Posts Tagged ‘occupied West Bank’

Palestinians Excluded From Bulk of West Bank

February 27, 2010

By Mel Frykberg, Inter Press Service

IDNA, Occupied West Bank, Feb 27, 2010 (IPS) – Israel’s illegal occupation and continued expropriation of Palestinian land in the West Bank has left 2.5 million Palestinians living there with effectively less than 40 percent of the territory.

Muhammad Al Bedan, 55, a vegetable farmer with 14 children, struggles to support his family on just over 600 US dollars a month.

“We can only afford to eat chicken twice a month and red meat is out of the question. I can’t afford to buy my children new clothing. They rely on hand-me-downs. Three of my children have had to leave school without completing their education so that they can help to support the family,” Al Bedan told IPS.

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Robert Fisk: Why does the US turn a blind eye to Israeli bulldozers?

January 31, 2010

Most of the West Bank is under rule which amounts to apartheid by paper

Robert Fisk, The Independent/UK, January 30, 2010

“Palestine” is no more. Call it a “peace process” or a “road map”; blame it on Barack Obama’s weakness, his pathetic, childish admission – like an optimistic doctor returning a sick child to its parents without hope of recovery – that a Middle East peace was “more difficult” to reach than he imagined.

But the dream of a “two-state” Israeli-Palestinian solution, a security-drenched but noble settlement to decades of warfare between Israelis and Palestinians is as good as dead.

Both the United States and Europe now stand idly by while the Israeli government effectively destroys any hope of a Palestinian state; even as you read these words, Israel’s bulldozers and demolition orders are destroying the last chance of peace; not only in the symbolic centre of Jerusalem itself but – strategically, far more important – in 60 per cent of the vast, biblical lands of the occupied West Bank, in that largest sector in which Jews now outnumber Muslims two to one.

This majority of the West Bank – known under the defunct Oslo Agreement’s sinister sobriquet as “Area C” – has already fallen under an Israeli rule which amounts to apartheid by paper: a set of Israeli laws which prohibit almost all Palestinian building or village improvements, which shamelessly smash down Palestinian homes for which permits are impossible to obtain, ordering the destruction of even restored Palestinian sewage systems. Israeli colonists have no such problems; which is why 300,000 Israelis now live – in 220 settlements which are all internationally illegal – in the richest and most fertile of the Palestinian occupied lands.

When Obama’s elderly envoy George Mitchell headed home in humiliation this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu celebrated his departure by planting trees in two of the three largest Israeli colonies around Jerusalem. With these trees at Gush Etzion and Ma’aleh Adumim, he said, he was sending “a clear message that we are here. We will stay here. We are planning and we are building.” These two huge settlements, along with that of Ariel to the north of Jerusalem, were an “indisputable part of Israel forever.”

It was Netanyahu’s victory celebration over the upstart American President who had dared to challenge Israel’s power not only in the Middle East but in America itself. And while the world this week listened to Netanyahu in the Holocaust memorial commemoration for the genocide of six million Jews, abusing Iran as the new Nazi Germany – Iran’s loony president supposedly as evil as Hitler – the hopes of a future “Palestine” continued to dribble away. President Ahmadinejad of Iran is no more Adolf Hitler than the Israelis are Nazis. But the “threat” of Iran is distracting the world. So is Tony Blair yesterday, trying to wriggle out of his bloody responsibility for the Iraq disaster. The real catastrophe, however, continues just outside Jerusalem, amid the fields, stony hills and ancient caves of most of the West Bank.

As Obama Tries to Shift the Debate, Will Democrats Continue to Endorse Israel’s Colonization of the West Bank?

June 8, 2009

By Stephen Zunes, AlterNet. Posted June 6, 2009.

Obama has inherited a difficult challenge in pushing Israel to end the expansion of its illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

President Barack Obama has inherited a difficult challenge in pushing Israel to end the expansion of its illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. With the right-wing Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu categorically rejecting the idea of a freeze and with Democratic-controlled Congress ruling out using the billions of dollars of U.S. military aid to Israel as leverage, the situation remains deadlocked.

Along with many Israelis and other supporters of Israel, Obama recognizes that these settlements are one of the chief obstacles to Israeli-Palestinian peace. Given that Israel cannot be secure unless the Palestinians are also given the right to a state of their own and that a viable Palestinian state cannot be created as long as Israel continues colonizing Palestinian land on the West Bank, Obama sees a settlement freeze as critical.

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Israel ‘doubling’ settlement growth

August 27, 2008

Al Jazeera, August 26, 2008

Rice maintains that she aims for the two sides to reach a peace deal by January [AFP]

Israel has nearly doubled settlement construction activity in the occupied West Bank since 2007, a report by the rights group Peace Now says.

The report on settlement expansion coincided with the 18th visit by Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, to the Middle East, on Tuesday.

Rice urged Israel to stop expanding settlements, deemed illegal under international law, arguing that they were not helpful to the peace process.

“The settlement activity is not conducive to creating an environment for negotiations,” Rice said at a news conference with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Earlier in Jerusalem, after talks with Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister, Rice referred to settlements, saying “anything that undermines confidence between the parties ought to be avoided”.

A US-backed “road map” for peace calls on Israel to halt all settlement activity in the West Bank and for Palestinians to rein in armed groups.

Settlement ‘noise’

The report by Peace Now, a non-governmental organisation, said that at least 2,600 new homes for Israelis are currently under construction in the West Bank, an increase of 80 per cent over last year.

In occupied East Jerusalem, which Palestinians want as the capital of their future state, the number of new government bids for construction has increased from 46 in 2007 to 1,761 so far this year.

Palestinians say the construction of Israeli homes undermines final status talks as it runs counter to earlier agreements.

But Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister, said the construction will not affect talks.

“The peace process is not, and should not be, affected by any kind of settlement activities,” Livni said.

Livni urged the Palestinians not to use settlement building “as an excuse” to avoid negotiations, but added she understood “their frustration” at times.

Peace process

Nour Odeh, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Ramallah, said the issue of settlement building played into larger concerns.

“The issue of settlement building is not just that they exist on occupied land in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, it’s about control over water and the territorial contiguity of any possible future [Palestinian] state,” she said.

“It’s difficult for Palestinians to have any confidence in the committment to reach a solution when settlement activity has almost doubled – and by the Palestinain count more than doubled.”

Rice said she still aims to reach a peace accord by January, when George Bush, the US president, leaves office, but she has played down chances of striking any partial accord in time for the September UN General Assembly.

Egypt talks

Separately, Ehud Barak, Israel’s defence minister, travelled to Egypt on Tuesday where he met Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, to discuss the ceasefire in Gaza that has been in effect since mid-June.

Barak hailed Egyptian efforts along the porous border which “have visibly been effective”, a statement from the Israeli defence ministry said.

But Barak also said that “more effort should be put in order to further reduce” weapons smuggling into Gaza.

The two leaders also discussed ways to renew talks on the release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured by Hamas fighters near Gaza in June 2006.

On Monday, Barak ordered the closure of all border crossings into Gaza after two rockets were fired from the strip.


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