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Those wretched settlements: Israel PM's spin

Not for the first time have the Israelis said no more settlements. It's all a fiction. The latest so-called freeze is anything of the sort.

The Age newspaper's Middle East correspondent puts the so-called freeze into context:

"For 10 months, Netanyahu says, Israel will impose a residential housing construction freeze in the West Bank.

So does that mean the hammers will fall silent immediately? Far from it.

According to Netanyahu's plan for a settlement freeze, construction on 2500 partially built housing units in the West Bank can be completed.

So can another 500 new housing units in the West Bank announced earlier this year.

This isn't even a slowdown on last year. In 2008, according to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, there were 1647 new housing starts, and 1389 new housing starts in 2007.

In East Jerusalem, where the Palestinians hope to make their capital, Netanyahu says no limits will apply."

Over at Prospects for Peace, Daniel Levy also reflects on the spin [some would, rightly, say on- going lying] and the development of the settlements:

"Netanyahu also repeated the totally (meaningless)commitment of no new settlements or land confiscations (meaningless because since 1993, the official policy is no new settlements yet via expansion, new neighborhoods and outposts, the West Bank settler population has grown from 111,000 then to over 300,000 today, and because although the built-up area of settlements constitutes only 2% of West Bank land, double that amount is slated for growth, and a total of 40% comes under the Settlement Regional Councils, therefore land confiscation issue is a red herring)."

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