Lecturer Reviews Expansion of Israeli Settlements in Jerusalem and West Bank
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.
ldquo;He spoke of a Palestinian
state connected by tunnels and bridges,rdquo; said Tufakji. ldquo;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 Universityrsquo;s Faculty of the Arts, presented in Kamal Nasser Hall and entitled,
ldquo;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.
ldquo;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,
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. ldquo;Does [lsquo;settlementrsquo;] mean the settlement built-up area or its
planned area, which is equivalent to 58% of the area of the West Bank?
Birzeit University geography
professor Kamal Abdel Fattah commented on the lecture and led an audience discussion
before closing the session.