Analysis News

settlements

  • IDF's 'start-up nation' reservists refuse to serve the occupation

    One of the most striking points in the unprecedented refusal letter is the forceful argument that Israel’s policies vis-a-vis Palestinians are simply unrelated to defense –and they are a matter of choice. Forty-three members of the IDF's prestigious and secretive Unit 8200 have signed a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stating their refusal to serve in reserve duty related to military governance over Palestinians. The document, made available by Ynet, expresses their opposition in blunt language (my translation): We who came out of Unit 8200, men and women reservists past and present, declare that we refuse to take part…

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  • Everything Elliott Abrams knows about Israeli settlements is wrong

    The Israeli government uses the pretext of the two-state solution’s inevitability to justify building settlements on Palestinian land, all without ever earnestly seeking a two-state solution. Imagine that the Palestinian Authority announced that based on an offer made by Israel in past peace negotiations — and irrespective of the result of those negotiations — it was launching a program to send Palestinian refugees to resettle inside Israel proper. Indeed, there is documentation that former prime minister Ehud Olmert made a concrete offer to absorb 10,000 Palestinian refugees as part of a two-state agreement. The only problem, Israel points out, is that…

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  • Why the EU needs to rein in Israel's settlement policy

    An Israeli academic makes the case for Europe to contain Israel’s settlement policy with greater determination and more concrete measures. By Nurit Peled-Elhanan Times are very tough for both Israeli and Palestinian families. The death toll in Gaza currently stands at more than 1,000, the majority of whom are civilians. The death toll in Israel stands at 43, three of whom are civilians. Three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered in the West Bank. A Palestinian youth from Jerusalem was burned alive by Jewish extremists. Dangerous and violent racism against Arab-Israeli citizens encouraged by Israeli ministers and parliament members has led…

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  • PHOTOS: Israeli authorities destroy Palestinian family's valley of fruit trees

    Israeli authorities destroyed some 1,500 fruit trees on a Palestinian farm near Bethlehem. The family has ownership documentation dating back to the Ottoman period. Text and photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org The sign at the entrance to the Nassar family farm reads, "We refuse to be enemies."  In 2000, they named their land Tent of Nations and launched a program “to bring people of various cultures together to build bridges of understanding, reconciliation, and peace.” They invite youth from around the world, especially from areas of conflict, together for face-to-face interactions and host solidarity movements, churches, youth organizations, and tourist…

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  • Settlements as punishment prove Palestinian lives are bargaining chip

    By using settlements as a punitive response to Palestinian political actions, Israel proves they come at the direct expense of Palestinian statehood, and that it holds all the power in this conflict. Here we go again. Palestinians do something Israel doesn't approve of, and Israel retaliates by using its unchecked power and leverage to block the possibility of a Palestinian state ever becoming a reality. By announcing the advancement of about 3,300 settlement units on Thursday, as a retaliatory measure that it unabashedly admits is punishment for the formation of the temporary Palestinian unity government, Israel is proving that settlements…

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  • The art of legitimizing occupation

    Resting on documents older than the state itself, the Bibi-commissioned Levy Report claimed that there is no occupation in the West Bank. The problem? Levy's findings are still being quoted in other reports. By Yossi Gurvitz for Yesh Din As some may remember, two years ago the Netanyahu government commissioned the Levy Committee Report in a desperate attempt to find a modicum of legal justification for the ongoing presence of the illegal outposts in the West Bank. The head of the committee, the late Justice Edmond Levy, who passed away recently, is perhaps best remembered as the only justice in Israel’s…

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  • Resource: Inventing retroactive 'solutions' for land theft

    In February 2012, the Netanyahu government established a committee to provide retroactive approval for illegally-constructed outposts in the West Bank. The Levy Committee, headed by Supreme Court Justice Edmund Levy, attempted to find a juridical solution to the growing number of petitions submitted to the Supreme Court on behalf of Palestinian landowners demanding the state enforce its laws and demolish illegal construction on private land. According the Levy Report, the territories seized by Israel in 1967 are not considered "occupied," and that legitimate legal tools exist for approving outposts constructed without permits, even if they were built on private Palestinian land. A new…

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  • Memorial Day: An open letter to Israel's defense minister from a bereaved brother

    Every year, the defense minister sends a letter to bereaved families, reminding them that the death of their loved ones did not happen in vain. Today, as Israel marks Memorial Day, the brother of Tamar Ben Eliahu, who was killed in a Jerusalem bus bombing during the Second Intifada, has decided to speak out against a government that isn't willing to 'take brave steps toward bringing peace and quiet.' By Lior Ben Eliahu Dear Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, As a bereaved brother and son to a bereaved family, I would like to respond to the letter you sent to bereaved families, which…

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  • Court case challenges the building blocks of occupation

    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…

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  • Peace process: Only four options left

    Resolutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be reached either by agreement or evolution. As the peace talks stumble toward their formal end point, there are essentially four scenarios for political developments between the river and the sea, excluding resurgent violence: two states by agreement, two states by evolution, one state by agreement, or one sovereign entity by evolution. Policymakers should acknowledge these scenarios openly to assess what each one will mean for the future of the region. I recently proposed using basic values as a guideline to assess the desirability of such scenarios: reducing violence, realizing human and civil rights,…

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  • Settlers fear prisoner release deal, extension of talks

    Netanyahu has probably spent his Passover vacation trying to reach a deal that would enable the settlers to save face and stay in the government while peace talks continue. The Right is launching campaigns to convince right-wing politicians to vote 'no.' With a little more than a week left until the formal deadline for the Israeli-American-Palestinian talks, efforts to extend the negotiations still haven't produced a breakthrough. Nevertheless, a last-minute deal shouldn't be ruled out either; often times, the most productive political maneuvering takes place when no news is reported. On the Israeli side, the best indicators – as always – come from…

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  • Photos of the week: Mourners, matzah and marathons

    This week: A bystander's funeral, a settlement is born in Hebron, a Passover for past and present strangers in the land, remains from a house demolition, love wins in the Palestine Marathon, remembering a massacre, petitioning the Pope, and a masquerade in Al Ma'sara.                    

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  • 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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