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Posts tagged ‘settlers’

Israeli settlements and Palestinians: Even the ‘moderates’ want segregation

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

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Israel ‘campaigns to change the status quo at al-Aqsa’

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

Truth and Lies

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

Chicago law professor praised right-wing Israeli settler group in West Bank lecture

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 all was ‘calm’: a typical month for Palestinians under Israeli occupation

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

One arrest will not alter Israel’s culture of impunity for violence

On the morning of March 19 this year, there were no television crews around to capture the moment when an Israeli soldier pulled the trigger and fatally wounded 14-year-old Yusef Al Shawamreh. There were no photographers on hand nor CCTV cameras rolling as Israeli forces, lying in ambush along the path of the apartheid wall, opened fire on children out to pick plants.

Killed while trying to reach his own family’s farmland, Yusef was shot without warning from a few dozen metres away. There was no “threat”, not even a demonstration: just three friends out to find gundelia, cut down by the soldiers of an occupying army. Read more

Beit Sahour: a new struggle

In the Palestinian town of Beit Sahour, famous for its civil disobedience campaign against the Israeli occupation in the 1980s, a new struggle is taking place.

Ush al Ghrab (’Crow’s Nest’) is a small piece of land being targeted by a group of Jewish settlers and their allies. The area had previously served as a military base, before being evacuated in 2006. Since then, local Palestinians and international NGOs have sought to make the most of the space, in a community whose natural expansion is prohibited by Israeli colonisation. In recent times, right-wing Jewish settlers have targeted the area as a site for a possible new settlement (’Shdema’). Read more

In the settlers’ sights

The flat top of the small hill is deserted, as we walk among the gutted concrete buildings. The graffiti on the wall declares that “the Jews will keep this land”. This is Ush Ghrab, a small piece of land in Beit Sahour, south of Jerusalem, and a target for religious settlers seeking yet another colony in the Bethlehem region.

I was walking around the site with my friend Saleem and his colleague Jason, who both work for Paidia, an NGO focused on educational play. Their work has been, and continues to be, primarily social, yet they are now forced to join other locals in defending the site from attempts at colonisation. Read more

Farming Palestine

In what is becoming somewhat of an annual tradition, recent weeks have seen dozens of stories in the international media about the difficulties facing Palestinians during the olive harvest season. Ever since the start of the Second Intifada in 2000, the West Bank olive harvest has been extensively covered by the press, with reporters accompanying Palestinian farmers and villagers out to the groves.

The olive harvest, as a proportion of the Palestinian economy, is not particularly big, but for many families and villages, it represents the prime, or even only, source of income. The olive tree is also invested with heavy symbolic value; rooted in the soil, ancient, it has come to represent Palestinian steadfastness in the face of concerted efforts to remove them from their land. Read more

Bureaucratic dispossession

On 20 August 2007, a story appeared in the Israeli daily Haaretz about the disputed ownership of a piece of land in East Jerusalem. The “land in question,” the report said, is “an olive grove called Kerem Hamufti” and part of the “Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.” [1] According to Haaretz, the “Israel Lands Administration (ILA) is working together with the Ateret Cohanim association to wrest from Palestinian landowners control of 30 dunams (7.5 acres) of land in East Jerusalem and to transfer it to the association without a tender.” Petitioning the High Court, the land’s owners, the Palestinian Arab Hotels Company, described the purpose of this expropriation as “extraneous, illegitimate, racist and discriminatory.” Read more