A report claiming a surge in land-grabbing Jewish settlements is a biased piece of "total misreporting" that ignores a critical fact: the new settlers reside in territory Palestinians are not contesting, lawyer and author Alan Dershowitz told Newsmax TV
"[Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu has been very, very clear about not allowing increased settlement activity in areas that will be part of a Palestinian state," Dershowitz, an ardent defender of Israel against international criticism, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner. "So, he's getting a bum rap."
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The author of "Terror Tunnels: The Case For Israel's Just War Against Hamas"
called the Associated Press report on settlements a product of "tremendous bias by the international media against Israel," which has faced condemnation for both settlements and its military response to Palestinian uprisings.
Dershowitz said current and former top Palestinian officials have told him "personally" that areas near Jerusalem where settlement growth is concentrated are understood to be Israel's in any peace deal for a Palestinian state.
"So, this is not inconsistent with the two-state solution, and it's just bad reporting on the part of the international media," said Dershowitz.
The Associated Press
, citing government figures, reported that since Netanyahu took office in 2009, the Jewish settler population in the occupied West Bank has grown at more than double the pace of Israel's overall populace, and has reached 356,000 since 1993 — the starting point of "an on-and-off-again peace process aimed at partition of the Holy Land."
"Settlement growth also was strong beyond Israel's separation barrier, seen by many as the basis for a border between Israel and a future Palestinian state," the AP reported, alluding to the Israeli-constructed protective wall in the West Bank.
Dershowitz said that a look at a map of new settlements proves "they're in areas that everybody acknowledges will remain a part of Israel."
"That is not inconsistent with a two-state solution," he said.
"Let me give you an example," he said. "There's an area called Ma'ale Adumim. It's a suburb of Jerusalem and there is a company there called SodaSteam that employs 600 Palestinians.
"Everybody knows that that area will remain part of Israel, but people complain about it and Soda Stream now has to close down and unemploy 600 Palestinians who wanted to be employed, because the media insists on failing to understand the distinction between settlements in areas that will become part of a Palestinian state and settlements in areas that will remain part of Israel.
"That's the story," said Dershowitz, "and that's the story the media is missing."
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