Israel’s War Against Palestine: Documenting the Military Occupation of Palestinian and Arab Lands

West-Bank

Palestinian activists will attempt to peacefully board segregated Israeli public transportation in the occupied West Bank to travel to East Jerusalem in action reminiscent of the Civil Rights Movement’s Freedom Rides to the US South. UPDATED

Palestinians in the Occupied West Bank struggle to harvest olives amid Israelis that steal their land and restrict their movement. Yet the inhabitants of al-Walaja villiage in Palestine continue to resist by carrying on the age-old tradition.

A majority of Palestinians support the bid for Palestine’s membership of the UN, but expect a negative backlash, according to the results of a survey released Sunday and carried out in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip from July 13 – 17.

The Civil Administration is expected to begin forcefully moving Bedouin in the West Bank to a permanent location as part of a plan to remove all the Bedouin in Area C (under both Israel’s civilian and military aegis ) from lands they have been living on for decades.

“Under normal trade and transit conditions … Israel would no longer enjoy overwhelming dominance as the leading OPT trading partner,” the UNCTAD report says.

Despite Netanyahu’s rhetoric, the facts on the ground – illegal outposts, failure to abide by court rulings, unfettered settler activity- make peace a distant dream.

It used to be that when you counted off Israel’s top allies, the obvious names came to mind. Germany, the UK, and of course, the US. These days, Canada seems determined to soar to the top of that list. Taking it straight from the horse’s mouth – Avigdor Lieberman – Israel’s Foreign Minister. While visiting Canada in 2009 he said, “Canada is so friendly that there was no need to convince or explain anything to anyone… We need allies like this in the international arena.” In fact Canada’s arms trade with Israel, its military cooperation with the Israeli occupation and its political support make Canada a very dear ally for Israel indeed.

A B’Tselem report reveals that as a result, 472 Palestinians, including 223 minors, lost their homes last year, up from 217 – including 60 minors – in 2009.

Former Civil Administration head signed order expropriating 50 dunams from West Bank village for rail line connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Africa Israel, the flagship company of Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev, announced this week that it is no longer involved in Israeli settlement projects and that it has no plans for future settlement activities. Africa Israel subsequently denied that this was a political decision.

Peace Now’s interactive West Bank settlement activity map and database. Now available also as an iPhone/iPad app.

[A] strategy predicated on the belief that a few more humanitarian truckloads will make the problem of Gaza go away is as deeply flawed as the notion that Ramallah’s surfeit of new high-street cafés will be a sufficient sedative for the aspirants to a Palestinian state. Gaza is a political, not a humanitarian, problem.

Unhappy settlers: “The fact that B’Tselem decided to publish it on the day of Netanyahu’s meeting with Obama to try to make it go badly reveals the organization’s face as a systemic harmer of Israeli interests,” said Dani Dayan, chairman of the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.

B’Tselem’s Report:
By Hook and By Crook: Israel’s Settlement Policy in the West Bank

The Kibbutz Movement is encouraging demobilized soldiers to join settlements in the Jordan Valley, according to a document distributed by the organization’s special task force on settlement last month.

Amira Hass: Some settlers are employing a new strategy to get Palestinians evicted from their land in the northern region of the Jordan Valley: set[ting] up a “protest” tent next to a tent belonging to Bedouin herdsmen near Wad el Maleh, on private Palestinian land. [The result:] both the Israelis and Palestinians there were handed decrees declaring the area a closed military zone.

While public deportation which are contrary to the Geneva Conventions had stopped in 1992, a much more sinister plan appears to have been implemented. The new undeclared policy is called by some “the transfer policy,” whereby Palestinians are “encouraged” to leave and not return by use of various administrative orders, such as this latest order.

IOA Editor: Mr. Kuttab may be referring to “deportation” to other countries. However, expulsions of Palestinians from the West Bank to Gaza not only did not stop, but has picked up momentum in recent months, even before the reports on Order 1650. Read Amira Hass’ High Court: Gaza student cannot complete studies in West Bank.

On February 25, 2010 activists around the world will participate in an international day of action to raise awareness about the issue of lack of freedom of movement in the Palestinian city of Hebron. The closure of Shuhada Street to Palestinians is just one prominent example of the policy of separation that affects the lives of Palestinians all across the occupied Palestinian territories.

[Professor] Abu Hein sees the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip as the main reason behind the rising rate of suicide attempts. “Every aspect of their lives is affected by the blockade. They became enclosed upon themselves and unable to communicate with the outside world. They cannot travel, marry, get an education, or buy basic goods from outside the strip.”

A far cry from prosperity

16 October 2009

Economics professor and [Israeli] government minister Avishay Braverman confirms that per-capita income in the West Bank in 2009 is still far below the figures for the nine months that preceded the last intifada, in 2000. The prospects for sustained growth that will last several years and demonstrate true economic stability there, he says, are thus very poor.

Israel has 592 obstacles such as checkpoints, trenches and barriers across the occupied West Bank and a report that Israel was removing 100 such curbs can not be verified, a UN agency said on Friday.

[Bil’in] residents say the IDF conducts nighttime raids up to four times a week, sometimes using percussion grenades and tear gas and sometimes also entering homes, which has led to Israeli activists staying overnight in village homes.

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said… that Israel’s decision to construct nearly 500 new housing units in the West Bank prior to declaration of a settlement freeze further undermined any belief that it is a credible partner for peace… An Israeli government source told Haaretz on Monday that U.S. Mideast Envoy George Mitchell and the Obama administration have been updated on the new housing permits. The same source also said that the new permits were approved with the understanding that in return, Israel would enact a freeze on other settlement projects.

IOA Editor: Approved by the Obama administration with an “understanding…” In other words, business as usual: the Occupation goes on, settlement expansion continues, and US support which makes this colonial venture possible continues as it has in the past 42 years. Mr. Obama is saying No to Change.

B’Tselem told Haaretz it intends to appeal against the decision to close the case. “The footage of the attack shocked the Israeli public, but nobody was ever brought to trial. This decision joins other cases in a disturbing trend of a lack of law enforcement, signaling to violent settlers that they can do anything they want,” the organization’s comment read.

For 15 years, Sabawi entered and left the country with no problems, as a senior partner in an insurance company and as chairman of a construction company. But in April, he was denied entry at Ben-Gurion International Airport.

IOA Editor: Quite a contrast to Natanyahu’s “economic peace plan” – Israel’s latest propaganda tool used to avert a meaningful dialog with the Palestinians, and to protect the Occupation.

Yesh Din, Palestinian village council head file petition to High Court of Justice demanding interim order against construction in nearby settlement on what they say is private Palestinian land be halted immediately.

[T]he prosperity in Ramallah and Nablus is misleading, just as it was misleading between 1996 and 2000, when the Israeli media and the Oslo spin doctors were impressed by all the coffee shops and high-tech companies. Today, as back then, the people so impressed are visitors-for-a-moment who engage in occupation denial.

[T]he IMF says that if Israel does not continue to remove the restrictions on internal trade, the gross domestic product per capita will decline later in the year. Incidentally, according to the report the unemployment rate still stands at an extremely high 20 percent (less than Gaza’s 34 percent).

“These actions are contrary to the provisions of the Geneva Conventions related to occupied territory. They also contravene the united calls of the international community, including the Quartet’s, which in its recent statement urged the Government of Israel to refrain from provocative actions in East Jerusalem, including house demolitions and evictions. The UN rejects Israeli claims that this is a local matter dealt with by the courts.”

Palestinian officials said yesterday they were worried the U.S. administration was close to an interim agreement with Israel on settlement construction. According to information that has reached the Palestinian Authority, Israel will not completely halt construction in the settlements but will limit it drastically to the point of almost stopping it. In exchange, Arab countries will implement previously discussed concessions – among them, allowing Israeli planes to cross their airspace and opening diplomatic missions.

[Israel’s] Attorney General Menahem Mazuz has told police to investigate workers from the Jewish Agency’s settlement division on suspicion of knowingly allocating private Palestinian land for construction in the settlement of Ofra, [Israeli television] Channel 2 reported on Friday.

America’s best Jewish minds are wracking their brains, trying to find a magic formula that will put the settlements close to the hearts of Israel’s supporters, not to mention its critics. A new guide to the perplexed, disseminated by the leadership of the Israel Project, the organization spearheading Israel’s public relations efforts in the United States, offers a glimpse into its very own internal confusion

The outposts are a continuation of the settlements by other means. The sharp distinction Israel makes between them is artificial. Every outpost is established with a direct connection to a mother settlement, with the clear aim of expanding the takeover of the territory and ensuring an Israeli hold on a wider tract of land. Construction in the outposts is integrated into the overall plan of the settlement project and is carried out in parallel to the seizure of lands within and close to the settlements…

Behind every settlement action there is a planning and thinking mind that has access to the state’s database and maps, and help from sympathetic officers serving in key positions in the IDF and the Civil Administration. The story is not in the settlers’ uncontrolled behavior, though there is evidence of this on some of the hilltops, but rather in conscious choices by the state to enforce very little of the law.

IOA Editor: Irrespective of Amos Harel’s assumption that the Obama administration is the enemy of Israel’s settlement project, which has yet to be evidenced by actions, this is an important update report on the status of on-going settlement activities, and on the historically tight relationship between the settler movement, all Israeli governments, and the IDF – a partnership which is a crucial ingredient for the success of Israel’s 42 year old colonial project in the West Bank.

Not just in the courts, but also on the ground, it is hard to see any real indication that the settlement enterprise is headed toward a freeze. Dror Etkes, the man behind the petitions, photographed construction in the outpost of Ali this week.

A West Bank checkpoint managed by a private security company is not allowing Palestinians to pass through with large water bottles and some food items – such as 6 pieces of bread.

Ezra Nawi was in his element. Behind the wheel of his well-worn jeep one recent Saturday morning, working two cellphones in Arabic as he bounded through the terraced hills and hardscrabble villages near Hebron, he was greeted warmly by Palestinians near and far.

Activists for Bimkom association, which works for justice and human rights in planning and knows a thing or two about the situation in the territories, have discovered that Barak recently authorized the Civil Administration to submit a plan for the construction of 300 housing units in the unauthorized outpost of Givat Habrecha, near the community of Talmon… The new construction is located around 13 kilometers east of the Green Line, on the “Palestinian” side of the separation barrier.

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