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Al Tafakji: Occupation Implements Project to House a Million Settlers

Khalil Tafakji, of the Mapping and Geographic Information Systems Department of the Arab Studies Society in Jerusalem and expert in settlement affairs spoke about recent settlement plans. He confirmed that Israel is implementing a settlement project that was designed in 1979 and aims at housing a million settlers in the West Bank. As well as establishing another settlement project that was designed in 1994 involving the construction of 58 000 housing units in East Jerusalem by 2020, regardless of the outcome of the peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
Al Tafakji stated to 'Quds Al-Arabi' that the intended building of 20 thousand new housing units and the declaration of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelling this settlement plan highlights the ability of Tel Aviv to influence U.S. policy on the peace process in the region if Washington ignored the demands of Israel regarding the Iranian nuclear file.
Tafakji stressed that Israel’s announcement to build 20 thousand housing units and then to cancel is a hint to Washington on one hand, and to distract the international community on the other. Israel may, therefore, continue building five thousand housing units quietly that have been approved following the release of a group of Palestinian prisoners over a week ago.
He added that the Israeli settlement plan on the ground indicate that Israel continues to implement "Matityahu Drobuls's" scheme the head of the settlement department in the Zionist Organization in 1979 and the one who decided on housing a million settlers in the West Bank. In addition building 58 thousand housing units in East Jerusalem by 2020, of which he had approved the construction in 1994, regardless of whether there is peace negotiations with the Palestinians or not.
Furthermore, he mentioned that settlers are leading an uprising in the West Bank against Palestinians attacking their lands, burning trees, and homes sometimes. Tafakji stated that the number of settlers before the signing of Oslo Accords in 1993 was around 105 thousand, closer now to 380 thousand in the West Bank and 200 thousand in Jerusalem, all as a result of peace negotiations.

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