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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The background and details on the current controversy of a new settlement housing project green-lighted in East Jerusalem.

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Settlements in Focus, Vol. 5, Issue 3 -Top 5 Bogus Excuses for Opposing a Settlement Freeze

Issues covered include 'Natural Growth', Settlement 'Blocs', Internal vs. External Expansion, Previously approved construction, and Subsidies and incentives...

June 19, 2009

A settlement freeze is good for Israel and good for peace. Settlements are bad for Israel. They constitute a burden toIsrael's security services. They create points of friction between Israelis and Palestinians. They drain Israel's financial resources. They create a false impression that Israelis are not interested in a two-state solution.

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Settlement in Focus: Vol. 1, Issue 10 - "Behind the Barrier: A Profile of Elon Moreh"


Settlements in Focus

Behind the Barrier: A Profile of Elon Moreh (Vol.1, Issue 10)
A publication of Americans for Peace Now

Where exactly is Elon Moreh?

Elon Moreh is an isolated settlement located on the northeastern outskirts of the Palestinian city of Nablus ("Shechem" in Hebrew). It is located 18 miles east of the Green Line and 13.5 miles west of the Jordan River (i.e., closer to Jordan than the Green Line). It is 32 miles from the center of Jerusalem.

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Providing detailed background and comparison to the various types of illegal construction.

Acting Prime Minister Olmert is being accused by some of his opponents of using a double standard - demolishing illegal settler construction but ignoring illegal "Arab" construction. Is this accurate?

Opponents of the settlers both inside and outside the government - including Peace Now - have long been accused, usually by settlers and their supporters, of caring only about illegal construction being carried out in the settlements, and ignoring illegal construction by "Arabs." This accusation generally reflects efforts to divert the public's focus from the manifest illegality of settlers' actions.

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