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Netanyahu approves new settlement units in E1 one week before election

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Just one week before elections, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced his approval of 3,500 new illegal settler homes in the highly contested ‘E1’ area of the central occupied West Bank.

“I have given instructions to immediately publish for deposit the plan to build 3,500 housing units in E-1,” Netanyahu said in a speech on Tuesday, adding that the plans “had been delayed for six or seven years.”

Israel’s plans for the E1 corridor, which has been in the works since 1995, has been consistently delayed due to pressure from the international community, including the EU and former US administration.

The E1 plan seeks to create a settlement bloc connecting the mega settlement of Ma’ale Adumim with Jerusalem, effectively splitting the West Bank in two, cutting off the north from the south.

Source: Peace Now

The consequences of the plan came to light in recent years through the fight to save the bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar, who fall right in the middle of the E1 corridor, from forcible expulsion.

Their community would be one of dozens of Bedouin enclaves in the corridor who would be forcibly evicted from their homes if the plans are seen through.

The announcement came just one week before the Israeli public will head back to the polls for the third time in a year to elect their prime minister, after two failed attempts by Netanyahu and his rival Benny Gantz to form governing coalitions.

A map showing where the E1 corridor is in relation to the rest of the West Bank. (Source: Peace Now)

Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud  government has relied on the support of the settlers for their support in the past two elections, and has used similar political offerings in order to guarantee their support.

In the first round of elections in April last year, he vowed to annex the hundreds of settlements in the occupied West Bank, and ahead of the September elections, he furthered that promise by vowing to apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley, which comprises one third of the entire West Bank.

Palestinian leaders slammed Netanyahu for the announcement, and called on EU member states to step in and prevent Israeli construction in the area.

Criticizing the plan as a “colonial project,” chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat released a statement condemning the US for giving the greenlight for Israel to move forward with such plans.

“Per the agreed-upon plan between the U.S. and Israel teams, Israel now continues to impose new illegal facts on the ground that systematically violate international law and human rights, annihilate the inalienable rights of the people of Palestine, and threaten the very peace and security of the entire region,” Erekat said.

“It is now clear for the international community that this vision of annexation only aims at burying the prospects of a negotiated solution,” he continued, calling for the international community to put sanctions on Israel for its violations of international law in the occupied territory.

Settlement watchdog Peace Now slammed the decision, saying “building in E1 would sever this territorial connection, torpedoing the possibility for a viable Palestinian state if Israel insists on retaining the land.”

“Israel is officially choosing to risk perpetual conflict instead of resolving it. It is no less than a national disaster that must be stopped before it is too late,” the group said

Yumna Patel

Yumna Patel is the Palestine correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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33 Responses

  1. bcg on February 26, 2020, 2:59 pm

    Ok, let’s pretend Israel didn’t “bury the prospects of a negotiated solution” 20 years ago:

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/elections/.premium-netanyahu-s-latest-election-spin-is-a-point-of-no-return-for-israeli-settlements-1.8590666

    Over the past decade Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has withstood the pressure from the right and maintained the construction freeze on Givat Hamatos and E-1. We will never know if it was fear of international pressure or because he understood the significance of such a step for Israel’s future. But now, only a few days before a third election in a year, while the world is preoccupied with the coronavirus, Netanyahu has chosen to cross the red lines and take us all with him. …

  2. catalan on February 26, 2020, 8:47 pm

    This proves that BDS (including such things as the boycott of Cheerios and AirBnb) have not “forced Israel to make concessions”. Which of course they wouldn’t since the Israeli economy is rather strong. Sadly, the response will be more BDS. It’s like if a medicine against cancer doesn’t work, the response is more medicine. Very strange how smart people can be so irrational.

    • Misterioso on February 27, 2020, 10:30 am

      @catalan

      A brief look at reality:

      https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/aug/14/bds-boycott-divestment-sanctions-movement-transformed-israeli-palestinian-debate

      “BDS: how a controversial non-violent movement has transformed the Israeli-Palestinian debate”

      By Nathan Thrall, The Guardian, August 14/18

      “Israel sees the international boycott campaign as an existential threat to the Jewish state. Palestinians regard it as their last resort.

      EXCERPTS:
      “The movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel – known as BDS – has been driving the world a little bit mad. Since its founding 13 years ago, it has acquired nearly as many enemies as the Israelis and Palestinians combined. It has hindered the efforts of Arab states to fully break their own decades-old boycott in pursuit of increasingly overt cooperation with Israel. It has shamed the Palestinian Authority government in Ramallah by denouncing its security and economic collaboration with Israel’s army and military administration. It has annoyed the Palestine Liberation Organization by encroaching on its position as the internationally recognised advocate and representative of Palestinians worldwide.

      “It has infuriated the Israeli government by trying to turn it into a leper among liberals and progressives. It has exasperated what is left of the Israeli peace camp by nudging the Palestinians away from an anti-occupation struggle and towards an anti-apartheid one. It has induced such an anti-democratic counter-campaign by the Israeli government that it has made Israeli liberals fear for the future of their country. And it has caused major headaches for the Palestinians’ donor governments in Europe, which are pressured by Israel not to work with BDS-supporting organisations in the Palestinian territories, an impossible request given that nearly all major civil society groups in Gaza and the West Bank support the movement.

      “In an era of corporate social responsibility, BDS has given bad publicity to major businesses tied up in Israel’s occupation (Airbnb, Re/Max, HP) and helped push other large firms out of the West Bank. It has disrupted film festivals, concerts and exhibitions around the world. It has riled academic and sports organisations by politicising them, demanding that they take a stand on the highly divisive conflict.

      “In the UK, BDS has brought turmoil to courts and local councils, embroiling them in disputes over the legality of local boycotts of settlement goods. In the US, BDS has caused two dozen states to pass bills or issue orders inhibiting or penalising those boycotting Israel or its settlements, pitting Israel’s allies against free speech advocates such as the American Civil Liberties Union. It has ignited debates in Protestant churches in the US, some of the largest of which have divested from companies that profit from Israel’s occupation. It has become the bane of college administrators, forced to adjudicate complaints from BDS-supporting professors and students that their free speech has been stifled, and claims by Zionist faculty, donors and undergraduates that their campuses have become ‘unsafe’ spaces. It has pulled liberals toward greater support for the Palestinians, making Israel an increasingly partisan issue in the US, associated less with Democrats and progressives than with Trump, evangelicals and the far right.

      “In the Jewish diaspora, BDS has created new schisms on the centre-left, which has been forced into a vice by the right wing and pro-settlement Israeli government on one hand, and the non-Zionist left on the other. It has prompted liberal Zionists to grapple with why they sometimes accept the boycott of products from settlements but not the boycott of the state that creates and sustains them. It has compelled Israel’s more critical supporters to justify their opposition to non-violent forms of pressure on Israel, when the absence of real pressure has done nothing to bring occupation or settlement expansion to an end. It has put the onus on liberal Zionists to defend their support not for the abstract ideal of what they hope Israel might one day become, but for the actual, longstanding practices of the state, including expropriations of Palestinian land for Jewish settlement; detention of hundreds of Palestinians without trial or charge; collective punishment of two million Gazans living under a more than decade-long blockade; and institutionalised inequality between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel. BDS has deprived Israel’s liberal supporters of the excuse that an aberrant occupation or right wing governments are mainly to blame for the state’s undemocratic practices.

      “Perhaps most significantly, BDS has challenged the two-state consensus of the international community. In so doing it has upset the entire industry of Middle East peace process non-profit organisations, diplomatic missions and think tanks by undermining their central premise: that the conflict can be resolved simply by ending Israel’s occupation of Gaza, East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, leaving the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel and refugees unaddressed.

      “For many diaspora Jews, BDS has become a symbol of evil and repository of dread, a nefarious force transforming the Israel-Palestine debate from a negotiation over the end of the occupation and the division of territory into an argument about the conflict’s older and deeper roots: the original displacement of most of the Palestinians, and, on the ruins of their conquered villages, the establishment of a Jewish state. The emergence of the BDS movement has revived old questions about the legitimacy of Zionism, how to justify the privileging of Jewish over non-Jewish rights, and why refugees can return to their homes in other conflicts but not in this one. Above all, it has underscored an awkward issue that cannot be indefinitely neglected: whether Israel, even if it were to cease its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, can be both a democracy and a Jewish state.”

    • bcg on February 27, 2020, 1:30 pm

      I gather, from looking at your comments, that you want the status quo, no pressure on Israel to do anything. If you ACTUALLY believed BDS is such a nothingburger you’d be recommending that we pursue it full speed ahead, so we’d be spinning our wheels and not pursuing other forms of activism.

      I might also add that various Israeli government officials have called BDS a “strategic threat” – that’s a good enough recommendation for me.

    • echinococcus on February 27, 2020, 2:20 pm

      And who’s the stupid who expects boycott to lead to any economic hardships for the Zionist entity — flagship of all the Rothschilds, Goldmans and Sakses, not to mention owner of America? The US taxpayer is paying anyway.

      Boycott works another way: by informing the world population and by pulling away the pretexts that Western governments use to support Zionists. Guess what, it’s working. That’s why the so-called non-Zionist/libZionist tribals are so desperate to grab and keep the direction of the “official” BDS movement (led by people living non-clandestinely under Zionist entity occupation) to muzzle opposition too Zionism itself (instead of its so-called “excesses”.)

    • eljay on February 27, 2020, 3:09 pm

      || catalan: … Very strange how smart people can be so irrational. ||

      No kidding. Just look at Zionists: They believe that the religion-based identity of Jewish magically:
      – transforms those who choose to embrace it into long-exiled Ancient Israelites and/or Judeans;
      – grants to those who have chosen to be Jewish the right to be supremacists, to have a supremacist state and to do “necessary evil” unto others; and
      – transforms geographic Palestine into their ancient / eternal / historic / ancestral / lost / one true homeland.

      • catalan on February 27, 2020, 9:07 pm

        “grants to those who have chosen to be Jewish the right to be supremacists, to have a supremacist state”
        I wonder why more people don’t choose to be Jewish; to get Israeli citizenship. For one, the Palestinians could choose to be Jewish, go into Israel and then choose to be Muslim. Also, I would think a lot of people who want free healthcare might choose to be Jewish. Seems like a no brainer.

      • eljay on February 27, 2020, 9:40 pm

        || catalan: I wonder why more people don’t choose to be Jewish; to get Israeli citizenship. … ||

        Maybe more people don’t want to be Jewish supremacists. And, anyway, Israeli citizenship shouldn’t be tied to the religion-based identity of Jewish.

        || … For one, the Palestinians could choose to be Jewish, go into Israel and then choose to be Muslim. … ||

        Jewish should simply be the bureaucratic nationality of all citizens of, immigrants to and expats and refugees from the geographic region comprising “Jewish State”. Seems like a no brainer.

        || … Also, I would think a lot of people who want free healthcare might choose to be Jewish. … ||

        A religious conversion to Judaism comes with free health care? Bizarre. But I bet there’s a catch.

      • catalan on February 27, 2020, 10:26 pm

        “Maybe more people don’t want to be Jewish supremacists. “
        So out of 8 billion people, 3 billion of whom don’t have access to drinking water, none choose to be Jewish to become citizens of a country that has some of the best healthcare, life expectancy and education in the world.
        And the Palestinians could just choose to be Jewish and solve all their problems but instead choose to live as refugees In Gaza and Lebanon. Instead of just choosing to be Jewish for one day and gaining citizenship in an advanced economy.
        If all that it takes is to choose to be Jewish, it’s really kind of their fault. They can choose to be Muslim once they arrive.

      • eljay on February 28, 2020, 8:36 am

        || catalan on February 27, 2020, 10:26 pm ||

        Like I said: Maybe more people don’t want to be Jewish supremacists.

        Anyway, it seems immoral of the “Jewish State” to withhold from the rest of the world a bureaucratic Jewish identity that can provide access to drinking water to 3 billion people and deliver “some of the best healthcare, life expectancy and education in the world”.

  3. Emet on February 27, 2020, 3:04 pm

    Anyone who have visited the area of E1 knows immediately that the Arabs who have made camp besides the main roads or who are perched on a small outcrop of rocks, have been coerced into doing this by the Palestinians , foreign financed, political machine. They are being used as pawns. If Israel is about 60 miles wide, how big do you think E1 actually is? It’s a tiny piece of land made into the biggest deal in the world. Let’s all shed a tear for the kids learning in a school who’s walls are reinforced with tires. The millage they get out this this one needs to be seen to be believed. Pump, pump, pump goes the propaganda machine.
    More and more Arabs are understanding that Israel is good for the region. They may not be large in number but it is growing.
    In case you have not heard, Israeli scientists have developed a vaccine for Corona.

    • bcg on February 28, 2020, 1:18 pm

      @Emet: ” In case you have not heard, Israeli scientists have developed a vaccine for Corona.”

      I love this stuff! It’s the “apartheid is ok because we’ll get cheaper cellphones” argument.

      If you check, Germany in the first half of the 20th century was a world leader in mathematics, physics, chemistry, literature, art and music. I guess that justifies the concentration camps?

      • Emet on February 28, 2020, 3:52 pm

        Has nothing to do with “apartheid”. The Blacks in South Africa were never given an offer to live side by side with Whites to which a rejection was given. The same cannot be said about the Arab Palestinians. They rejected Jews from the beginning. They are the ones who are guilty of apartheid. They forced war on the Jews. They are responsible for a situation of their own making. No going back and bring back those who died in war because of Palestinians rejectionism. What have the Arab Palestinians contributed to this world? Ah yes, ISIS.

      • oldgeezer on February 28, 2020, 6:04 pm

        @meet

        Pure bs. In addition apartheid has nothing to wirh offers made, or not made, accepted or rejected.

        Israel is a racist endeavour.
        Israel operates an apartheid regime.

        Boycott Israel.

      • Mooser on February 28, 2020, 6:12 pm

        Listen to the matzoh crumble! Miami Mendez was right.

      • eljay on February 28, 2020, 6:15 pm

        || Emet: … The Blacks in South Africa were never given an offer to live side by side with Whites to which a rejection was given. The same cannot be said about the Arab Palestinians. They rejected Jews from the beginning. … ||

        So…you’d have no problem with a group of home invaders named Joe to breaking into your house, oppressing and/or expelling your family and keeping as much as possible of your house and possessions for themselves and their friends as long as you were “given an offer to live side by side” with the home invaders.

        Interesting.

        And maybe that’s how it would play out…but I suspect you’d quickly find yourself chained in the basement – or worse – for rejecting the Joes from the beginning. Not because you’re they’re wrong and you’re right but because you’re filled with “Joe hatred”.

      • Emet on February 29, 2020, 11:42 am

        oldgeezer, try following these videos:

        https://youtu.be/yTh4ReWk_jY
        https://youtu.be/fEBqzlhQuak

        The amount of hate oozing out of your words should be alarming to those who care for you as hate of this type does more damage to the hater (you).

      • oldgeezer on February 29, 2020, 1:33 pm

        @emet

        You’ve gone from bullshit to horseshit but it’s still pure shit.

        Yes there’s here. Give me one good reason I should have any positive feelings towards a state which oppresses millions on a day basis. Violates it’s neighbours sovereignty at every opportunity including murdering civilians . Let’s injured people bleed out without medical care. Dispossession people of their property without compensation. And too many vile crimes against humanity to list. Perhaps not the worlds worst human rights violators but when factoring the history and ongoing nature of it’s crimes, it’s openly discussed future crimes one of the very worst human rights violators on the planet.

        No amount of washing of any kind will cleanses the depravity and stain on mankind’s history that Israel has created for itself.

        Spare me the bs videos too. I laughed before quitting. A state where it’s citizens are respected and yadda yadda.
        As the plan for the crime of the century clearly shows Israel has zero respect for a very large segment of ir’s citizens and wishes to strip them of their citizenship and dispose of them?

        Hatred? Yes I hate Israel. And it’s supporters. There is nothing to like about it and nothing which justifies it’s brutal barbaric nature.

      • Mooser on February 29, 2020, 2:36 pm

        “There is nothing to like about it and nothing which justifies it’s brutal barbaric nature.”

        Yossi Gurvitz has some insight into why Israel might want to act that way:

        “Because equality also means sexual equality. And this is the greatest taboo of rabbinical Judaism: Marrying the foreigner. Rabbinical Judaism has a pretty sound fear of merging with other populations. History teaches it that it has precious little to offer; wherever and whenever Jews were given a choice, they left rabbinical Judaism behind. Most Jews over the centuries left Judaism, mostly on their own volition. In order to prevent such merging, you need fences; the gentiles were good enough to create such fences over the years – and once they were removed, most Jews escaped.
        Therefore, we must create our own fences. The Jews of Israel must be taught that the foreigner is, foremost, threatening and dangerous”

      • Mooser on February 29, 2020, 2:45 pm

        “The Blacks in South Africa…”

        Proved to be very capable at digging diamonds and mining gold. And quite a few other things. This was intolerable for the white colonialists. So apartheid was developed, using the things the whites were better at, organized violence and administrative oppression.

      • RoHa on February 29, 2020, 8:23 pm

        “They are the ones who are guilty of apartheid. They forced war on the Jews..”

        Yes, I remember that the Palestinians persuaded the Eastern European Jews to invade Palestine and set up a Jewish State.

      • RoHa on February 29, 2020, 8:23 pm

        “They are the ones who are guilty of apartheid. They forced war on the Jews..”

        But I don’t remember when the Zionist Jews proposed a single, democratic, secular state in which Jews and Arabs could live side-by-side as equal citizens.

      • RoHa on February 29, 2020, 9:51 pm

        Yossi Gurvitz can say that.

      • oldgeezer on February 29, 2020, 11:13 pm

        @Mooser

        Yes indeed. Most militaristic states need a constant enemy and a fascism just puts the seal on it!

      • Mooser on March 1, 2020, 1:06 pm

        “Yossi Gurvitz can say that.” “RoHa”

        Yes, he can. Better him than me. I haven’t got the knowledge or experience to make a claim like that.

      • Emet on March 2, 2020, 8:47 am

        In apartheid South Africa there were park benches for Whites and park benches for Blacks. In apartheid South Africa there were public toilets for Whites and public toilets for Blacks.
        Even when Palestinians terrorist continue to murder Israeli’s, for being Jewish, there is no equivalent situation in Israel. Take your wife to a hospital for the birth of your child and the chances are high that an Arab doctor or nurse will have direct control over your loved ones. Enough with the apartheid comparison crap. “It’s even worse than apartheid” is the standard comeback line. Enough already!

        Another thing oldgeezer. When you react to events in Israel and fail to do anything similar in other flashpoints around the world (Idlib for example), you know you are an out and out antisemite. Careful, with all this hate built up inside you may blow a gasket.

      • eljay on March 2, 2020, 10:12 am

        || Emet: … apartheid South Africa … there is no equivalent situation in Israel. … ||

        I agree. Israel’s situation is religion-based supremacism.

        || … Take your wife to a hospital for the birth of your child and the chances are high that an Arab doctor or nurse will have direct control over your loved ones. … ||

        Right, and as long as those”Arab doctors or nurses” keep in mind that they are second-class citizens in a religion-supremacist “Jewish State”, bow their heads and show proper respect, everything’ll be fine.

      • Bumblebye on March 2, 2020, 8:19 pm

        Ant (emet is an english dialect word for ant)

        The zionist crime spree has been ongoing, 24/7/365 since before the state came into existence. More and more people are becoming informed and disgusted by it. Mondoweiss is a forum for that discussion. Your comment is probably meant to slander others of us who have no time for zionism. However, you haven’t got a clue what other issues concern us or where else we may comment on those.
        How about tonight, in Syria? Reactivation of Wahhabi terror cells in and around Deraa, coordinated with *other* countries, including israel, which is providing air cover from the Golan. Helicopters, drones, etc. Gosh, wonder what israel has in common with Wahhabis, or Saudi, or what stolen land it wants to keep, eh?

    • Mooser on February 28, 2020, 2:54 pm

      “In case you have not heard, Israeli scientists have developed a vaccine for Corona.”

      Now I’m all mixed up. I thought Corona was the vaccine for last night’s Tequila.

    • oldgeezer on February 28, 2020, 3:46 pm

      @meet

      Oh you ziofascists are so cuddly and cute. A vaccine eh? So have other countries and companies. Call us back in 6-9 months when it’s actually tested and proven safe. Virus vaccines are not rocket science but the claim shows the complete ignorance of so many zionists with their scientific claims. Probably why Israeli students lag behind most OECD countries when it comes to comparing students knowledge and achievements.

      Boycott Israel. BDS.

      ps…. does nothing to justify the gross racism, barbaric brutality and criminality of zionism. It never will.

    • Bumblebye on March 2, 2020, 8:26 pm

      Your israeli vaccine? The US is close to human trials on one they’ve developed. All sorts of drugs are being thrown at it – including hiv antiretrovirals, others developed for entirely different purposes but which have wide spectrum antiviral properties. Israel us just being a braggart.

      • oldgeezer on March 3, 2020, 12:42 pm

        @Bumblebye

        Yes a braggart but not unlike many other organizations in that regard. Whip up some good pr for your company and maybe even attract some investment in it. There’s a little nugget in every story written about this Israeli miracle and I have read 4 or 5 different ones.

        “if it works”.

        If it works is not finding a vaccine. It’s an attempt to find a vaccine. Good luck to them. Vaccines are good. It doesn’t excuse or outweight the massive war crimes and crimes against humanity that the state of Israel and it’s right wing extremist terrorists perpetrate.

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