Facts on the ground

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Facts on the ground is a diplomatic term that means the situation in reality as opposed to in the abstract.[citation needed] It originated in discussions of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, where it was used to refer to Israeli settlements built in the occupied West Bank, which were intended to establish permanent Israeli footholds in Palestinian territory.[1] It is a literal translation of the Hebrew term "Uvdot Ba'Shetach" (עובדות בשטח) which is frequently used in Israeli political debates and discussions. The map project by Americans for Peace Now which tracks the Israeli settlements is called "Facts on the Ground".[2]

Writing in 2010, Rashid Khalidi notes: "One reason Israel continues to build settlements is that, according to the so-called Clinton parameters laid down in 2000, a final Israeli-Palestinian agreement would grant sovereignty over Jewish-occupied areas to Israel, and Palestinian-inhabited areas to the new Palestinian state. Indeed, well over a decade of failed negotiations have only led to an acceleration of Israel’s land grab in the Holy City. Israeli planners have spent this time pushing settlers into heavily Arab-inhabited areas of the city, such as Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, and Abu Dis, in order to create fresh “facts on the ground” -- a tactic used by the Zionist movement for over a century in order to obtain control over more and more of Palestine."[3]

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Further reading[edit]

Gershom Gorenberg, The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977, Macmillan, 2006