While it is unclear whether this figure represents a distinct rise or fall in the number of American Jews living in the occupied West Bank, the number of West Bank settlers has risen from 110,000 to around 400,000 since the Oslo Peace Accords were signed in 1993, a 264% increase.
New research has revealed that 15 percent of the total Jewish settler population in the occupied West Bank are American nationals.
In a presentation to promote a forthcoming book, Oxford University scholar Sara Yael Hirschhorn revealed that approximately 60,000 Americans Jews live in Jewish outposts out of a total population of approximately 400,000 settlers in occupied territory, excluding East Jerusalem. The figure for the number of American nationals living in the West Bank was previously unknown.
“This provides hard evidence that this constituency is strikingly over-represented, both within the settler population itself and within the total population of Jewish American immigrants in Israel,” she said at the Limmud conference in Jerusalem, reported Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz.
While it is unclear whether this figure represents a distinct rise or fall in the number of American Jews living in the occupied West Bank, due to a lack of statistics, the number of West Bank settlers has risen from 110,000 to around 400,000 since the Oslo Peace Accords were signed in 1993, a 264% increase.
Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now said that the new figures revealed that the settlement enterprise in the West Bank was not only an internal issue but “an international problem.”
“Unfortunately, while the Obama administration has been persistently vocal against settlement developments, some 60,000 American citizens are taking an active part in an attempt to make the two state solution impossible,” says Anat Ben Nun, Peace Now’s director of development and external relations.
“With no possibility for real bilateral negotiations in sight, the American administration must be actively involved in promoting a solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict through the international arena,” she adds.
A section of American Christians, both conservative and fundamentalist, hold close links to Israel’s settlement enterprise, with a number of American Christian charities shown to bebank-rolling the expansion of West Bank settlements. Right-wing Christians in America and Israeli settlers have similar interpretations of biblical history—in 2006, the evangelical Rev. John Hagee of San Antonio said that American Christian support for Israel was “God’s foreign policy.”