Noam Sheizaf, +972 Magazine 3/7/2014
Successive Israeli governments have argued for years that settlements are not an obstacle to peace. The data tells a different story.
Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics revealed earlier this week that 2013 was a record year in settlement construction, while 2014 has seen the beginning of construction of 2,534 housing projects - a rise of 123 percent from 2013.
Settlement construction took place all over the West Bank – in the so-called settlement blocs, which could be annexed to Israel in a two-state framework; in isolated settlements that are slated to be evacuated under such an agreement; on the western side of Israel’s separation barrier (which was built inside the West Bank, rather than on the internationally-recognized border), as well as on its eastern side.
Those numbers do not include, however, significant “unofficial” construction taking place in “illegal” outposts, or construction in annexed East Jerusalem, which is not measured separately by the CBS.
When last year’s figures were published in Israel, there was a considerable pushback from the right, which claimed that the rise in construction projects for Jews in the occupied territories was meant to compensate for an unofficial settlement freeze in 2012. However, the rise in construction last year is just as high when compared to 2011 or 2010. In fact, 2013's figure is the highest since the CBS started publishing this data in 2001.
Most of the construction (1,710 projects) is government-sponsored, a figure that says a lot the Netanyahu’s government’s effort at changing the reality on the ground. more.. e-mail The ultimate red line
Khaled Amayreh in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Al-Ahram Weekly 3/6/2014
Fresh Israeli provocations around Al-Aqsa Mosque threaten to explode an already tense situation while peace talks go nowhere.
Muslim authorities in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem have warned of dire consequences following recent Israeli measures aimed at imposing Israeli (Jewish) sovereignty at Haram Al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary) — the third holiest Muslim shrine — that houses the two main Muslim sanctuaries, Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.
The Israeli Knesset, or parliament, last week briefly discussed a proposal to that effect. However, the discussion was suspended following a “secret warning” from Israel’s chief domestic intelligence agency, the Shin Bet, that any tampering with the status-quo at the site, which Jews call “the Temple Mount”, would spark off a huge conflagration in the region.
Nonetheless, hard line lawmakers, many from the coalition government headed by Binyamin Netanyahu, vowed to “keep up the struggle going until the Temple Mount is liberated and placed fully under Israeli sovereignty”.
The Israeli army occupied East Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967 and ever since the area has been administered by the Jordanian Ministry of Awqaf (Endowments) and Islamic Affairs.
Last year, Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Jordanian King Abdullah II reached an agreement affirming Jordanian jurisdiction over Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem. The two leaders also agreed that Jordanian administration of Haram Al-Sharif would continue “as a trust” until the end of the Israeli occupation. more.. e-mail Raid boosts ’trigger happy’ Israel claims
Nicola Nasser, Asia Times 3/7/2014
In the West Bank town of Birzeit early on February 27, Israeli troops seemingly acted determinedly to vindicate an Amnesty International report released only hours before, entitled "Trigger-happy: Israel's use of excessive force in the West Bank".
Under the command of Colonel Yossi Pinto, a Nahal infantry force of the Binyamin Territorial Brigade including some 200 soldiers, dozens of jeeps, two military bulldozers and Shin Bet (internal security) officers amassed in the university town for an armed assault, Ha'aretz reported on March 3.
A former mayor of Birzeit told this reporter that he heard the Ha'aretz reporter on the scene, Amira Hass, asking "Is [late al-Qaeda founder Osama] bin Laden inside?"
Their mission, according to Israeli military spokespeople, was to arrest a "wanted individual" who, according to the Shin Bet internal security agency, as quoted by Hass, had intended to carry out an "aggressive operation" against Israeli targets. An Israeli army spokeswoman said the man was suspected of terror activity.
Israeli National News on the same day quoted "the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] Spokesman's unit" as saying that he was "a wanted man suspected of terror activity".
Hass wrote: "In the unofficial Israeli law code, unproved 'terrorist intentions' are enough to be punishable by death. In Hebrew, 'terror attack' is a magic phrase that exempts the Israelis from wondering why an arrest needs so many troops and fanfare, and has such a murderous end." more.. e-mail PHOTOS: Israeli women who have stood up to the occupation for 26 years
Keren Manor and Shiraz Grinbaum, Activestills.org, +972 Magazine 3/7/2014
In honor of International Women’s Day, Activestills pays tribute to more than a quarter century of anti-occupation activism by the ‘Women in Black’ group in Israel. Every Friday since 1988, the women have stood in the main squares of cities or at highway junctions with signs calling to end the Israeli occupation. Often spat at, cursed or violently harassed by passersby, they have become, for us, a symbol of persistence.
Dafna Kaminer: It was the time of the First Intifada, and we wanted to support the Palestinian struggle. So we decided that we would stand out there with signs calling to end the occupation. It was the simplest and most visual thing we could do.
Edna Glukman: In the beginning, the right-wing protesters started to attack us during the vigils. We sewed big black banners and with small white letters we wrote slogans against the occupation, as well as for justice, peace and women. By the time we began writing the word “women” on our banners, it was already starting to become a women’s movement.
Tamar Huffman: You could say we are handful of women with a lot of opinions; it is definitely a feminist group. If we had a man on the board, he would probably be the one making decisions.
Tamar Lehan: I didn’t join for feminist reasons, but rather for the persistent and clear statement of the group. However, I think that it is very logical that it is a women’s group, since women are accustomed to doing hard work for long periods of time without seeking immediate results.
Dafna Kaminer: In times of unrest, we expect more verbal and sometimes physical violence. People curse at us as if we were the ones responsible for the situation, and not Israel’s policy makers. When things are more calm, people just walk by and say nothing. Like we are transparent or nonexistent. more.. e-mail
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