The Israeli settlement of Yitzhar, long a byword for nationalist extremism and anti-Palestinian violence, was in the news again on Monday, after residents erected a sign outside the settlement stating: “This road leads to the community of Yitzhar – Entry for Arabs is dangerous.”
As explained by Haaretz, the background to the stunt was an incident two weeks ago, when “an Arab medical worker who was sent to conduct a Covid-19 test was refused entry to Yitzhar”, reportedly on the basis that “he was an Arab”.
In response, the senior Israeli commander for the region “made it clear to the residents of Yitzhar that they must allow the entry of Arabs”, prompting the erection of the road sign in “protest”. Pictures of the sign were quickly shared on Twitter, prompting widespread outrage and opposition.
A new report in the Israeli publication Haaretz has shed fresh light on Israel’s intensifying demolition campaign in Palestinian communities, leading to a stark conclusion: Israel is conducting a war against the very existence of Palestinians in Area C, 60 percent of the occupied West Bank.
Meetings were held by the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee in late July and mid-August, and the subject was “the Palestinian takeover of Area C”.
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
On 13 December, shortly after two Israeli soldiers had been shot dead outside an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, Yaakov Katz, editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post tweeted the following: “They celebrate death and we celebrate life. That is the core of this conflict.”
Katz’s tweet encapsulated the dehumanisation of Palestinians, and utter denial about the reality of occupation and colonialism, that is unfortunately all too common amongst Jewish Israelis. Read more
On September 16, Khalil Jabarin – a 17-year-old Palestinian from Yatta in the southern West Bank – left his family home and headed north, to the Israeli settler-managed Gush Etzion Junction. There, the teenager fatally stabbed American-Israeli Ari Fuld, before being shot and arrested.
Following the killing of Fuld, a well-known far-right activist who lived in the nearby Efrat settlement, some Israelis vociferously objected to the reporting of his death, and in particular, to Fuld being described in various international news reports – quite accurately – as a settler. Read more
The settlers of the Amona outpost are but a tiny fraction of the hundreds of thousands who live in colonies, established by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory since 1967. Their fate has seen Benjamin Netanyahu challenged by the pro-settler right both inside and outside his coalition government.
For some, the fact that the court-mandated removal of settlers living on privately owned Palestinian land is taking place at all proves that Israel is not, in fact, being led by the “settler lobby”.
For others, the fact that such a protest, and contrived “compromise”, can be generated over one outpost suggests that a large-scale settler withdrawal is perhaps impossible. Read more
After a summer of simmering tensions at al-Aqsa Mosque compound, a familiar flash point in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem could boil over once again, analysts warn.
“Through their unilateral attempts to change the internationally recognised status quo, the nationalist-religious Temple Mount activists and the Israeli government that supports them pose several dangers at the local, regional and international levels,” Nur Arafeh, a policy fellow with Al-Shabaka: the Palestinian policy network, told Al Jazeera. Read more
Ever since the the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip began in 1967, successive Israeli governments have taken advantage of every opportunity at hand to increase the settlers’ population in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).
The illegality of Israel’s settlements has been affirmed by the United Nations Security Council, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, settlement policy is a war crime.
Aside from being a grave breach of international law—and, as Amnesty International has put it: “inherently discriminatory”—the settlements are also a substantial obstacle to the establishment of a viable, sovereign Palestinian State in the OPT. Read more
A law professor at Chicago’s Northwestern University gave a lecture as the guest of a right-wing Israeli organisation whose head supports the “transfer” of Palestinians, it has emerged.
Eugene Kontorovich, described on his faculty website as an expert in international law, is a public apologist for Israel’s illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). In a recent op-ed for The New York Times, he attacked the European Union’s guidelines for the labelling of settlement produce. Read more
When US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in the Middle East last week, for meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the senior diplomat had one clear stated goal: to restore ‘calm’ after several weeks of violence.
Speaking last Thursday, Kerry stressed the need to “defuse the situation”, and spoke of the need for “parties…to move to a de-escalation.” Other recent diplomatic efforts, and media reports, have used a similar kind of language. Read more