To the Editors: On Settlements
by Steven Feuerstein

Sent to the Chicago Tribune on May 24, 2020 in response to an article entitled "Jewish Settlers Eye 'Natural' Growth," which included a map of the settlements.

Dear Chicago Tribune:

Your May 24 article on Jewish settlers in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem offered much-needed information about the "inner workings" of Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands.  The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is not based on religion; it is fundamentally about land and control over the resources (most importantly water) within that land.  Your inclusion of a map showing the locations and number of Jewish settlements helps us understand better why it is that Palestinians seem so angry at Israel.

The Oslo peace process was based on a simple principle: "land for peace".  It doesn't take an advanced degree in Middle East history to look at a map of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem and see that for the last 7 years, Israel has been grabbing land at an alarming pace (faster even than before this peace process started) and populating it with settlers.  At the same time, Israel uses its military strength to drastically curtail Palestinian construction and use of their own land.

The way out of the deepening cycle of violence is made abundantly clear by maps and facts: Israel must end its occupation, close its illegal settlements and end the siege of Palestinian towns.

Steven Feuerstein