Towards Final Status
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Jerusalem
Settlements
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Click Here to Read About Refugees
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Resolving the issue of Settlements
1 - Settlements Under Oslo
2 - Background
3 - The Israeli Position
4 - The Palestinian Position
5 - During the Interim Period
6 - Proposals


5 - During the Interim Period

Since the signing of the Oslo Declaration of Principles, no new settlements have been built. This is not to say, however, that pre-existing settlements have not undergone expansion. Israeli officials assert that there is nothing explicitly written in the agreements saying that existing settlements cannot be "thickened," or even that new ones cannot be built.

In response, Palestinians have been particularly active in protesting and denouncing land appropriations made by Israel in order to expand settlements, and have been vocal in insisting on the dismantlement of all Israeli settlements. Frieh Abu Medein, Palestinian Justice Minister, declared that "settlements and building roads in the heart of the Palestinian entity is tantamount to a declaration of war."

After the May 1996 election of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud-led Government, Israel's official position on settlements again changed. Just months after entering into office, Netanyahu's Government lifted Labor's four-year settlement freeze, explaining that:

The Government's decision is intended to reinstate social and economic parity between the Jewish communities and other developing areas of the country. . . . The Government's decision is fully consistent with the agreements signed by Israel and the Palestinians. Neither the Declaration of Principles of 13 September 1993 nor the Interim Agreement ("Oslo II") of 28 September 1995 contains any provisions prohibiting or restricting the establishment or expansion of Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

At that time, the Netanyahu Government also announced a $5 million aid package for Jewish settlers and authorized 300 new mobile homes to be set up in the West Bank. Shortly after, approval was given for 4,000 new Jewish housing units to be built throughout in the West Bank and rumors were rampant about government considerations to build new units in the Golan and possibly an entire "new city" linking pre-existing settlements.

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