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September 27, 2016 / 24 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Judea’

MKs Commemorate Gush Katif Expulsion, Seek to Learn From Mistakes

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Nitzan (TPS) – The Gush Katif and Northern Samaria Commemoration Center held a conference on Monday commemorating the eleventh anniversary of Israel’s “Disengagement.” Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon withdrew all Jewish presence from Gaza and four communities in northern Samaria eleven years ago in the spirit of the Road Map for Peace plan promoted by US President George W. Bush.

Several Members of Knesset attended the conference and discussed lessons that could be learned from the event.

“The Israeli government uprooted dozens of settlements and thousands of Israelis from their homes. In return, missiles rained upon our cities, our communities, and our children,” said Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel (Likud). “The argument that withdrawal would bring peace with the Palestinians, or at least bring us closer to peace, was not built on a realistic vision.”

Gamliel also argued that Israel’s presence in Gaza was not the initial cause for attacks against Israel.

“Whoever thinks that the continued hostility against Israel is a result of our presence in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza is mistaken,” she claimed.

“We were attacked before a single Israeli soldier was ever in Judea and Samaria,” continued Gamliel, referencing instances in which Israel was attacked by its Arab neighbors in the years before Israel gained control of Judea and Samaria in 1967.

Gamliel insisted that Israel must stop the Palestinian Authority from allowing and encouraging incitement to take place in communities under its jurisdiction.

“We should demand first and foremost the cessation of incitement in the Palestinian Authority and we have to hope that the Israeli people learned a moral lesson from the expulsion in that there should be no further expulsion of Jews,” she stressed. “So long as entire generations in the Palestinian Authority are taught to be anti-Semitic, there is no chance for peace.”

Zionist Union MK Merav Michaeli, who was also in attendance, said that she had disagreed with the Disengagement when it was implemented.

“I was opposed to the Disengagement at the time,” Michaeli said. “I thought that although we had to leave the Gaza Strip, we could not tear the community apart without ensuring that security and quiet would follow. In other words, we should have left with an agreement.”

Although MK Michaeli acknowledged that Israel has faced threats to its security from Gaza in the years following the Disengagement, she expressed her belief that the Disengagement ultimately saved lives, albeit having been implemented in the wrong manner.

“The question now is what to do next,” she asked, adding that she hoped that a future solution to the conflict would allow as many people to remain in their homes as possible.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Israel Publishes Plan to Solve Urgent Water Crisis in Jewish and Arab Communities in Judea and Samaria

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

By Michael Bachner/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s Subcommittee on Judea and Samaria convened on Monday to discuss and approve a new executive plan to implement an immediate solution to the water shortage in both Jewish and Arab communities in Judea and Samaria. A total of 26 water reservoirs of up to 400 cubic meters each will be built throughout the region to reduce the amount of water shortages, at a cost of six million shekels (approximately USD 1.5 million).

The plan was formulated as a result of a collaborative effort by the Civil Administration, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Water Authority, Israel’s national water company Mekorot, the National Emergency Authority, and local councils in the region.

“I am glad that all the relevant authorities have come together to find a short-term solution that will enable regular water supply after years of neglecting the water infrastructure,” said Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan. “This is not the last word though. I intend to work together with National Infrastructure Minister Yuval Steinitz to promote long-term master plans for developing the water infrastructure in Judea and Samaria.”

However, due to a lack of funds for the project and the urgency of finding a solution to the water shortage in the mid-August heat, Minister Ben-Dahan is expected to request additional funding from Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon.

According to Mekorot, there is currently a water shortage of 7000 to 9000 cubic meters a day in Judea and Samaria. Experts in the field claim that this is due to a long period of negligence in the water sector and that none of the authorities had adequately prepared for the increase in population and in agricultural fields that require large amounts of water.

The severe shortage has affected both Jewish and Arab residents of the region. However, Palestinian Authority and international organizations as well as media outlets have been blaming Israel for what they perceive as a deliberate policy to withhold water from Palestinian Authority communities.

Israeli sources have repeatedly denied the charges, citing that the shortage existed in Jewish communities as well. The Israeli Water Authority has blamed Palestinian Authority Arabs for stealing water and for refusing to convene the Israeli-PA Joint Water Committee, which was established under the 1993 Oslo Accords, a step that would be necessary in order to upgrade the outdated infrastructure.

Idit Druyan, spokeswoman for Deputy Defense Minister Ben-Dahan, told Tazpit Press Service (TPS) that the solution would affect Jewish and Arab communities alike.

“The pipe system needs to be fixed to prevent it from becoming overloaded in certain spots,” Druyan said. “When this is done and balance is restored to the various parts of the pipe, all communities will benefit.”

“Today, the problem mainly affects communities that are 800 meters above sea level,” she added. “Once we fix that problem, then the lower communities, including the Palestinian villages and towns, will also have more water.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Report: Accelerated Arab Emigration from Judea and Samaria

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

The Arab daily Al Quds last week published an extensive report on the scope of youth emigration from Judea and Samaria, suggesting that as many as 400 thousand young Arabs have emigrated abroad over the past few decades. The report describes entire villages, such as the majority Christian village of Dir Dabuan, which are full of deserted mansions, with a smattering of elderly residents still living in the area.

A resident of Ramun village said that, out of his 44 classmates in the local school, 40 are living in the US, and the rest are inundated with offers to emigrate, because life in the US is much more comfortable for Arabs than life in Judea and Samaria. Apparently, an office in Ramallah coordinates Arab immigration applications and interviews at the American consulate in eastern Jerusalem. According to Al Quds, a survey of Gaza Strip residents found that 45% would like to emigrate if they could.

Demographer Jacob Feitelson said earlier this year that the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, as well as the US census, hide or modify the data regarding the high emigration figures of Judea and Samaria Arabs, which he claims reach 10,000 a year. He says the PCBS keeps Arabs listed as living in the PA for seven years after they emigrate.

A 2006 study titled “The Million Person Gap: A Critical Look at Palestinian Demography,” by Bennett Zimmerman, Roberta Seid and Michael L. Wise, suggested that population statistics and predictions of the PCBS are unreliable. A Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) study that subjects Palestinian demography to rigorous analysis shows that the 2004 Palestinian population of Judea, Samaria and Gaza stood at 2.5 million; not the 3.8 million claimed by the Palestinians. The 1997 PCBS population survey — which has been widely used as the basis for subsequent studies — inflated numbers by including more than 300 thousand Palestinians living abroad and double-counting more than 200 thousand Jerusalem Arabs included in Israel’s population survey. Later PCBS broadcasts echoed the forecasts of the 1997 study, reporting unrealized birth forecasts, including assumptions of a mass Palestinian return that never happened, and disregarding significant Palestinian emigration from the territories to Israel and neighboring Arab countries. The resulting PCBS report for 2004 inflated the size of the Arab population in Judea, Samaria and Gaza by more than 50%. The BESA study and further demographic research indicate that Israeli concerns about demographic pressure from Judea, Samaria and Gaza have been exaggerated.

It should be noted, in this context, that Louie Shabanah, a former Head of the PCBS, stated during a June 8, 2005 debate at Haifa’s Technion, trying to explain the inconsistencies between the figures offered by the PCBS and other Palestinian departments: “The Palestinian Health Department accounts for fewer births because – unlike the PCBS – it excludes overseas births….”

According to former ambassador Yoram Ettinger, the misuse of statistics by the Palestinian Authority has afflicted Israel and its supporters with an unwarranted mix of pessimism and fatalism. The aim has been to cajole Israeli policy-makers into a false assumption that conceding the Jewish geography of Judea and Samaria is a prerequisite to securing Jewish demography.

Ettinger insists that “in spite of Palestinian statistics, and the display of gross negligence by the international establishment — which accepts the PCBS and all other central bureaus of statistics at face-value without proper auditing – in July, 2016, there is a solid, long-term, 66% Jewish majority in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel, benefiting from an unprecedented robust tailwind of Jewish fertility and migration. Moreover, in July, 2016, there is a gap of 1.15 million people between the PCBS contended number of Arabs in Judea and Samaria (2.9 million) and the well-documented number (1.75 million).

JNi.Media

World Vision Collusion with Hamas Throws Harsh Light on Its Israeli Partner NGOs

Friday, August 5th, 2016

Eugene Kontorovich, a professor at Northwestern University School of Law and an expert on constitutional and international law, tweeted Thursday night, following the indictment of the director of the World Vision charity in Gaza for diverting to terrorist ends the millions in charity contributions from evangelical Christians intended to support Gaza’s indigent population, noted Thursday night that WV was not an innocent bystander in this story of deception and terror. He pointed to a World Vision official publication titled, “Advancing a Just Peace in the Holy Land,” which states clearly:

“WV is committed to supporting initiatives, whether exclusively Palestinian, Israeli, or joint, operating from a framework of ‘coresistance.’ We welcome Israeli actions that resist the occupation and work towards restoring rights for Palestinians living in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.”

Clearly, despite their hectic claims to the contrary, WV saw its mission in Gaza, Judea and Samaria as going much farther than feeding the children of the Holy Land, as its Australian CEO claimed Thursday.

Kontorovich then asked, speaking of innocent bystanders, “Can Israeli ‘human rights’ organizations that are World Vision’s ‘partners’ in ‘co-resistance’ please comment on that partnership?”

The same WV publication lists the charity’s numerous local partners in supposedly improving the lives of the suffering civilian population in Gaza. In a separate section headlined “OUR PARTNERS,” the charity lists “a number of local Israeli and Palestinian partners” with whom it collaborates, “along with international partners,” on “advocacy campaigns that focus on issues affecting the wellbeing of children in the Holy Land.”

We’ve already learned from the state prosecutor on Thursday that the work carried out by World Vision’s director and staff had nothing to do with the wellbeing of those children, but supported instead the murder of Jewish children and other Jewish civilians on the other side of Israel’s border. Now it’s time to examine who was in cahoots on the ground with the Hamas-run organization, and they should conceivably provide a record of their activities with Mohammed El Halabi, the Hamas-member director of the charity in Gaza.

Would a Knesset committee assemble the following NGOs’ representative for a hearing on their ties with El Halabi? According to World Vision, these NGOs are:

B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, Hamoked, ICAHD (Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions), Rabbis for Human Rights, as well as local advocacy partners in “Palestine,” such as the Defense for Children International-Palestine Section, Ma’an Development Center, and Grassroots Jerusalem.

Israeli legislators and policymakers should find out the extent of the cooperation between these organizations and the man who was central to the advocacy campaign against Israel in the past decade, and who was also an agent for a major terror organization condemned by the civilized world.

David Israel

Israelis and Arabs: “Etzion Bloc Should Be Center of Peace, Not War”

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

By Anna Rudnitsky/TPS

Efrat (TPS) – Arabs and Israelis met on Tuesday evening at the library of the Etzion-bloc community of Efrat to learn about the history of Jewish-Arab relations in the region and about the cooperation that has existed between them throughout the past century.

“We thought that it was important to show that Jewish-Arab relations do not have to be hostile and that they actually used to be friendly, at least here in Gush Etzion. We think that there is even hope for this today, despite the difficult and often bloody reality we live in,” Kfar Etzion Field School Director Yaron Rozental, who helped organize the event, told TPS.

Historian Yohanan Ben-Yaakov shared stories about the establishment of Jewish settlements in the region that he said may not be as well known as others. “Israelis are usually familiar with war stories about the Etzion bloc, about brave Jewish fighters and the numerous sacrifices that they made,” he said. “It is always presented as a very simple story—there were good guys and bad guys, and the good guys won. Relations between Jews and Arabs here were not always that black and white.”

Ben-Yaakov spoke about the settlement of Migdal Eder, the inhabitants of which were saved during the pogroms of 1929 by Arabs from the neighboring village of Beit Ummar, and about Kfar Etzion founder Shmuel Holzman’s son, a Jewish doctor who opened an infirmary near the Etzion bloc junction in 1929 with the intention of helping the local Arab population.

“It’s written in the Torah that Esau hates Yaakov, and everybody remembers these words. Few know what is written later, that he kissed him with his whole heart. These two feelings go hand in hand here today as well and it is up to us to choose between love and hatred,” Ben Yaakov concluded.

The event also featured speakers such as Dr. Yitzhak Glick, brother of MK Yehuda Glick, who received the Moskowitz Prize in 2012 for the free medical assistance he has provided to the people of the Etzion bloc, including to Palestinians, who know him as “our doctor.”

“Gush Etzion must be the center of peace not just in Israel, but in the world,” Dr. Glick maintained.

The event was also organized by Roots, a grassroots initiative which regularly facilitates meetings between Israelis and Arabs. The organization helped bring several Arabs from the nearby villages of Beit Ummar and Yatta to the event. Roots co-founder Khaled Abu Awwad said that he believes that such events could be more effective in bringing peace to the Middle East than meetings between Abbas and Netanyahu.

“Peace between our peoples must grow from the bottom up and only we can break the walls of alienation and hatred that have been put up between us,” he said. “We belong to this land, but the land does not belong to anyone so we must learn to live here together in peace.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Knesset Considering Tax Breaks for Judea and Samaria Communities Facing Security Threats

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

The Knesset plenum on Wednesday approved in a preliminary reading a bill that would make communities in Judea and Samaria eligible for tax breaks based on the security threats they face.

The so-called “benefits map” approved by the Knesset in 2015 fixed standard criteria for awarding the benefits based on socio-economic criteria. The bill, sponsored by MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) would add security risks to the criteria entitling Judea and Samaria communities to benefits.

The criteria would be based on Defense Ministry assessments of the security risks communities face in a manner similar to the way benefits are awarded to Israel’s border communities.

The explanatory notes accompanying the bill state that the tax breaks are meant to “encourage strong populations to reside in areas the state views as serving a national interest” and “add to the benefits map those communities in Judea and Samaria facing security threats.”

“Settlements in Judea and Samaria have for years stood up heroically against continuous terror inside the communities and on the roads. We need to encourage them with, among other things, tax benefits,” the bill’s preface reads.

Prior to the vote, MK Smotrich said, “This law will enable thousands of families living in Judea and Samaria, who suffer from security threats, to receive what they deserve and to be equal in rights to the rest of Israel’s residents. The national government is returning Judea and Samara to the settlement map. There’s a long way to go, but this is a step in the right direction.”

Meretz MK Esawi Frej said, “Have you heard of the Yotvata dairy farm? It should [learn from] Smotrich how to milk the state. You are milking the state using all kinds of improper methods. You [have the nerve] to take an additional 150 million shekel (about $40 million) for a few outposts.”

42 MKs supported the bill in its preliminary reading, and 36 opposed. The bill will now be sent to the House Committee, which will determine which committee will prepare it for its first reading.

David Israel

European Union Unhappy With Israel Over Gilo Housing Project

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

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

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/280579/2016/07/27/

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