Recently there have been reports that the Government of Israel is set to approve a new settlement in the Jordan Valley. What's the story?
In mid-July, the Israeli Defense Minister approved a plan to turn a long-disused military outpost in the Jordan Valley originally established in the 1980s, called Maskiyot, into a new permanent civilian settlement. If the decision is implemented, this transformation of Maskiyot will represent the first new settlement in the Jordan Valley since the mid-1980s, and would conflict with the Government of Israel's longstanding and much-repeated commitment not to establish any new settlements.
Supporters of the plan have argued that this is not the establishment of a new settlement, but the expansion of an existing one. This logic is inconsistent with both the letter and the spirit of Israel's commitment not to establish new settlements. With respect to the former, a military outpost is not the same as a civilian settlement, and the transformation of a disused military outpost into a permanent civilian settlement represents the transformation of an arguably temporary, limited-use, limited-needs site into something entirely new, with new legal, security, financial, infrastructure, and political implications. With respect to the latter, the Israeli commitment to not establish new settlements was made as a sign of good faith and support for a peace process that was predicated on the understanding that further expansion of settlements undermined the chances of achieving a two-state solution. To seek to exploit a dubious technicality in order to circumvent this unambiguous commitment would have very troubling implications.
For further Peace Now analysis/commentary on the issue, click here.
What is the history of Maskiyot?
Maskiyot is what is known in Hebrew as a "Nahal" outpost -- "Nahal" being a Hebrew acronym for "Pioneering Fighting Youth," a term that dates back to pre-1948 Jewish militia terminology and has been adopted by the IDF. Among their other activities, Nahal units are responsible for creating military outposts in the West Bank. Between 1967 and 1977, 21 settlements were established in the Jordan Valley and its western slopes (all under the leadership of Labor governments). The first settlement, Qalya, was established in 1968 as a "Nahal" outpost. Qalya and other Nahal outposts were later transformed into civilian settlements, in what became the model for settlement development in the Jordan Valley.
In 1982 the army established Maskiyot. In 2002, the IDF left Maskiyot and a pre-army religious education program, with a few dozen students in temporary residence, moved in. Then, in September 2005, the Israeli press reported that settlers evacuated from the Gaza Strip settlement of Shirat Hayam (as part of Israel's "disengagement" from Gaza) were planning to move to the site. At that time, it was reported that approximately 20 families were planning to move to Maskiyot sometime after the 2005 High Holidays (i.e., after October 2005), and that some 20 prefabricated structures, removed from the Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank, would be moved to the Maskiyot to accommodate them in the short-term. In the longer-term the families reportedly expected to receive permanent housing and land for agricultural use.
Subsequently, then-Prime Minister Sharon ordered that the planning process for the site commence (checking the status of the land and preparing a master plan for the settlement, intended to accommodate up to 100 families). On May 12, 2005, the official "municipal borders" of the settlement were announced in an order issued by the commander of the IDF's Central Command, the official sovereign in the occupied territories. A master plan for 100 housing units was prepared and approved by the planning authority, awaiting only the approval of the Minister of Defense to validate the plan.
During the last week of 2006 it was made public that then-Defense Minister Amir Peretz had approved the plan, and that the construction of thirty homes to accommodate new civilian settlers in Maskiyot was set to start. This decision was widely recognized, both within Israel and by the international community, as tantamount to a decision to establish a new settlement. After strong criticism from within Israel and from abroad, including pointed criticism from U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in mid-January 2007 Peretz froze the approval, taking construction at Maskiyot off the table, at least temporarily. A few months later, a group of some 8 families from the evacuated Gaza settlement of Shirat Hayam moved into trailer homes in Maskiyot, apparently deciding that they would not wait for approval to build at the site.
Maskiyot then fell off the world's radar screen for more than a year, until July 23, 2008, when an announcement was published in an Israeli newspaper by the High Council for Planning in the Civil Administration, informing the public of the approval of Plan Number 303, for the construction of residential units in Maskiyot.
Could the plan have been announced without approval of the Minster of Defense and Prime Minister?
Many articles about the Maskiyot affair note dutifully that the plan (as of this writing) has not been formally approved by Defense Minister Barak and Prime Minister Olmert, as required in order to begin construction. However, this is not a wholly accurate depiction of the situation. No settlement plan could have progressed to the point of being approved by the key Defense Ministry committee and then announced by the Defense Ministry if ministry officials did not have a green light from Barak. As one article correctly noted, ".government officials said the ministerial committee would not have given its sanction unless Barak planned to allow the construction."
In theory, it might be possible for Barak or Olmert to still freeze the plan. For example, in some cases, after the final approval of a plan for construction in West Bank settlements, the Minister of Defense must approve the beginning of the implementation, before the bulldozers can start to work. There are no indications that Barak intends to pursue such a course. Indeed, the apparent perspective of the Defense Ministry is cleared summed up by one Israeli defense ministry official, who stated, "Maskiyot is a settlement that exists and has been on the map.The place is bubbling with life. There is no intention to relent on the decision."
Similarly, Prime Minister Olmert declared earlier this year that all settlement plans would require his final approval. In this case, the Defense Ministry laid down the gauntlet by announcing the Maskiyot plan. Once the plan was announced, Olmert could have stepped in immediately and exercised his authority to freeze the plan, nipping the current controversy in the bud. But he did not do so and there is no indication that he will do so. Indeed, statements from his spokesmen are not encouraging, repeating only that "Israel will abide by all our commitments and there will be no new settlements and no outward expansion of existing ones." Given the efforts to designate Maskiyot as an existing settlement (as opposed to a new one), and given the likelihood that the new construction will be located within the existing boundaries of this "existing settlement," (like virtually all settlements, the land area given over to Maskiyot is many times greater than the currently built-up area) there is nothing in this statement that would indicate that Olmert is going to freeze the plan.
Is this plan significant in terms of the scope of settlement in the Jordan Valley?
The Maskiyot plan is extremely significant. As the head of the Jordan Valley regional council (the settlement governance body in the area), Dubi Tal, recently told Israel Radio, "Twenty units in the Jordan Valley is significant, as there are only 1,000 [housing units for Israelis] in the entire Jordan Valley."
It is even more significant in light of the fact that in almost all other Jordan Valley settlements, the population is either stagnant or shrinking.
In political terms it is also extremely significant. The future of the Jordan Valley is one of the most important territorial questions that must be addressed in order to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Unilateral actions that seek to cement Israel's hold on the area undermine the chances of achieving any peace agreement, including one in which Israel could retain some control over the area through a bilateral arrangement with the Palestinians.
The character of the proposed Maskiyot settlers makes this plan even more problematic. Currently, the settler population of the Jordan Valley is generally non-ideological and the vast majority would likely cooperate with, if not support, a future peace agreement that required them to relocate. A new settlement in this area, populated by some of the most hardline ideological settlers (a category into which virtually all of the former Gaza Strip settlers fall), would significantly change the political coloration of the Jordan Valley, greatly complicate future negotiations over the area and open the door for an influx of additional ideological settlers to the area. Indeed, some observers have suggested that this is one of the goals, if not the major goal, of the plan.
What is the history of settlement in the Jordan Valley?
The Jordan Valley technically refers to the area at the bottom of the mountain ridge (the valley) abutting the Jordan River, which runs from the north to the south, connecting the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. However, when people talk about the Jordan Valley, they are generally talking about a much broader strip of land - an area bordered to the north and south by the Green Line, to the east by the Jordanian border, and to the west by Route 80, known as the Allon Road. The area includes the Jordan Valley itself, as well as the coastline area of the Dead Sea, and the mountain ridge's eastern slopes; when we use the term "Jordan Valley" in the analysis, this is the area to which we are referring.
Settlement of this area began almost immediately after the June 1967 War, led by then-Defense Minister Yigal Allon. In July 1967, Allon unveiled to then-Prime Minister Levi Eshkol his plan to consolidate Israel's hold on what he believed to be crucial areas of the West Bank. The "Allon Plan" called for Israel to retain the Jordan Valley and the eastern slopes of the mountain ridge running through the West Bank (an area sparsely inhabited by Palestinians), in order to protect against an Arab attack from the east. The plan also called for establishing Israeli settlements in these areas as a way of defining the land that would eventually be annexed to Israel.
While the Allon Plan was never formally adopted by any Israeli government, it nonetheless became the framework for Labor Party policy vis-...-vis the West Bank. In 1968, then-Prime Minister Eshkol declared, "The Jordan River is the State of Israel's security border." Between 1967 and 1977, 21 settlements were established in the Jordan Valley and along the eastern slopes of the West Bank's central mountain ridge, all under the leadership of Labor governments. The settlement boom in the Jordan Valley cooled somewhat after 1977, in large part due to a shift in Israeli Government policy to permit settlement in areas of the West Bank previously considered off-limits. (See Settlements in Focus, Vol. I, Issue 10 for details of this policy shift).
Today, how many settlements are there in the Jordan Valley and its environs?
There are 27 settlements in this area, with a total population of 9358 people, according to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics:
Greater than 1000 residents: Mizpe Yeriho (1641), Ma'ale Efrayim (1384), Kokhav Hashahar
500-1000 residents: Rimmonim (565), Shadmot Mehola (536)
200-499 residents: Mehola (351), Tomer (282), Qalya (266), Peza'el (214), Gitit (214)
150-299 residents: Almog (192), Mizpe Shalem (1169), Argaman (166), Vered Yeriho (180), Beqa'ot (171), Yitav (175), Gilgal (162)
100-149 residents: Massu'a (142), Netiv Hagedud (125), No'omi (129), Hamra (1132), Hemdat (147), Mekhora (114), Ro'i (128), Yafit (104)
1-99 residents: Bet Haarava (87), Niran (52)
The Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics does not provide numbers for three settlements, which were until a few years ago classified as "Nahal" bases, and then more recently civilians moved in. These are: Rotem (20 families), Ovnat (10 families), and Maskiyot (10 families). (Population numbers reflect Peace Now estimates).
Are there illegal outposts in the Jordan Valley?
There are 9 illegal outposts in the Jordan Valley.
- Three of them, together with the settlements of Yitav and Na'omi, are located in such a manner as to surround Jericho from the north and east, and to prevent Jericho from expanding to connect with the neighboring village of Auja. These outposts are attractive sites for ideological settlers who see the area as an important and strategic location that should be kept under Israeli control. These outposts are:
Mevo'ot Yericho (also known as Sha'arei Yericho) (15 families) - Established in 2002,
located north of Jericho.
Mul Nevo (5 individuals) - Located east of Jericho, this is an undeveloped, isolated outpost.
Omer Farm (one family) - An agriculture farm established in 2005 that has spread onto hundreds of dunams north of Jericho.
-Four of the outposts are at the edge of the central ridge (3 near the settlements of Kochav Hashahar and 1 near
Mitzpe Yericho). These are:
Mitzpe Kramim (around 15 families) - located east of Kochav Hashahar.
Ma'ale Shlomo (around 15 families) - located south of Kochav Hashahar.
Ahavat Hayim (a few dozen students and families) - located west of Kochav Hashahar, this outpost serves as a high-school Yeshiva.
Mitzpe Jericho North East (around 29 families) - Established sometime before May 2001, this outpost is located along the strategically important road connecting Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley.
- Two other outposts:
Givat Sal'it (15 families) - located in the very northern tip of the Jordan Valley, east of the settlement Mehola. This outpost was established following the Sept. 2001 shooting and killing of a local settler, Sal'it Shitrit.
Maale Efrayim Preparatory (with around 30 students and staff) - located West of the settlement of Maale Efrayim. It was first established as a Field Education Center of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, which was closed, like another Field Center in the Har Gilo settlement, following the eruption of the violence in Sep. 2000.
In addition, a series of outposts has been established in recent years east of the settlements of Shilo, Itamar and Elon Moreh. The apparent purpose of these outposts is to connect isolated mountain ridge settlements to the Jordan Valley. Some settlers and their supporters hope that Israel will retain not only the Jordan Valley, but will extend "fingers" into the West Bank heartland to incorporate these veteran ideological settlements as well. As Israeli map expert Shaul Arieli wrote for the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies in August 2004: "Their [the settlers'] assumption is that the lightly populated Jordan Valley, which constitutes Israel's 'eastern security region' in the 'essential interests map' approved by the Israeli government under former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, can remain under Israeli control for the foreseeable future. The settlers therefore seek to strengthen the communities along the Allon Road, which runs on the Jordan Valley-eastern Samaria border southward to Jerusalem, and create a contiguous strip of communities from 'parent' settlements in the elevated areas to the Allon Road by erecting dozens of outposts. For example, seventeen outposts are located between Ariel and Mevo Shiloh approaching the Allon Road, six outposts are designed to connect Itamar eastward to the hill range, and fourteen outposts connect Ofra and Beit El to northern Jerusalem." (For map of what this would look like, click here).
Is there anything that can be called a "Jordan Valley settlement bloc"?
No. Occasionally there are references to the "Jordan Valley bloc," generally in the context of arguments that favor keeping the area under Israeli control. However, objectively speaking, the settlements of the Jordan Valley are not a "bloc" in the same sense as any of the other West Bank settlement blocs (where a case can be made that the group of settlements in question is anchored by one or more very large settlements; are located in relatively close proximity to one another; share major infrastructure; are intertwined socially/economically; and together represent a large settler population, generally larger than that of the surrounding Palestinian localities).
With respect to the Jordan Valley, there is no large settlement that could be viewed as anchoring a bloc (the largest settlement has less than 1700 people). The settlements are generally remote from one another and spread out over a vast area - for example, the distance between the northernmost settlement of Mehola and the southernmost settlement of Mitzpe Shalem is 56 miles, nearly the full length of the West Bank's border with Jordan, including the Dead Sea (this is the shortest, as-the-crow-flies distance; the driving distance between the two settlements is even longer). The settlements do not share infrastructure other than the main road that passes through that entire stretch of the West Bank. The social/economic lives of the settlers are only minimally intertwined - indeed, settlements in this area are classified by Israel as falling under three different regional councils (akin to "counties" or "parishes" in the United States): the Jordan Valley ('Arvot Hayarden Regional Council), the Central West Bank (Binyamin Regional Council), and Northern Dead Sea (Megillot Regional Council). And finally, the Jordan Valley settlements, as a group, do not represent a large settler population, let alone a critical mass; even leaving off the Jericho area, the Palestinian population of the area is substantially larger than that of the settlements, despite the massive subsidies and other incentives offered for the past 41 years to entice Israelis to live there.
What is the religious orientation of the Jordan Valley settlers?
Secular: Almog (kibbutz), Argaman,
Beqa'ot (moshav), Bet Haarava (kibbutz), Gilgal (kibbutz), Hamra (moshav), Massu'a,
Mekhora, Mizpe Shalem (kibbutz), Niran (kibbutz), No'omi (moshav), Peza'el, Qalya (kibbutz), Rimmonim, Ro'i, Vered
Yeriho (moshav), Yafit (moshav), Yitav (Russian immigrants), Netiv Hagedud
Religious: Hemdat, Kokhav Hashahar, Mehola, Mizpe Yeriho, Shadmot Mehola (moshav), Maskiyot, Ovnat,
Mixed (growing religious population): Ma'ale Efrayim, Gitit (moshav), Tomer
What is the political orientation of Jordan Valley settlers?
As we noted in Settlements in Focus Vol. 2, Issue 6, which examined the voting patterns of settlers:
"The settlements in the Jordan Valley were historically affiliated with the Labor Party, which was the party that initially established the settlement drive in the area.However, during the 1980s the Likud party established a large support base in the Jordan Valley and in the 2001 elections was the largest vote-getter in most of the Jordan Valley settlements, although Labor still drew a substantial amount of support. In the March 2006 election the Likud suffered a significant defeat in the Jordan valley, winning an average of less than 10% of the votes. Kadima replaced the Likud as the main power in most of the settlements, winning 30% or more of the vote in most of the settlements. Labor remained relatively strong, and the NU-NRP list and Yisrael Beiteinu both did well in settlements that have more recently attracted religious settlers and Russian immigrants."
How many Palestinians live in this geographic area?
According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, as of mid-year 2005 the Palestinian population in the Jordan Valley was around 53,000 people (this includes all the villages in the Jericho governorate, as well a handful of villages from the governorates of Tubas and Nablus, but not Nablus itself). The population is broken down as follows (numbers are rounded off): Jericho/Auja area (including Aqabat Jabr refugee camp): 35,000; Jiftlik area: 6700; North Jordan Valley: 3150; Nablus/Tubas area (i.e., the eastern slopes of the mountain ridge): 7700. In addition, the area is home to an unknown number of Bedouins (probably a few thousand) who maintain a semi-nomadic lifestyle.
What is the situation in the Jordan Valley with respect to movement and access for Palestinians?
Restrictions on movement and access for Palestinians into and within the Jordan Valley are especially severe. The IDF has placed checkpoints on all the roads leading into the Jordan Valley, and has total control on entry and exit into the area. For a long period of time (most of the years 2003-2005) the IDF completely closed the Jordan Valley (for details, see B'tselem). Only Palestinians who reside in the Jordan Valley (and whose identification documents confirmed this fact) were permitted to enter; no other Palestinians could enter for any purpose (including family visits, business, or transit).
Following major protests, the situation today is somewhat improved. Palestinians who do not live in the Jordan Valley are generally permitted to enter, but the IDF still bars entry of the cars of any Palestinians who do not live in the area. So any Palestinian non-Jordan Valley residents who want to come to the area must enter via special taxis that are permitted by the IDF to pass through the checkpoints. The exception is the city of Jericho itself, where access into the city is normally open, via one road. However, Palestinians cannot leave Jericho to travel into the rest of the Jordan Valley.
|A Jordan Valley Checkpoint|
In addition, for some years now the IDF has barred all Palestinian access to the Dead Sea. A checkpoint south of Jericho (or north of the Dead Sea) prevents any Palestinian vehicle from entering the area. According to testimonies of soldiers who served at this checkpoint, the
checkpoint was established in response to pressure from Israeli settlers in the area who are trying to develop resort sites along the shore of the Dead Sea. These settlers fear that Israelis will be reluctant to come to their resorts due to the presence of Palestinians in the area. The Dead Sea has traditionally been a popular site for Palestinian visitors and vacationers from throughout the West Bank, especially since the early 1990s, when Israel began to bar Palestinian entry into Israel, thus closing off West Bankers' access to the Mediterranean. Now, some observers have concluded that in order to permit the settlers to develop resorts in the area, the entire Dead Sea has been made inaccessible to Palestinians. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) has filed a petition against the checkpoint with the Israeli High Court of Justice.
How much of the land in the Jordan Valley is controlled by the settlements?
Virtually all of the land in the Jordan Valley, other than actual built-up areas of the Palestinian population, has been placed under the jurisdiction of the settlement regional councils in the area ('Arvot Hayarden and Megillot). This means that land not defined as belonging to a specific settlement is still under the control of the settlements' regional councils (and off-limits to the Palestinian), and in some cases is actively farmed by settlers. Almost all of the settlements, despite having tiny populations, nonetheless have huge footprints on the land, with extensive agricultural areas (large fields, greenhouses, etc). For more details about land use in the Jordan Valley, please see B'tselem's landmark 2002 report on Israeli policy regarding land use in the West Bank.
In addition, Israel's policy of demolishing Palestinian homes has been especially focused on the Jordan Valley. Looking only at the first quarter of 2008 (the first regular report period following the November 2007 Annapolis Conference and the re-launching of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks), the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) noted in a May 2008 report that "Eighty-six percent (86%) of the demolitions in Area C due to lack of permit in the first quarter of 2008 (107) were in Jordan Valley locales." Within the Jordan Valley, certain areas have been the particular focus of home demolition efforts. The OCHA report notes, for example that on March 11, 2008 twelve structures in the northern Jordan Valley village of Al Hadidiya were demolished by Israel. OCHA observes the Israeli High Court rejected a petition from the villagers against the demolition orders on the grounds that "1) the affected buildings were located in an area defined as agricultural in the Mandatory Regional Outline Plans, and 2) the buildings posed a security threat to the Ro'i settlement..." In addition, the plight of the village of Al 'Aqaba has drawn a great deal of attention (in part because of a campaign by local and international activists). The OCHA reports notes that "The village of Al 'Aqaba lies at the edge of the Jordan valley and comprises 3,500 dunums of land. It is entirely situated in Area C, between two military bases.35 of the 45 structures in the village have received demolition orders due to 'lack of permit'."
Why are Israeli policies with respect to the Jordan Valley so restrictive?
The restrictions on movement and access in the Jordan Valley, combined with the restrictive land use policies, have resulted in a situation where the Israeli public, to the extent that it is aware of the Jordan Valley, does not really view it in the same light as the rest of the West Bank. Israelis driving through the area - and historically, the main Jordan Valley road, Route 90, was and to some extent remains the primary route used by Israelis to travel from southern Israel or Jerusalem to reach the Galilee - don't see many Palestinians using the highway or living along it. What they see are other Israeli vehicles and the IDF, and alongside the route, desert or Israeli agricultural development. By keeping the area free of Palestinian traffic, Israelis and tourists who use this route can feel they are traveling a road that is no different than any road inside Israel.
More broadly speaking, many Israelis still believe that the Jordan Valley must remain eternally part of Israel - the vital security buffer between Israel and Arab lands to the east. According to this perspective, the Palestinian population of the area - which is sparse and spread out over a huge area - is at best an inconvenience to be minimized, and at worst a liability that must be overcome. Israeli policies in the area, historically and through the present day, would appear to seek to minimize the number of Palestinians in the area, while maximizing Israeli control over the land and Israeli control over the transportation routes.
Where does the Jordan Valley stand in the context of final status agreements?
The Jordan Valley has always enjoyed special status in regard to political arrangements. Traditionally, Israel has viewed it as a buffer against aggression from the east (Jordan and Iraq). Many argue today that this is no longer relevant, given the peace treaty with Jordan and the elimination of the military threat from Iraq. In any case, some prominent Israeli figures - like former Likud Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu - still attribute security importance to the Jordan Valley and talk of the Jordan Valley settlements as a settlement bloc that should be retained in the context of political arrangement (keeping in mind that it is in no way a bloc, as discussed above).
The Jordan Valley has come into play more recently with regard to Israel's West Bank security barrier (fence/wall). In March 2003, during a cabinet ministers' tour of the route of the separation barrier, Prime Minister Sharon declared that he intended to build an eastern separation fence. This new section of the fence would be some 300 kilometers, running from the Green Line in the north, along the Jordan Valley and the Allon Road, and ending in the southern Hebron hills (and keeping the Jordan Valley outside the territory to be bounded within the separation fence). The original map with the route of the barrier issued by the Israeli Ministry of Defense in October 2003 appeared to include the first stage of this plan, depicting a barrier running close to the Green Line along the northern end of the West Bank, and also including a section jutting out from the main barrier running south along the central mountain ridge. Faced with international and internal opposition, Israel dropped the plans for an eastern barrier, at least for now.
During the 1999-2001 final status negotiations, initial Israeli proposals placed the Jordan Valley under various levels of Israeli control, with part of it annexed to Israel and other parts left under Israeli control via long-term lease arrangements, with the understanding that such areas would eventually come under full Palestinian sovereignty. These proposals were rejected by the Palestinians, who view the Jordan Valley as the only land reserve that could be used by a future Palestinian State to absorb large population increases expected from natural growth and refugee absorption. Additionally, Palestinians view control over their own borders as an important attribute of sovereignty.
At some point during the final status negotiations Israel gave up its demand for control over the Jordan Valley. When this happened is the subject of some debate, with some negotiators (like U.S. Special Middle East Coordinator Dennis Ross) pointing to oral Israeli proposals made at the end of the July 2000 Camp David summit. Others (like Israeli negotiator Shlomo Ben-Ami) point to the Clinton parameters, presented by President Clinton in December 23, 2000 and accepted by Israel, which called for Israeli annexation of 4%-6% of the West Bank, and amount inconsistent with Israeli annexation of the Jordan Valley.
Finally, the Geneva Initiative designated the Jordan Valley as part of a new Palestinian State, but left it as the last area from which Israel withdraws. In addition to the deployment of international forces on Palestine's borders, the Geneva Initiative states, "Israel will maintain a small military presence in the Jordan Valley under the authority of the [Multinational Force] and subject to the [Multinational Force's Status of Forces Agreement] as detailed in Annex X for an additional 36 months." (Geneva Initiative, Article 5 - Security, Evacuation, section iv).
Produced by Lara Friedman, Government Relations Director, Americans for Peace Now, and Hagit Ofran, Settlements Watch Director, Peace Now (Israel), with special credit to former Settlement Watch director Dror Etkes (Israel), who co-produced Settlements in Focus Vol. 1, Issue 11 (Sept. 30, 2005), upon which much of the current publication is based