Helping settle the colonies in the open

Israel-American Mairav Zonszein, activist and writer, exposes the nefarious activities of the US group Nefesh B’Nefesh (which means “Soul in Soul” in Hebrew) in the Nation magazine:

In the years since its first plane landed, NBN has brought 20,000 immigrants to Israel from North America and Britain. Of those 20,000, NBN PR and communications manager Renana Levine claims that fewer than 3 percent (600 people) have moved beyond the Green Line to settlements in the West Bank.

However, on this last flight alone, seven families were reportedly moving to Ma’ale Adumim, the largest settlement in the West Bank. Even if we take the modest amount of three members per family (despite the fact that it is surely more, as one family had five children), that is already twenty-one people on a plane of 232, making it nearly 10 percent of the flight. And this is only one settlement. A representative of the Efrat Council, a long and narrow settlement in Gush Etzion, said that he expected fifteen families to move there this summer. The 3 percent claim is thus highly suspect.

While some of the territories beyond the Green Line, such as Gush Etzion, are considered by most Israelis to be “consensus areas”–places they assume will remain part of Israel in any final resolution with the Palestinians–they are nonetheless settlements undergoing population growth from outside Israel, which is in blatant disregard of President Obama’s call to freeze all settlement growth. Yet this does not seem to bother the new immigrants or NBN staff, who appear disturbingly oblivious to recent tensions between Israel and the United States over settlement expansion and their direct role in changing facts on the ground in the West Bank. When asked why he chose Ma’ale Adumim, one new immigrant responded that it reminded him most of his home in Montreal.

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