OneJerusalem.com

a different side of Israel

Tag: settlements

They Shoot, We Build

EMG, the East Mediterranean Gas Company is restarting its gas supply, after it was severed on February 5th, after a terror attack on a pipeline between Suez and El Arish, shortly after the onset of the mutiny in Egypt. This move will renew the natural gas flow to Israel.

Bedouin opposition groups have been staging protests against resuming the flow and the cooperation of Egyptian officials with the Jordanian government to raise the prices. At the cost of $460 million, EMG built the pipeline from the Sinai to Ashkelon in 2008.

Meanwhile, Lebanese demonstrators gathered in Beirut’s Martyrs Square on Sunday to protest the Iranian-led Hezbollah, who has taken over that feeble nation. Apropos, the building of a Palestinian State may be hurried along this way: a “Tahrir Square” in the West Bank, or, or, or, The Gaza Strip. However, the Palestinian people are not seemingly capable of such a high-level of organization and order.

Amidst the push for Democracy in Lebanon and the nebulous nature of Egypt, if there is one person doing justice to democracy in the Middle East it is no other than Israel Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu.

While reactionary Jewish “price-taggers” are playing vigilante by stoning and igniting Palestinian vehicles, Bibi has the right idea. “Hem Yorim – Anachnu Bonim: They shoot, we build.” He is responding to the murder of the Fogel family by building. 500 new homes are going up in Ma’ale Adumim, Ariel, Kiryat Sefer and Gush Etzion.

United Nations special coordinator, Robert Serry, complained about the decision:

“It is not conducive to efforts to renew negotiations and achieve a negotiated Israeli-Palestinian peace.”

Dear Mr. Netanyahu and Barak, Time to Replace West Bank Checkposts

The five members of the Israeli family murdered at Itamar, 1:00 a.m. Shabbat morning were Udi Fogel, 38; Ruth Fogel, 35; Yoav 11; Elad, 3; and Hadas, four-months old. They are survived by Roi, 8; Yishai, 2; and sister Tamar, 12, who discovered her family, butchered, when arriving home late that night. Security officials in the settlement did not know of the incident until three hours after it happened.

The family moved to Itamar in the “West Bank,” after Jewish communities were forcibly evicted from the Gaza Strip in 2007; part of the Sharon government’s disengagement.

Hamas networks have been regrouping in Judea and Samaria for the purpose of attacking and kidnapping Israelis on either side of the Green Line. Several Palestinians were detained recently at the few remaining “West Bank” checkposts with pipe bombs, knives and fire bombs.

Leading up to last fall’s failed peace talks, U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had pressured Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak to grant West Bank Palestinians nearly unrestricted freedom of movement and generous aid for their economic development.

Last September, on the eve of peace negotiations in Washington, a loan Palestinian gunman fired at a vehicle traveling on Route 60 near the entrance to Kiryatr Arba. The victims were Yitzhak Ames, 47, and his wife Tali Ames, 45; Kochava Even-Haim, 37, and Avishai Schindler, 24. The ames had six children, including a toddler of one-and-a-half years.

Hamas was responsible for that attack. Hamas hailed the murder of the Fogel family, whose throats were slashed, as “a heroic operation.” The attack was the initial result of an Iran-funded secret conference in Khartoum last week of the heads of the national branches of the Muslim Brotherhood.

According to one source:

“Iranian intelligence officers attending the conference used the occasion to set up direct contacts with Brotherhood leaders who came from Egypt, Iraq, Tunisia, Syria, Jordan, Great Britain. The Palestinian delegation representing Hamas-Gaza was headed by Mahmoud A-Zahar and Hamas-Damascus headed by Khaled Meshaal.”

Both PA Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, and Abu Mazen condemned the action. However, Netanyahu accuses them of “hypocritically mouthing peace slogans abroad while promoting anti-Israel incitation and propaganda on a daily basis in Palestinian schools and mosques.”

Netanyahu said in a statement:

“I noticed that some of the states that rushed to the Security Council to condemn Israel, the Jewish State, for planning to build a home somewhere, are slow in issuing a harsh condemnation over the murder of Jewish babies…There’ is no justification whatsoever, no excuse and no forgiveness for the murder of babies.”

Officials of the Prime Minister’s Office are pondering the option of releasing grotesque photographs of the terror attack aftermath in Itamar to the foreign media. Photographs are not usually published in Israel following terror attacks. Should such protocol be overturned, Israel’s Government Press Office will hand over the photographs to global media outlets.

Germany Deems Settlements the Cause of Middle East Turmoil

Along with 13 other members of the United Nations Security Council – that is everyone, discounting U.S. president Obama – Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany voted in favor of a resolution deeming Jewish settlements outside of pre-1967 borders, illegal.

Germany historically has voted ‘nay’ or abstained from voting in any laws criticizing the Jewish State. Chairman of the German Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Ruprecht Polenz, told the New York Times’ Judy Dempsey:

“the vote was highly unusual…It means that Chancellor Angela Merkel is trying to explain to the Israeli government that with the extraordinary changes taking place across the Middle East, time is not on its side when it comes to resolving the conflict with the Palestinians…”

Merkel’s calling Jewish settlements the true flashpoint of the conflict is a misnomer. The source of the conflict really goes back to the beginning of the 20th century; and some would argue it is really a metaphysical phenomenon, one that Germany knows better than anyone else in the world.

When Netanyahu caught wind of Merkel’s change of heart he furiously phoned the Chancellor to make clear his grievance. The conversation leaked to Haaretz:

Merkel replied to Bibbi’s complaint:

“How dare you?”

“You are the one who has disappointed us. You haven’t made a single step to advance peace.”

Last year, the German Parliament unanimously passed a resolution criticizing the blockade of Gaza and Israel’s storming of the Mavi Marmara.

Israeli and German relations are now the rockiest they have been in some 63 years.

Cast Down Your Buckets

Those who point fingers at Jewish Settlers and cry, “Colonialists, go back where you belong!” should kick rocks. They are in desperate need of a history lesson, if they are not hopelessly anti-Semitic.

What makes the Israeli “occupation” of the “West Bank” comparison with South African Apartheid false is the fact that the true colonizers of the Holy Land were the British, beginning with their defeat of the Ottoman Empire in 1918. When the Jews were partitioned the land in 1947 – all actual colonizing stopped. Lands acquired after 1967 are no different.

Besides for what is written in the Old Testament – that the Jews were divinely awarded all the land stretching to the Jordan River – archeology can attest to the fact that the majority of the land’s population belonged indeed to Jews, until the Europeans came and destroyed it.

The tomb of Rachel is in Bethlehem, a stone’s throw from Jerusalem. The tomb of Joseph (partially destroyed in 2000 by Palestinians) is in Shechem, near Nablus. And Hebron is famously the resting place of the patriarchs, Abraham, Sarah, Issac, Rebekah, Jacob and Leah.

The irony is that the Israeli government cannot get the majority of Palestinians to recognize the Jewishness of the country (something Abbas claims actually happened during the 1993 Oslo Accords). The victory of truth would have Palestinians recognizing the right of the Jewish people to the land of the Palestinian Authority.

On May 8, 2007, Hebrew University Professor Ehud Netzer reported that he had discovered the tomb of Herod the Great, the once-king of Judea (the southernmost division of Judea), above tunnels and water pools at a flattened site halfway up the hill to the ancient town of Herodium, 7.5 miles inside the “West Bank.”

Further excavations from 2009-2010 uncovered near the tomb base a small 450-seat capacity theater with an elaborately decorated royal theater box; excavations of which are currently being continued, under the decried “Jewish Occupation.” Herod’s royal box once loomed over the “nosebleed” seats at the circa-15 B.C. private amphitheater.

“In order to attract people, there were gardens and waterworks, and the place became famous,”

Said Ehud Netzer, a professor emeritus of archeology at the Hebrew University.

“The theater indicates that the experiment worked: there was lots of life there. Hundreds, if not thousands, of guests would visit the place and there was justification to provide them with entertainment.”

Indeed Jewish life was once rich in the “West Bank.” And Arab history has never seen the likes of the annexations and genocide which caused the Jews’ expulsion between two-thousand and one-thousand years ago.

Shortly before the King’s death in 4 B.C – less than ten years after its construction,

“The theater and other structures were dismantled, so that the mountain would have a clean cone shape to host his grave,”

Said Netzer, The mausoleum stood out but all the other structures were demolished.

“The moment a decision was made to dismantle the theater, it was used as housing by site managers and laborers responsible for the reconstruction work…They scrawled graffiti on the walls while they stayed there, mostly in Greek and Aramaic.”

The true magic of the excavations is the artwork on the walls of the amphitheatre.

“Our art history expert said, ‘Hang on, this is something very familiar from Italy,'”

In terms of both style and method, exclaimed Netzer.

“The technique used here was not particularly accepted in this region; it was secco rather than fresco”

That means painted on dry plaster instead of moist.
The pictures are not only Roman style but Roman made. “It was a one-time mission,” perhaps executed in advance of the visit of Roman leader, Marcus Agrippa to Judea, he said.

“The artists came, they painted, and they returned to Italy.”

Also, a synagogue dating to before the year-70 A.D., one of the oldest in the Jewish Country, found at Herodium is of the “Galilean-type,” and features stone benches built along the walls and aisles formed by columns that supported the roof.

In August, a group of Israeli and then eventually Hollywood performers – actors, writers and producers – declared that they would not perform at a brand new theatre of the Cultural Center in Ariel, near the University Center.

The boycott was the brain-child of one Palestinian-rights activist, Harriet Sherwood:

“More than 60 have joined the protest over plans by Israel‘s national theatre, the Habima, and other leading companies to stage performances in Ariel, a settlement 12 miles inside the West Bank…

…Ariel, home to almost 20,000 people, was founded in 1978 deep in the West Bank. Israel wants it to remain on its side of any border resulting from peace negotiations with the Palestinians. All settlements on occupied territory are illegal under international law.”

Prime-Minister Netanyahu complained:

“The State of Israel is under an attack of delegitimization by elements in the international community. This attack includes attempts to enact economic, academic and cultural boycotts. The last thing we need at this time is to be under such an attack – I mean this attempt at a boycott – from within.”

“I do not want to deny the right of any person, of any artist, to hold to a political opinion. He or she can express this opinion, but we, as a government, do not need to fund boycotts. We do not have to support boycotts directed at Israeli citizens in any manner whatsoever.

“I was pleased to hear Culture Minister Limor Livnat announce that the theaters concerned have stated that they would continue to hold their performances in the various communities as planned.”

He continued,

“This is the correct approach, as opposed to the incorrect approach of pushing or trying to promote boycotts against Israeli citizens.”

As it happens, European, Israeli and American activists have a habit of putting the muzzle on those for whom they are protesting. The following is from Ynet:

Some 11,500 students, among them 500 Arab and Druze Israelis, began the academic year Sunday at the Ariel University Center of Samaria, which is located in the West Bank, beyond the Green Line.

“I scored high on my psychometric exam and could have enrolled in Tel Aviv University and other institutions, but here the enrollment process was quicker. This was the first place that accepted me, so I decided to go for it,”

Said 20-year-old Tayibe resident Manar Diuani, who is studying computer science….

Joana Moussa, a 20-year-old behavioral sciences student from Abu Snan, an Arab village in the Galilee region, said politics does play a role.

“All of the students in Ariel fear the day will come when they’ll be told their diploma cannot be recognized because they studied in the territories. But as of today, our diploma is recognized everywhere.

“I am very pleased because the professors give us personal attention and there is no racism here. Perhaps in other places people would have commented on my name or ethnicity, but here I’m accepted for who I am,” She said.

Netanyahu Does Washington

Bibi Netanyahu and Barack ObamaBibi and Obama met in the White House’s Oval Office on Tuesday for about an hour and a half. Slightly before the meeting took off, reports surfaced of another controversial construction project approved in east Jerusalem, this time in Sheikh Jarrah. Netanyahu entered the meeting without being aware of the new building permit – or so he said.

U.S. State Department spokesman, P.J. Crowley, told The Associated Press that the two countries were engaged in “give and take.” He said, “We are not going to talk about the precise steps both sides have to take. We will continue to discuss those steps privately.”

Meanwhile, Haaretz in English published a poll which showed that Israelis support US President Barack Obama. Well, such results contradict all other polls. At about the same time, the Jerusalem Post published the results of two other polls, which showed that roughly 75% of Israelis feel that Obama’s reaction to the building in Jerusalem was disproportionate and over 60% felt that it harmed the peace process.

The cause of the poll discrepancy is explained in a Jerusalem Post article by Gill Hoffman. The poll was conducted by Israeli pollster Camie Fuchs. A response choice in one survey question was to describe Obama as “inyani.” A word that can be interpreted in different ways. It however does not mean “fair” as Haaretz translated it. Its literal translation is ‘focused on the issues’, ‘professional’, ‘matter of fact’ or ‘business-like’.

Furthermore, the English version of the article in Haaretz offered no detailed tabulation of numbers. The print and online versions of the Hebrew edition of the newspaper showed a graph screening that just 18% of respondents considered Obama “friendly” toward Israel, 3 percentage points fewer than the 21% who said that the president was “hostile” to the Jewish state. 10% of the respondents didn’t know, and 51% called Obama’s approach to the Jewish Country “inyani”. Haaretz incorrectly translated that 69% consider Obama “fair and friendly”.

The Test

construction of new apartments in the West BankPalestinian construction workers should be finding new work soon, as Bibi has authorized the construction of new apartments in the West Bank.

Is it:

a) To put Palestinian construction workers back to work

b) To house more Jews in Samaria…resuscitating the injured Zionist dream

c) To tell the Obama administration that Israel is NOT a territory of a Middle-Eastern American empire, and therefore under Uncle Sam’s jurisdiction, despite any amount of welcome donations, as Vice President Joe Biden arrives in the Holy Land for a piece of the Peace Talks with our Bibi and Mahmoud Abbas.

d) To deny Palestinians of their human rights

Only G-D knows!

There will be 112 new apartments in the Beitar Illit ultra-Orthodox settlement, known as the “The Torah city of the Judean Hills.”

In this action, the Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat accused Israel of trying to undermine the peace talks even before they began:

“If the Israeli government wants to sabotage Mitchell’s efforts by taking such steps, let’s talk to Mitchell about maybe not doing this (indirect talks) if the price is so high… put a big question mark on what it is that we came to do.”

The Palestinians presented the U.S. envoy with a document outlining their desired agreement: a Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank, with minor border adjustments.
This is what Bibi said after speaking to Biden:

“I believe we will succeed in advancing the diplomatic process…But the diplomatic process is not a game, it is real, and rooted first and foremost in (Israel’s) security.”

Peace Now settlement expert, Hagit Ofran said:

“The Israeli government is welcoming the vice president by demonstrating, to our regret, that it has no genuine intention to advance the peace process.”

Hamas and other known trouble-makers, have condemned Abbas’ decision to renew talks, accusing moderate Palestinians of caving in to U.S. pressure.

On Monday Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad unveiled a $3.13 billion budget for 2010, about $80 million more than last year, funded by the international community. He said that after years of a conflict-driven downturn, Palestinian government revenues are up, partly due to economic growth projected at 7% this year. Fayyad also said he will more than triple spending on development projects to $667 million, in accordance with donor countries desiring to see more money earmarked for infrastructure, health and education.

Caine Mutiny in the West Bank

It has long been controversial for modern Orthodox Jews (or ‘dati leumi’) to serve in the IDF, because it sometimes means that they have to do things that they are not only politically opposed to, but religiously as well. We really saw this in 2005 at Gush Katif and the dismantling of other settlements in the Gaza Strip. Well it still happens.

MIDEAST ISRAEL PALESTINIANSOn Tuesday last week, the IDF decided to punish six soldiers, sending two to prison, for protesting the army’s demolition of structures at an unauthorized settler outpost in the West Bank. The soldiers had hung a banner at an army base in the West Bank in demonstration. This all went down as other soldiers carried out orders to dismantle two Jewish homes in Negohot, near Hebron.

The six soldiers who are being punished, served in the Nahal unit in the West Bank. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu insisted that there is no place for such insubordination in the IDF. He was quoted as saying, “If you promote insubordination, you cause the country to fall apart.”

Several Israeli political parties spoke out in support of the soldiers, as did several right-wing rabbis and some have even offered money to the families of troops imprisoned for insubordination.
There have also been cases of troops with left-wing views refusing orders or refusing to serve entirely because they disagree with Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

One possible solution is this: Israel might cease to use the IDF for operations against Israeli citizens. And instead police should handle settler issues, while the army patrols the borders.

Meanwhile Hamas is offering a bounty of $1.4 million to anybody who captures an Israeli soldier, adding further fear and tension to conflict.

Hillary Leaves Settlers Freezing

hillaryUS Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has offered Israel half praise and half criticism on their plans for a semi-freeze of settlement expansion. On Monday she said that the proposed plan “falls short of US expectations.” Israel says that it is willing to limit settlement expansion, while not freezing it altogether.

Clinton said:

“Successive American administrations of both parties have opposed Israel’s settlement policy. That is absolutely a fact, and the Obama administration’s position on settlements is clear, unequivocal and it has not changed. As the president has said on many occasions, the United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements…I will offer positive reinforcement to either of the parties when I believe they are taking steps that support the objective of reaching a two-state solution,” she said.

“This offer falls far short of what we would characterize as our position or what our preference would be. But if it is acted upon it will be an unprecedented restriction on settlements and would have a significant and meaningful effect on restraining their growth.”

Clinton also insisted that the Palestinian Authority deserved credit for their “unprecedented” steps toward improving security in the West Bank.
After her stop in the Holy Land, Mrs. Clinton continued down the path to Morocco, to speak with Foreign Ministers from several Persian Gulf countries, including Prince Saud al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia.

Netanyahu Under Siege Part One

While certain pundits, including Jerusalem Post columnist Isi Leibler tend to assume that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s support is as strong as ever, we at OneJerusalem have a somewhat different angle on the situation. While what Leibler writes may be true in the eyes of the public, the truth is that, within his governing coalition, Bibi is being triangulated from three directions into a practical political prison.

In this two part analysis, we will show you exactly how the crunch on Bibi is taking shape, and that, in the end, he will probably be able to do absolutely nothing in the final calculation, save stay in his spot without testing any side of the triangle. If Bibi pushes too far, which at some point he will most certainly have to do he may be toppled at any minute.

Direction 1 from the Left – The Labor Party and Daniel Ben-Simon

Though the Labor Party emerged from this year’s general elections more crushed and defeated than it has ever been in its entire history, Labor continues to be a huge factor in Netanyahu’s policy decisions. Labor is pressing hard for the removal of 23 unauthorized outposts throughout Judea and Samaria, and they’re getting pushy about it. Labor faction chairman Daniel Ben-Simon was quoted as saying this yesterday: “If the outposts are not taken down, I will tell [Labor Party Chariman Ehud] Barak that that we aren’t expressing the will of the voters and [that] I demand that the party’s institutions meet to reconsider remaining in the coalition. If the institutions say no, I would have to decide my future and take a different path than I have taken until now.”

Is that a threat? Certainly. If Ben-Simon joins the four current Labor rebels, that would constitute enough to create a legal split in the faction, reducing Netanyahu’s coalition by at least 5 seats, if not all of Labor’s 13 if Barak goes with them. According to Ben-Simon, Barak has until October, when the Knesset reconvenes, to evacuate the outposts. Otherwise, Ben-Simon will take action. This is just the beginning. In the other direction, we have…

Direction 2 from the Right – A Polarized Likud Party

There are two serious things happening here. First, Knesset member Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), just last night had the guts to organize a conference inside the Knesset for the heads of the Judea and Samaria settler communities with the objective of forming a united front against Bibi’s plan to order a settlement freeze. 20 leaders attended the high level conference, where it was agreed that over the next month more pressure should be placed on Netanyahu to ditch a plan to freeze construction.

Ben SimonHotoveli is not the only one behind this, however. Together with her and of like mind are Environment Minister Gilad Erdan, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, and world Likud head Danny Danon, among others. A much more dangerous prospect than the Labor party getting all hot and bothered is having the right flank of his own party turn its back on him. Even Bibi’s close associate, MK Ofir Akunis, said that “There will be no freezing of construction in Judea and Samaria and we will not disrupt the lives of people there.”

Labor will certainly not be happy with any negotiations with the PA going on while settlement construction continues, so who knows where they’ll go once they begin complaining that negotiations have no import without a settlement freeze, which is what they will most definitely cry out if and when Bibi and PA leader Mahmoud Abbas get together and talk.

With Vice PM Bogey Ya’alon recently taking a turn to the Right and openly advocating a return to the evacuated town of Homesh, destroyed during the Disengagement of 2005, Bibi’s room for maneuvering here is small indeed.

The second, and arguably even more important phenomenon going on here is Likud’s right flank openly calling for nationalists to join the Likud and strengthen them. These include, along with the above mentioned Hotoveli and Danon, Deputy Minister of Negev Development Ayoub Kara, and MK Yariv Levine. With the objective of enlisting hundreds, if not thousands of supporters from the otherwise politically unaffiliated Nationalist Camp, they are looking for the necessary backing to be able to counter Bibi’s shifts to the left in order to appease the Labor Party.

If they succeed, Bibi’s hold on the party loses much of its potency, that is if he doesn’t entirely lose it altogether just as Ariel Sharon did, forcing him to take a swift exit from the Likud and form Kadima only a few years ago. Word has it that the coalition, calling itself the “Movement for the Strengthening of the National Camp” has already succeeded in bringing aboard several hundred new Likud members just in the past few days. Members who, most likely, are not all that interested in a settlement freeze.

(And let’s not forget Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s likely imminent indictment for corruption and money laundering, which could have untold effects on Bibi’s coalition agreement with Lieberman’s Party, Yisrael Beiteinu.)

Dr. Mordechai

Dr. Mordechai Kedar of Bar-Ilan University discusses Jerusalem and the settlements on Al Jazeera.

© 2019 OneJerusalem.com

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑