Must- Read: Major Report in Israeli Press on Government Spending on Settlements

On July 30th, the Calcalist published a major report [Hebrew] examining the issue of Israeli government spending on settlements.   Among other things, the articles note that government spending on settlements increased by 38% under the Netanyahu government (from 2010 to 2011).  The articles also note the fact that Israeli government spending on settlements from 1992-2011 totaled NIS 27 billion (in 2011 terms).  To get a sense of the magnitude of this spending, the article notes that in 2010 the Israeli government allocated a budget of NIS 27.5 bilion over ten years "for the first stage of project to introduce into [the entire country of] Israel a network of fast highways and railway lines."  All articles translated by Israel News Today (INT).

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Open Zion (Daily Beast): APN's Lara Friedman Responds to Dani Dayan


Today’s New York Times features an op-ed by Dani Dayan, the head of the Yesha Council (the group that represents settlers and their interests). There isn’t really any news here: it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the settlers want the world to believe that settlements are good, peace efforts are pointless, and that the way forward should be premised on leaving all settlements in place, and leaving the West Bank under Israeli control, in perpetuity. Nonetheless, it is worth examining some representative snippets from this high profile op-ed.

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Press Release: APN to Netanyahu: Repudiate Levy Commission Report

Levy_Netanyahu_Collage2.jpgWashington, DC - Americans for Peace Now (APN) today joined its Israeli sister organization, Peace Now (Shalom Achshav) in calling on the government of Israel to repudiate the findings of the commission it appointed to address the problem of illegal outposts in the West Bank. APN calls on other US Jewish groups that support the two-state solution to raise their voices in opposition to this report.

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"David Suissa's settlements crisis" by APN's Lara Friedman

This op-ed is a response to a column by David Suissa. To read his piece, click here or see his response.

David Suissa wants us to believe that settlements aren't an obstacle to peace because their physical "footprint," their built-up area, represents "only" around 1% of the West Bank.
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Op-Ed: Stop the excuses, boycott the settlements

Peter Beinart's recent New York Times article advocating a settlement boycott has sparked a spectacular public display of Jewish angst. Apparently for many who view themselves as the judges, advocates and juries of what is "kosher" progressive Jewish activism, his suggestion is beyond the pale.

They agree that settlements are a problem, even a shonda, but boycott fellow Jews? Heaven forbid. And even if it weren't Jewishly distasteful, it wouldn't work anyway, so don't go there.
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Biggest West Bank settlement since Netanyahu took power approved

shilo186x140.jpgYesterday the Israeli government sent yet another signal that it when it comes to settlements, rule of law is optional. It also gave another sign that this Israeli government prefers settlements to peace.

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As the Illegal Outpost of Migron Goes, So Goes All of Israel (Huffington Post)


The fate of Migron, an illegal outpost in the heart of the West Bank, is about to be decided. The implications of this decision are about far more than the future of a handful of settlers in a single outpost. This decision will be a litmus test of Israeli rule of law and, ultimately, of Israel's capacity to make peace with the Palestinians.

How can one outpost be so important?

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Settlements 101

What is a settlement?

"Settlement" is the term used to denote Israeli civilian communities built in territory conquered by Israel in the Six Day War (June 1967). This territory is comprised of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula. These neighborhoods have been a major issue in the peace process since 1967 and remain highly controversial.

Settlements in the Sinai were evacuated and destroyed in 1979, following Israel's historic peace agreement with Egypt and the return of the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt.

Settlements in the Gaza Strip were evacuated and destroyed as part of Israel's unilateral "disengagement" from Gaza in 2005.

Therefore, today settlements only exist in the Golan Heights and the West Bank (including East Jerusalem).

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This week Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat will be in Washington.  He will be holding meetings with Members of Congress, Administration officials, think tanks, and the press.

These interactions offer an excellent opportunity to hear the mayor's views about the Jerusalem-related issues of contention right now between his government and the Obama Administration. 

While Mayor Barkat has a right to hold any opinions he wishes, the facts are important and, when and if he deviates from them, he should be challenged. 

To help prepare the mayor's Washington interlocutors for what will no doubt be a lively exchange of views, Jerusalem expert Daniel Seidemann and APN's Lara Friedman have assembled this guide to some of the most prominent - and inaccurate - assertions often heard about Jerusalem.

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Settlements in Focus: Top 6 Bogus Excuses for East Jerusalem Settlement Expansion

Volume 6; Issue 3
By Lara Friedman, Americans for Peace Now and Daniel Seidemann, Terrestrial Jerusalem
You've heard them from Netanyahu, from Barak, from pundits, and from friends and family.  Here we take on directly the bogus excuses offered to justify East Jerusalem settlement expansion.
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