PALESTINE LIBERATION ORGANIZATION NEGOTIATIONS AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT
RUNNING RINGS AROUND THE WORLD: ISRAEL’S COLONIAL EXPANSION IN OCCUPIED EAST JERUSALEM
Since the Israeli occupation of 1967, the Israeli government, in cooperation with Israeli settler organizations, has actively intensified a process of colonization all over the Occupied West Bank, particularly in and around Occupied East Jerusalem. This process serves the overarching Israeli goal of annexing vast parts of the State of Palestine to the State of Israel. Although the international community considers Israel’s actions to be illegal and has strongly condemned them through several UN resolutions, Israel has been allowed to aggressively pursue its illegal colonization enterprise without any legal, diplomatic or political consequences.
Israeli settlement activity in and around Jerusalem has increased under recent Israeli governments, particularly under PM Netanyahu’s mandate. Israel has been creating three main rings of settlements:
1) Ring of settlements set to fragment the Old City of Occupied East Jerusalem and its adjacent Palestinian neighborhoods. This is in order to expand the Jewish Quarter and includes several Palestinian houses taken by Israeli settlers in the Christian, Armenian and Muslim quarters as well as the demolition of the Magharbeh Quarter. Meanwhile, adjacent to the Old City, Israel’s colonial activity spreads throughout Sheikh Jarrah, Wadi Joz, Ras Amoud, Silwan and the Mount of Olives.
2) Ring of settlements set to isolate the surrounding neighborhoods of Occupied East Jerusalem from the Old City. These settlements include: Ramot Eshkol, French Hill, Kidmat Zion and East Talpiyot.
3) Ring of settlements set to seal the whole of Occupied East Jerusalem from the rest of the occupied State of Palestine. These settlements include: Pisgat Ze’ev, Neve Yaaqov, Giv’at Ze’ev, Ramot, Ma’ale Adumim, Har Homa, Giv’at Hamatos, Gilo and Har Gilo.
This fact sheet describes the first ring of colonial settlements. It focuses on the settlements built throughout the Palestinian neighborhoods surrounding the old city of Jerusalem and also highlights the new facts on the ground that settler organizations, along with Israeli Occupation Forces, are trying to establish in the occupied Palestinian capital. A newly planned Israeli military academy will also be considered in more detail, as a recent example of Israeli colonization policies in Occupied East Jerusalem.
To continue reading the fact sheet, please go to RUNNING RINGS AROUND THE WORLD
Father Roy writes: France has joined Britain in spearheading this proposal. According to the EU’s Foreign Policy Chief, Baroness Ashton, the proposal could soon become a pan-European initiative. Please note the next-to-last paragraph in particular (highlighted). Preparing the way for Obama?
Britain spearheading new talks between Palestinians, Israel
The Zionist regime’s aggressive approach towards the Palestinians following the recognition of Palestine by the international community has prompted the UK and its allies to plan a new proposal to re-launch the so-called Middle East peace process.
The new peace proposal for the Middle East being spearheaded by Britain and France requires Zionist regime’s authorities to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians within a year, the Daily Telegraph reported.
The initiative is expected to be tabled by March following the formation of a new Israeli cabinet after next week’s general election [in the occupied Palestinian territories], according to the report.
The proposal, which will include a provision for a Palestinian state with its capital in east Jerusalem (al-Quds), could eventually be adopted as a pan-European initiative by the EU’s foreign policy chief, Baroness Ashton, the newspaper reported.
“We do know that the EU is planning to come up with something after the elections, when the new government has been formed,” one Israeli source told the Daily Telegraph.
It (the proposal) will reportedly suggest negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians based on pre-1967 borders with appropriate land swaps, including the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem (al-Quds) as its capital and will also involve an Israeli settlement freeze, the report said.
William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, has told the House of Commons that he was consulting with his French and German counterparts about how to lend European weight to a US-led peace initiative.
This comes as all past initiatives, proposed by the UK, US or other European states led to nowhere because of the Zionist regime’s expansionist policies and its continuation of building settlements inside the already occupied Palestinian territories.
Father Roy writes: The New Year begins with encouraging news. The following report was published in today’s Ha’aretz. The US blocked a UNSC resolution and a presidential statement condemning Israel’s construction plans, but the US did not prevent our European allies from blasting Israel. Peace, Roy
UN Security Council members blast Israel over settlement construction plans
U.S. blocks attempts to push joint presidential statement and resolution condemning construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem; In addition to thousands of new housing units, a new highway is being built that will cut the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Safafa in two.
Fourteen members of the UN Security Council on Wednesday condemned Israel for advancing construction plans in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The council’s European Union members issued a statement saying these plans undermine their faith in Israel’s willingness to negotiate.
For the full article: www.haaretz.com….
Father Roy writes: Please see my highlights in AP’s news report. Is it possible that Obama will go down in history as the President who broke the stranglehold Israel’s lobby has on the US Congress? If so, Obama will need grassroots support: Contact the White House. Peace, Roy
US hits Israel hard on settlement plans
By MATTHEW LEE
WASHINGTON (AP) — In unusually rare and blunt criticism of its top Mideast ally, the Obama administration on Tuesday slammed Israel for continuing to announce new settlement construction on land claimed by the Palestinians.
The State Department accused Israel of engaging in a “pattern of provocative action” that calls into question statements from Israeli leaders that they are committed to peace. Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said settlement activity only puts the goal of peace “further at risk” and urged both Israel and the Palestinians to halt all provocations and take steps to revive long-stalled peace talks.
“We are deeply disappointed that Israel insists on continuing this pattern of provocative action,” Nuland told reporters. “These repeated announcements and plans of new construction run counter to the cause of peace. Israel’s leaders continually say that they support a path towards a two-state solution, yet these actions only put that goal further at risk.”
The administration’s questioning of the Israeli leadership’s stated commitment to peace was unexpected, if not unprecedented, and appeared to take Washington’s longstanding opposition to settlements to a new level. However, it was not clear if the tough new words would be matched by actions.
The comments came as Israel’s prime minister rejected international criticism of plans to build thousands more Jewish homes in east Jerusalem, saying construction would move forward. Meanwhile, diplomats said four European nations were moving ahead with plans to condemn Israel at the United Nations for settlement construction.
Despite the strong rhetoric, Nuland said the United States did not believe pursuing condemnation of Israel at the U.N. Security Council would be “helpful” in resurrecting the stalled peace process.
“We again call on Israel and the Palestinians to cease any kinds of counterproductive, unilateral actions and take concrete steps to return to direct negotiations,” she said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced plans to build thousands of homes in settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem in response to the U.N. General Assembly’s decision last month to upgrade the Palestinians’ status to non-member observer state.
One diplomat said the proposed European statement of condemnation would be a “political message” distributed to all the other Security Council members but that the Europeans are not asking the council to adopt a formal “presidential statement” or less important “press statement.” Each of those would require approval by all council members.
In such cases, the United States previously has stepped in on the side of Israel on the recurrent issue of settlements.
read the rest of this article here
This is encouraging! I can’t remember the last time I was impressed by the actions of Bob Carr! Has Australia finally found her moral compass? That’s too much to hope for. I guess we are only following the lead of Europe and the USA. Even so, it is encouraging.
Israel settler plans spark condemnation
The Sydney Morning Herald — RELATIONS between Israel and Australia – already tense after Labor backed away from opposition to a Palestinian seat in the United Nations – have worsened after Israel’s ambassador was summoned for a dressing down.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr took the serious step of calling in Israel’s ambassador Yuval Rotem on Tuesday afternoon to convey ”grave concern” and extreme disappointment with plans to expand settler housing in East Jerusalem and on the West Bank. Earlier, Prime Minister Julia Gillard had indicated the government was very concerned over the developments. Senator Carr instructed new Foreign Affairs chief, Peter Varghese, to summon Mr Rotem over reports that Israel will build 3000 new housing units in the highly sensitive area known as E1, a 12-square-kilometre patch of land east of Jerusalem. Tax revenue will also be withheld from the Palestinian Authority in the occupied territories.
Despite widespread and growing condemnation of the announcement, the Israeli government remained unrepentant. Several European nations – including Britain, France and Spain – have summoned Israeli ambassadors in protest at the expanded settlement plans, with the US also critical of the move. The decision to call in Mr Rotem – a diplomatic signal of deep displeasure – is the second time Australia has taken such a move with Israel in recent years. The last, in 2010, followed revelations that Israel’s spy outfit Mossad used forged Australian passports to facilitate the killing of a Hamas leader in Dubai.