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Israel’s growing population and the need for land.

18 November, 2009

According to the Jewish Virtual Library, [HERE] the population in Israel grew by 125,000 in the last year, bringing its current population to nearly seven and a half million.  (These figures are taken from the 2009 census)

When the state was established, there were only 806,000 residents, with this number reaching its first and second million in 1949 and 1958 respectively.  Since 2003, the growth rate has remained relatively stable. The majority (88 percent) of the increase was due to natural births.  [Jewish Virtual Library]

These figures explain in part why Israel must continue to expand, creating new settlements in Jerusalem and in the “occupied territory.”

Nearly 500,000 Jews live in more than 100 settlements built on occupied territory.

The settlements are illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this. [HERE]

The United States, the United Nations, [HERE], and the European Union [HERE] have criticized the latest settlement in East Jerusalem. President Obama add a warning that the latest move

“embitters the Palestinians” … [and]  ” does not contribute to Israel’s security, I think it makes it harder for them to make peace with their neighbours,” he said.  [HERE]

Benjamin Netanyahu is said to have ignored Obama’s request to halt further settlements so that Obama’s administration might try to “jumpstart” peace talks in the region. Israel continues to demolish Palestinian homes and claim land which has been a condition of peace between Israel and Palestine.

What is Israel to do?  Native births and immigration create a growing population which must be housed. Peace may be a good idea, but land is better.

Of course, the Palestinians must wonder when enough will be enough.  How much land will Israel need before it accepts that there must be a Palestinian state and that both sides will have to make concessions?   Or will it never, in word and deed, agree that there will be defined borders for both states and that they alone ought not to set those borders ?

It goes without saying that Palestinian violence towards Israel must stop; that is a given.  No one expects Israel to make concessions without receiving absolute assurance of peace.

But how can there even be a discussion peace when your “partner” won’t agree to impose any self-limits?

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