Israeli settlements continue to stir controversy in disputed areas

World Today

The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians continues in full force. New planned Jewish settlements are a major trigger point for tensions. CCTV’s Michal Bardavid reported this story from Tel Aviv.

Israeli settlements have become a major obstacle on the road to peace in the Middle East, but construction for them has continued. The Jerusalem city council recently approved 400 new settlements in the disputed area that Palestinians say was captured by Israel during the 1967 war.

Israeli settlements continue to stir controversy in disputed areas

The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians continues in full force. New planned Jewish settlements are a major trigger point for tensions. CCTV's Michal Bardavid reported this story from Tel Aviv.

Many in international community, including the U.S. and EU have also said these settlements are illegal. Palestinians want to keep is as part of their future State.

To make matters worse, housing prices in Israel have been on a steady rise, making disputed areas such as the West Bank, a cheaper and sometimes more appealing option.

“It’s difficult to buy houses in Israel, the prices are extremely high, in order to buy a house, you need to take a mortgage for at least 30 years, and if you don’t have the help of your parents, it’s practically impossible,” an Israeli citizen who is considering moving to the disputed areasm who did not give his name, said.

Many Israelis do not view the settlements as a problem.

“This is our country. We are not taking land that doesn’t belong to us. So we are building, we have to continue living,” an Israeli man who did not give his name said.

If the day comes that a two-state solution is reached, the man added that he would not cause trouble.

“I am a law-abiding citizen. If they tell me to evacuate I would. I would take government severance and be on my way,” he said.

On Dec. 17, Jordan submitted a draft resolution at the United Nations in the name of Palestinians, calling for Israel to withdraw from captured territories, based on 1967 lines, within three years.

Settlements and many other issues could be part of the peace negotiations. One option is for Israelis currently in disputed areas to live as Palestinians under the new state, just as Arab Israelis do in Israel. One challenge to that option is getting Palestinians to grant Israeli settlers special status under Israeli law.

There are some Israeli citizens who are strongly against new settlements.

“Every settlement is like going backward. Every settlement that we build is another country that doesn’t believe Israel is for a peace agreement,” said one Israeli citizen, who also did not give her name.