Do West Bank Jewish Settlements Prevent a Palestinian State?

Do West Bank Jewish Settlements Prevent a Palestinian State? March 8, 2024

Volker Turk, The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said today of the Israeli-occupied West Bank that Jewish “settler violence and settlement-related violations have reached shocking new levels, and risk eliminating any practical possibility of establishing a viable Palestinian state.” He said that because the traditional thinking is that a Palestinian state can only be established where Palestinians have lived in the past century or more–the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But as I keep harping for all these many years, since my book entitled Palestine Is Coming was published in 1990, that  has always been a non-starter. People such as Mr. Turk don’t seem to allow for another proposal for the location of a Palestinian state. If they would, then they wouldn’t make such an either-or statement.

In my book, I interpret several biblical prophecies to indicate that there will be a Palestinian state and that it will not be established in the West Bank. Rather, it will be a very expanded Gaza Strip that will approximate “the land of the Philistines” that the Bible tells much about. That is, the ancient Philistines were the arch rival of the ancient Israelites and lived side-by-side with them. Israel existed mostly in the Judean hill country and further north, whereas Philistia existed in the coastal plain, mostly between present Tel Aviv, which was Joppa, and the Wadi el Arish, which is a seasonal stream located twenty-five miles south of the Gaza Strip. Although their borders fluctuated somewhat through the centuries, as many nations of antiquity did, that is where they existed most of the time and relatively the same size.

Mr. Turk also presented a 16-page report citing illegalities of West Bank Jewish settlements according to international law established mostly by the United Nations. This report also alleges that there has been a dramatic increase of Israeli settler violence against Palestinians in recent years, but especially since the Hamas attack against Israel on October 7, which ignited Israel’s war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The report says Israeli security forces and settlers in the West Bank have killed 400 Palestinians there since this war began.

Yet Israel continues to defy international law by approving two days ago nearly 3,500 new Jewish housing units in the West Bank. Many nations have objected, with Germany saying it is “a serious violation of international law.” Israel’s far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich admitted that this makes a total of 18,515 new housing units in the West Bank that Israel has approved in the past 12 months. Tor Wennesland, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, which has not existed for the past ten years, said these settlements are “illegal under international law” and a “driver of conflict” in the West Bank.

Indeed they are. Yet it just affirms what I have been saying for decades, that many Israeli Jews rightly claim that the West Bank represents ancient Judea and Samaria, the heartland of ancient Israel, and they claim a right to this land. I’ve been saying all along that these settlements likely will grow and make the traditional two-state solution–with a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza–an impossibility. That is just about where the situation is now. That is why authorities should look for an alternative two-state solution, and I believe the one I advocate is going to happen–a Palestinian state as a very expanded Gaza Strip and Israel annexing all the West Bank. Why do I believe this so strongly? IT’S IN THE BIBLE!

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