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  • How Bibi is turning the defense budget into a settler slush fund

    Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ya'alon will transfer NIS 70 million from the defense budget to compensate the Ulpana Hill lawbreakers. How will the common soldier interpret the command's will? By Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz Israel's Channel 10 exposed earlier this week another layer in the unending saga of Ulpana Hill: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon agreed to transfer NIS 70 million from the security budget as part of the Ulpana Hill compensation deal. Meaning: the tax money that was to be spent on defending the citizens of Israel will, in fact, be…

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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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  • Between a rock and a Haredi place: profile of a liberal rabbi

    Rabbi Dov Lipman is soft-spoken and not even 41 years old, but has seen his share of action on the battleground of Israeli society. He's taken verbal beatings and sustained physical injury. He's won praise and publicity, and drawn fire too, for his tireless struggle against religious extremists literally next door. Lipman is a Haredi-ordained educator (Haredi = ultra-Orthodox), and a religious Zionist with a liberal bent – a rare bird in these parts. His main political arena is his home, the city of Beit Shemesh not far from Jerusalem, with its growing Haredi population. This year, Beit Shemesh became…

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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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  • It's the Occupation, stupid.

    After 45 years, Israel's control over Palestinian life cannot be seen as temporary, or as an aberration. It is no longer about Israel having to choose between continuing the occupation and its democratic identity , since the choice has already been made. What is left to deal with now are the consequences of this choice. By Hagai El-Ad Five structures built on private Palestinian land being moved or not is not the question. Rather, look at the one-quarter of the occupied territories declared "state land," where Jews are allowed to build "legally." But what "state" are we talking about? In the name…

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  • Netanyahu uses illegal settlement affair to teach leftists a lesson

    Prime Minister Netanyahu is directing the 'price tag' method at NGOs and the judicial system, stating that his government will act against those trying to enforce what little rights the Palestinians have. In the last couple of years, we've witnessed a series of pogroms by settlers or their supporters, directed either at the IDF or, more often, Palestinians. These attacks, which received the common moniker of "price tags", were orchestrated by several settler leaders, and the concept behind them was that each time the government tried to dislodge a settlement or an outpost, someone else would suffer. Generally, the settler turned…

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  • Knesset vote reveals how weak the settlers truly are

    How come a decision by the government to built 850 housing units in the West Bank is praised as a move toward peace? The answer has to do with the political theater taking place for decades How bad is this political moment? It's enough to say that a move in which the prime minister announces the construction of 850 new housing units in the West Bank – most of them on the eastern side of the separation wall, the one located on land supposed to be within a future Palestinian state, even according to Netanyahu - has won him praise…

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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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  • Knesset rejects 'land grab' bill; settlements expand anyway

    Updated: The Knesset on Wednesday voted down a bill called the "Settlement Arrangement Law," a motion tailored to legalize settlement areas and outposts in the West Bank facing legal challenges from Palestinians who claim to own the land privately. The vote failed (69 against, 22 in favor) despite severe pressure from the right this week, and following Prime Minister Netanyahu's threat to fire any government minister who supports the bill. On Tuesday the Attorney General approved a compromise plan offered by Netanyahu, which ensures the future of settlement expansion in the West Bank. In a fierce legislative battle to win state approval for settlement…

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