Israel is already carrying out Bennett’s annexation plan, only without the formal annexation part. The West Bank is a very different place than it was 10 years ago. It will be even more different five or 10 years from now. The indispensable Amira Hass reported this morning about an Israeli plan to push thousands of Palestinian-Bedouin into a new town it plans to build in the Jordan Valley. The Jordan Valley is one of three areas in which Israel is trying to relocate Bedouin into designated areas or towns; the others are south of Hebron and east of Jerusalem. Netanyahu’s government treats…Read More... | 13 Comments
Israelis deserve a leadership that is capable of interrupting the cycle of violence; they deserve more than juvenile assurances of retaliation. By Nathan Hersh Last month MKs Yariv Levin (Likud) and Orit Strock (Jewish Home) submitted a series of bills seeking to annex Area C of the West Bank to Israel. What would things look like today had the government agreed? Such a vote would have been a victory for the Jewish Home party and the rest of the Greater Israel crowd, but it would result in a security nightmare. The kidnapping of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Frenkel…Read More... | 36 Comments
From arrests to home invasions to airstrikes, the repercussions of Bibi's finger pointing are being felt throughout the West Bank and Gaza. Reports surfaced yesterday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering "expelling" Hamas leaders from the West Bank, ostensibly as punishment for the alleged kidnapping of three Jewish teenagers. The scheme harkens to December 1992, when then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin famously banished 415 Palestinians to what was considered a no-man's-land just over the Lebanese border. Literally dumped on a hilltop and stateless, these accused members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad set up camp in the harsh winter --…Read More... | 75 Comments
Israel's High Court orders the government to upgrade representation of Palestinians in planning committees. But will the minor changes only serve to legitimize a system based on inequality? Israel’s High Court on Monday ordered the state to provide proposals for including Palestinian representatives in planning committees that govern development and land use in Area C (which makes up 60 percent of the territory in the West Bank). The interim decision was made following an appeal by the Palestinian village of Ad-Dirat-Al-Rfai’ya, together with human rights organizations Rabbis For Human Rights, the Israel Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), The Jerusalem Legal…Read More...
The Israel army almost automatically rejects building permits for Palestinians in 60 percent of the West Bank. One of the least sexy aspects of the conflict, a new court case aims to challenge the discriminatory regime of building permits and planning. The Israeli High Court of Justice on Monday will hear a petition asking to restore planning rights in Area C of the West Bank to Palestinian local and district planning committees, which were abolished by the Israeli military in 1971. The petitioners, local Palestinian leaders and Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations, hope to give Palestinians a say in…Read More... | 2 Comments
The Jordan Valley village of Hadidiya is no stranger to human rights violations by Israeli authorities. This is the story of one family whose life and livelihood have been affected by home demolitions, time and time again. By Nancy Hawker “Watch out! The bulldozers and the jeeps are coming.” Shirin Salamein heard the warning from one of her neighbors as she finished milking her sheep and goats close to her home. She lives in the village of Hadidiya, behind the Israeli settlement of Ro’i in the West Bank. “I was about to start making cheese, and there was not enough…Read More... | 9 Comments
In a short news piece (available so far only in Hebrew), Haaretz reported this morning of the damage caused by the recent storm to both settlers and Palestinian in the West Bank. The wording of the article gives us the opportunity to examine the difference in news coverage for Jews and Arabs living under the same regime in the same stretch of land. Reports of settler suffering take up five paragraphs, while Palestinians get one. More importantly, however, is the way in which the spaces the two peoples inhabit are described. The text (as well as the headline, at least in…Read More... | 9 Comments
Israeli officials reveal plans to allocate nearly 5,000 acres of privately owned Palestinian land so as not to stand in the way of a PA-USAID economic development program. Israel is pushing through a plan to allocate nearly 5,000 acres of land in Area C of the West Bank (under full Israeli military and administrative control) for a Palestinian economic development program, Hebrew daily Ma'ariv reported Wednesday. According to the report, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is behind the initiative, and plans to fund and facilitate Palestinian agricultural and commercial development there. Israel's Defense Ministry has committed to speeding up the planning…Read More... | 15 Comments
In the Jordan Valley, it is virtually impossible for Palestinian families to get the permits to build a home: their buildings are demolished and they are forced to live in tents and tin structures with no electricity or water. Illegal Jewish settlements, however, are rarely demolished and are connected to the electricity and water grids. Activestills joins one family that has been living in a tent without basic services for 10 years as they celebrate the first night of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. Samiha and Suleiman Shalalda live with their five children in a tent on the edge…Read More... | 1 Comment
Israeli authorities aren't merely incompetent when it comes to defending the rights of Palestinians in Area C - they are part and parcel of a process dedicated to the area's annexation. By Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz Last week, IDF forces removed, with hardly any noise, settlers from the lands of Muhammad Ibrahim 'Ali Shabana, a resident of the village of Sinjil in the West Bank. The removal took place after the invasion by settlers Yonathan Rothschild and Yehuda Elitzur. Thus ended a long legal saga which proves, yet again, the incompetence of the Israeli authorities when it comes…Read More... | 3 Comments
Israel's defense minister orders a halt to cooperation with the European Union-funded humanitarian aid projects benefitting West Bank and Gaza Palestinians. Israel’s defense minister launched a massive 'price tag' attack last week. In response to an EU directive that will help ensure European funding does not benefit Israeli settlements, Moshe Ya’alon ordered a halt to cooperation with European humanitarian efforts benefiting Palestinians in Israeli-controlled areas of the West Bank. "We are freezing the relationship on everything," an Israeli official told The Guardian. "We did this as soon as we heard [about the directive]. We can't act like nothing happened." Price…Read More... | 34 Comments
The ultimate tale of a missed opportunity, now staged by the Bolshoi on Tel Aviv's opera stage, resonates strongly in an Israeli heart that still recalls an old hope. It does not end like an opera. No diva is sprawled on the stage, a dagger in her heart and a high D♭emerging emerging from her throat. I remember stepping out of "Eugene Onegin" stunned. Could there really be an opera that dealt with real life, rather then the melodramatic opera universe? Did Pushkin and Tchaikovsky both just send me off with the message: "life sucks, deal with it?" It was…Read More... | 5 Comments
A new report published by B'Tselem to mark 46 years since Israel occupied the West Bank reveals how the Civil Administration has violated its obligation to administer the area for the benefit of the Palestinian population. Contrary to its legal obligations, the Civil Administration, the body responsible for implementing Israeli government policy in Area C (60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli control), implements exactly the opposite policy. The Civil Administration consistently prefers Israeli and settlements' interests while displacing Palestinians, exploiting the area’s resources to benefit Israelis, and bringing about a permanent situation in which Israeli settlements thrive and Palestinian presence…Read More... | 2 Comments
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