When Hamas terrorists killed four Israelis in the West Bank in August, the condemnations came from across the Israeli political spectrum. That the dead--one of whom was pregnant--lived in a settlement made the act no less reprehensible, even to those of us who oppose the settlements.
November 2010 Archives
Homes in the area were under Jewish ownership until 1947, and during the two decades of Jordanian rule of the city, they functioned as a wholesale market.
by Chaim Levinson
Settlers have moved into two Lowell-owned (a shell company set up on behalf of right-wing groups such as Elad) apartments in East Jerusalem this week, in what appears to be coincidence, though incident a day before led to clashes between Israelis and Palestinians.
See excerpts from and links to:
Ha'aretz: "Israeli settlers win ownership of East Jerusalem home after lengthy battle"
YNET: "Jews move into another east Jerusalem home"
AFP: "Israeli settlers expand presence in east Jerusalem"
(Pictured: 2nd floor settler apartment, above and below Palestinian, in the heart of Arab East Jerusalem's Jabel Mukaber)
"The only reason it was passed was to put more barriers in front of any potential peace agreement. It was tailored to political considerations and not to constitutional ideas and ideals. This is not how constitutional work is done," Sfard said. (Michael Sfard is the attorney who would represent Peace Now)
The Obama administration has offered Israel a substantial package of incentives in exchange (it hopes) for the re-imposition of a (partial) settlement moratorium for 90 days that will (it hopes) permit the re-starting of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that, in turn (it hopes), will produce sufficient progress to allow negotiations to continue even after a moratorium lapses. (continues)
The Obama administration has offered Israel a substantial package of incentives in exchange (it hopes) for the re-imposition of a (partial) settlement moratorium for 90 days that will (it hopes) permit the re-starting of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that, in turn (it hopes), will produce sufficient progress to allow negotiations to continue even after a moratorium lapses.
As everyone knows, there is enormous skepticism and concern about this strategy coming from across the political spectrum (here, here, here, http://www.thenational.ae/the-national-conversation/comment/obama-sets-the-oslo-clock-ticking-with-his-latest-offer?pageCount=0 (link has expired), here, here, and here). There is also growing discussion of what "Plan B" should be if/when this gambit fails (here, here, and here). And there are fears that the groundwork is being laid in some quarters to put the responsibility for the anticipated failure of this effort entirely on the Palestinians (see this tweet from AIPAC).
All are eminently rational reactions. The pitfalls of this current plan are myriad. And the Obama administration's Middle East peace record thus far -- two years of well-intentioned but ineffectual cajoling of the parties with no result -- does not inspire confidence. But if that is all we have to say, then those of us who are committed to peace and security for Israel are falling down on the job.
When we at Americans for Peace Now discuss the necessity of the two-state solution for the future of a Jewish and democratic Israel, we typically do so in geopolitical and security terms. We talk about the occupation as a terrible liability that damages Israel's democratic character, its international standing, and, obviously, its ability to live in peace and security with its neighbors.But the impassioned case that we make for peace for Israel stems from our caring about the future of the Jewish national home and its adherence to Jewish values.
There is something odd about the argument over an "additional freeze" and the price that Israel is supposed to pay for it. It is odd because a complete cessation of the settlement enterprise is an Israeli interest. Unless, that is, we insist on striding towards the vision of Moshe Arens, Ruby Rivlin, Ilan Pappe, Tzippi Hotovely, the activists in the Zochrot non-profit organization and many others, from Left and Right, who act in word and deed, with opposed interests, to promote the achievement of their vision of one large state.
By Tony Karon
Netanyahu still has to convince his Cabinet to embrace the deal, and he'll get some pushback from within his party and among settlers who will be furious about a new building slowdown (although the Israeli group Peace Now, which strongly opposes settlements, noted last week that in the six weeks since the last moratorium expired, settlers have started to work on pretty much the same number of housing units as they would have built in the 10 months it covered).
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"People must be able to talk about Israel in an open, safe environment. It is extremely upsetting that Sunday's JVP event was disrupted by a violent incident that involved pepper spray," DeLee said.
Read the full report here.
(Peace Now's) New report suggests that '1,126 foundations have been laid in 45 days, compared to 1,888 for all of '09'; data relies on aerial footage.
Also included are excerpts and link to:
AFP: "Settlers started 1650 new homes since freeze end, says Peace Now"
and the entire: Ma'ariv: "Accelerated Construction "Erased" the Freeze"
Israel was on Sunday examining a package of US incentives in exchange for a fresh ban on West Bank construction as a Peace Now report showed settlers have been building at a furious pace.
AFP: "Israel eyes West Bank freeze as settlers race to build"
Toronto Star: "Efforts heat up for Israeli settlement freeze"
AP: "Plan for Mideast talks bets on quick border deal"
LA Times: "Netanyahu lobbies his Cabinet on U.S. peace talk incentives"Washington Post: "Israeli Cabinet to consider US settlement proposal"
Guardian: "Israel's cabinet split over fresh building freeze despite US offer of military aid"
Here is how the Israeli Daily http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/spages/1198208.html (link has expired) Haaretz saw the meeting:
Peace Now's brilliant Hagit Ofran breaks the news today that on 10/31/10 the government of Israel took the final step in approving the extremely controversial plan for the new Mughrabi Gate ramp (Town Planning Scheme 12472). That step consisted of the publication of the plan in Haaretz (Hebrew print edition - a pdf view of the publication posted by Hagit can be seen/downloaded here.)
In the absence of further legal action (the prospects of which are slim to none, as are the chances of a temporary injunction) this step constitutes final approval. This means that a building permit can be issued, and construction can thereafter commence, as early as 15 days from this publication.
In the past week, Israel moved forward on several large-scale settlement schemes, including a plan that would dramatically increase the foothold of one settlement in East Jerusalem. After months of refraining from these types of actions in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is opening up the floodgates.
Ma'ariv, November 9, 2010
by Yariv Oppenheimer
An old man rescued the lost honor of Israel's democracy, of Judaism and of the entire country this week. Despite protests, Halachic decisions and threats to burn down his house, 89-year-old Eliyahu Tzvieli, a resident of Safed, decided to rent out his apartment to two Arab students and thus to come out with his head held high against the racism and hatred of minorities that is permeating Israeli society.
On Thursday of last week new tenders were for the construction of an additional 238 residential units in Pisgat Zeev and Ramot.
Social media is the new currency of political activism. And which Jewish group has the most in the bank?
But those of us who care about Israel and about peace can't afford take our eyes off the ball in the Middle East.
That is why I need your help. Together, we need to raise our voices to demand that the new Congress stop using peace for Israel as a political football.
Debra DeLee and Lara Friedman conducted the briefing. Debra is President and CEO of APN and the former Chair of the Democratic National Committee. Lara is Director of Policy and Government Relations at APN.
Three recent news items illuminate how the battle for East Jerusalem is heating up.
Today we are all still digesting the results of yesterday's mid-term elections. Elections that for most of us, as individual voters, were not only, or even primarily, about Israel, but about a range of domestic issues dear to our hearts. Many of us are dismayed at what these elections may mean for these issues and for the future of our families and our country.
But even as we try to come to terms with what will be the likely impact of these elections, we can't take our eyes off the ball in the Middle East.