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.
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.
This week, Alpher discusses whether Egypt's reported proposal to help solve the Palestinian issue by allowing the Gaza Strip to expand into Egyptian territory in northeast Sinai in realistic; is it a breakthrough that for the very first time a senior Hamas official stated that there is no religious prohibition on negotiating directly with Israel; is it a watershed event that Friday 43 reservists from the IDF's elite listening unit 8200 published a declaration refusing to serve, in protest at the abuse of intelligence data to perpetuate the occupation; why the Sunni Arab world is seemingly so reluctant to sign up for President Obama's military campaign against ISIL.
I write this letter as a blessed cease fire is just going into effect, — not the first cease fire, and I don’t know if this one will hold. But it may be, so we all hope, that the Gaza war is over. If not now, then very soon negotiations for a lasting cease fire or even for something that might look like peace will begin. I have no sense of how these negotiations will go, but all of us at Americans for Peace Now believe that this is an opportunity for Israel to act boldly to strengthen the Palestine Authority (PA) and its new unity government and, with its help, to prevent or strongly curtail the rearmament of Hamas and to open the way for reconstruction and economic development in Gaza. But Gaza is not alone. There can’t be a legitimate PA in Gaza unless Israel is ready to work with the PA in Ramallah for the two-state solution that we have been defending for so long. When you read this, you will know whether Israel and Palestine have moved closer, or farther away, from this necessary goal.
Meanwhile, we have to think about what is happening inside Israel itself. Before the war began, we followed with horror the news of the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli boys and then of the murder of a Palestinian boy. Gilad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel, Eyal Yifrah, and Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir: in our hearts, these are all “our boys,” who died deaths that no child should.
Jerusalem, Israel – A delegation representing American for Peace Now (APN) met yesterday with Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin at the President’s residence in Jerusalem.
Rivlin expressed appreciation for APN’s support of the state of Israel and for caring about its future as a Jewish state and a democracy.
Klutznick pointed out that unlike APN and its Israeli sister organization, Shalom Achshav (Peace Now), President Rivlin does not support the two-state solution. President Rivlin replied that if the Israeli Knesset adopts a two-state solution he will not oppose it. “We should live here with open borders, whether in one state or in two states,” he said.
Asked how he planned to use the office of the President to advance efforts for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, Rivlin replied that in his opinion, peace ought to start with improving relations between Israel’s Jewish majority and its Arab minority. He said that he hopes to use the office of the President to turn conflicts into constructive debates.
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?
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.
APN is live-tweeting our annual study tour through Israel and the West Bank, as participants meet with politicians, journalists, and experts- all while witnessing first-hand the consequences of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. See below for highlights of the tour so far, and follow APN's twitter feed for up-to-the-second tweets, including those from Israel.
(Translated from Hebrew and reprinted in the Commentary/Analysis section of APN's News Nosh on September 1, 2014)
Now of all times, when a political initiative is needed, when Hamas is trying to portray itself as the savior of the Palestinian people, when Abbas was forced to deal with harsh criticism for not battling enough against Israel - now of all times, Netanyahu decides to declare 4,000 dunams (nearly 1000 acres) in Gush Etzion as state land. How will Abbas explain to his people the disregard and aggression of the Netanyahu government towards him? While Abbas tried to moderate and calm the area, Netanyahu humiliates him in front of his people.
According to international law, the decision to make land state land requires the sovereign to designate the land for the benefit of the general population in the area. It's no secret that when it comes to the Territories, the only ones to benefit from state land are settlers.