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May 26, 2016 / 18 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Israeli settlement’

Netanyahu Circle Working Overtime to Pushback Claim of German Rift

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

The headline of Sunday morning’s Israel Hayom, the pro-Netanyahu daily freebee bankrolled by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, was: “Jerusalem Sources: ‘Relations with Germany Tight.'” The optimistic message came in response to an embarrassing probe by Der Spiegel this weekend pointing a finger at Israel Hayom as the source of a grossly misleading story in February, which attempted to assign to German Chancellor Angela Merkel a position she never knew she held.

Whenever Merkel meets with Netanyahu, according to Spiegel, you can count on Israel Hayom to publish the confidential content of their discussion shortly thereafter. But this time, they went ahead and wrote this headline: “Merkel: This Isn’t the Time for Two States.”

Now, there’s nothing wrong with this headline, and many rightwing Israelis were delighted to see a leading Western leader coming to her senses in these trying times; the only problem was, of course, that Merkel never said nor even hinted anything of the kind. Merkel and her advisors were furious, naturally, because Netanyahu, the obvious source for the “leak,” had twisted the chancellor’s warnings against his policy in Judea and Samaria into an endorsement.

“Merkel had repeatedly made it clear to Netanyahu that she believes the effects of Israeli settlement construction in the occupied territories are disastrous,” Spiegel reported. “The settlement policy, she believes, makes it unlikely that a viable Palestinian state can be established in accordance with plans aimed at a two-state solution. Any other approach, Merkel and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier are convinced, would ultimately transform Israel into an apartheid regime. Netanyahu, however, has not shown himself to be the least bit impressed by such arguments.”

What emerges from the Spiegel story is a growing German concern that Netanyahu has been taking advantage of Germany’s support, cooperation and friendship and is using Berlin as a bulwark against policies Berlin supports. “The perception has been growing in the German government that Netanyahu is instrumentalizing our friendship,” Rolf Mützenich, deputy floor leader for the Social Democrats (SPD) in parliament, told Spiegel. The SPD is Merkel’s junior coalition partner. Foreign Minister Steinmeier is an SPD leader.

According to Spiegel, what Netanyahu has been doing these past few months, is turn warnings from Merkel and other senior German officials, such as Foreign Minister Steinmeier, that Israel’s settlement policy is making it impossible for a future two-state solution to ever work — into seemingly throwing in the towel and accepting this reality as inevitable. And nothing could be further from the truth. According to Spiegel, Germany, like the rest of the EU, is hell bent on establishing two states in Israel, because they are convinced that, with the Arab demographics being what they are, the only way open to Israel to remain a Jewish state otherwise is by a system of apartheid.

We can argue against this concept until we’re blue in the face, we can point to declining demographics on the Arab side, we can show a growing wave of Arab immigration from the PA and Gaza to Canada and the US, we can point to Israel’s history of an unwavering democratic approach to its minorities — the Europeans, at this point, aren’t prepared to buy any of it. And spreading headlines that they do when they don’t doesn’t change their minds, unfortunately.

The Israel Hayom Sunday article is an attempt to blame the Germans for the February faux pas. They cite “sources in Jerusalem” who say the Spiegel story is “an internal-German attempt to attack Merkel over her good relations with Prime Minister Netanyahu.” That statement could only be made by someone who didn’t read the Spiegel story, in which named sources in Merkel’s circle are accusing Netanyahu of misusing his friendship with Germany.

Then the Israeli paper claimed that this is what they heard in the Hebrew simultaneous translation, which is their version of the dog ate my homework. And finally, they pin the whole thing on Netanyahu, who pointed the entire Israeli press in that direction following the Chancellor’s remarks, saying she had finally come to her senses regarding the current slim chances of negotiations based on the two-state solution. For his part, Netanyahu pinned the blame for why the 2-state is dead for now on the “situation in the Middle East and the Palestinian Authority.”

The real problem is that the Netanyahu approach no longer works, at least according to Spiegel. The Chancellery has indeed lost hope that the peace process can be revived — “so long as Netanyahu remains in office,” the magazine insists, describing the visit of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to Berlin two weeks ago, when Merkel was “demonstrative in her support,” when she said, “I understand why President Abbas continually seeks out the Security Council.”

Ouch.

Finally, according to Spiegel, accusations from Netanyahu that the EU labeling of products made by Jews in Judea and Samaria are essentially an anti-Jewish boycott “are no longer taken seriously in the Chancellery. Merkel’s foreign policy advisor Christoph Heusgen is supportive of the EU approach.”

JNi.Media

German Chancellor: Jewish Life in Judea and Samaria ‘Counter-Productive’

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

At a joint news conference Wednesday night in Berlin with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Israel and the Palestinians both “need to make a contribution” in order to restore calm after weeks of unrest. Merkel urged Netanyahu to rethink his government’s policy on Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, calling them “counterproductive” to the two-state solution.

“I have spoken out against them many times and if it is about doing everything possible right now to calm the situation, then I think all sides need to make a contribution,” she said. She also agreed Israel has an “obligation” to protect its own citizens and said the Palestinians must condemn “everything constituting the support of terror.”

Netanyahu insisted that it is Palestinian incitement and not Israeli policies which are the cause of the current wave of violence. He said the international community must demand of Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas to stop inciting terrorism and stop spreading lies about Israel and its policies. “If we want peace we must stop the terror. To stop terrorism, stop incitement,” Netanyahu stressed.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Arab Riots Spread to Northern Israel

Monday, October 5th, 2015

Arab riots in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria have spread to the Galilee in northern Israel and to the Arab city of Taibeh near Netanyahu. In Nazareth, home city of anti-Zionist Knesset Member Haneen Zoabi, Arab crowds shouted anti-Israeli slogans in a protest against Israeli security forces’ response to terror.

Rioters in Taibeh, near Netanya, burned tires on a major highway and forced part of it to be closed,

Arab violence also spread to the highway linking Pisgat Ze’ev, in northern Jerusalem, with the French Hill intersection. Magen David Adom reported that medics treated a 35-year-old man for wounds caused by glass splinters in his back after rock-throwers smashed a window in his vehicle.

He was evacuated to Shaarei Tzedek Hospital for treatment, along with three others who suffered shock.

Palestinian Authority media reported that two people were killed in clashes with Israeli soldiers, including a young teenager in the area of Bethlehem in an incident that the IDF has not confirmed.

The Arab Red Crescent medical organization claimed that nearly 500 people were wound by soldiers, and Radio Palestine reported that 36 Arabs were hit with live fire and 136 by rubber bullets.

They also said that the IDF has closed a village east of Hebron because of wide-scale rioting.

Rock-throwing was reported on Highway 60, south of Kiryat Arba-Hebron, where dozens of buses are taking people Monday night for the “traditional “Hakafot” that are staged throughout the country, primarily for secular Jews who want to dance with the Torah but do not attend synagogue on the day of the holiday that ended this evening.

On Sunday, before the Shemini Azeret-Simchat Torah holiday began, combat soldiers from the Shimshon unit caught two terrorists who were hurling rocks at drivers near the Gush Etzion-Jerusalem tunnels.

In Samaria, terrorists threw an explosive device at a Jewish motorist, but no injuries were reported.

Egoz and Rotem combat soldiers operating near Shechem uncovered a cache of weapons, including two guns or rifles, 10 cartridges, five knives and assorted ammunition,

In Jerusalem, the Light Rail was closed between Pisgat Ze’ev and Shuafat because of rock-throwing, which damaged a train.

Only five soldiers have been wounded, all of them lightly, in the past three days of rioting.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Palestinian Arabs Declare ‘Day of Rage’ After Duma Mother Dies

Monday, September 7th, 2015

Palestinian Authority Arab groups have declared a “Day of Rage” this coming Friday after morning prayers in response to the death of 27-year-old Riham Dawabshe, the mother in a family of four whose home was attacked in the Arab village of Duma in Samaria.

Judea and Samaria District Police said they have carried out security assessments and prepared for what they expect to be a day of disturbances in the regions, as well as elsewhere around the country.

There were reports Monday at midday of riots and violence near Duma, ahead of the funeral for Riham Dawabshe. In addition, a number of Israeli drivers reported rocks being hurled at their cars as they drove on the road near the village in Samaria.

In a post on Twitter, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro tweeted:

“Condolences 2 famil of Riham Dawabshe & prayers 4 her son Ahmed. Important that those resp. for the terrorist murder be brought 2 justice”

Numerous other posts on Twitter and other social networking sites are referring to the arson attack on the Dawabshe home as the “settler attack” despite the fact that three of the four arson attacks in 2015 on the Dawabshe clan in Duma were village-based. Oddly, the village elders did not request any Israeli investigation into the other attacks. The arson attack in which Riham Dawabshe, her husband Sa’ad and her 18-month-old baby Ali perished was the third in the series of the four mysterious fires so far this year, all of which struck the Dawabshe clan, who make up two-thirds of the village. The most recent was attributed by the village mayor to a “wiring problem” and quickly hushed up. That attack, too, was determined not to require any investigation.

The Dawabshe family’s four-year-old son, Ahmed is alive and in serious condition in Tel Hashomer Medical Center.

The deadly arson which consumed their home has been blamed on ‘Jewish settlers’ due to Hebrew-language graffiti which was found on a wall at the site. But that graffiti was odd and is suspect due to the graphological style in which it was written, and the content, which included a slogan used by an international Chassidic group known for its pacifist outlook and its friendly attitude to strangers from all sectors of the population.

The Israeli government followed the attack with mass administrative detentions and restraining orders on dozens of young residents in Judea and Samaria. Eventually most of those who were detained were released, except for two, who remain in custody.

Hana Levi Julian

One-Third of Americans in Israel Live in Judea and Samaria

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Approximately 60,000 Americans, one-third of those who have moved to Israel, live in Judea and Samaria, according to a new book whose conclusions were reported by Haaretz.

The Americans also comprise approximately 15% of all Judea and Samaria Jews, otherwise known as “settlers” by most of the world and “illegitimate” and “illegal” by President Barack Obama.

The conclusions of the book, “City on a Hilltop: Jewish-American Settlers in the Occupied Territories Since 1967” by Oxford University Prof. Sara Yael Hirschhorn, are not surprising to anyone living in Israel but may come as a bit of a shock to the foreign policy “experts” at the U.S. State Dept.

They also might surprise some “expert” media stars, such as Thomas Friedman of The New York Times, who once wrote that settlers are Israel’s answer to Hezbollah.

As late as last December, in a rant during the Israel election campaign. Friedman wrote:

The Israel right….is dominated by West Bank settlers and scary religious-nationalist zealots.

Hirschhorn, in her book to be published later this year, wrote:

“Something like 10 percent of American settlers in the occupied territories hold PhDs; they’re upwardly mobile, they’re traditional but not necessarily Orthodox in their religious practice, and most importantly, they were politically active in the leftist socialist movements in the United States in the 1960s and 70s and voted for the Democratic Party prior to their immigration to Israel.

So much for the “Wild West zealots” in the West Bank.

Much to the surprise of Friedman and the State Dept., Hirschhorn also wrote:

They’re not only compelled by some biblical imperative to live in the Holy Land of Israel and hasten the coming of the messiah, but also deeply inspired by an American vision of pioneering and building new suburbanized utopian communities in the occupied territories. They draw on their American background and mobilize the language they were comfortable with, discourses about human rights and civil liberties that justify the kind of work that they’re doing.

Yes, Americans in Judea and Samaria – or the occupied territories, the West Bank, or over the Green Line – are inspired by the Bible, and, no, they are not wild-eyed cowboys waiting around every bend to kill Arabs.

Her study does not cover the other 85 percent of Israeli settlers, most of whom live in Judea and Samaria for the simple reason that housing is cheaper than in most other areas and that “settlements” have clean air and are a great place to raise a family.

And some Americans, like myself, also live in the West Bank for practical reasons. When we left a kibbutz 26 years ago with three toddlers, our community in the Southern Hebron Hills was the only place close to a hospital where my wife, a nurse, did not have to work every other Shabbat.

Cheap housing is less available today in Gush Etzion, where Americans compromise a huge proportion of the population and where housing prices have soared. It used to be said that Efrat is not totally American, but on one Shabbat, it was all-American because the Israeli family went away for Shabbat.

That is no longer true, but Americans still account for approximately 40 percent of the city’s residents.

The image of the American cowboy arises because a large percentage of the minuscule number of crazies who have attacked Arabs in the past are from the United States.

The article in Haaretz on the book did not mention if Hirschhorn’s book also refers to the extremely large number of Americans living in neighborhoods in Jerusalem that the United States government and the United Nations also consider “occupied.”

President Obama does not realize how many “illegitimate” Americans live in Israel.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

End to Building Freeze in Judea, Samaria

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

Construction of housing units in Judea and Samaria is about to be reinstated by the subcommittee for settlement within the Civil Administration.

Some 296 housing units are to be built on land near the Samaria Jewish community of Beit El, where two buildings were to be demolished at the end of this month – another issue to be discussed tonight (Wed. July 22) at the subcommittee hearing on the issue. A base for Border Police is currently housed on the land under consideration for the housing project.

In addition, the subcommittee will discuss the construction of 27 housing units in Beit Arye, in southwestern Samaria, as well as 381 new housing units in Givat Ze’ev and 112 new housing units in Ma’ale Adumim.

Also on the agenda are requests for approval of dozens of new housing units already completed in Psagot and 22 more in Giv’on HaChadasha, as well as development plans for the Karnei Shomron industrial zone and the expansion of the Mekor Haim Yeshiva in Gush Etzion.

The subcommittee will also be asked to review plans to convert land from an open private area to one available for use in construction of public institutions and other structures.

Residents of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria have been pressuring Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon over the issue of last year’s construction freeze. A letter was sent to Likud parliamentarians headed by the question: “Netanyahu is suffocating the settlements and the Likud remains silent?”

According to settler leaders, last week the prime minister said at a meeting, “We cannot develop the settlements further, but rather need to preserve what we have” – a comment the Likud later denied was said by Netanyahu.

Hana Levi Julian

Obama Won’t Enforce Anti-BDS Provision Language in Trade Bill he just Signed

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

This week the United States officially put on notice its trade partners that it will not countenance boycotts or other economic warfare against Israel.

After signing the relevant trade legislation into law, however, the White House signaled to all its trade partners that they are still free to boycott goods made in the disputed territories, despite the clear language of the legislation the president signed.

This week the Trade Promotion Authority bill was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama.

The TPA is primarily focused on international trade between the U.S. and Europe. It also included a section which addresses trade between the U.S. and Israel.

That part of the legislation, the U.S.-Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act, bans boycotts and other means of economic warfare against Israel or the “Israeli-controlled territories.” This amendment, introduced by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill-6) with bi-partisan co-sponsorship, was unanimously adopted into the PTA in April.

The passage of the TPA, including the anti-BDS section, should sound a death knell for the BDS (Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel) Movement. It should.

However, as pro-Israel Americans and Israelis learned only a few weeks ago in the Jerusalem passport case (Zivotofsky v. Kerry), there are certain spheres of international decision making over which the president has exclusive, or at least primary and controlling, control. Obama claims that international trade is one of those areas, even though Article 1, Section 8, clause 3, expressly gives Congress the power to regulate foreign commerce.

So even though the TPA is intended to act as a strong deterrent to European and other countries to pass and enforce boycotts of Israeli products, the White House has already signaled that it will not extend its protection to any goods produced in the disputed territories.

The anti boycott of Israel language in the TPA is: “actions by states, nonmember states of the United Nations, international organizations or affiliated agencies of international organizations that are politically motivated and are intended to penalize or otherwise limit commercial relations specifically with Israel or persons doing business in Israel or in Israeli-controlled territories.” [emphasis added.]

In a statement which Matt Lee of the Associated Press attributed to State Dept. spokesperson John Kirby, the administration made clear that despite signing the TPA, the position of the White House remains, as it has been, that the U.S. opposes boycotts of the State of Israel, but it also opposes the presence of Jews in the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights.

In the statement the administration argues that by “conflating Israel and ‘Israeli-controlled territories’ a provision of the Trade Promotion Authority legislation runs counter to longstanding U.S. policy towards the occupied territories, including with regard to settlement activity,” and says that every U.S. administration has opposed “settlement activity.”

It goes on to point out that the “U.S. government has never defended or supported Israeli settlements and activity associated with them and, by extension, does not pursue policies or activities that would legitimize them.”

The U.S. administration announced that it will not jeopardize the holy grail of the two-state solution by enforcing the U.S. law as written and which its leader signed. In the statement it claims that “both parties have long recognized that settlement activity and efforts to change facts on the ground undermine the goal of a two-state solution to the conflict and only make it harder to negotiate a sustainable and equitable peace deal in good faith.” It is on this basis, ostensibly to promote a peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, that this administration

Professor Eugene Kontorovich of the Northwestern University School of Law analyzes several other provisions of the U.S-Israel trade aspect of the TPA which have been largely overlooked. In particular, Kontorovich points out, U.S. courts cannot recognize or enforce the judgment of any foreign court “that doing business in or being based in the West Bank or Golan Heights violates international law or particular European rules.”

 

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/obama-wont-enforce-anti-bds-provision-language-in-trade-bill-he-just-signed/2015/07/01/

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