Aline Batarseh writes, “Despite Israel’s efforts to “unify” the city, Jerusalem remains divided. No one understands this reality better than the people who live in this contested city. Despite the fact that Israelis and Palestinians live in close proximity to one another, there is little communication between them. I personally have never socially interacted with an Israeli in my life. We live separate—and unequal—lives.”
Category Archives: Land Grab: Israeli settlements in the West Bank
Fathy Shebana’s family has lived in Sinjil, a rural village between Ramallah and Nablus for as long as any of them can remember. Today, much of their land is gone, annexed by Israel for illegal settlements. Since Israel passed a new law retroactively legalizing at least a dozen settlement outposts built on private Palestinian land, Fathy and his community fear even more for the future of their land and livelihoods.
“After 24 years the flag of Palestine has been lowered and taken down from the post, to be substituted by the flag of Israel,” Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett proclaims
In practice there has never been a serious limit on theft of Palestinian land. But now, after passing the “Regularization Bill,” Israeli government support for the plunder will be explicit in law. It will be impossible to blame the outposts on “rogue” settlers, or claim that Israel is trying to safeguard Palestinian property rights.
The new law legalizing theft of Palestinian land is very similar to earlier legislation the Israeli government passed after Partition in 1950 and after the occupation in 1967, giving legal title to Jews of land formerly owned by Palestinians, who had either fled, been expelled, or were gerrymandered out of Israeli bounds.
The Israeli Knesset on Monday passed a controversial new law that allows the Israeli government to expropriate private Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, making more than a dozen Israeli settlements legal under Israeli law. It is the first time in history that the Knesset has imposed Israeli civil law the occupied West Bank, which is under Israeli military and civilian rule. Xavier Abu Eid, a spokesperson for the PLO’s Negotiations Affairs Department said the law essentially “legalized theft of Palestinian land” adding that the legislation “negates peace and the possibility of the two-state solution.”
Israeli police evacuated more than 200 Israeli settlers Wednesday from the West Bank outpost of Amona, dragging families with young children out of the illegal community that was built more than a decade ago. It may seem that justice prevailed in favor of the original Palestinian landowners, but for many it is not a victory. Amona residents will ultimately be relocated in adjacent plots of land, which also belong to Palestinians.
Historian Avi Shlaim reveals a shift in his thinking on Israel and Palestine: Zionism was a colonial project well before 1967. And the US and Britain have traded roles as mother country.
More Palestinian homes were demolished in the occupied territories in the first half of 2016 than in all of 2015, according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. The increased demolitions have been accompanied by a rising number of new settler homes under construction, prompting the U.S. State Department to issue an atypical condemnation of the Jewish state.
On the heels of the Israeli government announcing 1500+ illegal settlement tenders since Monday, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a strongly worded statement, available in Arabic only, that said in part, “as long as these countries’ bilateral relations with Israel are treated separately from the occupation all Palestinian land will be annexed in the not too-distant future, relieving these countries from the trouble of circulating their useless condemnations.”
Jerusalem official Meir Turgeman says the municipality is taking advantage of U.S. election season to push forward on stalled construction projects in the occupied territories, including expanding the settlement of Ramot.
On Tuesday, the Knesset “Land of Israel” caucus called to annex the major West Bank settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim, citing a poll showing nearly 78 percent of Israelis support the move. The push came in response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying he is open to negotiating based on the Arab Peace Initiative.
“Extremist and dangerous forces have taken over Israel and the Likud movement,” Moshe Ya’alon remarked at a press conference following his ouster as defense minister. The focus of attention was on Netanyahu’s imminent appointment of Avigdor Lieberman to the defense ministry, overlooking Ya’alon’s replacement in Likud: US-born settler and face of the Temple Movement Yehuda Glick. While Lieberman’s appointment signifies a success for Israel’s secular right wing, Glick’s entrance to the parliament is a major step forward in the Religious Zionist takeover of Israel.
The lead suspect of a gruesome kidnapping and murder of a Palestinian teen two summers ago was sentenced today by a Jerusalem district court to life in prison, plus 20 years for additional crimes, ending a lengthy criminal trial that shook Palestinian communities across Israel and the occupied territory. After the sentencing was announced the victim’s cousin Ansam Abu Khdeir told Mondoweiss the punishment was not enough, “he deserves more than he got, more than he will get,” she said.
Today, a Jerusalem district court convicted the ringleader of the 2014 murder of Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir who was abducted near his home in East Jerusalem and burned alive. The defendant, Yosef Haim Ben-David, 30, will be sentenced in the coming weeks. He along with two minors kidnapped Abu Khdeir and beat and killed the youth. The slaying prompted weeks of unrest and gained international prominence as a high-profile case of settler violence against Palestinians.
Ha’aretz diplomatic correspondent and gourmand, Barak Ravid, recently tweeted a picture of “a likeable wine from the Livni vineyard in Kiryat Arba.” “Surprisingly good,” he concludes. The reason that the quality of the wine, produced in the darkest heart of the Israeli-occupied territory, is surprising, I would guess, is that Ravid believes that an admitted, convicted and unrepentant terrorist is unlikely to also become a successful vintner. But in Israel all is possible, at least for Jews.
Over the weekend arsonists set ablaze the home of a high-profile Palestinian witness scheduled to testify against Israeli settlers charged with firebombing the home of his relatives in the West Bank village of Duma last summer.
Israeli settlers on the West Bank tell Phil Weiss they are continuing the work of redeeming the land for Jews that early Zionists began when they expelled Palestinians in 1948, and that in the last year even the Tel Aviv establishment has come to recognize that there will never be a Palestinian state. Weiss reports from five days he spent undercover in Israeli settlements using the Airbnb service.
In a groundbreaking new report, Human Rights Watch has joined the chorus of voices calling on countries to label goods made in the Israeli occupied territories as the products of settlements, and calls on countries to withhold aid to Israel that can be used to “offset the costs of Israeli government expenditures on settlements.” The report titled Occupation, Inc.: How Settlement Businesses Contribute to Israel’s Violations of Palestinian Rights puts pressure on a “multitude” of private companies to stop doing business in the occupied territories, because they are helping to sustain an illegal settlement project that deprives the Palestinian population of their human rights.
Israel charged two suspects this morning in district court for an arson attack on the West Bank village of Duma where Jewish extremists killed three Palestinians five months ago in most high-profile case of settler violence. The lead suspect is Amiram Ben-Uliel, 21, who is said to have confessed to the firebombing. His alleged accomplice, 17, is unnamed.
An Israeli court today convicted two Jewish minors who abducted and burned Mohammed Abu Khdeir alive in July 2014. The court delayed ruling on the alleged ringleader, 29-year old settler Yosef Haim Ben-David pending an additional psychiatric evaluation. “Frankly I was shocked. I hoped they all would get a punishment,” said the mother of the victim, Suha Abu Khdeir, 45, from her living room hours after the trial ended. “It’s like they burned him again.”
“I won’t take compensation from occupation,” Issa Amro says of destruction to his property in Hebron by Israeli soldiers. Early Saturday morning Amro, 35, awoke to dozens of Israeli soldiers entering the Youth Against Settlements house and presenting him with a military order to seize control of the house for 24-hours. Amro, along with an Italian journalist on assignment with an Israeli paper, and two international activists who were staying at the Youth Against Settlements advocacy center were then ushered into a single bedroom where, with the exception of escorted bathroom breaks, they were forced to stay until after daybreak Sunday.