American Jews in illegal Israeli settlements contradicts U.S. stance on them
Fifteen percent of Jewish settlers are American Jews who migrated to Israel in big numbers in the 1960’s and 1970’s even though the U.S. State Department’s official position is that under international law, Israeli settlements are illegal.
These settlements are Israeli communities built on confiscated lands. They violate international humanitarian law, and currently there are approximately 400,000 settlers.
Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states forcible transfers from occupied territory to the territory of the occupying power are prohibited regardless of their motive. It is believed by many that the core issue of the conflict is the continuous building of settlements, because these instances of stealing Palestinian land may be the Nakba or Catastrophe for present day Palestinians all over again.
The American Jewish population is not only over-represented in the settlement population, but they are also over-represented in the American-immigrant population. When Michael Merryman-Lotze, the American Friends Service Committee’s Palestine-Israel Program Director was asked about the settler demographics his response was very forthcoming,
“Nearly all Americans who move to Israel move because of their support for Zionist ideologies and not for economic or other reasons,” Merryman-Lotze told Palestine in America.
American Jews migrate to Israel not for lack of a comfortable life in America, but to exhibit their loyalty to Israel. Most of the American Jewish settlers are very orthodox and support very right-wing Zionist ideologies.
Mike’s concern though is not necessarily in the demographics of the situation, his concern lies with America’s ties to Israel.
“What is more important is the linked issue of overall support for the settlement enterprise that comes from U.S. sources,” he said. “While US policy officially opposes Israeli settlement policy, huge sums of money used to support settlement construction continue to flow to Israel from the US.”
The irony is that the U.S. State Department condemns the expansion of Israeli settlements. Last July it was “deeply concerned” about an Israeli government decision to build 300 new homes in a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank and hundreds of homes in East Jerusalem.