THE settlement of Beit El . . . sits on a lonely hilltop deep inside the West Bank, between the river Jordan and the Green Line that divided Israel from its Arab foes after a ceasefire in 1949. Built on private land seized by the Israeli army in the name of security in 1970 but soon made available for settlement by Israeli civilians, it has grown into a community of 6,500 people, including 350 students at its yeshiva (Jewish religious academy). What is left of an old perimeter fence stands rusting; a new one, drawn much wider, surrounds a larger and still growing Beit El. . . .
Donald Trump has called peace between Israel and Palestine the “ultimate deal”. He has asked his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to work on it. But as Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, prepares to fly to Washington to meet the president on February 15th, peace seems farther off than ever. Since Mr Trump’s inauguration, Mr Netanyahu’s government has approved 6,000 new homes in existing settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. On February 6th, the Knesset passed a law legalising in some cases settlers’ homes illegally built on private Palestinian property. . .
Mr Trump, so the builders reckon, looks unlikely to put much pressure on Israel to hold back. Indeed, he gave $10,000 to Beit El in 2003. His proposed new ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, is president of the American Friends of Beit El Yeshiva association. Israel’s settlers could not wish for a more sympathetic envoy, or a more sympathetic president. The occupation of the West Bank is 50 years old in June, and shows no sign of ending. . .
Many are beginning to see the two state solution as a fantasy which ignores Israels grabbing Palestinian land, and the refusal of Netanyahu to get seious about it. Israeli settlers/builders will slowly continue to gobble of Palestinian land. When Israeli's are a majority in the occupied territory they may permit a 2nd state to be created. However, it will not be a true two state solution. They may also decide to annex the occupied territory.