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settlements

  • Israel grasps at a crumbling narrative

    Blaming the peace talks' failure on Palestinian 'rejectionism' is nothing more than a flimsy attempt at flipping reality on its head. With commentators now referring to the peace process as a “corpse,” Israeli talking heads and politicians are scrambling to manage the narrative of the dying animal. The first task today is to finesse the blame laid squarely on Israel by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. One radio commentator spoke quite factually about “Kerry’s mistake.” But it’s hard to finesse an unprecedented shift of tone from an American administration. It isn’t exactly like America suddenly supported a negative UN…

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  • Breaking the Silence founder detained in Hebron, banned from city for 14 days

    The founder of IDF watchdog group Breaking the Silence (BTS), Yehuda Shaul, was detained in Hebron on Tuesday as he was leading a tour in the Jewish settlement located in the heart of the city. According to the organization's spokesperson, Avner Gvaryahu, Shaul was confronted by an IDF company commander, who prevented him from continuing on his way, despite the fact that the area is considered public space and that Jewish groups use those streets frequently. Shaul was detained after arguing with the officer. Shaul, who was released from the Hebron police station later that night, was banned from the…

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  • What BDS and the Israeli government have in common

    Few of the people accused of boycotting Israel actually advocate or adhere to the central demands of the Palestinian boycott call. Ironically, those same people may be in the best position to help end the occupation. By Ran Greenstein Opposition to the BDS movement has become a crucial test of loyalty to the pro-Israel cause in the U.S. Jewish community in recent months. It has not replaced the Iranian nuclear program as the most prominent cause for alarm raised by the Israel lobby and its allies, but it is moving in that direction. Naturally enough, this heightened publicity is being…

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  • Scarlett Johansson isn't naive: She prefers profits to human rights

    By stating that the illegality of settlements is 'very easily debatable' and that there is no 'right or wrong side,' the actress has proven she is not naive at all - but is rather choosing money over humanitarian concerns. By default, she is enabling the occupation. In her first explicit response since the Sodastream-Oxfam controversy, actress Scarlett Johansson told The Guardian Sunday that she stands by her decision to sign as brand ambassador with the Israeli company that has a factory in a West Bank settlement, stating, "I was aware of that particular factory before I signed it." Reiterating her original defense…

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  • Figures show: Peace talks and settlement construction go hand in hand

    Successive Israeli governments have argued for years that settlements are not an obstacle to peace. The data tells a different story. Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics revealed earlier this week that 2013 was a record year in settlement construction, while 2014 has seen the beginning of construction of 2,534 housing projects - a rise of 123 percent from 2013. Settlement construction took place all over the West Bank – in the so-called settlement blocs, which could be annexed to Israel in a two-state framework; in isolated settlements that are slated to be evacuated under such an agreement; on the western side of Israel’s…

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  • EU policy on Israel: 'More-for-more' or carrots and sticks?

    Nothing is polarizing European politicians as much as Israel-Palestine, says a member of the EU Parliament. Notes from a symposium in the Netherlands. I took part in a one-day symposium on the EU's policy toward Israel/Palestine last week in The Hague. The event, which took place at the Clingendael Institute, was hosted by “A Different Jewish Voice,” a local pro-peace group. Among the speakers were the EU's former envoy to the region, the current EU director for Middle East policy and three Dutch politicians, all from the center-Left. There were some interesting comments made, which I would like to share with our readers. The central…

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  • Boycott goes on trial in Israel's High Court

    Civil rights organizations argue the 'anti-boycott law' has created a chilling effect, stifling debate on one of the most divisive issues facing Israeli society. If that's the case, the state counters, then how has BDS grown so much in recent years? In a hearing that felt at times like the political boycott itself was on trial, an extended panel of nine justices from Israel’s High Court of Justice heard arguments for and against legislation targeting calls to boycott Israel on Sunday. It was the second such session following petitions by civil rights groups asking the court to strike down the…

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  • The cynical use of Palestinian workers in the SodaStream controversy

    As a rule, Palestinians working for Israelis in the West Bank hate the settlements and the occupation. But they have to feed their families, so they swallow their pride. Supporters of the occupation have found a new set of spokesmen: the Palestinian workers at the West Bank factory owned by the Israeli company SodaStream, of BDS and Scarlett Johansson fame. Reporters from The Christian Science Monitor, The Telegraph and other media outlets talked to some of the 500 Palestinians employed at the Mishor Adumim plant, and quoted them saying they were against the boycott. It was threatening their livelihood. They…

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  • West Bank riot illustrates essence of occupation

    When residents of one of the most radical settlements in the West Bank terrorized their Palestinian neighbors, the army and police did what they are becoming known for doing: absolutely nothing. By Yesh Din (written by Yossi Gurvitz) On April 25th, 2013, Raed Mahmoud Ahmad Sabah was in his house in the village of 'Urif when he noticed three Israeli civilians, all wearing hoods, approaching his house from the nearby settlement of Yitzhar. Shortly afterwards, a settlement security vehicle joined the group, and out stepped a man who Sabah identified as a settlement security officer. Several minutes late, two IDF…

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  • Scarlett Johansson's naive SodaStream defense

    American actress Scarlett Johansson has become the center of controversy following the announcement that she is the new face of SodaStream, an Israeli company with a large factory in the West Bank. SodaStream produces domestic carbonation machines for making sodas at home, and has a large factory in the Mishor Adumim industrial zone, located inside Ma'ale Adumim, the third largest settlement in the occupied West Bank. (This fact is conspicuously absent from its Wikipedia page). The company has both Palestinian and Israeli employees working in its West Bank factory, branding itself as an environmentally friendly, ethical alternative for soda lovers…

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  • The writing on the wall: Boycott is top story in Israel's No. 1 paper

    Following Channel 2 News’ remarkable Saturday night prime-time feature on the boycott of Israel, 'Yedioth Ahronoth' delivers same warning in big, bold letters on Monday’s front page. “100 leaders of the economy warn of boycott on Israel,” reads the lead headline in Monday’s Yedioth Ahronoth. The sub-headline includes the quote, “The world is losing its patience and the threat of sanctions is increasing. We must reach an agreement with the Palestinians.” The commentary next to it by star columnist Sever Plocker is titled, “It’s the economy, Bibi.” Yedioth is almost as popular and influential an Israeli newspaper as Channel 2…

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  • The Palestinians should thank Ya'alon

    He's dealt a blow to Israel's prospects in the all-important blame game.   By making Israel look like the rejectionist side in the peace process, and by doing so in a spectacularly galling way, Defense Minister Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon’s verbal attack on John Kerry has helped the cause of ending the occupation. It’s no mystery that the overriding goal of both Israel and the Palestinians in Kerry’s peace talks has been to avoid getting blamed for their inevitable failure. Now, after Ya’alon dissed Kerry and his diplomatic baby so thoroughly and contemptuously – and, even more to the point, without…

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  • Resource: How agriculture is used to take over West Bank land

    The Zionist ideal of Jewish agriculture in the Land of Israel reached the occupied West Bank within months of the end of the 1967 War. The agricultural takeover of large swaths of land requires relatively few resources and time in comparison with actual construction or the establishment of outposts, and facilitates the quick establishment of facts on the ground. This activity is part of a widespread and well-funded strategy, whose explicit goal is to expand the territory controlled by Israeli settlers throughout Area C in the West Bank. A recent report by Dror Etkes of Kerem Navot shows that the…

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