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December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘settlements’

Lapid Calls for Unilateral Disengagement 

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid slammed Economy Minister Naftali Bennett Sunday, and threatened to bring down the government if Bennett’s plan to annex Judea and Samaria is adopted. Lapid also called for a building freeze.

In addition, Lapid called for an Ariel Sharon-style flight from Judea and Samaria “in order to preserve Israel’s Jewish character.”

Lapid warned that “if a Palestinian state is not established alongside Israel, the Palestinians will come to us sooner or later, with full backing of the world’s nations, and tell us: ‘Since you don’t intend to give us our own state, at least allow us to become citizens.’”

But he did not reference demographic evidence that the Palestinian population in Judea and Samaria continued to decline in 2013, and refused to address the fact that neither the Arabs or the United Nations accept Israel’s unilaterally-drawn Gaza border. Despite Israel’s withdrawal, Palestinians and their supporters continue to describe the Gaza Strip as “occupied.”

In addition, Lapid failed to explain whether or not he had learned any lessons from the destruction of Gush Katif in 2005, or how he would prevent the security nightmare that plagues southern Israel – Israeli Civilians in Sderot and other Gaza border region communities have withstood nearly 10,000 rocket attacks from Gaza since the Gush Katif manoeuvre – from reaching other parts of the country, particularly Ben Gurion Airport, well within rocket distance of the Binyamin region of Samaria.

Witness: Police Choke, Beat 10-year-old

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Police investigators descended on the Gush Etzion town of Bat Ayin Tuesday to arrest three brothers, the youngest of whom is 10 years old. The older brothers, aged 17 and 19 years old, said police beat their younger sibling during the arrest. “One investigator choked my brother while the others beat him mercilessly,” said one of the older brothers.

The three brothers were brought to the Gush Etzion police station where the commanding officer delivered a warning talk to youngest brother, who was then released because at the age of 10, he cannot be charged with a crime.

But according to Honenu, a legal aid organization that provides representation in Judea and Samaria the two older brothers remain in custody at this hour, and added that the detainees have not been told why they were taken into custody. A Honenu spokesman said the brothers were “shocked” to learn that police claimed they had thrown stones at the police car, and added that the brothers denied “out of hand” the police claim.

The incident followed a similar one in Bat Ayin yesterday, when a 12-year-old boy was detained after police said he prevented them from entering the community synagogue. He, too, was interrogated and released.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named because he is a minor, said plainclothes General Security Service (GSS, or Shabak) officers interrogated him and threatened him.

“Two plainclothes guys came into the investigation room. One introduced himself as ‘Dan.’ He started threatening me and said he is watching me 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“He told me that his goal was to put me in jail for the rest of my life, and that he would hurt me and my family. I laughed, and he told me that the day would come when I would be held in a dark cell and that he would laugh at me. When I continued laughing he left the room,” the 17-year-old said.

Parents turn to Children’s Council

In addition to the Bat Ayin detainees, the family of a 16-year-old boy from Jerusalem have asked the Israel National Council for the Child for help in making contact with their son. They say GSS agents detained him six days ago and have taken the rare step of preventing him from meeting with a lawyer.

“Last Wednesday morning our son was walking down Hanivi’im Street in Jerusalem when he was accosted by two men in civilian clothes. They took him to an undisclosed location. From that moment, we haven’t heard from him or seen him, and we have no idea how he is,” the parents said. We understand that the GSS is interrogating our son under terms of a rarely-used legal clause which prohibits him from seeing a lawyer,” the family said in a statement released by Honenu.

If order to make contact with their son, the parents have asked Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, head of the Israel Council for the Child , to press GSS authorities on their behalf to obtain access to the prisoner.

“This is an opportunity for the Council to investigate the repeated violations committed against minors,” said attorney Adi Keidar, who represents the children. “Violations of the law continue unabated, and no one thinks of the long-term effects of extended periods of incarceration of minors in inhumane conditions in GSS lockups.

President of the Israel National Council for the Child, Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, was not immediately available for comment.

ACRI, Feiglin agree: Detentions recall “dark regimes”

MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud Betenu) said Tuesday that the detention of price tag suspects without evidence places israel alongside the world’s “darkest regimes.”

“The witch hunt against the tough price tag phenomenon has led to minors being held on suspicion of vandalism and prevented from seeing lawyers,” said MK Feiglin. “This is a very serious phenomenon  that should make anyone who holds human rights dear.

“Arresting minors (and adults) for suspected vandalism and property damage and withholding their legal rights under the pretext of ‘the rule of law’ places Israel on the same level as some very dark regimes. I am certain that had the vandalism occurred on the other side of the political map the police would not have dared act this way.

Nirit Moskovitch, a spokeswoman for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, said her organization has not acted on this case is that so many detainees in Israeli jails are prevented from meeting with legal counsel that ACRI cannot respond to each case individually.

“The reason this case has made headlines is the comparatively rare case that the individuals involved are Jews,” Moskovitch told The Jewish Press.

Moskovitch added that the organization is completely opposed to the practice of preventing prisoners from legal counsel, especially when the detainees are minors.  She also said that ACRI has spoken out strongly against designating Price Tag attacks,  offensive as they may be, as “terror” attacks.

“We will continue to call for a strong battle against these despicable hate crimes, which require determination and financial resources on the part of police. These measures need not stand in distinction to respect for the rights of suspects and those interrogated.

“Labelling price taggers as a ‘terror group’ could have serious consequences for the human rights of individuals suspected of these crimes,” Moskovitch said.

Gov’t Reaches Partial Deal on Givat Assaf

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Residents of the Jewish community of Givat Assaf in Samaria have reached a partial agreement with the Defense Ministry over the fate of their homes.

The talks came in an effort to avoid a traumatic demolition similar to the one that took place Wednesday in Gush Etzion.

The deal, which came Thursday morning, means the residents will begin to dismantle five of their own houses and buildings by themselves. Included among the structures are a mikvah and an electrical utility building. The fate of seven other buildings is still under discussion.

According to the Civil Administration, residents have already removed their personal belongings from the buildings.

Under the agreement the residents are expected to have left their homes by Sunday, when the Jewish holiday of Lag BaOmer, which marks the passing of the great Torah sage and mystic Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, will already have started the night before.

Bonfires will have been kindled after the Shabbat has ended, lighting up the hillsides, valleys and beaches of Israel, including the mountainous regions in Judea and Samaria.

During the daylight hours Jews generally celebrate the holiday in parks and nature reserves, or at the mountaintop Galilee tomb of the sage, near Meron — but for residents of Givat Assaf, the only “celebration” may come in the form moving trucks.

Minister Warns ‘Don’t Confuse ‘Price Tag’ Vandalism with Terrorism

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) came out strongly Wednesday evening against lawmakers claiming that ‘price tag’ vandalism attacks were tantamount to terrorism.

The minister demanded at the emergency meeting that Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovitch prove how ‘price tag’ attacks meet the definition of ‘terrorism.’

Ministers Livni and Aharonovitch had earlier Wednesday vowed a crackdown on the price tag attacks, referring to them as “terrorism.”

“Price tag” is something that is absolutely forbidden and should be not allowed to take root anywhere in our country,” Ariel said. “The criminals must be brought to justice,” he continued, but “terrorism is murder and [involves] intent to kill by throwing rocks, shooting, firebombing, car bombs and more.”

There is a difference, he said, and “the repeated failure of the police and Shin Bet to bring the perpetrators to justice does not turn these illegal acts into terrorism.”

Ariel called on lawmakers to clearly differentiate between murderous intent, and serious hate crimes that involve spray-painted graffiti and slashed tires.

It’s Prom Time, and Abbas Must Choose a Dance Partner – Israel or Hamas

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

It’s that time of year again — the Fatah terror faction led by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has for the ‘nth’ time managed to reach a “reconciliation” with the Hamas terrorist organization that rules Gaza.

The two sides agreed Tuesday evening after talks in Gaza City to form a unity government “within the next five weeks,” according to an announcement by officials on both sides released Wednesday.

But Hamas is unwilling to negotiate with – or for that matter, even recognize the existence of – the State of Israel.

So the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) which represents the PA in all its affairs at the United Nations (UN), and thus the PA, meaning Mahmoud Abbas – who heads both – must choose who to take to the prom.

Will it be Hamas? That fickle friend who makes deals every Monday and Thursday, and backs out at the last minute every time the signature page arrives on the desk?

Or will it be Israel, which will certainly mean he will have to sit down this time in earnest at the negotiating table, and actually get down to business?

Either could mean his death.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said bluntly in response to Wednesday’s announcement that Abbas had reached the crossroads.

“Instead of moving into peace with Israel, he is moving into peace with Hamas. He has to choose. Does he want peace with Hamas, or peace with Israel? You can have one but not the other. I hope he chooses peace; so far, he hasn’t done so.”

The fact that Abbas has continually come up with new ‘preconditions’ to extend the negotiations with Israel beyond the April 29 deadline makes it clear that he wants a way out of the talks that will leave him blameless.

That is a fantasy, since no leader can lead without taking responsibility for his actions.

Netanyahu proposed a plan for extension of the talks – taking a risk that enraged a substantial percentage of the population and its leadership – but Abbas so far has apparently turned his nose up at the offer.

Abbas knows Israel’s red lines but seems determined to stomp across them regardless of the price his people will inevitably pay.

Ultimately, his inability to decide a course on which to steer his people will be his downfall and, tragically, theirs as well.

“Yesterday the Palestinian Authority discussed dismantling,” noted Netanyahu in meeting with reporters. “Today it is mulling uniting with Hamas. Let them decide whether to dismantle or unite.”

Yitzhar Leaders Finally Urge a Halt to Violence against IDF

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Leaders of the community of Yitzhar, in northern Samaria, finally have come out with an appeal to its youth to stop violence against the IDF.

Dozens of attacks against IDF vehicle and bases have taken place throughout Judea and Samaria over the past two years, many of them allegedly caused by a band of hooligans from Yitzhar.

Last week, a Yitzhar teenager allegedly slashed the tires of an IDF commander’s vehicle, apparently in revenge for the government-ordered demolition of a home. Following more demolitions earlier this week, dozens of residents, some of them grown men, went on a  rampage. They threw rocks at police, injuring several of them, and ransacked an IDF post manned by reservists who were stationed to defend Yitzhar from Arab terrorists. For their trouble, the soldiers’ personal and army equipment was trashed.

Two days later, Yitzhar leaders decided to announce they are opposed to violence, but their calls were limited to attacks against the IDF. No mention was made of “price tag” attacks against Arabs through collective punishment.

The leaders also explained that they understand why the vandals take action. Indeed, everyone is frustrated by the government’s demolitions of homes, a policy that the leaders called an attempt to eliminate Yitzhar.”

But they hastily added that the explanation was not intended to justify the violence.

Communities in Judea and Samaria, and the umbrella Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria known  as Yesha, always have had a problem distinguishing good settlers from bad settlers.

In the rare instance when the leaders, and once or twice even rabbis, condemn violence, it always includes a “but.”A letter from Yitzhar leaders stated that the violence “produces a very negative response’ and gives Yitzhar a public black eye.

The message is that violence is wrong because it damages the reputation of Yesha.

There is not one sentence in the letter that condemns violence against Arabs.

The letter states, in part, that “recent incidents of violence against the IDF…are contrary to the polices of residents and leaders” of Yitzhar and also against the rabbi of the community.

“We strongly opposed attacking IDF soldiers and security forces and causing property damage.“

Naftali Bennett Urges Netanyahu, ‘Annex Settlement Blocs Now!’

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home (Bayit Yehudi) party, is urging Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to annex Area C, which encompasses all of the Jewish settlement blocs in Judea (Yehuda) and Samaria (Shomron.)

“It is clear that the diplomatic process has run its course and that we are entering a new era,” Bennett wrote to the prime minister in a letter sent Wednesday. “We have been hitting our heads against the wall of negotiations over and over again for years and we keep getting surprised when the wall did not break. The time has come for new thinking.”

Bennett’s “Settlement Blocs First” plan calls to annex Area C, which is controlled entirely by the State of Israel, and offering Israeli citizenship to Arabs living there. Area C, which comprises 60 percent of the Judea and Samaria regional sector, is home to at least 350,000 Jews – none of whom live in Area A (under full PA control) or Area B (under PA civil control and Israeli military control.)

Highway 60, a favorite target for road terror attacks by Palestinian Authority Arabs, is the main artery that runs from the north to the south from Samaria (Shomron) through Judea (Yehuda) to Be’er Sheva and is routed mostly through Area B.

Under Bennett’s proposal, Areas A and B would receive increased autonomy and a massive infusion of financial investment to upgrade the quality of life in those areas.

He explained the plan on the U.S.-based CNN network last night (Wednesday) and said he will begin to publicize it in the international forums. Bennett contended that since Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights and its reunification of Jerusalem was never recognized internationally anyway, another annexation will not make a difference.

Included in the blocs to be annexed would be Gush Etzion, Ma’ale Adumim, Beit El, Ofra, Ariel and the communities overlooking Ben Gurion International Airport.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/naftali-bennett-urges-netanyahu-annex-settlement-blocs-now/2014/04/10/

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