Archive for the ‘West Bank’ Category

Obama’s Israel Policy: Speak softly and carry a very big carrot

December 6, 2010

by Maidhc Ó Cathail, Foreign Policy Journal, December 4, 2010

Even those familiar with the long and shameful history of America’s appeasement of Israel were taken aback by the Obama administration’s extraordinary offer to Netanyahu.

In exchange for a paltry one-off 90 day freeze on illegal settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem), Israel will get 20 F-35 stealth fighter jets worth $3 billion and a slew of other goodies. Yet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reportedly gave up to eight hours with Netanyahu trying to persuade him to accept “one of the most generous bribes ever bestowed by the United States on any foreign power.” Praising the Israeli Prime Minister for eventually agreeing to put the offer to his security cabinet, President Obama took it as “a signal that he is serious.”

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Tony and the Shah of Palestine

July 6, 2010

by Yvonne Ridley, Media Monitors Network,  July 5, 2010)

“There are fewer checkpoints because the Israelis are grabbing more land and huge swathes of stolen land are merging into other tracts of stolen land, making some checkpoints redundant. That doesn’t change the fact that the West Bank is now a series of small islands, cut off by Israel and its Apartheid Wall and settler-only roads, as well as the illegal settlements.”

Ever since a group of ordinary people from more than 40 different countries came together and set sail for Gaza have we seen various world leaders scramble to persuade Israel to lift the blockade on Gaza. Why? To honour the memory of those martyred by Israeli soldiers who shot nine unarmed peace activists at virtually point-blank range? Hell no!

They realize that people power has achieved more in that one heroic action, than any of them have achieved for the people of Palestine. And, despite that brutal episode, they know that more flotillas and convoys are being planned because people power is achieving more than anything else has over the past 60 years for the people of Palestine.

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‘Worse than Gaza’: Conditions in West Bank Areas Reach Crisis Point

June 30, 2010
by Bernard Smith, Al Jazeera-English, June 30, 2010

Children living in the poorest parts of the West Bank face significantly worse conditions than their counterparts in Gaza, a study conducted by an international youth charity has found.

The report by Save the Children UK, due to be released on Wednesday, says that families forced from their homes in the West Bank are suffering the effects of grinding poverty, often lacking food, medicine and humanitarian assistance.

The European Commission funded study found that in “Area C”- the 60 per cent of the West Bank under direct Israeli control – the poorest sections of society are suffering disproportionately because basic infrastructure is not being repaired due to Israel’s refusal to approve the work.

Homes, schools, drainage systems and roads are in urgent need of repair, but instead of work being allowed, families are being forced to live in tents and do not have access to clean water.

Restrictions on the use of land for agriculture have left thousands of Palestinian children without enough food and many are becoming ill as a result, the study found.

Crisis point

Conditions in Area C have reached “crisis point”, the charity said, with 79 per cent of the communities surveyed lacking sufficient food – a greater proportion than in blockaded Gaza, where the figure is 61 per cent.

The lack of proper nutrition is having a major impact on the health of children growing up in the area, with 44 per cent of those surveyed for the study suffering from diarrhoea, the world’s biggest killer of children under the age of five.

Many children living in such communities are showing signs of stunted growth, with the figure running at more than double Gaza’s rate, and more than one in ten children surveyed for the study were found to be underweight.

The report says that for many Palestinians, international humanitarian assistance is far harder to access in the West Bank than in Gaza, with almost half the households surveyed in Area C reporting that they had no access to foreign aid assistance.

Save the Children warned that with the blockade of Gaza dominating headlines in recent months, the international community risked forgetting the fate of the poorest communities in the West Bank.

“The international community has rightly focused its attention on the suffering of families in Gaza but the plight of children in Area C must not be overlooked,” Salam Kanaan, Save the Children’s director in the occupied Palestinian Territories, said.

“Palestinians in the West Bank are widely thought to enjoy a higher standard of living but tragically many families, particularly in Bedouin and herder communities, actually suffer significantly higher levels of malnutrition and poverty.”

The organisation called for Israel to immediately cease home demolitions and land confiscations in the West Bank and said the Palestinian authority should take “urgent action” to develop services and improve food security in Area C.

“Palestinian children cannot wait for the stalled peace talks between the Palestinian Authority, Israel, and the United States to find solutions to this crisis,” Kanaan said.

Pockets of poverty

Cairo Arafat helped devise the Palestinian Authority’s action plan for children before starting part-time work with Save the Children, and is now a spokesperson for Palestinian Authority. She told Al Jazeera the figures in the report did not reflect the conditions in the West Bank as a whole, but were still a major cause for concern.

“The overall conditions, if you look at health indicators and education indicators, are better than what is normal for the reigion,” she said.

“The problem is we are beginning to see a regression.”

The West Bank had “pockets of poverty,” she said, that left around around 10 per cent of the 240,000 children in the territory at risk of ill-health.

“There are certain parts of the West Bank were the situation is much worse than in Gaza, with a lack of access to water and shelter,” she said.

Arafat said that the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) was attempting to tackle the issue in the face of “excessive” obstruction from the Israeli authorities, particularly in areas near settlements and close to the separation barrier built by the Israeli military.

“The PNA is investing in a number of different programs in Area C and near where the wall is being built to improve the situation,” she said.

“But there are certain areas where the Israelis won’t allow infrastructure to be built.”

© 2010 Al-Jazeera-English

Israel prevents delivery of oxygen to hospitals

June 28, 2010
By Ma’an News Agency, Monday, June 28, 2010

Bethlehem – Ma’an – Seven oxygen machines donated to the Palestinain Authority by a Norwegian development agency were seized by Israeli officials en route to hospitals in the West Bank and Gaza, the Ramallah-based health ministry said.
The machines, the ministry said in a Thursday statement, were confiscated by Israeli officials who claimed that the generators attached “came under the category of possible use for non-medical purposes” if they were delivered to the southern Gaza governorates.

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Strenger: Israel should consider a one-state solution

June 21, 2010

Israel would do well to become a truly liberal, secular state without ethnic dominance in which subgroups no longer impose their way of life on each other.

By Carlo Strenger, Haaretz/Israel, June 18, 2010

In a recent op-ed, Moshe Arens suggested that Israel seriously consider the option of a single state west of the Jordan, in which Palestinians be granted full citizenship.

The one-state solution is advocated by a number of Palestinian intellectuals and is becoming rather popular within the European left. Their reason is generally that the one-state solution would give more justice to the Palestinians – this position is mostly seen as anti-Israeli. Israel’s extreme right favors holding onto the greater land of Israel, generally on theological grounds.

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Amira Haas: Not by cement alone

June 10, 2010

The flotilla, like its predecessors and the ones still to come, serves the Israeli goal, which is to complete the process of separating the Gaza Strip from the West Bank.

Amira Haas, Haaretz/Israel, June 10, 2010

The achievement of the failed flotilla to Gaza – mainly, it must be conceded, by its dead – is that the demand is being heard from everywhere that Israel halt its policy of siege. The government of Israel was not willing to listen to the desperate supplications of John Ging, the head of UNRWA in Gaza. Now it must heed French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. But unknowingly, this flotilla, like its predecessors and the ones still to come, serves the Israeli goal, which is to complete the process of separating the Gaza Strip from the West Bank. The process, it will be said here for the millionth time, started in 1991 and not after the rise of Hamas rule. It’s purpose was to thwart the two-state solution, which the world understood at that time as based on all of Gaza and the West Bank, and the link between them.

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