This claim was originally published by Reuters in July and as we noted at the time, it is false. The B'Tselem study acknowledges that Jewish communities reside upon only 1 percent of land in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank"). There was an allegation made that due to the classification of territory in the West Bank as state land, 42 percent of it is controlled by Jewish councils. But even this claim has been rejected by the Chairman of the Council of Jewish Communities who puts the figure at 9 percent.The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem says settler activity covers 42 percent of the area [Judea and Samaria].
Heller and Fisher-Ilan continue:
While this is accurate, it is willfully selective. There is no mention of the fact for example, that Jews had lived in Judea and Samaria for over three thousand years before being ethnically cleansed by the Jordanian-controlled Arab Legion following the 1948 war with Israel. Following liberation in the Six-Day War of 1967, Jews have now returned to the area under the rights granted them by the UN-adopted Mandate for Palestine.Many settlers living in enclaves nearest to the cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem have cited cheaper housing costs as a motive. Others see themselves as pioneers exercising a biblical right of Jews to lands they call Judea and Samaria.
And finally, note the propagandistic title of the current "Factbox":
Israeli settlements are the first hurdle. Not any of the items we cited last Thursday:Israeli settlements are first hurdle to peace talks
For Heller and Fisher-Ilan, these Palestinian positions and provocations are apparently greasing the skids.- Four Israelis, including a pregnant woman, murdered in a Palestinian terrorist attack 3 weeks ago;
- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas asserting that he will not make a single concession in negotiations with Israel;
- Palestinian television labeling Jewish worship at the Western Wall "sin and filth";
- The Palestinian Authority affirming the death penalty for any Palestinian selling land to a Jew.
- Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad rejecting the concept of "two states for two peoples".