At around 10 PM, Egged bus #59 was hit by Arab stone throwers as it drove through French Hill, in the northern part of Jerusalem. One passenger was taken to Hadassah Har HaTzofim hospital, after being injured in the head with a stone.
Posts Tagged ‘Judea’
Following the recent deterioration of the security situation in Judea and Samaria, local residents have decided to take their security into their hands, reinitiating a civilian based recon unit which was operative during the second Intifada. In recent months there has been a sharp upsurge in terrorist attacks against the residents of Judea and Samaria. The number of stone and fire-bomb attacks on the roads has increased dramatically. To contend with this reality the local security councils have decided to reestablish the civilian security patrols on the roads.
The IDF has lately decreased the size of its forces in Judea and Samaria. As a direct result, Arab terrorists are freer to operate. Furthermore, the IDF has reopened some roads to Arab traffic which have been closed up until now for security reasons. This further endangers the Jewish motorists.
The security councils of Neve Tsuf and Ateret, in Benyamin, dispatched a letter to Minister of Defense Ehud Barak protesting their current precarious condition. “The situation is ablaze and there is no response provided, and it seems that the peak is still ahead of us,” they stated in the letter, “… The residents have come to one conclusion – the authorities have left us with no proper response and we must care for our own security. In a joint decision, we have decided to reestablish the civilian patrols which will scout the roads during the dangerous hours and will provide security to the residents against terrorism.”
They further stated that, “As citizens of the State of Israel, we regret that the trust we had in the security system no longer exists and we can no longer rely on the military to provide the necessary security to our communities and the roads leading to them.” The residents’ representatives concluded the letter with a demand that the IDF restore a presence in the region, thus providing the required security which will enable them to conduct their lives in a proper fashion. Copies of the letter were sent to top IDF officers in the region and to members of Knesset
The civilian patrols are deployed at crucial points, serving as spotters and deterrents. They are equipped with first aid kits and communication tools. They were directed to travel slowly to detect any looming danger. If attacked, they are to block the roads and warn other drivers of the upcoming perils.
On Feb. 18th, several cars were significantly damaged after being attacked with stones on the Trans-Benyamin highway. It took the army a long time to arrive on the scene, and a significant numbers of cars were hit until the IDF finally arrived and stopped the attacks. Last Friday, several Israelis were ambushed with stones at several points on the roads. Earlier that day a driver spotted two youth who were about to attack him. He drew his weapon and waved it at them and they ran away. In a different incident, a driver was attacked and fired in the air, and the terrorists fled the scene.
Yitzchak Shadmy, Chairman of the Benyamin Residents Council and a lieutenant colonel in the IDF reserves told Tazpit News Agency: “The IDF has lately left various areas in Judea and Samaria. Now, every time something happens it takes the IDF a long time to respond, up to the point where they are not relevant. It is upsetting that the IDF has not yet comprehended that a new Intifada is on the rise, and that it can be stopped early on. We call on all the residents to join and create a standing by force that will protect the women and children, before someone pays a heavy price.”
Neve Tsuf’s secretariat told Tazpit that: “Following the IDF’s decrease of its forces in the region they are unable to fulfill their mission. With the knowledge of the security forces, a civilian patrol has been established. Its mission is to warn the IDF of security related incidents in real time. We regret that as citizens we are forced to replace the security forces guarding our lives. We demand that the political echelons get involved to restore a sense of security and peace to our area.”
An IDF official told Tazpit News Agency that they are doing their utmost, overtly and covertly, to contend with these attacks. The IDF categorizes stone attacks as terror and relates to them accordingly. He further added that the IDF has not decreased its presence in the region, but rather has redeployed its forces. He reaffirmed the IDF’s commitment to the residents of Judea and Samaria.
Israel is abuzz with talk of President Obama’s upcoming visit – his first trip to the Jewish state as president. Speculation is rife that he would not put his prestige on the line in this manner unless he was confident his pressure on Prime Minister Netanyahu would bear fruit.
What precisely will Obama be pressuring Netanyahu to do? For starters, he will want to see a resumption of negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. One might ask why Netanyahu would have to be pressured to talk with the PA, when he has been calling for exactly that ever since he assumed office in 2009.
Here is where current events are actually shaped by their perception and bias. Though the P.A. is the party that refuses to come to the table, the popular understanding is that this is Israel’s fault. The P.A. repeatedly declares that talks cannot begin unless Israel freezes all construction throughout all of Judea and Samaria (Yesha) – and even the areas of Jerusalem liberated in the Six-Day War.
Chief P.A. negotiator Saeb Erekat even went so far as to say a construction freeze is not a “condition” for a resumption of negotiations, but rather “obligations that Israel is required to fulfill” even without talks.
Thus, those who are predisposed to the Arab narrative are quick to conclude that if Israel is not meeting the P.A.’s demands – it must be Israel’s fault.
Left unmentioned in the popular discourse is the “been there, done that” aspect: In late 2009, Israel declared a ten-month construction freeze, exactly for the purpose of jump-starting talks with the P.A. “We hope this decision will help launch meaningful peace negotiations,” Netanyahu declared at the time. American officials hailed the decision as “substantial” and “unprecedented.”
But it wasn’t enough for the P.A. For nine months it refused to come to the table, even as Israel suffered economically and Netanyahu suffered politically from the freeze. The ten-month moratorium was not acceptable, the PLO said; it must be “infinite.”
Only in the last month of the freeze did the P.A. deign to resume negotiations. Its nearly exclusive demand was that the freeze must continue indefinitely – or else the fledgling talks would end even before they started.
Israel did not fall for the trap, ended the freeze as scheduled, and negotiations have been stuck right there ever since.
Yet when Obama comes to Israel next month and demands that the talks begin once again, to whom will the demand be addressed? To Israel, of course: Stop building those schools and houses immediately, and let the P.A. come to the table. And yes, that includes Ramat Eshkol, Gilo and other Jerusalem suburbs, as well as the settlement blocs – Abbas won’t have it any other way.
Hints that this is the unfolding scenario are evident from many quarters. The New York Times reported over the weekend that the Israeli government is considering a new settlement freeze, and prominent public figures have been quoted of late supporting exactly that, at least partially. Among them is outgoing Cabinet minister Dan Meridor (Likud), who said that Israel should restrict building beyond the Green Line to Jerusalem and major settlement blocs.
Similarly, National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror, more on the hawkish end of Israel’s political spectrum, warned that continued Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria would lead to a deterioration in Israel’s international standing.
From Netanyahu’s office – not from Netanyahu himself – have come statements that a new settlement freeze is not on the table. During the election campaign, Netanyahu said as much many times, and even the #2 party in the soon-expected government coalition, Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid, said it objects to a building freeze during negotiations.
Nonetheless, Yesha leaders are far from relaxed, and with good reason. They know the very fact that a freeze is again being discussed so widely does not bode well.
Incidentally, the PLO Executive Committee has also announced that resumed talks are conditional on not only a “complete halt to settlement activities, including in East Jerusalem,” but also the release of all terrorist prisoners. And there’s more: Israel must also accept the recent U.N. resolution recognizing the P.A. as a non-member observer state.
The P.A. sees Obama’s visit as a great opportunity, “although we need deeds and real U.S. pressure on Israel rather than meetings,” said Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh. “We wish the U.S. administration will exert pressure on Israel to stop settlement expansion, in order to lay the ground for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the Palestinian territory within the borders before June 4, 1967.”
A Channel 10 report on Thursday ranked the various Israeli Prime Ministers, since 1991, based on the amount of actual housing construction that began during their respective terms, inside the Israel’s Settlements.
|Who Built the Most and When?**|
*Also destroyed thousands of buildings and homes.
** This chart doesn’t include infrastructure construction, only homes.
Based on information collected by Peace Now, below are the number of government tenders for new settlement housing that were issued, by year for the past decase. We then correlated that information according to who was Prime Minister at the time.
|Who issued the most Housing Construction Tenders?|
|2005||Ariel Sharon||Likud||1184||Ariel Sharon|
|2008||Ehud Olmert||Kadima||539||Ehud Olmert|
|2012||Benjamin Netanyahu||Likud||660||Benjamin Netanyahu|
Again, the information above is for new homes only. It does not include the infrastructure development in the settlements, which Netanyahu, for instance, did a lot of (exact data unavailable at the moment) during this last term as Prime Minister.
According to Peace Now, the Netanyahu government also approved dozens of “outposts”, though what Peace Now calls “outposts” are actually neighborhoods of existing Settlements.
Temple and rare cache of sacred vessels from Biblical times discovered at Tel Motza
Rare evidence of the religious practices and rituals in the early days of the Kingdom of Judah has recently been discovered at Tel Motza, to the west of Jerusalem. In excavations the Israel Antiquities Authority is currently conducting at the Tel Motza archaeological site, prior to work being carried out on the new Highway 1 from Sha’ar HaGai to Jerusalem…According to Anna Eirikh, Dr. Hamoudi Khalaily and Shua Kisilevitz, directors of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “The ritual building at Tel Motza is an unusual and striking find, in light of the fact that there are hardly any remains of ritual buildings of the period in Judaea at the time of the First Temple. The uniqueness of the structure is even more remarkable because of the vicinity of the site’s proximity to the capital city of Jerusalem, which acted as the Kingdom’s main sacred center at the time.” According to the archaeologists, “Among other finds, the site has yielded pottery figurines of men, one of them bearded, whose significance is still unknown.”
…”The current excavation has revealed part of a large structure, from the early days of the monarchic period (Iron Age IIA). The walls of the structure are massive, and it includes a wide, east-facing entrance, conforming to the tradition of temple construction in the ancient Near East: the rays of the sun rising in the east would have illuminated the object placed inside the temple first, symbolizing the divine presence within. A square structure which was probably an altar was exposed in the temple courtyard, and the cache of sacred vessels was found near the structure. The assemblage includes ritual pottery vessels, with fragments of chalices (bowls on a high base which were used in sacred rituals), decorated ritual pedestals, and a number of pottery figurines of two kinds: the first, small heads in human form (anthropomorphic) with a flat headdress and curling hair; the second, figurines of animals (zoomorphic) – mainly of harnessed animals…
… “The finds recently discovered at Tel Motza provide rare archaeological evidence for the existence of temples and ritual enclosures in the Kingdom of Judah in general, and in the Jerusalem region in particular, prior to the religious reforms throughout the kingdom at the end of the monarchic period (at the time of Hezekiah and Isaiah), which abolished all ritual sites, concentrating ritual practices solely at the Temple in Jerusalem.”
So, is the Biblical narrative reliable?
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Heralding the worsening of relations between Israel and Europe, the European Union is reportedly mulling the passing of sanctions on Israel, including the restriction of marketing Israeli goods and the boycott of goods made by Jews in Judea and Samaria – as punishment for Israel’s decision to develop additional housing in areas Palestinians say should be theirs.
Following the Palestinian Authority’s unilateral request for non-member state status at the United Nations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government announced that Israel would develop land long held by the country – currently labeled E-1 – situated between Jerusalem and the Jewish city of Maale Adumim in the Judean desert.
Europe has decried Israeli development of the land as counter to peace negotiations European leaders have long touted as the solution to discord between Israelis and Palestinians. The United Kingdom has threatened to recall its ambassador to Israel. Britain, France, Spain, Swden, Denmark and Italy all called their Israeli ambassadors in to express their disapproval of Israel’s plans for growth.
President of the military court in the West Bank Colonel Aharon Mishnayot says he will promote an initiative to apply Israeli Penal Law in Judea and Samaria, where military security laws and Jordanian criminal law have been in effect since 1967, Haaretz reports this morning.
Since the Israeli occupation of Judea and Samaria is still considered temporary, the Jordanian penal code is still the law of the land, together with some 1700 military orders that have been added over the years. Nevertheless, court procedure and the rules of evidence are followed as they are in Israel, based on a military order to that effect.
Security laws are by far more stringent in Judea and Samaria than they are in Israel, in order to cope with terrorism-based felonies. For instance, murder is punishable by death in Judea and Samaria (the law was never implemented), compared to life in prison in Israel. Attempted murder gets life imprisonment compared to 20 years in Israel. On the other hand, Jordanian law does not punish a man who rapes his wife. The two codes also differ on the rights of detainees and on detaining and interrogating minors.
Pointing out that Colonel Mishnayot is a resident of Efrat, in Judea, Haaretz reports that recently, as chief of the military courts across the green line, he has been promoting the idea of legal reform that would apply the full Israeli Penal Law in the territories under his jurisdiction.
Mishnayot is careful to emphasize that his aim is not to introduce a de facto annexation of Judea and Samaria, but to put an end to instances of injustice stemming from the differences between the codes which often contradict each. He proposes to use a military decree to impose Israeli law in the “territories,” a factor which would be a barrier before an unwanted slippery slope toward annexation.
Haaretz notes that Israeli law already applies in Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria, and new laws enacted in Israeli are automatically applicable in those areas. Israelis who commit felonies in J&S are tried in Israeli courts according to Israeli law.
Real estate law, on the other hand, is a true legal nightmare currently, being comprised of a seemingly random hodgepodge of Turkish, British, Jordanian, military and Israeli laws, a fact which on occasion is being used by forces hostile to Jewish settlement in the area to annul legal transaction and uproot legal residents.
The IDF spokesman’s office pointed out that the decision on Mishnayot’s proposal will be made in time by those in charge of legal issues in the area.
Here’s an opinion in the New Republic on Ehud Barak’s departure from the defense ministry which…
will have far-reaching implications for Israeli policy. That’s because the man most likely to replace Barak, Strategic Affairs Minister and Vice Prime Minister Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon, disagrees with him on two of Israel’s most contentious issues: Iran’s nuclear program and West Bank settlements…
Though Ya’alon supported the 1993 Oslo Accords, in recent years he has shifted right on the Palestinian issue. At a 2009 conference, he called the group Peace Now a “virus” and said—regarding U.S. pressure over settlements—that he was “not afraid of the Americans.” “From my perspective,” he was quoted as saying, “Jews can and need to live in all of the Land of Israel for all eternity.” Ya’alon elaborated on his thoughts in the Ha’aretz interview with Ari Shavit:
Ya’alon: As long as the other side is not ready to recognize our right to exist as the nation-state of the Jewish people, I am not ready to forgo a millimeter. I am not even willing to talk about territory. After land-for-peace became land-for-terror and land-for-rockets, I am no longer willing to bury my head in the sand. In the reality of the Middle East what is needed is stability above all. Stability is achieved not by means of imaginary agreements on the White House lawn but by means of defense, by means of a thick stick and a carrot.
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