture was the second in a series at Birzeit University’s Faculty of the Arts, presented in Kamal Nasser Hall and entitled, “Zionist Settlement in Jerusalem and the West Bank."

Tufkaji stated that settlement in Jerusalem follows the boundaries and features of a Judaicized capital, in line with the Israeli concept of having a Jewish majority and Arab minority, and establishes the city of Jerusalem at the heart of the state of Israel without a Palestinian partner.

“Settlement has been able to destroy the Palestinian dream of a contiguous Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, especially after the intensification of settlement in the city," Tufakji noted.

Tufkaji spoke about the apartheid wall, saying that occupation authorities have achieved their goals in building the wall, annexing ten percent of the West Bank and incorporating the most settlers with the fewest number of Palestinians effectively inside Israel. They have also managed to control the groundwater of the occupied West Bank.

Tufkaji showed many maps illustrating the current reality of the city of Jerusalem and the West Bank, stating that the strategic error committed by the Palestinian leadership in the Oslo agreements was not establishing a clear definition of settlement and the settlements. “Does [‘settlement’] mean the settlement built-up area or its planned area, which is equivalent to 58% of the area of ​​the West Bank?" he asked.

Birzeit University geography professor Kamal Abdel Fattah commented on the lecture and led an audience discussion before closing the session.




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