Sacrificing Israel’s Friendships – and Future— at the Altar of Elad

Last week, the Israeli online magazine +972 reported that Maj. Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin, the former head of military intelligence and the current director of the Institute for National Security Studies, and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, signed onto an ad congratulating settlers for taking over some 7 buildings (with more than 20 apartments) in East Jerusalem, in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, which the settlers call the City of David/Ir David.  The ad read:

On the eve of Sukkot, we are happy to congratulate the dozens of new families that are joining the Jewish settlement of Ir David these days.  We salute the Zionist work of those who take part in this mission. Strengthening Jewish presence in Jerusalem is the challenge for all of us, and by your act of settlement you make us all stand taller. Together, we will welcome the pilgrims who are visiting on the holiday. We appreciate and endear you.

Yadlin and his co-signers are, in effect, endorsing the sacrifice of Israel’s future at the altar of Elad.  This is the right-wing organization that for decades has been the engine behind settlement in Silwan—an enterprise that has historically been and continues to be especially problematic politically, morally, and legally.  While recently Elad has endeavored to transform itself into a “mainstream” organization associated with cultural and touristic activities, its raison d’etre has not changed: to create facts on the ground that prevent a two-state solution and to establish an exclusionary, Jewish/Israeli hegemony in the heart of Palestinian East Jerusalem.

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Blaming the Messenger: Bibi & Friends Attack Peace Now

On October 1, the Israeli Peace Now movement broke the news that on the eve of Rosh Hashana, when nobody was paying attention, the Netanyahu government went ahead with final approval of a plan for construction of a new settlement in East Jerusalem – Givat Hamatos.  To understand why this plan is so significant and problematic, see this analysis from Peace Now.  For further dismantling of the excuses offered by Netanyahu and other settlement apologists after news of the approval came out, see this analysis from Danny Seidemann.

The news of this new settlement approval – which came on the heels of the takeover of 7 new properties by settlers in Silwan – cast a pall over Netayahu’s subsequent meeting in Washington, DC with President Obama.  In the wake of that meeting, and following statements from the Obama Administration condemning the new settlement approval, Netanyahu and his fellow settlement defenders/apologists apparently decided that their best defense would be to go on offense – against Peace Now. 

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Peace Now: Why is Givat Hamatos So Significant?


On 24 September, 2014 the Jerusalem local Planning and Construction Committee published an ad in a local Jerusalem weekly announcing the validation of plan No. 14295 for the construction of 2,610 housing units in Givat Hamatos (link to the ad). Following the harsh reactions of the Americans, Netanyahu tried to argue that there was nothing to criticize him about. Here are a few facts following Netanyahu's claims:
 

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Peace Now: Settlers Take Over 6 Houses in Silwan

Settlers entered last night (30.09.2014) into 6 buildings in Silwan, in the area of Wadi Hilweh creating a new reality in the sensitive area, just few meters from Jerusalem's Old City and Temple Mount (Al-Aqsa Mosque). Despite settlers claim to have purchased the buildings from Palestinians, some owners of the buildings are denying any sale and have begun operating in order to evacuate the settlers, among others, through legal procedures.

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Peace Now: So How Many Settlers Are There?

As published today by AP, Settlers claim that the number of Israelis living in the West Bank is 382,031 (excluding those who live in East Jerusalem). This number shows a rapid growth in setters' population, of 2% in six months, double the growth rate in Israel itself.

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16/9/14

Earlier this year the Jerusalem Municipality approved two construction permits requested by the right wing Elad association in Jerusalem's Hashalom Forest located on the seam zone between East and West Jerusalem. One permit was for legalizing structures built by Elad as part of an ideological tourist center they established on lands given to them by the JNF (KKL), and the other was for the construction of a new camping site meant to accommodate large groups.

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Everything Elliot Abrams & Uri Sadot Want You to Believe about Settlements Is Wrong

Last week, Elliot Abrams and Uri Sadot co-authored yet another defense of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s settlement policy.  At the heart of their case is this assertion:

 Israel's actual settlement construction pace has reached a historical low.  Only 507 housing units were approved for construction by Netanyahu’s government in the first six months of 2014, a 71.9 percent decrease from the same period in 2013… 

What does the data actually say? 

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Peace Now: High Court advises sending Nahla land case back to appeals panel

8/9/14 

The High Court of Justice issued yesterday (7/9/14) a detailed pre-ruling decision on a petition by landowners from the village of Nahla, located northeast of Efrat, contesting the declaration of 1,341 dunams as state lands. In its decision, the court rejected most of the petitioners' arguments, but suggested referring the case back to the appeals committee in order to discuss the question of whether it is possible to declare a parcel of land as state land if only part of it is being cultivated.

The state must announce by September 30, 2014 whether it accepts the court's proposal.

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Peace Now: The New Settlement in E2 (Nahla) - A Significant Threat to the Two States Solution

Update on E2 – September ‏2014
Prepared by Peace Now, Kerem Navot, and Combatants for Peace
 

At the present time, preparations are moving ahead for establishing a new settlement near the Palestinian village of Nahla (south of Bethlehem and east of the settlement Efrat). Establishing this settlement would bisect the West Bank and seriously damage the chance for a two-states solution (as would the plan to expand Maaleh Adumim westward to area  “E1”, east of Jerusalem), and for this reason we call this plan E2. The plan is for 2,500 housing units on an area of about 1,700 dunams (i.e.170 hectares or 425 acres).

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Peace Now: Unprecedented land confiscation of 4,000 dunams near Bethlehem

The Civil Administration declared 4,000 dunams (990 acres) as State Land near the settlement of Gva'ot west of Bethlehem. As far as we know, this declaration is unprecedented in its scope since the 1980's and can dramatically change the reality in the Gush Etzion and the Bethlehem area. For an explanation about state land declaration see here.

Gva'ot was established in 1984 as a Military Base between the Palestinian villages of Al Jab'a and Nahhalin. During the 90’s, the soldiers were replaced by Yeshiva students that occupied the 30 caravans on site, and in 1998 the site was included within the official Municipal Borders of the settlement of Alon Shvut, which is located 3 km away. Recently, some 10 families moved in Gvaot and established an education institution on site.

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