Posts Tagged ‘Gilo’
On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Israeli diplomats are expecting President Barack Obama to force a diplomatic resolution for Israel and the Palestinians at the UN (Obama’s Israel Surprise?). “The White House has been unusually tight-lipped about what, if anything, it might have in mind,” the WSJ noted, “but our sources say the White House has asked the State Department to develop an options menu for the President’s final weeks.”
The Netanyahu cabinet has been extra careful not to provoke the ire of the retiring emperor on the eve of that portion of his term when he no longer needs to worry about the Jewish vote and will be free to follow his heart’s desire on the future of Jewish life in the Middle East. But it’s hard not to provoke Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry when their threshold for irritation seems to be so low. Such as the building permits for 181 new homes in Gilo, in the 1967 liberated territories, approved by the Jerusalem municipality back in 2012 (the permit was merely updated on Wednesday this week).
When asked during his daily briefing about the Israeli most recent 181 violations of mankind’s hope for peace, State Dept. Spokesperson John Kirby said, “We’re deeply concerned by those reports that the local planning and construction committee in Jerusalem approved permits for … 181 housing units and five community center infrastructure projects in Gilo, which is in East Jerusalem. Our policy on settlements, as I said before, is very clear. We strongly oppose settlement activity, which we believe is corrosive to the cause of peace.”
See? On John Kirby’s planet, which he shares with Kerry and Obama, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and his entourage were already on their way to the Knesset in Jerusalem to sign a peace treaty recognizing Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State and maintain good neighborly relations with the Palestinian State next door, when suddenly a text message appeared on his smart phone telling him the Jews had decided to force a mass invasion of 181 Jewish families into Gilo — so the entourage turned back and returned to Ramallah.
“These decisions by Israeli authorities are just the latest examples of what appear to be a steady and systemic acceleration of Israeli settlement activity,” Kirby announced, lamenting that “in just the past few weeks, we have seen reports of an entirely new settlement near Shiloh, a potentially new settlement outpost in the North Jordan Valley, and over 80 Palestinian structures demolished in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.”
To provide much-needed context to the spokesperson’s wailing: the new homes in Shiloh will house the anticipated evacuees from Amona, uprooted by decree of a Supreme Court gone insane. And those illegal structures were an attempt by the Arabs to build without a permit in Area C, governed exclusively by Israel — a clear and intentional attempt by the EU, the US and local Arabs to violate the Oslo agreements.
When Kirby suggested that the above moves “raise serious questions about Israel’s ultimate commitment to a peaceful negotiated settlement with the Palestinians,” he was asked if the Administration might be planning to “draw a line in the sand where it comes to actions that you say or you believe hurt the environment for negotiations for a two-state solution.” He answered: “I think [it] shouldn’t surprise anybody that, as an administration … we routinely talk about the situation in the Middle East and in Israel, and that, obviously, is something I think you know Secretary Kerry’s very focused on, so of course we have discussions about this. But I don’t want to get ahead of those discussions.”
There you have it: the most an Administration official has allowed himself to say regarding his bosses’ post-election plans for Israel.
The WSJ suggested on Monday that the Obama Administration might “sponsor, or at least allow, a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement construction, perhaps alongside new IRS regulations revoking the tax-exempt status of people or entities involved in settlement building.”
Back in 2011, the Administration vetoed precisely this kind of resolution.
A vindictive President Obama could initiate or at least not vote against the formal recognition of a Palestinian state at the Security Council. It would cause Congress to erupt in a storm of rage, especially if the president uses an executive order to do the wicked deed. Which means the next president could revoke such an order with the stroke of a pen.
Which must make one wonder if a President Hillary Clinton would dare to reverse an executive order recognizing the Palestinian State. What do you think?JNi.Media
A group called Combatants for Peace, in cooperation with the “Standing Together” initiative (not this Standing Together, but a different group which is occupying the same name), plans to gather hundreds of Jews and Arabs to “demonstrate together at the Freedom March on Friday, September 2, at 1:30 PM, by the tunnel checkpoint” in Gush Etzion, to protest Israeli administrative detentions without trial and in solidarity with hunger strikers (suspected terrorists and affiliates).
The Freedom March will begin at the Battir village roundabout adjacent to Route 60, and proceed to the tunnel checkpoint “separating Bethlehem from Jerusalem”.
Their press release wasn’t accurate, as the tunnel checkpoint separates Gush Etzion from Jerusalem, whereas Bethlehem is separated from Jerusalem at the checkpoint on Derech Hebron in Jerusalem at the turnoff to Rachel’s Tomb.
The section of Route 60 known as the Tunnel Road, built by Israel, is a stretch of a little under 1.5 miles, the road crosses the Refa’im range and the Beit Gilo range in two tunnels, one 300 yards, the other 1,000 yards, connected with a large bridge over the Gilo River valley.
Israel began building the bridge and tunnels in 1992 and the stretch was inaugurated on September 2, 1996. There’s a 20 year anniversary coming up in a few days.
It is now the main highway that connects Jerusalem and western Gush Etzion, and was built, in part, to relieve the pressure from the old, scenic Walleja road which wasn’t designed for the volume of traffic that exists in Gush Etzion, and as one of the bypass roads that were built after the Oslo accords were signed.
The unique stretch of this tunnel road allows a few dozen (the organizers will never attract hundreds) protesters to block traffic travelling between Jerusalem and Gush Etzion on Erev Shabbat, as they did back in July, when a group of “former” Arab terrorists and their leftwing Israeli enablers held a protest and for a short time blocked Highway 60, holding up signs saying “The wall is violent,” which, by the way, the year 2006 called and wanted back.
The problem is that these protests are done with approval from the IDF, and so, as long as the protesters are not using violence and stay on the side of the road (which they obviously didn’t do last time) no one cares. But when they block the road, motorists are forced to stay in their cars in an ever burgeoning traffic jam, and wait for someone in authority to come open up the highway.
With Shabbat candle lighting time starting to drop below 7 PM, in a few weeks such protests could pose an enormous inconvenience for hundreds, if not thousands of local residents and visitors.
JewishPress.com inquired with the organizers via email if they invited participants from Judea and Samaria who have protested against administrative detentions and restraining orders against Jews. They responded that “anyone who supports human rights and an end to the occupation is more than welcome.”
So much for cooperation and intersectionality between the downtrodden.
So, if you live in Gush Etzion and plan a trip to Jerusalem Friday — maybe you should stay home and clean up before Shabbat.David Israel
The US State Department on Wednesday released a statement saying it is “deeply concerned by reports today that the Government of Israel has published tenders for 323 units in East Jerusalem settlements. This follows Monday’s announcement of plans for 770 units in the settlement of Gilo.”
The State Dept. added, “We strongly oppose settlement activity, which is corrosive to the cause of peace. These steps by Israeli authorities are the latest examples of what appears to be a steady acceleration of settlement activity that is systematically undermining the prospects for a two- state solution.”
Now, keep in mind that the area in question is eastern Jerusalem, and that these days there are two government supported construction plans in the same area, practically next door to each other: one is the Jewish neighborhood of Gilo, the other, comprised of 600 new units, in Arab Beit Safafa. Same territory, same government, everyone involved being a registered resident of the Israeli capital city of Jerusalem, yet the State Dept. has nothing negative to say about the Beit Safafa expansion plan.
In other words, the US is upset with Israeli construction in eastern Jerusalem when Israeli Jews receive the housing, but it’s fine for Israel to build in the forbidden zone for Israeli Arabs.
In fact, the State Dept. announcement completely ignores the Israeli government’s effort on behalf of Israeli Arabs in Jerusalem, condemning Israel for “denial of Palestinian development that risk entrenching a one-state reality of perpetual occupation and conflict.”
In conclusion, the State Dept. notes, “We remain troubled that Israel continues this pattern of provocative and counterproductive action, which raises serious questions about Israel’s ultimate commitment to a peaceful, negotiated settlement with the Palestinians.” It would have been nice had the US acknowledged that Israel is devoting equal resources to Arabs and Jews in the same area, and that it represents in concrete ways its commitment to peace.JNi.Media
The European Union is, once again, unhappy with Israel about local municipal plans to move ahead with building new apartments in Jerusalem.
The city is proceeding with its routine to approve construction of some 770 housing units, barely a drop in the bucket for the average bustling municipality, let alone a growing metropolis.
Jerusalem is bursting at the seams and in desperate need of affordable housing.
The new project is to be built in the Gilo neighborhood, in the southern section of the city. However, this one little project has deeply upset the European Union, enough to issue a statement castigating Israel over the matter less than 24 hours after an elderly Catholic priest was murdered, his throat cut at the altar of his own church while serving Mass, by two Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists.
He was, in fact, ritually slaughtered on that altar before his flock, his blood flowing on to the steps while the radical Islamists yelled the traditional Islamic jihadist war cry “Allahu Akbar!” (God is Great!) and other unknown phrases in Arabic.
ISIS has vowed repeatedly over the past year to take its battle to the “Crusaders” of Europe and the Middle East. On Tuesday they fulfilled that promise — and yet the European Union somehow still believes it more important to focus its energies on scolding Israel for providing affordable housing for its residents in Jerusalem.
“Israel’s recent decision to advance plans for some 770 housing units in the settlement of Gilo, built on occupied Palestinian land in East Jerusalem, undermines the viability of a two-state solution,” said EU spokesperson David Kriss in a statement sent to media on Wednesday.
“It contributes to the establishment of a ring of Israeli settlements around the city, thus further cutting East Jerusalem off from the southern West Bank. “This announcement comes just weeks after the report of the Middle East Quartet called on Israel to abandon its settlement policy, which is illegal under international law.
“The decision raises legitimate questions about Israel’s long-term intentions, which are compounded by the statements of some Israeli ministers that there should never be a Palestinian state. The EU calls on Israel to reverse this decision and to cease its settlement activity,” Kriss said.
It’s amazing that after all this time, Europe is still unable to bring itself to make peace with the idea that Gilo, a neighborhood of some 40,000-plus that has existed well within the Jerusalem municipal boundaries for more than 35 years, is not going away.
Nor is it a “settlement” outside the city, which anyone can clearly see if they bothered to visit either in person or through a virtual swing through the neighborhood via the Google software.
As for the long-term intentions of the Jewish State, it might be far more constructive (excuse the pun) for the European Union to consider the long-term intentions of the Palestinian Authority rather than those of Israel.
The Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization from which it was born has from the outset cherished the dream of conquering the Land of Israel from “the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea.”Hana Levi Julian
The city of Jerusalem has approved two more Light Rail lines in the holy city, a Green Line and a Blue Line. The go-ahead was given at a municipal planning meeting last month.
The current Red Line is also to be extended, north to the Neve Yaakov neighborhood, and south to the Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center.
“I am happy to see that Jerusalem will go from having one successful Light Rail line to a network of three lines,” Transportation Minister Israel Katz said after the approvals were passed. “Light rail has significantly changed the city’s transportation… Jerusalem deserves a light rail system like that in Europe.”
The approximately 19.6 kilometer route set for the Green Line begins in the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo and will pass through the Jerusalem Convention Center, known in Hebrew as Binyanei Ha’Uma, where the “A-1” fast line railway has a terminus. It will cross the current Red Line on Herzog Boulevard, and run up to Mount Scopus.
The Green line is currently set to include 36 stops to service an expected ridership of 200,000 passengers per day, according to the Railway Gazette website.
The Blue Line is set to run about 23 kilometers from the northwestern Ramot neighborhood through the center of the city out to the eastern Talpiot neighborhood, and then on to Gilo.
The Blue line will include branches to the Malcha Mall and to Mount Scopus as well, with 42 stops and an expected ridership of some 250,000 passengers per day.Hana Levi Julian
By Jonathan Benedek/TPS
Israeli officials emphasized the importance of maintaining a clear and undivided Jerusalem this morning at the annual conference held by the Yesha Council, an organization representing the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria.
“Givat Hamatos is a strategic point for the future of Jerusalem,” said Education Minister and Jewish Home Party Chairman Naftali Bennett. “It is where the fate of the unity of Jerusalem will be set.”
Minister Bennett made the remarks following the approval of 600 new housing units for Arabs in the neighborhood of Beit Safafa, located on land in southern Jerusalem territories annexed by Israel after the Six Day War in 1967. The new housing units will further connect the Arab neighborhood to Givat Hamatos, also located on southern Jerusalem lands gained by Israel in 1967.
“The goal of the world and the Palestinians is to create Palestinian territorial continuity through Givat Hamatos from Beit Jala to Malha,” continued Minister Bennett.
Beit Jala is a Palestinian town located next to Bethlehem and south of Givat Hamatos. Malha is another neighborhood in southern Jerusalem to the west of Givat Hamatos.
“We are opposed to such a goal,” Bennett stressed. “We want continuity between Talpiot and Gilo and to preserve the unity of Jerusalem.”
Talpiot is a neighborhood located southwest of Jerusalem’s Old City and Gilo, like Givat Hamatos, is another neighborhood in southern Jerusalem located in territories taken over by Israel in the Six Day War.
Although Israel maintains that Givat Hamatos and Gilo are part of its capital city, many in the international community refuse to accept Israel’s annexation of those neighborhoods or Jerusalem’s status as Israel’s capital city.
Minister Bennett asserted that authorization for Palestinian construction without Israeli construction in such areas would only serve to further divide Jerusalem.
“Arab construction without Israeli construction in Givat Hamatos will create [Palestinian] territorial continuity up to the Malha mall,” Bennett noted. “It will create a de-facto divide of the city and create a Palestinian buffer in Jerusalem. I urge the prime minister not to only allow Palestinian construction and I trust that he will permit Israeli construction as well.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has often cancelled or postponed plans to build additional Jewish housing units in neighborhoods like Givat Hamatos and Gilo due to intense pressure from the international community. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who also spoke at the conference, insisted that Netanyahu not abide by such a standard, which he implied to be prejudiced against the city’s Jewish residents.
“Building in Jerusalem should not be stopped for no reason,” Barkat asserted. “We need to allow construction within the framework of the work plans of the city of Jerusalem without prejudice.”
“I would argue that it would be a mistake not to allow construction and that it is a mistake to only authorize it after an attack,” continued Barkat.
Israel has often announced construction plans near the site of a terror attack shortly after its occurrence. Netanyahu announced over the weekend that 42 new homes would be built in the Harsina neighborhood of Kiryat Arba, where 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel was stabbed to death by a Palestinian Arab last Thursday. Critics countered that such a plan was already in the works.
Barkat contended that Israel should insist upon continuing to build sans any discriminatory standards. “The message is to allow construction without prejudice in the city of Jerusalem,” the mayor reiterated.TPS / Tazpit News Agency