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September 24, 2016 / 21 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘building’

Continental Chutzpah: EU Building on Israeli Land, Warning Against Demolitions

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

The European Union over the past few years has been erecting illegal structures in Area C, which according to the Oslo agreement is under Israeli control. After several rightwing NGOs have complained, the IDF set out to demolish some of those structures. By rights, they should have taken all of them down, what with their being built without a permit. Israeli media publicized the demolition of those structures, some of which actually flew the EU flag — like those mythical cat burglars who leave their personal business card in the open safe. But last week the EU chutzpah has reached unprecedented highs when Lars Faaborg-Andersen, the Danish diplomat who since 2013 has been the ambassador of the European Union to Jerusalem, met with Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Gen. Yoav Mordechai, to warn him that if Israel keeps demolishing those “Palestinian homes” it would damage relations with Brussels.

According to a senior Israeli official who spoke to Ha’aretz, the meeting was tense and loaded. The ambassador accused Israel of hurting the “weakest Palestinian populations.” What the senior official did not share was that those structures are a means by which the EU has been challenging Israel’s claim to sovereignty in Area C (the PA is currently in charge in Areas A and B). It has to do with the diametrically opposed views of Israel and the EU of what constitutes the “two-state solution.”

Essentially, the Israeli politicians who are now in government, as well as more than a few in the opposition, envision a future peace deal that turns Areas A and B into an independent Palestinian entity, either as a state or an autonomy. The same Israeli leaders envision some permanent legal solution for the upwards of 400 thousand Jews living in Judea and Samaria, all of them in Area C, most likely with Israel annexing the large settlement clusters and giving away the rest of the land.

Virtually no one outside Israel supports this idea at the moment. Even Israel’s best friends in the world envision the ousting of the Jews from Area C, possibly while allowing Israel to retain eastern Jerusalem. How would that actually be done—no one cares to say, nor where would Israel gather the tens of billions of dollars required for such a move, never mind whether the settler population would acquiesce or opt instead for resistance that would make the traumatic evacuation of 8,000 Jews from Gaza’s Gush Katif look like a picnic. Meanwhile, while Area C in Israel’s view is eventually going to be annexed as part of a peace deal — to the Europeans Area C is Palestinian land ready to be redeemed.

Which is why the EU has been relentless at challenging Israel’s claim to Area C. And it’s why they’ve come up with the delusional notion that taking down 531 illegal Arab structures in 2015, 75 of which had been built by the EU, was damaging the two-state solution. Because the two-state solution the Europeans envision is without any Jews in Area C.

For the same reason, Ambassador Faaborg-Andersen was complaining that Israel is quick to condemn and demolish those illegal structures, but at the same time refuses to give Arabs permits to build legally in Area C. Because while the Arabs view Area C as soon to be part of free Palestine, Israelis plan to keep most of it, thank you very much.

There’s going to be another meeting with the EU envoy, on June 15, this time at the Israeli foreign ministry. The Europeans are going to demand a freeze on demolishing Arab structures in Area C, while at the same time also demanding a freeze on Jewish construction in the same Area C. And at some point something will have to give.

David Israel

Turkey’s President Erdogan ‘Waiting for Israel’ to Respond on Gaza

Saturday, May 21st, 2016

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he is waiting for Israel to grant permission for Turkey to construct energy and water transfer infrastructure in Gaza, according to a report published Saturday (May 21) in the Hurriyet Daily News, quoting an earlier broadcast.

“I expect that something will happen this month. It’s my wish that we’ll reach a conclusion in a short time,” Erdogan told a news broadcast by A Haber on May 19.

“In regards to [lifting] the embargo, they say, ‘We are open to allowing goods into Gaza through Turkey, but we are not open to those coming from places other than Turkey.’ But the problem is not only this. We have some other demands,” Erdogan said.

The Turkish leader said Ankara has demanded that Israel allow provision of continuous energy to Gaza, “as the enclave has only three to four hours of electricity per day,” Erdogan said.

He added that Turkey’s proposal to provide electricity to Gaza through a naval vessel was rejected by Israel.

“But they proposed something else: We told them that we are ready to construct all the infrastructure [of energy]. They viewed the proposal positively,” Erdogan said.

The second demand, he said, was that Turkey be allowed to provide water to Gaza either by desalinating the sea water or by drilling wells. “There are positive developments with regard to this issue as well,” he said.

Turkey’s third demand from Israel, said Erdogan, was regarding construction projects in Gaza.

“Our third offer is about building schools and hospitals. The construction of a hospital has been completed and necessary equipment is being provided. ‘These must be done,’ we told them. ‘If these would be done, then we’ll immediately appoint ambassadors and improve our relations in the right direction.’”

According to the report, Israeli and Turkish diplomats are expected to meet in the near future to finalize an agreement between the two countries.

But it’s impossible to know what the final outcome will be: Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party is set to meet at a nationwide Congress on May 22 to choose a new prime minister.

Incumbent Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, hand-picked by Erdogan, resigned his position earlier this month.

Hana Levi Julian

Games Galore: Building And Robotics

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Jodie Maoz

Jewish Response to Murder: Yet Another Building Acquired in Old City

Monday, May 9th, 2016

Last October, Rabbi Nehemia Lavi, 41, his wife and their seven children were having the third meal in their rooftop sukkah in the “Muslim Quarter” (which used to have an even mix of Jews, Muslims and Christians until the 1929 Arab riots) of the Old City of Jerusalem when they heard a woman’s cries for help from the street below. Rabbi Lavi, an officer in the IDF Reserves, grabbed his gun and ran downstairs, where an Arab terrorist, who had already murdered 22-year-old Aharon Bennett and seriously wounded his young wife Odel, repeatedly stabbed Lavi in the chest and neck, killing him, too. Then the Arab took the rabbi’s gun and shot the Bennetts’ toddler in the leg. Odel, with a knife in her shoulder, managed to run to an Israeli police outpost fifty meters away before losing consciousness. The police shot and killed the terrorist.

In what they dubbed a “true Zionist response” to Arab hatred and terror, Ateret Cohanim, an Israeli Jewish organization with a yeshiva and about 1,000 Jewish residents in the “Muslim Quarter” of the Old City of Jerusalem, recently helped facilitate an acquisition of another building located not far from the Flowers Gate, near the site of the murders, continuing the Jewish return to this part of the Old City.

New building acquired in Old City by Areret Cohanim - interior / Courtesy

New building acquired in Old City by Ateret Cohanim – interior / Courtesy

The building (yet to be named) will be home to 3 or 4 Jewish families and some Yeshiva students. Ateret Cohanim is also involved in the revival and strengthening of Jewish life in the old Yemenite Village of Shiloach (Silwan), which has doubled over the last year; in the Jewish neighborhood of Maaleh HaZeitim (near Ras al’Amud on the Mt Olives); and in Kidmat Zion, at the eastern border of Jerusalem.

Ateret Kohanim issued a statement Monday morning saying, “Arab terror and ongoing Arab incitement and violence, aim to drive Jews out of Jerusalem, to keep Jews away from the Old City, the Temple Mount and even the Kotel, and also intend to weaken the resolve of the Jewish people, especially of the families and students in and around the Old City. However, the Arabs are mistaken on all fronts. We will not be driven out of ‘our Jerusalem’ and such acts of violence have only strengthened our resolve, conviction, faith and fortitude.”

JNi.Media

Under Construction

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

Workers building a new neighborhood in the Ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Beitar Ilit in Gush Etzion.

Building Beitar Ilit

Building Beitar Ilit

Building Beitar Ilit

Nati Shohat/Flash90

Nati Shohat/Flash90

Photo of the Day

State Dept.: Anti-Settlement Policy Will Remain even After Obama Leaves

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

The State Dept. insists that its anti-settlement policy is not dependent on President Barack Obama and will continue even after he leaves the White House in January 2017.

Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon told high school students this week in Gush Etzion, which the United States considers “illegal,” that the  Obama Administration “won’t be around forever” and that Israel will resume building for Jews in Judea and Samaria once he is gone as president.

He apparently thinks Hillary Clinton won’t succeed Obama.

Ya’alon has a habit of saying what he thinks before he thinks. Earlier this year, he was quoted as stating in “private” remarks that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is “obsessed ‘and has a Messianic complex when it comes to the “Peace Process.”

He didn’t bother to think that his remarks to the high school students this week would be quoted, but maybe it is better off to give the White House a not so gentle reminder that it is going to have to fight hard in the Israeli election campaign if it wants to get rid of people like Ya’alon, who don’t take orders from Washington., which thinks otherwise.

“This Administration’s opposition to settlements is fully consistent with the policies of administrations for decades, including of both parties. So the notion that would change is not borne out by history,” State Dept. spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters at Wednesday’s press question and answer session,

She agreed that Obama will be out of office in two years, pending a sudden change in the U.S. Constitution, and the next administration is not going to change anything regarding the audacity of Israel to build homes for Jews in half of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, where it had been doing so for more than 40 years before President Obama blew in with the wind.

Previous administrations, contrary to what Psaki says, never have been called Jews “illegitimate” for living in areas of Jerusalem that the Palestinian Authority, with the backing of the State Dept. thinks is their God-given property.

Ya’alon notwithstanding, Israel will be stuck with American opposition to Jews living within Israel’s borders that the United States determines, according to Psaki.

It is unusual for a State Dept. spokesperson to predict what future administrations will determine.

Maybe she knows something that no one knows, but it is more likely that her comments give testament to an attempt to make the State Dept.’s long-standing pro-Arab policy part of the White House Bible.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Why These Negotiations Will Always Fail

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

Peace in the Middle East between Israel and its neighbors—including the Palestinians—is generally described as “elusive.” Why have forty years of active efforts not led to permanent peace in the region? Why 20 years after Oslo is there no great sign that peace stands ready to break out between the Palestinians and Israelis? The simple answer is that parties are negotiating on different planes that can never intersect.

Let’s analyze the ostensible goals of the parties to the current round of talks. The Israelis want peace and one can see why: lower regional threats, less military spending, greater regional cooperation, increased tourism revenue, export of Israeli technology, increased trade with Europe and more. What do the Palestinians get in the peace deal? They get less than half of the land they believe they deserve. They can look forward to a million or more Arab “refugees” showing up, expecting housing, food, work, and schools. They will be saddled with building an economy without natural resources or a strong technical ethos, while international donations will dry up (especially from Muslim countries, for the sin of recognizing a Jewish state). In short, the Israelis have much to gain from peace, while the Palestinian leaders who are running their side of the talks have much to lose.

Additionally, Israelis negotiate like Americans and Europeans: they try to cut a deal, but if it does not work, then they fall back to the present conditions. The Palestinians work in a different way: either they get what they want, or they pull out the terror card. Lawyers who reviewed signed confessions of Marwan Barghouti’s lieutenants found a singular pattern: if negotiations in the Arafat period were going well, then Tanzim and the like were told to lay low. If the Israelis were intransigent—on borders, refugees, or the like—then the order was given to attack. Negotiations cannot proceed when one side is willing to take a much greater liberty than the other side is willing to entertain. Picture if one football team had to respect the out-of-bound lines, while the other did not. The Israelis might walk away from talks, but they would not order the murder of Palestinian citizens, leftist propaganda aside. The Palestinians, on the other hand, are more than comfortable using attacks on Israeli citizens as a means to get what they want at the negotiating table—and this is a point that Americans and Europeans diplomats have never understood. They are convinced that everyone thinks like they do: peace is always good, and the rules of negotiations exclude violence between sides.

The reason for this failed understanding is cultural. Let’s look back at the Nazis, some of the greatest murderers ever. One notes that no German soldier was ever commanded to either kill or injure himself in order to gas, shoot, blow up, torch or otherwise kill a Jew. The Nazis were sadists and invented horrific ways to kill Jewish men, women and children; still, they would not have considered personal bodily harm or worse as being required to kill a Jew. The Palestinians, on the other hand, not only are active practitioners of suicide bombings, but polls still show that their citizenry supports such activities. We of a Western mind-frame find it impossible to consider such an act—whom do we hate so much that we would be willing to undertake such horrific activity? Are there any children or aged citizens of any country that we would hope to obliterate with flying shrapnel so as to somehow exact revenge on somebody else who has some tenuous relationship to the ones blown up? I have asked these questions to student groups visiting from the US; no one can answer in the affirmative.
This week marked another gratuitous prisoner release by Israel in the ersatz peace process.

These releases have generally been categorized as “confidence building measures.” Is there anyone who could define or identify any confidence built by releasing 26 murderers? The Palestinians partied with the released convicts and demanded the release of all Palestinian prisoners; Israelis felt anguish at the release and saw protests and complaints against the release of more murderers. What confidence was built by this act? None. The prisoner release is a bribe to the Palestinian leaders to continue with the worthless process of peace-making, so that they can show their base that they are getting something from the talks. The terrorists are free, the Palestinians only want more, and the Israeli leadership is put in the uncomfortable position of explaining why murderers walk free, with nothing to show for it. The Palestinians get their terrorists back, but the act has no tangible effect on the direction, good will or pace of the negotiations.

The current peace talks will enjoy the same fate as their predecessors; and ditto for any future talks. The talks will break down because even the most left-wing Israeli politician is not yet ready to commit national suicide to accommodate the minimal Palestinian demands on dividing Jerusalem, accepting indefensible borders, and welcoming anything more than some token refugees. The Palestinians will blame the Israelis, as will most of the international community. Israel will point the finger at an intransigent Palestinian Authority, and we’ll wait for the whole process to start again sometime in the future.

I would argue that the above analysis is pragmatic and not in the least pessimistic. The Palestinians have too much to lose by making peace and also play by rules not understood or appreciated by the likes of John Kerry or Catherine Ashton. The simple fact is that the Palestinian Authority today enjoys large contributions from international donors and avoids all responsibility for building a functional society designed to absorb four generations of self-made Palestinian “refugees” living in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and the like. Israel looks forward to a rosier future, one that would include peace; the Palestinian cannot see getting a better deal than they have in the present. And for that, negotiations will—again—go nowhere, however much John Kerry and his Israeli partners try to tell us otherwise.

Alan Bauer

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/why-these-negotiations-will-always-fail/2014/01/03/

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