Jerusalem expert Daniel Seidemann and settlement expert Hagit Ofran of Israel’s Peace Now movement were APN’s guest on an August 25th 2016 briefing call on the latest settlements-related developments in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

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Peace Now Settlement Watch: Establishing a New Settlement in Hebron - More Information Revealed

Following our exposure regarding the possible establishment of a settlement in Hebron's "Plugat Hamitkanim" military base, below is new information uncovered in the past 24 hours.  

1. It appears that former Defense Minister, Moshe Ya'alon, approved the allocation of a portion of the land where the military base is located to the Ministry of Housing. The Housing Ministry is now preparing a plan to build 28 housing units in the area. If implemented, the plan would increase the number of settlers in Hebron by approximately 100 (an increase of over 10% to the settler population in the city). The planning process at the Civil Administration's High Planning Committee has not yet begun.

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Take Action on Sussya + Seidemann/Ofran briefing call

In the past few weeks, it seems like every day brings more alarming news regarding Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Some of this activity poses a direct threat to the viability of a two-state solution.

In the coming weeks, we will urge you to take action to oppose these dangerous developments.

This week, we are inviting you to a Thursday briefing call on this issue with two of the world’s leading experts on West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements: Hagit Ofran, the director of Peace Now’s Settlement Watch project, and Daniel Seidemann, the founder and director of Terrestrial Jerusalem. We are also urging you to send letters to Secretary of State John Kerry and to Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, to save the West Bank Palestinian village of Sussya.

The briefing call with Danny and Hagit will take place this Thursday, August 25, at 2:30 pm. To join the call, please dial 951-797-1058 and enter the code 147414.

In addition to educating yourself on the current developments regarding settlements, we are asking you to join the campaign to save the Palestinian village of Sussya, which has involved extraordinary efforts by human rights activists both inside and outside Israel. This campaign has now reached a decisive moment.

The Israeli government is poised to make a final decision on whether to raze almost half of the village, located in Area C on land long-coveted by settlers.

Now is the time to take action and add your voice to those of so many other activists working to save Sussya. We know the Israeli government and leaders around the world are listening. Take action now.

Click here to send your message to Secretary of State John Kerry.

Click here to send your message to Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer.

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In the past few weeks, it seems like every day brings more alarming news regarding Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Some of this activity poses a direct threat to the viability of a two-state solution.

In the coming weeks, we will urge you to take action to oppose these dangerous developments.

This week, we are inviting you to a Thursday briefing call on this issue with with two of the world’s leading experts on West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements: Hagit Ofran, the director of Peace Now’s Settlement Watch project, and Daniel Seidemann, the founder and director of Terrestrial Jerusalem.

 

Listen here.

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Peace Now Settlement Watch: Settlers' Residence Being Prepared in a Hebron Military Compound

Summary:
  • Renovations are currently taking place in the military compound of "Plugat Hamitkanim" in Hebron, in order to prepare the area for the residence of settlers.
  • This area, which used to serve as Hebron's central bus station, was seized through a military order during the 80's. By law, and according to a High Court verdict from 1979, it is forbidden to seize lands for military needs and then use them for the purpose of settlements.
  • Having residential housing in a military base also contradicts the principle of distinction between civilians and combatants, and constitutes a clear violation of International Humanitarian Law. Thus, the plan is to deduct a portion of the land seized for military purposes and allocate it for the purpose of a settlement. While the seizure order will be lifted, this constitutes a bending of the law mentioned above for the benefit of settlers.
  • This portion of the land used to be under Jewish ownership prior to 1948 and was leased to the Hebron municipality by the Jordanians. The status of Hebron municipality is of protected tenancy and therefore, until now, the Israeli legal opinion was that the land cannot be taken from the municipality other than in the pretext of military use.
  • In addition, allocating lands belonged to Jews before 1948 to settlers  is practically an implementation of the "right of return" for Jews only and on the expense of the protected Palestinians tenants.
  • In a letter to the Defense Minister and to the Head of the Civil Administration, Peace now demanded to prevent the establishment of this New settlement in Hebron.
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August 22, 2016 - Russian-Iranian strategic cooperation and its ramifications

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Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

This week, Alpher discusses whether we are on the cusp of a major Middle East power reorientation; why Iran would, when the Islamic Republic has always insisted on “Neither East nor West”, allow Russian bombers to use the Hamadan air base to launch bomber strikes against anti-regime targets in Syria; Russia’s motive; how Moscow’s power plays in Turkey and Iran, neither necessarily a friend of the Arabs, are expanding its influence elsewhere in the Middle East; how all this affects Israel; how he assesses the U.S. response to greater Russian penetration of the region; and if a Netanyahu-Abbas summit, perhaps in Moscow, is likely.

 

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There is no better legacy than peacemaker

The struggle to bring peace and justice to both Israelis and Palestinians remains as important as ever. And so too is the need to understand the history of the conflict, as well as the two peoples who stand at its center.

BeermanI often think of the historical experience and wisdom of my dear friend, Rabbi Leonard Beerman z"l (pictured), who had a deeply personal angle on the conflict. After serving in the U.S. Marines, Leonard joined the Haganah, the underground Jewish militia in Palestine fighting for independence against local Palestinian Arabs. Following his experience, Leonard returned with new powers of understanding and empathy for both peoples, in addition to a life-long commitment to pacifism.

One of the people with whom Leonard most liked to discuss his passions and hopes about the conflict was his dear friend, Milton Viorst. In fact, Milton has dedicated his new book, Zionism: The Birth and Transformation of an Ideal, to "Rabbi Beerman and the other peacemakers, the greatest of the Zionists."

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Peace Now Settlement Watch: Land Expropriation Advanced for a New Settlement on JNF Lands

In the State's response from August 10, 2016, to Peace Now's High Court petition, the State notified the court that it is currently conducting a land survey in order to declare "state lands" south of Bethlehem, near the village of Nahla. A declaration as such, combined with the allocation of a small portion of the state lands in the area for the purpose of a road, will enable to connect the planned settlement of Givat Eitam to the settlement of Efrat. This connection will then allow for the establishment of the Givat Eitam settlement, also known as E2 due to its dire consequences on the two state solution. While the state lands in Givat Eitam have not yet been allocated for the construction of the planned settlement, the government intends to initially build the new settlement on the 300 dunams owned by Himanuta, a subsidiary of JNF. 

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August 15, 2016 - North of Israel: Turkey, Russia, Aleppo

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Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

This week, Alpher discusses the significance of last week’s rapprochement in St. Petersburg between Russia’s Putin and Turkey’s Erdogan; where this leaves the US, Europe, and Israel; if we are witnessing, apropos Erdogan, Putin and Netanyahu, the evolution of regional leadership toward a kind of democratic-autocratic model; how Putin and Russia became so central to the Middle East drama; and why Aleppo is so important.

 

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Menachem Brinker 1935-2016

BrinkerProf. Menachem Brinker, a co-founder of Israel’s Peace Now movement, an Israel Prize laureate in Hebrew Literature and a member of the Israeli Academy of Sciences and Humanities, died Thursday in Jerusalem at 81, after a long struggle with cancer.

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