I translated this from Protestations contre Israël, qui veut s'approprier des terres en Cisjordanie, published in Le Monde today. This a test of how good my French is after 230 days of study--I'm not expressing a political opinion with this.
Protests Against Israel, Which Wants To Appropriate Land In The West Bank
On Monday, September 1, the United states called on Israel to annul its decision to appropriate 400 Ha (1000 acres) of land in the West Bank, in Gva’ot, in the Bethlehem area. This announcement, less than one week after the cease-fire between Hamas and the Israeli government, is perceived as a provocation.
The area is extra sensitive, because it was there that three young Israeli youths were abducted and killed in June—one of the precipitating events of the war between Hamas and the Israeli army in the Gaza strip. Israel has attributed their abduction and murder to the Islamic organization [Hamas], which denies initiating those acts.
The Egyptian minister of foreign affairs has denounced a decision that “contravenes international law and will have a negative impact on the peace process.”
“This announcement . . . is counter-productive to the fixed objective that Israel reach a solution negotiated two-state solution with the Palestinians. We demand the Israeli government annul this decision,” declared the United States Department of State.
It will “only make the situation even worse,” deplored Nabil Abou Roudeina, spokesperson for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, reasserting that the international community would consider colonies in occupied territory illegal. These “crimes would wipe out all prospect of a two-state [Israeli and Palestinian] solution,” the Palestinian negotiator Saëb Erakat also said.
“Collective Punishment Inflicted on Israelis”
Amnesty International has called on Israel to “stop, once and for all, confiscating property in the West Bank.” For Amnesty, this announcement represents “the biggest land grab in the occupied territories since 1980.”
Under Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, since 2009, the number of residences and houses constructed in the West Bank has gone from 1,500 and 1,800 in previous years to 2,000 and 2,500, the anti-colonization organization La Paix maintains. Moreover, the movement has moved eastwards and into the interior of the West Bank, according to Hagit Ofran, an official of the Israeli organization [La Paix]. This decision is a “collective punishment inflected on Israelis that takes us even further away from the perspective of peace between two states for two people,” she said.
A “New City”
The council of colonies of Gush Etzion, a bloc of colonists located in a zone entirely under Israeli control, and where the coveted territory is located, greeted the birth of a “new city.” Gush Etzion belongs to those territories that the Israelis definitely intend to keep in the event of any settlement with the Palestinians. About 60,000 people live there now, according to La Paix, but only 10 to 15 families in Gva’ot.
In all, 350,000 colonists live in the West Bank, and around 200,000 in East Jerusalem, according to the NGO [La Paix]. The pursuit of colonization—construction of civilian residences in the territories occupied or annexed by Israel since 1967—is largely considered a major hindrance to to the efforts rolled out over the decades to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
I've been reading bits and pieces from Le Monde for many weeks now, but I this is the first article I've done in its entirety. Since I know the material already, I could guess at the meanings of lots of words without having to look them up, but I made a point of using the dictionary anyway--just to be sure. Even so, I only needed to look up about ten words out of the 500, which puts me right on the threshold of being able to read without a dictionary. That's excellent progress for only 34 weeks of study, at least by the standards I'm used to. I think it speaks very strongly to the benefits of using modern technology to support language learning.