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October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘construction’

Pragmatism Or Ideology?

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

During the week that the EU announced its planned sanctions against Israel, one of the dedicated Land of Israel lobbyists requested that I add my signature to a petition from MKs to the prime minister requesting the renewal of construction in Jerusalem. Thirty-two highly respectable signatures of loyal MKs from the center and right of Israeli politics already adorned the petition. But after a cursory glance at the following petition, I clearly could not sign:

To: MK Binyamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister

Re: Renewal of Construction in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria – Now

We turn to you regarding the above issue as follows:

1. In these days, we are witness to another attempt by the European Union to terrorize the State of Israel and to damage its vital interests. This attempt may thwart any chance for a political breakthrough and foil the efforts of Secretary of State Kerry to renew the diplomatic negotiations.

2. On the backdrop of this attempt and its results, there is no place to wait any longer and it is imperative to immediately renew construction in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.

3. We request that you give the appropriate instructions for renewal of construction.

Respectfully,

“I can’t sign,” I gently said to the lobbyist. “I have a problem with the wording.”

“What’s the problem?”

“This document implies that we must renew construction in Jerusalem so that Kerry can succeed in the diplomatic process. But I think that we must build in Jerusalem for entirely different reasons, and I am absolutely opposed to the diplomatic process.”

The lobbyist tried to convince me that this is pragmatic politics, that this is the argument around which we can now achieve a consensus. “I also don’t like it,” he explained, “but that’s politics.”

The reputable number of MKs that signed the letter proved, on the surface, that he was right. One week later, Kerry succeeded in renewing negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Thirty-two MKs, those most loyal to the land of Israel – from Likud, Jewish Home, Yisrael Beiteinu and even Shas – are now signed onto a document that implies that there is no longer a reason to renew construction in Jerusalem. Our common goal – renewal of “peace” talks – has already been achieved.

Would a leftist MK ever dream of adding his name to this type of convoluted document that fundamentally contradicts his entire worldview – all in the name of political pragmatism?

Which politics ultimately determines Israel’s agenda? The “pragmatic” politics of the Right or the ideology of the Left?

It is time for the Right to connect its politics to its ideology.

Despite US and Livni Objections, 1,200 Homes Approved

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Israel’s housing minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) has given final approval to the construction of more than 1,000 apartments in Jewish Judea and Samaria and in East Jerusalem, three days before Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are to resume in Jerusalem, and two days before the release of the first batch of Palestinian terrorists with Jewish blood on their hands.

Minister Ariel said close to 800 apartments will be built in East Jerusalem and close to 400 in several large Jewish towns east of the “green line.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had long insisted he would not resume talks without an Israeli settlement freeze. In the end, he acquiesced, in response to intense U.S. pressure.

Israeli negotiator Minister Tzipi Livni is also vehemently opposed to resuming construction in Jewish areas east of the “green line.”

Russian Human Rights Council to Review Jewish Teacher’s Graft Sentence

Friday, August 9th, 2013

The Kremlin’s human rights council is reviewing a prison sentence meted out to Ilya Farber, a Jewish schoolteacher convicted of corruption.

The regional court of Ostashkov, north of Moscow, sentenced Farber last week to seven years in jail after convicting him of receiving $13,000 in bribes from a construction company. The company was seeking permission to renovate a culture club in a village where Farber settled in 2010 and began teaching art to children.

Many in Russia believe Farber did not receive a fair trial, partly because of his Jewish origins, according to Matvey Chlenov, the deputy executive director of the Russian Jewish Congress. Several people have testified that they heard the prosecutor in Farber’s first trial telling the jury: “Is it possible for a person with the last name Farber to help a village for free?” – a statement interpreted as referring to the fact that Farber is Jewish.

The Russian Jewish Congress has collected $30,000 in donations to help support Farber’s three young sons as he prepares to appeal the sentence, Chlenov said.

Alexander Brod, head of the Kremlin’s Human Rights Council, told the news site Utro.ru that he initiated a review of the case because he found the sentence to be “too harsh.”

Farber was arrested in 2011 and convicted. But a higher court scrapped the first conviction because of irregularities, including the judge’s instruction to the jury to “not to pay attention to the words of the defendant.” The conviction last week came in a retrial.

Farber was convicted of taking two bribes of $9,100 and $4,000 from the construction company Gosstroi-1 in exchange for permission to renovate a village club. Prosecutors said he signed off on the completed renovations when in fact none had been made.

Farber was a director at the club.

Chlenov said, “It is obvious Farber acted naively and some locals set him up and dropped their corruption on him.”

US: Negotiations Resume Wednesday, ‘Outpost’ Construction Illegitimate

Friday, August 9th, 2013

In Thursday’s State department’s daily press briefing, Spokesperson Jen Psaki announced that the peace negotiations (lovingly nicknamed MEPP) between the Israelis and Palestinians will resume on August 14 in Jerusalem, to be followed by a meeting in Jericho.

In response to a question about the Israeli government’s decision to build between 800 and 1,000 more housing units on the wrong side of the “green line,” Psaki answered: “Our position on settlements has not changed. We do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity and oppose any efforts to legitimize settlement outposts.”

But she was quick to add that Secretary of State John Kerry still “believes both of the negotiating teams are at the table in good faith and are committed to working together to make progress.” Meaning, she thinks the announcement was little more than some muscle flexing in Jerusalem, in preparation for the next bout with the Palestinians, nothing that couldn’t be shut down in a phone call. Indeed, she added, “We are speaking to the Government of Israel and making our concerns known.”

According to Psaki, Ambassador Martin Indyk, who’s been not-achieving peace in the Middle East since late last century, and Deputy Special Envoy Frank Lowenstein, also known as a Kerry staffer, “will travel to the region to help facilitate negotiations.”

But lest you raise your hopes in vain, according to Psaki, Kerry does not expect to make any announcements in the aftermath of this round of talks.

As The Jewish Press reported earlier, Secretary Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan Rice held roundtable discussions with Jewish American and Arab American community leaders last night, and there’s one coming this Friday morning, at the White House. These meetings are expected to serve as “an opportunity to update community leaders on the resumption of direct final status negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians, as well as to hear directly from these community leaders about their perspectives.”

Indyk and Lowenstein also attend these two meetings.

Before the first meeting, Psaki stated the Secretary is “looking forward to these discussions with leaders who have been deeply involved in these issues for many, many years, and who share our goal of achieving a final status agreement with two states living side by side in peace and security.”

Or, as our reporter Lori Lowenthal Marcus put it: “Kerry Briefs Jewish ‘Leaders’ (Cheerleaders?) on MidEast Talks.”

To remind you, the first release of Palestinian prisoners with Jewish blood on their hands is scheduled for Tuesday, on the eve of the talks in Jerusalem.

As to the construction in outposts, about which the U.S. is so upset – it began with an announcement by Minister Naftali Bennett earlier this week, about renewing construction in East Jerusalem, a legally annexed area under Israeli sovereignty. But, of course, none of it is happening any time soon. As we told you over these screens, Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home is the one coalition member which is not part of the peace negotiations “team.” By team, of course, they mean anyone but Bennett and Uri Ariel. So, the honorable minister’s ability to turn his promises about construction into actual construction is very similar to your and my ability in the same area.

So he might as well promise a million new uinit. Sounds better and has the same results.

Excellent News from Peace Now

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Peace Now reports that Israel is in the midst of approving 1096 new housing units in 11 towns across Judea and Samaria.

The plan also includes the legalization of at least one existing village (aka “outpost”) called Nachlei Tal where dozens of Israelis already live, which will expand the village to over 250 families.

1. Shilo (Nofei Shilo) – Plan 205/4 – 17 housing units 2. Nahlei Tal – Plan 235/10 – 255 housing units 3. Kochav Yaakov – Plan 242/1/3 – 38 housing units 4. Gilgal – Plan 317/2 – 234 housing units 5. Almog – Plan 604/4 – 31 housing units 6. Talmon – Plan 235/2/4 – 314 housing units 7. Alon Shvut – Plan 405/6/6/1 – 60 housing units 8. Etz Efraim – Plan 126/2/3 9. Shilo – Plan 205/15 10. Shilo – Plan 205/16 11. Kfar Adumim – Plan 227/21 12. Shilo – Plan 205/13 – 95 housing units 13. Beitar Ilit – Plan 426/1/1/3/8 – 48 housing units 14. Beitar Ilit – Plan 426/1/3/11 – 4 housing units 15. Mitzpe Shalem – Plan 607/6 16. Beitar Ilit – Plan 426/7/2/a 17. Beitar Ilit – Plan 426/1/3/14 18. Beitar Ilit – Plan 426/7/10/b 19. Beitar Ilit – Plan 426/1/1/3/9 20. Beitar Ilit – Plan 426/1/1/3/10 21. Beitar Ilit – Plan 426/1/3/12

Strangely though, Peace Now seems upset by this good news.

The real question is, with the housing crisis in Israel what it is, why isn’t the government giving permission to build 100,000 new homes for Jewish families in Judea and Samaria, instead of a mere 1000?

Building Our Future

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

When we first came to see Shiloh, over thirty-two years ago, while we were looking for a place to make a new home for our growing family, we discovered a piece of land in our Biblical Homeland that was full of delicate wild flowers.  It was clear that this land had been deserted for more than centuries.  There hadn’t been any active communities in Shiloh since Biblical times thousands of years earlier.

In the decades since we moved to Shiloh, it has grown enormously.  Our local school, which opened September 1, 1981, with eighteen students in three classes, now is two large prize-winning regional schools, one for girls and one for boys, from First Grade until Eighth Grade.

Our district extends from the Shomron, Rechalim to the north of us, Ma’ale Levona, to the west, Gitit and Ma’ale Efrayim to the East, Kochav Hashachar to the south and lots of Jewish communities in between.

The Shiloh Ramat Shmuel, Samuel Heights neighborhood was established by Ariel Sharon in the summer of 1981.

While new buildings are being built,  ancient ones are being dug up.

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As we earlier families are getting older, it’s wonderful to see that our children are marrying and having children of their own.  And many young families are making Shiloh their home.

As many new homes as we build, there’s still a housing shortage in Shiloh.  Jewish families of all ages, from all over the world want to live here.

A new generation has taken over that never knew a time when Judea and Samaria were in foreign hands.  This post-1967 generation is much more rooted than we ever were, thank God.

Visit Shiloh Musings.

Settlement Construction Freeze Until Obama Goes Home

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered the suspension of all new construction procedures in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria until after U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Israel, on the eve of Passover, Makor Rishon reports.

According to a directive that was passed from the PM’s office to the appropriate echelons at the defense and housing ministries, in the next few weeks no new construction bids are to be issued in those three areas. Also, plans whose planning phase has been completed will not move on to the deposit phase while all additional bureaucratic steps concerning their public offering are to be delayed as well.

The suspension directive was issued through informal channels. Prime Minister Netanyahu, who conducted the phone calls with the relevant officials personally, emphasized that this is not a freeze—like the 10-month settlement construction freeze Netanyahu declared in November, 2010-—but “merely a temporary suspension in order not to embarrass the visiting president.”

Sources close to the prime minister reiterated that this time the freeze will be restrained and moderate, as befits the circumstances.

A major contributor to the move on the PM’s part was Housing Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) whose office publicized its construction plans for the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood in East Jerusalem on the very week Vice President Joe Biden was visiting Israel, unintentionally causing a serious crisis in Israel’s relationship with the White House.

Following that incident, Netanyahu was forced to block construction in Jerusalem for almost a year, to patch things up with the Americans.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/settlement-construction-freeze-until-obama-goes-home/2013/03/01/

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