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September 26, 2016 / 23 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Peace Now’

Private Recording: Bennett Promising ‘Strategic Solution’ for Land Ownership Challenges [audio]

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016


Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett on Wednesday attempted to calm his followers’ fears regarding the imminent uprooting of the community of Amona in Benjamin Region, in a private recording distributed to activists over WhatsApp. Bennett stressed that he and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked have been trying to come up with a global, strategic solution that would remove the current threat hovering over thousands of housing units which are facing the same predicament as Amona. So far, attempts to introduce a legal mechanism that would offer fair market value to new Arab claimants against Jewish Homeowners across Judea and Samaria have been rejected by the court.

The left has been outright hostile to the idea, among other things because leftwing NGOs like Peace Now have based their very existence on seeking out potential Arab claimants to contest legal transactions between other Arab owners and the Jewish buyers. A fair market value solution would satisfy both the Arab claimants and the Jewish homeowners, but would leave many NGO agents without employment.

On Tuesday, Kipa published a letter from the residents of Amona, accusing the rightwing members of government, especially Bennett and Shaked, of a lackadaisical approach to Amona’s impending doom (a term actually used, in paraphrased form, by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman).

In the recording, obtained by Kipa, Bennett tells Habayit Hayehudi activists that he and Shaked “have decided to use a strategic solution and to stop gong after local solutions the way did in Amona and in Gush Etzion.” He continued: “Right now Ayelet and I are laboring very seriously over a single, large-scale strategic move which would solve all our problems.”

Bennett suggested several options, including the application of the Edmund Levy committee report which recommended imposing Israeli law on Area C of Judea and Samaria. “It might be a change in the government’s decision, it could also be the arrangement law,” Bennett said, referring to a bill being promoted by coalition MKs that compels Arab claimants to accept fair market value for their claims—a bill that was rejected four years ago by Prime Minister Netanyahu. But no matter which solution they choose, it’s going to go into effect within the next few weeks, Bennett promised in the recording.

Bennett blamed on previous Netanyahu governments the current mess in Amona, where as many as 17 homes have been slated for demolition by the Supreme Court, in a community that was designed and supported by the State. He voiced his support for an outline suggested by the Amona residents, known as the Absentee Property outline. Absentee property was the way the State of Israel in the past dealt with thousands of properties that had been left behind by Arabs who fled to Jordan and Egypt during the 1948-49 Israeli War of Independence. “After much resistance we have been able to pass the outline in the government, but we don’t yet have a complete guarantee that it would pass.”

As usual, the one possible deciding vote to kill a market value bill or a realignment of Amona, in a government with a decisive, pro-settlements majority, is the man at the helm, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who probably does not relish a new battle with the Administration during the lame duck season.

Justice Minister Shaked on Wednesday told Army Radio that the Amona residents share in the blame for their current emergency, since a year ago the Defense Ministry had offered them an alternative settlement near Shilo, and they refused. She acknowledged, however, the validity of their absentee property solution and promised to pursue it in the cabinet.

JNi.Media

US Embassy Sends Jewish New Year Greetings and Accidental Gifts of Zion Wine

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

In its annual distribution of Jewish New Year gift baskets to Israeli organizations, the U.S. Embassy included a bottle of wine that was produced on the “wrong side” of the 1949 Armistice Line.

The wine in the basket was a kosher Cabernet Sauvignon produced by the Zion Winery in Mishor Adumim, located east of Jerusalem, Reuters reported.

Mishor Adumim is an industrial park in the industrial zone of the city of Ma’ale Adumim housing more than 300 factories and businesses, a 10 minutes’ drive from Jerusalem. Several kosher wineries are located there, along with at least two large supermarkets and several Arab-owned businesses.

The leftist Peace Now organization was one of the groups that received the basket. “I’m sure it was an honest mistake,” a member of the organization told Reuters.

An Embassy official emphasized, “This should in no way be interpreted as a change of our policy on settlements, which is long-standing and clear.”  The United States is opposed to the presence of Israeli residents in Judea and Samaria, and in any area claimed by the Palestinian Authority for its hoped-for Arab state.

Hana Levi Julian

Sharp Rightwing Criticism of Supreme Court Ruling on Demolishing Gush Etzion Homes

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

Following a Supreme Court Ruling Thursday ordering the evacuation and demolition of 17 structures in the Netiv Ha’Avot outpost in Gush Etzion, rightwing politicians called for a Regulation Act that would set out to legalize thousands of Judea and Samaria properties about which there are now or may be future claims. The general outline of the proposed regulatory legislation will authorize the Israeli government to compel proven claimants to receive market-value compensations, in comparable land or in money. A coalition move back in July to start work on the Regulation Act was thwarted by the AG Avihay Mandelblitt, who said the law is not constitutional and would be knocked down by the high court on appeal.

Thursday’s ruling, by a three-judge panel, evoked sharp criticism on the right, with Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett condemning the ruling, saying extreme leftwing elements who have given up on their ability to ever persuade the people to accept a Palestinian State in Judea and Samaria are bypassing the public and usurping the legal system to force their policies on the majority. “When the Supreme Court collaborates with them this erodes the public trust in the court,” Bennett warned.

Minister Zeev Elkin (Likud), who is a resident of Gush Etzion, said the high court’s “scandalous decision” constitutes the crossing of red lines, revealing the court’s utter disconnection from common sense and from the historic values and the legacy of the nation of Israel. Elkin called on Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) to lead a far-reaching reform to regain the public’s trust in the Supreme Court.

Thursday’s ruling was an uncompromising order to destroy homes that “were built illegally on private lands.” Considering the fact that the ruling required forcing residents out of their homes, and the large number of homes in question, Court President Justice Miriam Naor gave government and the residents 18 months to prepare for the evacuation/demolition.

Naor wrote that the court ignored on principle the fact that the outpost had been established with government endorsement and support, saying government does not enjoy a special status when it comes to standing before the high court. “In the judicial process government is equal to other litigants,” Naor emphasized, adding that the fact that government had been aiding in a long-term illegal enterprise does not make it kosher.

According to the petition by Peace Now, which dug up the Arabs who are now claiming to be the original owners of Netiv Ha’Avot, the lands of the Al-Khader village near Bethlehem and Gush Etzion, in Judea, had been undergoing regulation by the Jordanian government at the time the IDF conquered the land in June 1967. The Israeli court opted not to rule whether or not the Jordanian government had the legal authority to carve up and hand out the land to local Arabs, land it had acquired through an act of war, invading the “West Bank,” including Jewish Gush Etzion, in 1948.

Davidi Pearl, who heads the Gush Etzion Regional Council, responded to the High Court’s decision saying the court had opted to belittle the government which had presented a vast array of legal alternatives that had been confirmed by the AG. Pearl called on the government to act immediately to enact a law to protect the honor of the Israeli government and the Judea and Samaria residents who had acted in good faith with the government’s encouragement.

JNi.Media

The Devil is in the Details

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

I was shocked to read last week in the Jerusalem Post that Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the Chief Rabbi of Efrat, is supporting a radical and dangerous leftwing “peace plan,” and worse, this plan is being promoted to the youths of Efrat and other settlements.

“Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the founder and chief rabbi of Efrat, has expressed support, at the behest of his 18-year-old grandson, Eden, also a resident of Efrat, who has taken a leading role in drumming up support among teenagers and young adults (or, [in the words of the plan’s chief promoter Eliaz] Cohen, “infecting them with the sense of hope that is expressed by this proposal).”

I met and spoke with Rabbi Riskin a few times this week and he wanted to emphasize that he insists he “never accepted the plan.”

Rabbi Riskin said he was approached and was presented with a germ of an idea for a peace initiative, but was not made aware of any clear formulation of the terms of the plan itself.

Rabbi Riskin said he liked the name of the plan, “Two States, One Homeland,” and the concept as it was presented to him: a plan that would allow for peaceful coexistence, and did not require anyone, Jew or Arab, to be expelled from their homes.

Rabbi Riskin is a big believer and proponent of peace and coexistence between Jews and Arabs. He puts his money where his mouth is, and is known to personally get involved in helping Arabs who live in the villages around the town of Efrat. Without a doubt, this Rabbi is one of the reasons there so little friction between Jewish Efrat and its Arab neighbors.

He gave the plan’s advocate some stipulations of what any plan must include if he were to support it:

1) The Israeli-Jewish areas where Jews lived must clearly constitute a strong majority of Jews who would be establishing a Jewish State.

2) Not only would Jews have rights of access – and of course shared ownership – to the Temple Mount,  but would also be permitted to build a synagogue on the Temple Mount.

3) There would be a complete cessation of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel propaganda in Palestinian media and publications.

4) The Arab areas must be demilitarized.

Alas, the good Rabbi was not thinking like a good radical leftist, and didn’t consider the far more dangerous provisos that any typical leftwing “peace plan” might include.

Nothing New at All

The Jerusalem Post article’s author, Andrew Friedman, claims “the plan is a departure from the classic two-states-for-two-peoples formula,” but it’s anything but that.

It instead takes elements from some of the worst proposals, ideas that even Peres, Beilin and Sarid refused to entertain, and makes them the cornerstones of the plan.

But that’s not what makes this plan dangerous. The danger lies in the fact that this peace plan’s proponents are targeting Jewish settlement youths and older settlers who truly believe that coexistence is possible, repackaged to make the plan sound benign.

Unlimited Arab Refugees Allowed to Overrun Israel

The “Two State, One Homeland” website clearly states (emphasis added):

Immigration and naturalization Both states will have the right to define their own laws of immigration and naturalization within its boundaries. The State of Palestine would be at liberty to naturalize Palestinian refugees as it sees fit, and the state of Israel will be at liberty to naturalize the Jews of the diaspora, as it sees fit.

The Open Land vision a. The two states would be committed to a vision of one land, within which the citizens of both states have the right to travel and live in all parts of the land;

If their intentions aren’t clear enough from the text above, let me explain it, a fundamental cornerstone of the plan allows for the new Palestinian State to freely invite in millions of “Palestinian Refugees”.

Two million Jordanian Arabs, half a million Lebanese Arabs, and half a million Syrian Arabs (for starters) will be offered citizenship and entry into the new Palestinian state, where they will then be granted free access to the entire country — including the state of Israel, or what’s left of it.

Rabbi Riskin was surprised to learn this was a cornerstone of the plan, and made it clear that he in no way supports such an idea.

Efrat to Become Part of the Palestinian State

Rabbi Riskin was actually shocked to learn that his own town of Efrat would be transferred over to the Palestinian State, and any of its Jewish residents who choose to remain might be allowed to obtain Palestinian State citizenship, or otherwise will be granted “permanent residency” status.

It’s implied in the plan that the Jewish residents remaining inside the Palestinian State will be disarmed.

While he believes there can be land concessions in exchange for peace, Rabbi Riskin said he could never accept a plan that transfers sovereignty of the settlement blocs, and of Jews, away from the State of Israel.

What Demilitarized State?

While the plan calls for some “demilitarized zones” and decommissioning “armed militias and unauthorized organizations,” the Palestinian State will be anything but demilitarized.

In the Q&A section, the authors make it clear that the State of Palestine will be a completely independent sovereign entity with its own independent security force – but not to worry, the plan’s Arab co-authors say “they have no interest in tanks and planes.”

With a plan like this, they won’t need them.

By the way, all the plan’s Arab co-authors “are senior Fatah officials, all of whom served long stints in Israeli jails for murder,” according to the Jerusalem Post article.

Don’t you feel safer now about their intentions?

Conclusions

I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point.

This plan is nothing more than a regurgitation of the worst of the radical left’s most dangerous ideas.

But the authors are actually playing a different game.

They are trying to get it support from the settlers and the settlement youth, apparently through obfuscation of the dangerous ideas in the plan and playing off the naiveté and idealism of those they approach.

One peace-loving settler, who asked not to be named, told me he was approached by this group to attend one of their parlor meetings. He quickly caught on to their con.

But what about all the idealistic youths who are being targeted and don’t yet have the sophistication to ask the right questions or realize they are being hoodwinked?

One can only hope that Friedman is correct when he writes, “Predictably, the proposal has yet to make headway in the settlement community where distrust of the Palestinians is trumped only by a religious commitment to the Whole Land of Israel.”

It’s also trumped by sheer common sense, shared by about 70% of Israel’s voters who have been leaning decisively to the right over the past ten years. It’s highly doubtful they would buy this plan either – once they know what it actually says.

Stephen Leavitt

Ha’aretz on Warpath Against New Hebron Jewish Housing

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

Ha’aretz writer Yotam Berger, who on Monday reported on the new housing construction project planned for Jewish Hebron, followed his story with a tweet addressed to @White-House, in which he noted (in Hebrew), “For your information, the State is planning new construction in the Jewish settlement in Hebron.” Although it’s puzzling why Berger didn’t tweet in English, or ask someone at the paper’s English language website to help him translate, the panicky urgency of the tweet is unmistakable.

Yotam Berger Tweet

Monday’s report was followed Tuesday morning with a leading editorial titled, “Provocation in Hebron,” which warns that “Hebron is a permanent focal point for tension and confrontations between Jews and Palestinians. Any change in the urban structure and any additional Jewish presence in the city would only increase the potential for violence and the Palestinian protest. Those who complain day and night about Palestinian incitement cannot wash their hands of responsibility when they approve a construction project that is unmatched in its capacity to cause rage and hatred.”

The same editorial accuses Israel of “robbing lands” and Prime Minister Netanyahu of lying when he says he wants to negotiate peace because he is creating facts on the ground that would increase the demand for concessions on the PA.

The part about robbing lands is a purely pro-Arab perspective on the acquisition of the land for the new construction. The fact is that Ha’aretz’s own report on Monday cites Hebron spokesman Noam Arnon, who said the lands to be used have been owned by Jews since before 1948. “The area has always been known as belonging to the Jewish community, and if they return to living there I’m sure every justice-loving person would rejoice about it,” Arnon said.

What Ha’aretz and Peace Now, as well as the Arabs, are objecting to is the fact that in a situation where the slated area is comprised of Jewish owned lands and lands that were confiscated by the IDF back in 1983, the Jews will win out. The Jewish owned land will be turned into Jewish housing, while the confiscated land — where the city of Hebron used to maintain a central bus station that has been relocated in 1983 — that land remains confiscated.

So, according to Ha’aretz, the Jews who utilize their legally owned lands are robbers, because the IDF is holding on to lands that were confiscated from the Arab municipality.

A map of Hebron. The yellow area is Arab, where Jews are not allowed to set foot. / Wikipedia commons

A map of Hebron. The yellow area is Arab, where Jews are not allowed to set foot. / Wikipedia commons

The Israeli Supreme Court in 1979 ruled that land that was confiscated by the IDF for military purposes cannot be turned over for Jewish settlement. And so Ha’aretz, the anti-Israel NGOs and, supposedly, some Arabs, are implying that the Jews of Hebron have somehow violated the court ruling, which they never have done.

The decision to permit new housing construction in H2 (the Jewish sliver of Hebron) was made under the Moshe Ya’alon administration at the Defense Ministry, and it has now been confirmed by his successor, Avigdor Liberman. It isn’t clear how many housing units can be pushed into the area, which is about half an acre, including the military-confiscated parts which are verboten. Unless they build a high riser, the common land use for half an acre of suburban housing is between 15 and 25 units. If that many homes for Jews have the power to derail peace negotiations then maybe Israel should think the entire peace process on account of facing unimaginably rigid partners.

JNi.Media

Israel Taking Concrete Steps to Stretch Gush Etzion Out to Bethlehem

Monday, August 15th, 2016

Israel is conducting a land survey intended to declare the area east of the community of Efrat in Judea a state-owned land, freeing it up for construction, according to a document submitted by the state to the Supreme Court last week and cited by Ha’aretz.

According to the document, the survey has been undertaken “in a manner that will create contiguity of state lands.” As Ha’aretz points out, Efrat is inside the Gush Etzion settlement bloc of Judea, and construction east of Efrat, in an area known as Givat Eitam, would expand Gush Etzion eastward, to the outskirts of the ethnically cleansed Bethlehem, which used to be majority Christian but since 1994 has seen a flight of its Christian population.

Jewish prisoners in Jordan, after the fall of Gush Etzion, May 1948 / Wikipedia commons

Jewish prisoners in Jordan, after the fall of Gush Etzion, May 1948 / Wikipedia commons

To remind you, Gush Etzion was founded not after the 1967 War, but back in 1940-1947. Its civilian population was overrun by an invading Jordanian army in 1948, some of them massacred and the rest taken prisoner. But as of 2011, Gush Etzion consists of 22 communities with a population of 70,000 Jews.

According to Ha’aretz, in 2009, 425 acres of land outside Efrat were declared state land, with a plan to build 2,500 housing units there. The state told the court that early in 2016 the Efrat Regional Council requested permission to start planning construction in the area, noting that the land of Givat Eitam is privately owned by Himanuta, a subsidiary of the Jewish National Fund.

The document the state submitted to the court reads: “The intention is to promote in the future development of Himanuta lands. To this end, infrastructure must be installed between Himanuta lands westward toward Efrat, including lands that have been declared [state lands] at Givat Eitam… The installation of this infrastructure will be possible if and when the land survey now underway is completed in the area between Efrat and Givat Eitam in a manner that creates contiguity of state lands.”

The document is co-signed by the supervisor of government and abandoned property in Judea and Samaria, Yossi Segal, and the defense minister’s aide for settlements, Kobi Eliraz.

The Efrat Regional Council released a statement Sunday replying to a challenge to the building plans by Peace Now, saying, “It is symbolic that precisely on the day marking the destruction of the Temple some are trying to sabotage the building of the Land of Israel (referring to the fast day of Tisha B’Av,which fell on Sunday).”

“The legal clarification of the status of lands in the Eitam neighborhood has been underway for 12 years,” the regional council said, adding that “at the High Court of Justice at least five different panels of justices have come to realize that there is nothing of substance in the claims of the petitioners, who have dragged the state into a waste of money and costly resources in unnecessary proceedings.”

The council said it was “happy about High Court rulings in previous petitions, and we are happy that the state is seeking to redress years of injustice.”

The council noted there were “hundreds of acres bought by Jews even before the establishment of the state and registered to the Jewish National Fund in trust for the Jewish state” at Givat Eitam, and construction at Givat Eitam will fulfill the will of these Jews, and the “great bonus is mainly for young couples who cannot afford to purchase an apartment in Jerusalem and its environs.”

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories confirmed to Ha’aretz that its “blue line team” in the Civil Administration – consisting of cartographers, surveyors and legal experts – was now “working to study the status of lands at Givat Eitam, and a decision on their status will be rendered at the end of the team’s work.”

David Israel

AG Recommends Evacuating Amona, Residents Hoping for Political Rescue

Monday, August 8th, 2016

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said on Sunday that there is no legal obstacle barring a review of the status of lands adjacent to the community of Amona in Benjamin regional council, to start a discussion of potentially moving there the residents of the community which has been slated for demolition by the end of the year by the supreme court. Mandelblit spoke at a discussion with government officials of regulating the status of Amona.

The Israeli Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that the Amona community is illegal under Israeli law, based on petitions of presumed original Arab owners of the land who had been rounded up by anti-Zionist groups like Peace Now and Yesh Din. Since then, the court has ruled again on the Amona case, ordering that the Jewish residents must be evacuated, the housing and infrastructure destroyed and the area be handed to the Arabs.

According to the Amona residents, when the community was founded in 1995 it was by a state initiative, promoted by then housing minister Natan Sharansky, who invested millions of dollars in creating an infrastructure, paving roads and promoting construction, all of it under the auspices of the state. If there were irregularities with the land purchase, it was the state’s problem, not theirs. Had they known the land was privately owned they would have stayed away, but they were told by the state to move in — let the state deal with the alleged original owners.

It should be noted that when Mandelblit was being considered for the AG appointment, he was favored by the right for his idea that in just these kinds of cases, with anti-Jewish settlement activists signing up claimants against existing Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and the claimants prove ownership (which is not so hard to do considering the land registration archives are kept in Ramallah, seat of the Palestinian Authority) — said claimants be compelled to accept fair market value for the property, or comparable property. Mind you, this is after some Arab real estate agent had received full pay for the same land.

Now, despite his wise recommendation on grandfathering existing Jewish communities, the AG is obviously feeling that he can’t go to battle against a clear Supreme Court ruling to demolish Amona, and so he recommends finding an alternative land not for the alleged Arab owners, but for the very real Jewish residents instead.

Amona was the site of one of the most brutal attacks of Israeli government forces on Jewish residents in the state’s history. On February 1, 2006, Amona Jewish residents and protesters were evacuated by 10,000 Israeli Police, Border Police, and Army troops. The estimated 4,000 Jews on the Amona grounds mostly consisted of youths from nearby communities. More than 300 were injured, including some 80 security personnel. Among the injured were three Knesset members. After several hours, the Amona homes had been demolished. A few girls that were evacuated accused police officers of sexual assault.

In March 2006, the Knesset parliamentary inquiry into the events at Amona determined that security forces had employed brutal force, striking protesters with clubs and charging them with horses. Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra was criticized for preventing police commanders from testifying at committee hearings. The committee also found contradictions between the testimonies of the Army Chief of Staff and the Internal Security Minister.

Today, none of the coalition parties wants to position itself behind a similar evacuation effort, a move which could kill their political aspirations among their rightwing voters. Likud, Habayit Hayehudi and Yisrael Beiteinu officials have stated recently that this government will not permit the destruction of Amona. When the brutal evacuation took place in 2006, it was carried out by the same government that had evacuated Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip in 2005, yet another traumatic event in recent Israeli history. That government was ruled by the Kadima party, a political albatross invented by soon-to-go-comatose Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, which has since disappeared from the political map, and serves as a warning to all Israeli rightwing parties wishing to err leftward.

With that in mind, it can be expected that Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Liberman and Justice Minister Shaked come up with a solution that keeps the Jewish settlers in place, risking the ire of the high court, as well as of Israel’s many friends in the free world. It should provide for great political theater, as these three politicians will show their ability to both capitulate and gravel while proudly standing erect. It’s time to call in the chiropractors.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ag-recommends-evacuating-amona-residents-hoping-for-political-rescue/2016/08/08/

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