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December 5, 2016 / 5 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘West Bank’

Arabs Released From PA Prison; Jews Ask Why the Left-Wing Didn’t Help

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

By Andrew Friedman/TPS

Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi, Dr. Yitzhak Glick and other residents of Gush Etzion expressed satisfaction Tuesday that the Palestinian Authority released four Arab residents of the village of Wadi Nis, but they added sharp criticism for Israeli and international NGOs that remained silent throughout the crisis.

Four residents of the Palestinian Authority village Wadi Nis, adjacent to Efrat, were arrested by Palestinian Authority officials last week for attending a reception marking the Jewish Succot festival in Efrat. The gathering was hosted by Revivi and attended by senior military and police commanders in the Judea and Samaria region.

Palestinian Authority officials initially said the men would be charged with “normalization with Israel,” considered a crime in the Palestinian Authority, but later statements indicated the men were being held in protective custody.

Speaking to Tazpit Press Service (TPS) by phone Tuesday, Revivi said Israeli officials were virtually the only voices that called for the men to be released. He noted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s call on the international community to work to help free the men, and added that efforts to secure the mens’ release included senior IDF officers.

Revivi also said that several members of the US Congress and State Department did act to get the men released. But he, Netanyahu, Glick and others added that repeated pleas to foreign diplomats, Israeli left-wing groups and international organizations to intercede with the Palestinian Authority on behalf of the detained men fell largely on deaf ears.

“I contacted every member of Meretz and B’tselem to get them to press the PA to release them,” said Dr. Yitzhak Glick, a resident of Efrat and member of Shorashim/Judur, a local co-existence group that brings Jews and Arabs from the Gush Etzion region together. “Zahava Gal-on was the only one to respond, and even she only wrote me a formalistic note that she would try to ‘do something’, but nothing more.

“Even Gershon Baskin, who’s got top-level contacts throughout the Palestinian world and goes around the world crowing about how he negotiated the deal for Gilad Shalit’s release, told me there was nothing he could really do. So I have to ask – where were B’tselem, Human Rights Watch and the rest of the groups that are normally so concerned with Palestinian rights?” Glick steamed.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Welcome to Breichot Shlomo (Solomon’s Pools)

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

The Kfar Etzion Field School gave a special tour during Succot to Breichot Shlomo / Solomon’s Pools, just north of the town of Efrat in Gush Etzion.

Solomon’s Pools consist of 3 large pools that are an integral part of the water network that supplied ancient Jerusalem and the Second Temple with water. Much of the network was built by Herod, but parts (the lowest pool) are of earlier, Maccabean origin.

solomons-pool-1

solomons-pool-3

The tour is a rare one, as unfortunately, this historic and amazing site was placed inside Area A – under Palestinian Authority control.

Of course, the Palestinian Authority generally neglects this important Jewish archaeological site as they have no historical connection to it. The Palestinian Authority police use it as a hang out and dump their garbage all around the area.

Along the way, the group visited (and some entered) an ancient Jewish burial cave.

burial-cave

A cave that was part of a separate water system.

entering-cave

water-cave

 

An exposed section of the water tunnel system that feeds into Solomon’s Pools.

underground-waterway

The tour was under IDF protection, as some of the locals decided that the best use of their time was cursing the Jews and throwing stones (but from a safe distance, no one was in any danger, but it did add a touch of excitement to the tour).

arab-stone-throwers

There’s even a possibility that the gardens mentioned in King Solomon’s Song of Songs (Shir Hashirim) are located in this area.

The hike, which left early in the morning from the Dagan Hill in Efrat, took around 3 hours, and involves some climbing, but participants both young and old thoroughly enjoyed it.

Photo of the Day

Car Firebombed Between Efrat and Tekoa

Sunday, October 9th, 2016

An Israeli car was firebombed in eastern Gush Etzion, at the T-junction between Efrat and Tekoa.

Initial reports indicate one woman was lightly injured. Update: MDA personnel are treating the victim for shock, but luckily, not any physical injuries.

The car was damaged by the fire. The fire department was on the scene.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman lives a few minutes away from the site of the attack, in the nearby town of Nokdim.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Attempted Terror Stabbing Foiled

Friday, September 30th, 2016

The IDF Spokesperson reports that on Friday a PA terrorist with a knife approached the vehicle of the Judea Regional Commander (Machat Yehuda) near the community of Negohot (South Hebron Hills area) with the intent to stab him.

IDF soldiers prevented the attack and the terrorist was apprehended.

There were no injuries to any IDF soldiers.

Jameel@Muqata

State Dept. Not Huge Fans of Netanyahu Video on Peace and ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ [video]

Saturday, September 10th, 2016

One of the disturbing points few in the media discussed back in 2005, when the Israeli government was strong-arming its 8,000 or so citizens off their lands in the Gaza Strip, was the fact that no one was entertaining the possibility of letting the Jews of Gaza become citizens of the Palestinian Authority. In fact, one of the things government agents took care of early on in the process was to disarm the residents of Jewish Gush Katif, so that they, too, wouldn’t dream of staying and defending themselves on their own.

Now one of the Israeli politicians who voted 4 out of 5 times for the program to exile the Jews of Gaza, including the dead and buried, then Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud), has begun to ask that very question, this time regarding the Jews of Judea and Samaria: how come no one is talking about transferring the Jewish communities, along with their people, over to Palestinian Authority rule, as a legitimate Jewish minority with equal rights? Why is everyone insisting the area must remain free from Jews?

In a video he posted this weekend, Prime Minister Netanyahu is asking why everyone around the world is convinced Jewish settlements are such a threat to peace. Because while no one would seriously claim that the nearly two million Arabs living inside Israel are an obstacle to peace, having close to half a million Jews living in Judea and Samaria makes peace impossible.

“It’s called ethnic cleansing,” Netanyahu says on the video, noting that while Israel’s diversity “shows its openness and readiness for peace, the Palestinian leadership actually demands a Palestinian state with one pre-condition: No Jews.”

On Friday, State Dept. Press Office Director Elizabeth Trudeau used her daily press briefing to rebut Netanyahu’s accusation, although a careful reading of her attack on the PM reveals she didn’t really answer his main argument.

The reporter who cited the Netanyahu video did a good job of digging up the key points, saying the PM is “talking about settlements and talking about the Palestinians wanting to have a state that has no Jews in it at all and saying that this is ethnic cleansing. And he also says that that demand is outrageous, that it’s even more outrageous that the world doesn’t find it outrageous. And then he says some otherwise enlightened countries even promote this outrage.”

Trudeau responded: “We obviously strongly disagree with the characterization that those who oppose settlement activity or view it as an obstacle to peace are somehow calling for ethnic cleansing of Jews from the West Bank. We believe that using that type of terminology is inappropriate and unhelpful.”

She explained that “settlements are a final status issue that must be resolved in negotiations between the parties,” and the next line out of her mouth was: “We share the view of every past US administration and the strong consensus of the international community that ongoing settlement activity is an obstacle to peace.”

So, to reiterate, 1. Shame on you, Mr. Netanyahu for using bad words; 2. We will deal with the status of those Jews in Judea and Samaria when everything else has been resolved; 3. Jews living in Judea and Samaria are a menace to peace.

Why? What if the PA and the Israelis decide that they want Jews living in a free Palestinian State, carrying Palestinian passports and enjoying equal rights? How then would today’s settlements have been a threat to peace?

Trudeau continued with the familiar, regurgitated statements about the thousands of new settlement units being built (we wish) and the vicious demolitions of illegal Arab structures in accordance with Israeli law, which the US should respect but doesn’t. She then announced that the US is “engaging in direct conversations with the Israeli Government on this. … We’ll have our conversation with our Israeli allies and friends and we’ll see where that goes.”

Not everyone in Israel is happy with the Netanyahu video. MK Ayman Odeh, Chairman of the Joint Arab List, accused the PM of revising history. And MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Camp) said that with one video Netanyahu managed to wipe out her accomplishments in the Sharon government, guaranteeing that the clusters of settlements would remain part of Israel as part of a two-state solution.

Israeli rightwingers will probably start drilling the PM on Sunday, after they emerge from their Shabbat rest. They won’t be happy with the fact that the PM has so openly entertained the possibility of a Palestinian State as a given fact. But the points Netanyahu made were sound and they could go a long way in stirring the presidential campaign’s foreign policy debate.

JNi.Media

Russia, Abbas, Pushing for Moscow Summit with Netanyahu

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

The Palestinian Authority on Tuesday pointed out the importance of Russia’s role in organizing the Palestinian-Israeli negotiating process, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement following the meeting of President Putin’s special envoy to the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, with high-ranking PA and PLO officials.

“During a confidential exchange of opinions on the entire set of Palestinian problems, special attention was paid to the development of the situation in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip in light of Palestinian municipal elections set for early October,” the ministry’s statement said.

“The task to restore as soon as possible Palestinian national unity based on the PLO political platform aimed at the establishment of a Palestinian independent state coexisting in peace and security with Israel was also considered,” the statement continued. “The Palestinian leadership representatives underscored Russia’s prominence in organizing a reliable Palestinian-Israeli negotiating process, including the possible organizing of a meeting in Moscow between the leaders of Palestine and Israel,” the statement said.

After the Ramallah meeting, Bogdanov spoke on the phone with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who is visiting Poland. “Abbas confirmed his unchanged readiness for continuation of active Russian-Palestinian political contacts in the interests of a solid and just peace in the Middle East,” the Russian statement said.

However, according to Abbas, who spoke to reporters following a Tuesday meeting with Polish leader Andrzej Duda, the Israelis have suggested postponing the initial talks in Moscow which had been scheduled, he claimed, for September 9.

“President Putin offered to meet in Moscow on September 9,” Abbas said. “I agreed. I was to fly to Moscow from here (Warsaw) to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu. Unfortunately, in talks held in Jerusalem yesterday between representatives of President Putin and Prime Minister Netanyahu, the Israeli representative proposed to postpone this meeting.”

“So, the meeting will not take place,” Abbas complained, telling reporters, “I am prepared to travel to Moscow or any other country for the next meeting, since dialogue is the only way to peace for the Palestinian people and the only opportunity for our independent country to live side by side with Israel.”

Speaking at a joint press conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “I am prepared to meet with Abbas at any time for direct talks without preconditions. I have said this hundreds of times and I am reiterating it now. I do not care about the place, be it in Holland, Moscow or anywhere else – this is not a problem, and it certainly could be in Moscow. I have said this to President Putin. I said this on Sunday to his envoy Bogdanov.”

“The main question is, of course,” Netanyahu said, “whether Abbas is prepared to meet without preconditions. We hear contradictory reports about this. Just yesterday, Palestinian spokespersons made it clear that they are ready to meet but they have conditions – releasing prisoners, they want to know if the talks will have results, etc. If Abbas is ready to meet for direct talks without preconditions, I am ready at any time. I have been calling on him to do this for almost seven years already and if he agrees to do this – there will be a meeting.”

For the record, though, Putin’s spokesperson said that while Moscow supports the Israeli-PA peace process, so far there have been no specific agreements between the two leaders on meeting in Moscow.

JNi.Media

Deputy Defense Minister Blocks Judea and Samaria Home Demolitions

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan (Habayit Hayehudi) on Tuesday issued a directive changing the protocol of evacuation of Jewish residents from illegal structures in Judea and Samaria. Following evacuation operations by security forces on Monday in the community of Eish Kodesh and on Tuesday in Mitzpeh Avichai near Kiryat Arba, Ben-Dahan sent a letter to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) instructing them that, starting Tuesday, the new invasion protocol in the evacuation of illegal structures must be approved by Ben-Dahan before it is carried out.

The protocol for these invasions and evacuations under former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud) permitted COGAT to evacuate illegal structures without government authorization in the first 60 days following their construction.

On Tuesday morning COGAT inspectors demolished temporary units that had been erected on Avichai hill in commemoration of the murdered teen girl Halel Ariel hy”d. Her family arrived at the area but were pushed off by police.

Following the evacuation, Halel’s mother issued a statement saying: “Some two months after the murder of our daughter Halel I woke up to another ordinary morning, trying to carry on with my life from within the loss. To cry and to live. Another ordinary day. Suddenly, an announcement: they’re evacuating Mitzpeh Avichai! We rushed to the area. There, at the spot where the terrorist had infiltrated, police forces were standing. The gate was locked, personal effects were outside. No people. The site had been evacuated.”

Halel’s mother added, “Two months after the murder, Halel is gone and the community that was built near that terrible site is also gone. A double destruction. All we want is to add building, increase the light. Today Halel was murdered a second time. Right now darkness is covering. We need so much strength to carry on. So much faith to fight the darkness. So much patience. God, please give us the strength to continue against the concealment inside the concealment [of the Divine].”

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/deputy-defense-minister-blocks-judea-and-samaria-home-demolitions/2016/09/07/

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