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Posts Tagged ‘Har Homa’

EU Urging Boycott of Companies Threatening Two-State Solution

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

An EU report calls for member states to prevent support for the settlement enterprise.

An internal report issued by the EU recommends that member states completely prevent financial transactions that support settlement activity in Judea and Samaria. The report, entitled “Jerusalem 2012,” was compiled by the heads of European Union missions to Jerusalem and Ramallah.

According to the report, Israel’s construction in the southern neighborhoods of Jerusalem is the greatest threat to the two-state solution and defines it as “systematic, deliberate and provocative.”

The report notes three neighborhoods specifically: Har Homa, Gilo and Givat Hamatos, warning that if construction there continues at the present rate, it may create by the end of this year a buffer zone between East Jerusalem and Bethlehem. The report argues that such a buffer, when completed, would make it difficult to implement the two-state solution, and might mean its demise altogether.

Israel’s relations with the 27-member EU have been extremely tense in recent months, as the European organization has been voicing its discontent over a long list of Israeli construction programs involving construction of at least 5,000 new homes in and around East Jerusalem.

The EU is Israel’s largest import and export market, and should it implement punitive trade sanctions it would affect the already stumbling economy of the Jewish State.

According to the report, tenders were issued for 2,366 new units in 2012, which was “more than twice” the total number issued over the preceding three years—only 1,145, the report said.

Most of them were for construction in Har Homa, “significantly expanding the existing footprint of the settlement’s built-up area.”

Israel liberated East Jerusalem during the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed it, a move which is yet to be recognized by the international community. In fact, most Western countries, including most notably the U.S., don’t even fully recognize West Jerusalem, within the 1949 armistice “green line,” as Israel’s capital—preferring to keep their embassies in Tel Aviv.

Israel officially considers all of Jerusalem its “eternal, undivided” capital and rejects the view that construction in the eastern sector as settlement building.

But since the Palestinians want East Jerusalem to become the capital of their state, they— along with many in the international community—consider settlement construction in East Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria to be equally illegal.

This is born by an erroneous reading of the Geneva Convention Rule 130: “States may not deport or transfer parts of their own civilian population into a territory they occupy.” Technically speaking, the area formerly known as “West Bank” was never recognized widely as belonging to the state of Jordan, whose army occupied it in 1948. Since the area remained as a no man’s land until 1967, Israel’s taking of it did not constitute an occupation.

U.S. official policy refers to the area, as well as to Gaza, as “disputed territories.”

“If the implementation of the current Israeli policy regarding the city continues, particularly settlement activity, the prospect of Jerusalem as a future capital of two states — Israel and Palestine — becomes practically unworkable,” the EU report’s executive summary said. “This threatens to make the two-state solution impossible.”

Brand New Jerusalem Neighborhood to Be Approved – E-1 #2?

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

The first totally new Israeli-built neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem since Har Homa will soon be approved, introducing 2,610 Israeli homes to an area called Givat HaMatos.

The plan does not represent a widening out of existing Jewish neighborhoods, but rather creates something totally new.

The area is located between Beit Safafa and Talpiot.  Peace Now, which called the project a “mini-E1″,  decried the decision on its website: “The new neighborhood will complete the isolation between Bethlehem and East Jerusalem, and will destroy any possibility of a territorial solution in Beit Safafa and Shurafat. The Geneva Initiative proposed border will not be possible without dismantling the new Israeli neighborhood.”

Once the plan is given final approval, construction of the homes will begin.

Peace Now noted that “it does appear that the Givat Hamatos plan may allow some expansion of the existing Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Safafa on the lands that are privately owned by Palestinians.”

The New Settlements

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

           Predictably, the recent Israeli announcements about new construction in Har Homa in Jerusalem and the West Bank drew sharp criticism from the Palestinians and the Obama administration.

 

The common theme was that such actions were impediments to the resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians leading to a settlement of their longstanding dispute.

 

From the Palestinians, who can be expected to try to milk every situation, this is not surprising. The fact that they are insisting – thanks to President Obama – on an announced complete construction freeze and Israeli acceptance of pre-1967 lines as preconditions for any resumption of talks was to be expected, if not welcomed.

 

But what of the Obama administration which is supposed to be an honest broker?

 

As we point out in our second editorial this week, the Palestinian Authority is underwriting, if not fostering, Palestinian terror against Jews. It has also plainly accepted as a given the continued viability of Hamas as an element in any agreement despite the requirement of the so-called road map that the PA must dismantle the terrorist infrastructure. And of course until President Obama mentioned his support for it, the Palestinians never insisted on a freeze as such a big deal. Moreover, the almost year-long construction freeze declared by Israel – which the PA had not even insisted on until Mr. Obama made it an issue – never drew a reciprocal gesture from the Palestinians.

 

To be sure, the U.S. reaction to the construction announcements was relatively muted. A comment by a State Department spokesman on the Ariel approvals was revealing: “These kinds of actions are counterproductive to the resumption of direct negotiations. We have raised this issue with the Israeli government. We will continue to make our position known.”

 

The State Department’s statement on the issuance of housing permits in East Jerusalem was similarly low key:

 

The United States is deeply concerned by continuing Israeli actions with respect to housing construction in Jerusalem. We have raised this issue with the Israeli government and continue to make our position known. As we have said before, unilateral actions work against efforts to resume direct negotiations and contradict the logic of a reasonable and necessary agreement between the parties, We believe that through good faith direct negotiations, the parties should agree on an outcome that realizes the aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem and safeguards its unique religious status for people around the world.

            No fire and brimstone, though we duly note the reference to a deal that “realizes the aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem.” What was needed was a clear statement from the U.S. that the Palestinians need to be more forthcoming and stop pursuing their unilateral September UN recognition ploy in place of substantive negotiations.

Jerusalem Flashpoint: Har Homa

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011
            Yes, attention in and on Israel has been justifiably turned toward the Shomron town of Itamar, where two weeks ago ruthless Palestinian terrorists cruelly butchered most of the Fogel family preparing for sleep after an uplifting Sabbath meal.
But behind the scenes, and on more than one front, the battle for Jerusalem continues unyieldingly – a steely war of nerves with an Arab foe that will stop only when we defeat it.
The Arabs are aligned in full force to slice away, salami-style, Jewish sovereignty from our holy and eternal city. They have already succeeded, to some extent, in some neighborhoods, where soldiers prevent Jews from even entering. Our battle is not easy – and can certainly not be won without Jewish vigilance, knowledge and activism.
Very quietly, one of the main fronts in the battle is a little-known neighborhood on Jerusalem’s southern edge called Homat Shmuel – more popularly known as Har Homa. A news report last month about Har Homa attracted little attention. However, a careful reading thereof will give us pause to think about the strategic significance of this thriving Jewish locale. The essence was this:
“Documents detailing the Israel-PA talks and leaked by Al Jazeera show that the PLO negotiating team relinquished all Jewish neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem except for Har Homa “
All neighborhoods except for Har Homa? The PLO has given up on places such as Ramot Shlomo, which sparked a recent crisis between Israel and the U.S., and Sheikh Jarrah, where a handful of Jews have moved into Jewish-owned properties amidst thousands of Arabs and where international pro-Arab activists demonstrate almost every week – and yet it has not given up on Har Homa?!
Though Fatah denied the report and said it was leaked only to make Hamas look good at its expense – Fatah gunmen even attacked Al-Jazeera studios to make this point – there are other indications that our enemies regard Har Homa in a “special” light. After the Annapolis Conference in 2007, the PA loudly protested new construction in Har Homa – netting a strong condemnation from both then-U.S. Secretary of State Rice and UN Secretary-General Ban of the Jewish neighborhood.
   Why is the PA so extra-insistent on making sure Har Homa, of all Jerusalem neighborhoods, not remain Jewish?
   For one thing, it is likely that Har Homa elicits strong Arab opposition – even if not consciously – for its multiplicity of Torah institutions. The municipality has recently allocated lots for 19 (!) new synagogues to meet the large demand; two religious schools and several talmudei Torah fill the neighborhood with the sounds of Torah study; and two well-known yeshivot – Har HaMor and Mekor Chaim Yeshiva High School – are planning to move there as soon as their campuses are ready. At least half of its 30,000 residents are observant.
   Yet this is certainly not the only aspect of Har Homa the PA finds objectionable. The PLO’s disproportionate hostility to the locality stems directly from the PA’s plans to take over the entirety of eastern Jerusalem and form a state of its own!
   Simply put, Har Homa’s geographic location is a bone in the PA’s throat. With Bethlehem to the south – separated from Har Homa only by several hundred meters of forest area – and with the Arab-populated neighborhoods of Um Tuba and Sur Baher to the northeast and A-Sheikh Saad and Abu Dis further to the northeast, Har Homa is practically the only thing preventing a contiguous north-south Arab presence all along the eastern borders of Jerusalem and vicinity.
   True, East Talpiyot, north of Sur Baher, is also in the PA’s way – but Har Homa is newer and therefore more vulnerable. Take away Har Homa, Heaven forbid, and East Talpiyot becomes a lone enclave to the north, Gilo is isolated to the west, and all of southern and southeastern Jerusalem becomes nearly totally Arab – paving the way for Arab contiguity from Bethlehem and Beit Sahour to Abu Dis, Azariya, and Isawiya, past Mt. Scopus.
   Israel’s legal right to build Har Homa is well-grounded. As the Foreign Ministry explains, the Oslo Agreements specifically did not give the PA the authority to veto Jewish construction or other activity in Jerusalem. On the contrary, it was agreed that Jerusalem would be discussed only in the final-status talks – thus paving the way for normal life, such as city-approved construction, to proceed unhindered.
   Despite this, just last month new zoning plans for Har Homa – calling for 50 housing units, nine public buildings, and an access road – were shelved by the city’s zoning and planning board. Though some are optimistic that the plans will soon be resubmitted and approved, others feel that such expectations are baseless.
   In any event, as city councilman David Hadari told Arutz-7 at the time, “Even if the problem was just bureaucracy, such as a missing form or whatever, plans for these parts of Jerusalem should specifically not be taken off the agenda. These areas are very sensitive on a national scale, and no one must think we are caving in to any pressure regarding them.”
   Unfortunately, precisely this impression is being given: that Israel’s resolve regarding strategically crucial Har Homa is not strong.
   Jerusalem-lovers can inform the city council members of their concern regarding Har Homa and their desire to see the plans approved promptly. Hadari can be reached at hddavid@jerusalem.muni.il and Likud City Councilman Elisha Peleg can be reached at plelisha@jerusalem.muni.il.
Let it be stated clearly and unequivocally:
   Giving up or weakening any Jewish neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem is a critical threat to security, morale, and strategic integrity. Har Homa, East Talpiot, Pisgat Ze’ev and others are buffers that prevent an Arab territorial continuum from Ramallah to Bethlehem from suffocating Jewish Jerusalem.
For more information on how to participate in keeping Jerusalem Jewish, via updates, bus tours of critical parts of Jerusalem, and more, send an e-mail to tours@keepjerusalemorg or visit the Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech website at www.keepjerusalem.org

 

   Chaim Silberstein is president of Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech and the Jerusalem Capital Development Fund. He was formerly a senior adviser to Israel’s minister of tourism.
    Hillel Fendel is the senior editor at Israel National News/Arutz-7 and an author.Both have lived in Jerusalem and now reside in Beit El.

   Their column appears every other week.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/keeping-jerusalem/jerusalem-flashpoint-har-homa/2011/03/30/

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