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  • 'Israel must prosecute West Bank land thieves'

    Settlement depends on deception, lies and theft. So why aren't the police and prosecution doing everything in their power to put an end to it?  By Yesh Din (written by Yossi Gurvitz) The story was supposed to be simple: Yoel Tzur, the CEO of the Company for the Development of the Yeshiva Town in Beit El (Yesh Din dealt with this shady company previously) admitted during his police interrogation that he built what would come to be known as “Ulpana Hill” on private Palestinian land, for which he had no valid contract. Tzur told the police that he began construction in…

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  • Streamlining the theft of Palestinian land

    Without any compunction, the Beit El Yeshiva was even willing to defraud settlers. By Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz When the Ulpana Hill neighborhood in Beit El (whose proper name is Jabl Artis, privately owned by the residents of Dura Al Qara) was evacuated, the settlers began a loud campaign saying Yesh Din's petition led to their removal from legally purchased homes. The court nevertheless ordered the evacuations, unimpressed by the unsubtle intimation that the fact that the land actually belongs to Palestinians does not matter all that much. The government of Israel took the questionable (not to say…

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  • Like thieves in the night: Stealing Palestinian land

    The Israeli government wants to prolong its long-term thievery, based on a particularly dirty trick. A few words on the uneven ground upon which the settlement of Beit El rests. By Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz Up until a few months ago, yours truly lived in a Jaffan cubicle, for which he shelled a large sum to a shyster who shall remain unnamed. One day, I heard a ring at the door. A municipal inspector was standing there. The undersigned opened the door with some trepidation, only to be told by the inspector that he was there to inform…

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  • Settler security official: 'Palestinians are not supposed to stand next to Jews'

    The settler media outlet Arutz Sheva reported (Hebrew) a highly "irregular" occurrence on Wednesday morning, in which a Palestinian stood next to Jewish Israelis at a hitchhiking stop near the West Bank settlement of Beit El. Avigdor Shatz, the Binyamin Regional Council's chief security officer in the area, was quoted as saying: Palestinians are not supposed to stand next to Jews at the same hitchhiking stop, certainly not in Beit El. Shatz admitted that the law does not actually bar Palestinians from standing at the Givat Asaf hitchhiking stop, named after the illegal outpost nearby. "It is not defined as Israeli…

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  • Rewarding the lawbreakers: New settlement homes on confiscated lands

    Israel approves 90 new settlement homes in Beit El to reward evacuees from the evacuated settlement neighborhood of Givat Ha'Ulpana. The problem? The homes are to be built on lands confiscated for security purposes, a practice the High Court ruled against decades ago. By Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz One of ancient Greece's sages, legend says, mocked the Athenian lawgiver Solon for writing his constitution and laws. He told Solon laws were like fishing net: It stops the weak fish, but the larger, stronger ones will simply tear it to bits. Ynet reported earlier this week that the government…

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  • Photos: Palestinians protest occupation, block roads throughout West Bank

    Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists blocked roads throughout the West Bank on Wednesday in a coordinated direct action to protest the occupation. The specific focus of the demonstration varied from location to location, with some activists citing support for the Palestinian bid to upgrade its status at the UN later this month, tomorrow's anniversary of the Palestinian Declaration of Independence, the anniversary of Yasser Arafat's death, and Palestinian National Youth Week. Activists in some locations were successful in blocking traffic for some time, while in others Israeli forces used sound bombs, tear gas, and arrests to disperse crowds.    …

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  • Evacuation of outpost highlights resilience of settlement project

    The Ulpana settlement show goes on. Yesterday, the first fifteen families were evacuated from their homes in the Givat Ulpana neighborhood of the settlement of Beit El, after the government upheld a Supreme Court ruling that the five buildings were built on private Palestinian lands and must be removed. The families, who make up roughly half of those who are slated to leave, moved to another part of the same settlement just a short distance away. There was no violence, and no security forces, according to the Times of Israel report. The remaining families are also expected to leave peacefully, following…

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  • NYT got it wrong: PM opposed bill in order to expand settlements

    Netanyahu is not hiding his commitment to expanding settlements - he is making it loud and clear. The New York Times didn't seem to hear. Given relatively sparse international coverage of the Knesset vote yesterday rejecting a bill that would have legalized West Bank settlements facing legal challenges (specifically, the Ulpana Hill of Beit El), it was particularly disappointing to see the New York Times offer one of the few editorials on the topic – and get it so completely wrong.  This line from the first paragraph exemplifies the problem: There may be some glimmer of hope in Mr. Netanyahu’s…

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  • End the cellular cartel, end the occupation

    One Member of Knesset's success at bringing down the mobile monopoly in Israel demonstrates that when there is a will, there is a way. On the minds of 99% of Israelis this week was not the occupation, not the bloated new coalition and definitely not Iran. Israelis were thinking about cellphones. In what was considered a historic moment, the country's three oldest cellular phone companies - Cellcom, Orange and Pelephone -  got a great sock in the eye, when two sleek new mobile operators entered the market last week, instantly undercutting the giants. With several more virtual companies on the…

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  • Gov't committed to saving illegal West Bank neighborhood

    Just weeks after the Supreme Court ruling against any further delay in evacuating the outpost settlement of Migron, the government is now working industriously to legalize or otherwise legitimize the status of Givat Ha'ulpana, a neighborhood of the West Bank settlement of Beit El, near Ramallah. In 2008, human rights organization Yesh Din petitioned to have the neighborhood dismantled on behalf of its Palestinian owners; in September 2011, the Court found that Givat Ha'ulpana was indeed built on privately-owned Palestinian lands – in simple terms, this is property theft. The state agreed to demolish the neighborhood (Hebrew) then, and the…

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  • Defense Min. admits it 'never intended to carry out' settler evacuation

    The Israeli government is looking for ways to avoid evacuating a settlement built on private Palestinian land. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has until the end of the month to try and solve the political crisis over the evacuation of Ulpana Hill, a neighborhood built on private Palestinian land in the settlement of Beit El. Netanyahu has made it clear that he will do everything in his power to keep the settlers on site (though he didn't rule out moving them to a nearby hill, to which there is no private claim). The Supreme Court ordered the evacuation of Ulpana Hill several…

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