The recent Israeli security cabinet decision to approve construction permits for Palestinian homes in Area C of the occupied West Bank was somewhat of a rarity, “the first such decision since 2016”.
While the figure of 715 housing units in Palestinian towns sounds positive, thus far no details have been revealed – including for example, whether the plans relate to new construction or the retroactive legalisation of homes built without Israeli-issued permits.
In addition to this lack of clarity, these housing units are a drop in the ocean – according to Peace Now, “it is estimated that there are at least a thousand young Palestinian couples in need of housing in Area C each year”. Read more
When Israeli authorities last week approved plans for more than 2,000 settlement housing units in the occupied West Bank, the European Union was quick to condemn the move.
“All settlement activity is illegal under international law and it erodes the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace,” read the statement issued by the European External Action Service, the EU’s diplomatic service.
It went on: “The EU expects the Israeli authorities to fully meet their obligations as an occupying power under international humanitarian law and to cease the policy of settlement construction and expansion, of designating land for exclusive Israeli use, and of denying Palestinian development.” Read more
In recent years, a crackdown by Israeli authorities on human rights NGOs – particularly those focused on Palestinian rights – has caused considerable concern internationally, attracting attention in both the media and at the governmental level.
Yet, perhaps the most egregious case of Israel’s targeting of the humanitarian sector has been taking place over the last three years with almost zero coverage.
In June 2016, Israeli authorities arrested Mohammed Halabi at the Gaza Strip’s Erez crossing. Halabi, a father of five, was working as the Gaza director for the international humanitarian NGO World Vision, and was returning from a meeting in Jerusalem at the time of his arrest. Read more
A furore broke out in Israel this past weekend, after an interview with Education Minister Rafi Peretz was broadcast on Saturday night television.
Speaking to Channel 12, Peretz – a former army chief rabbi and now leader of the Union of Right-Wing Parties (URP) – was asked if he believes in so-called “conversion therapy” for gay people. Answering in the affirmative, Peretz responded: “I think you can,” adding: “I can tell you that I have a deep knowledge of education, and I have done it too.” Read more
The demolition of Palestinian-owned buildings by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem is a routine occurrence.
But in Sur Baher, a neighbourhood southeast of Jerusalem, an unprecedented mass demolition is looming – with the approval of Israel‘s top court. Read more
With just over two months to go before the second Israeli election this year, and with the latest polls predicting prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu will struggle to meet the 61 seats needed to form a governing coalition, former Israeli minister and current Yisrael Beiteinu party chair Avigdor Lieberman has emerged as the kingmaker. Last month the veteran politician expressed his desire for a unity government between Likud and the opposition Blue and White list. Mr Lieberman, whose refusal to form a coalition with Likud triggered the dissolution of the Knesset in May, told Israeli radio: “We will aim for a government with Likud and with [the Blue and White party] and that will be an emergency government, a national liberal government. We will do everything to limit the haredim [ultra-Orthodox] so that they won’t enter government.” Read more
This summer marks an important but often overlooked anniversary in the history of the Gaza Strip. Thirty years ago, in June 1989, Israel imposed for the first time a magnetic-card system to restrict the exit of Palestinian residents. Anyone denied a card would be prevented from leaving.
While Israel‘s blockade of Gaza is often seen to have originated in 2006-2007 as a response to Hamas’s rise to power, the isolation of the enclave in fact goes back three decades – and for many analysts, this historical perspective is essential for understanding today’s developments. Read more
Speculation over the White House’s “Middle East peace plan” continues to dominate media coverage of Israel and the Palestinians, the latest example coming with the announcement of a Bahrain-hosted “workshop” in June to encourage investment in the Palestinian economy.
With the exception of the Gaza Strip, however – and then only partially and selectively – minimal attention is being paid to developments on the ground in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the paradigm of military occupation alone is insufficient to understanding what is taking place – namely, ethnic cleansing. Read more
There will be no two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians. Repeated warnings, over decades, about its imminent demise have forestalled a more profound reckoning that must take place.
Over the past half-century, Israeli authorities have de facto annexed the West Bank, in addition to the de jure (and internationally unrecognised) annexation of East Jerusalem.
Facts on the ground are important, but the failure to establish a sovereign, viable Palestinian state in the occupied Palestinian territories is not primarily about the number of Israeli settlements. Read more