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No way to make Israel’s settlements lawful: Activist

A picture taken on July 29, 2016 shows a general view of Israeli construction cranes and excavators at the building site of new housing units in the Jewish settlement of Gilo in east Jerusalem (al-Quds).

Press TV has interviewed Barry Grossman, an international lawyer and peace activist in Bali, to discuss Israel’s plan to resettle evacuees from the illegal Amona settlement outpost in the central West Bank to a nearby privately-owned piece of Palestinian land.

A rough transcription of the interview appears below.

Press TV: The Amona outpost was illegal to start with and its demolition was ordered by Israel’s Supreme Court way back in 2008. What is the point in demolishing this illegal outpost and again erecting another illegal settlement somewhere else on private Palestinian land?

Grossman: Well let’s face it, it is a game and to be clear the outpost is not only illegal under international law like all Israeli settlements, it is illegal under Israeli law.

Now this latest proposal to in effect force Palestinians off their own occupied territory and move them to land owned by Palestinians living in exile is completely absurd, it is the height of absurdity and the notion that the occupiers can make legal that which is illegal simply by convening committees and even enacting domestic legislation with that aim in mind is lunacy.

There is no way to make the settlements lawful and no matter what they do that will remain the same. Under international law they are illegal and even in the US by the way it is long being US policy as it is in almost the entire known universe to consider the settlements in Palestine illegal under international law.

However, the problem comes when the consequences of that policy and any hope for a resolution even of that limited issue is side step by the US lumping that problem in with the larger problem that exists between Palestinians and those people who are occupying their territory ...

Press TV: There are some interesting facts and numbers that there are already 12 illegal settlements and 27 settlement outposts in the Nablus district and they house around 23,000 of what are reportedly to be the most extremist Jewish settlers in the Palestinian territory and with this new one planned to be erected on Palestinian land in a Palestinian village, isn’t this part of Israel’s Judaization plan, the larger plan to push Palestinians out of their own land and just give them all to Jewish settlers?  

Grossman: Yes, that is exactly correct and however many settlements there are now, as long as the United States continues to insist that the resolution of all issues between Palestinians and the occupiers is resulted through negotiation, we can only assume that there will be many more settlements in the future.

That is to say, as I was about to say, though the US concedes that these settlements are illegal, it launches the problem of settlements in with the larger of the occupation and insists that that problem can only be resolved by negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians.

Now at the same time of course the occupiers have never negotiated in good faith. They rarely, if ever, honor their side of any interim commitments that are made and any concession made to the occupiers as in the concessions made during the Oslo Accords is treated by them as a concession that can never be revoked regardless of whether or not that they honor their side of the agreement was led to a concession.

Now as long as the US continues to lump the problem of settlements in with a larger issue nothing is going to change. What we would expect in a situation like this is that the US if it does not want to interfere with the parties themselves actually enact the typical ... jurisdiction legislation that it does with other matters and criminalize any Americans involved in the process of funding these settlements.

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