The Washington Post: Israel wants to bulldoze this ramshackle village, but Europe is providing life support

 By William Booth,  August 28, 2016

For a quick reality check on the current stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there’s no better place to visit than this little village of miserable huts and sheep pens in the middle of nowhere.

The hamlet in the hills south of Hebron has become an improbable proxy in a cold war waged among Jewish settlers, the Israeli government, Western diplomats, peace activists and the 340 or so Arab herders who once inhabited caves on the site and now live in squalid tents.

Israel’s military authority in the West Bank wants to demolish the Palestinian community, contending that the ramshackle structures, made of old tires and weathered tarpaulins, were built without permits and must come down.

The Palestinian residents insist they are not squatters but heirs to the land they have farmed and grazed since the Ottoman era.

They say Israel wants to depopulate the area of Arabs and replace them with Jews.

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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 what the choice of Diaspora partners for the Israel Ministry of Diaspora Affairs' new program for outreach among Jewish university students tells us; how significant is it that Director General Dore Gold of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs has paid a brief secret visit to a Muslim country in Africa with which Israel has no diplomatic relations; and any redeeming qualities to Defense Minister Lieberman’s new “carrot and stick” policy toward the Palestinians.

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Lara_headshot_4.2016squareIn 2009, Israel arrested the head of the northern branch of Israel’s Islamic Movement for incitement, for saying that Israel “seeks to build a synagogue on Al-Aqsa Mosque.” Since then – and especially over the past two years, as unrest has rocked Jerusalem – Netanyahu has regularly argued that Palestinian Authority incitement over the Temple Mount is a chief cause of violence, and has called Palestinian officials’ statements about Israel’s intentions on the Temple Mount “gross lies.”

Earlier this month, on August 14-15, Jews observed the fast day of Tisha B’Av, commemorating various catastrophes that have befallen the Jewish people, including the destruction of the first and second temples. Israel’s Deputy Defense Minister, Eli Ben-Dahan, marked this solemn occasion by telling a crowd gathered for a march around the Old City: We aren’t embarrassed to say it: We want to rebuild the Temple on the Temple Mount.”

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Watch this Thursday in the Washington Jewish Week and the Baltimore Jewish Times for the next in a series of ads from APN. This week's message is from Ezer Weizman,  the seventh President of Israel, commander of the Israeli Air Force and Minister of Defense.

A combat pilot, Weizman received his training in the British Army in which he enlisted during World War II and then in the British Royal Air Force (RAF) during which he attended aviation school, serving with the RAF in India.

Commander of the Israeli Air Force from 1958 to 1966, he later served as deputy Chief of the General Staff. In 1977, he became Defense Minister under Menachem Begin. After the visit to Jerusalem of Egypt's president Anwar Sadat in 1977, Weizman developed a close friendship with him. These relations were a crucial factor in the talks that culminated in the 1978 Camp David accords, followed by a peace treaty with Egypt the following year.

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Seidemann-Ofran320x265Jerusalem 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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