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September 08 2013

EU to ensure settlement guidelines will not harm ties with Israel, says Ashton Haaretz

EU to ensure settlement guidelines will not harm ties with Israel, says Ashton
Haaretz
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.545659

The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton said on Saturday that the EU will make sure the new settlement guidelines do not harm relations with Israel.

Speaking in Vilnius after a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Ashton said that the guidelines - which state that any private Israeli entity that wants to receive funding from the EU must demonstrate that it has no links to the West Bank, East Jerusalem, or the Golan Heights – will be implemented “sensitively, and we of course want to continue to have a strong relationship with Israel.”  

Ashton’s comments came after Kerry met in Vilnius with the EU’s 28 foreign ministers, urging them to postpone the new guidelines.

A senior U.S. official said Kerry asked the foreign ministers to support ongoing Israeli-Palestinian talks and postpone the implementation of the guidelines so as not to hinder the negotiations. The official said that the foreign ministers showed “willingness and openness to consider Kerry’s request.”

August 20 2013

New Israeli towns : Looking south | The Economist

New Israeli towns: Looking south | The Economist

http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21583670-israeli-planners-want-switch-development-new-frontiers-looking-south?fsrc=scn/fb/wl/pe/lookingsouth

New Israeli towns

Looking south

Israeli planners want to switch development to new frontiers
Aug 17th 2013 | KIRIYAT HADRACHA |From the print edition

Make it bloom for Zion

AFTER decades of building Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which Palestinians see as the basis of their would-be state, Israel’s government may be moving its focus south. Long in a slump, construction in Israel’s southern desert, the Negev, is outpacing not only that of the West Bank settlements, but in central Israel as well. At a cost of $6 billion, Israel is transforming the wastes around Beersheba, on the edge of the Negev, and building new cities, including one that is the country’s largest such project. By 2020 Israel plans to boost its Negev population by 50% to 1m, almost twice the number of settlers now in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

http://cdn.static-economist.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/290-width/images/print-edition/P/20130817_MAP002_1.jpg

#israel #palestine #occupation #colonisation

August 07 2013

Israeli scientists : Cutting ties with EU would seriously damage research By Jonathan Lis, Yarden…

Israeli scientists: Cutting ties with EU would seriously damage research
By Jonathan Lis, Yarden Skop and Eli Ashkenazi
Haaretz
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.540100

Israeli scientists warn that cutting ties with the European Union could cause irreparable harm to Israeli research. The researchers were reacting to Economy Ministry Naftali Bennett’s call for the Israeli government to end all cooperation with the EU in response to new guidelines banning funding to Israeli entities with ties to West Bank settlements, East Jerusalem or the Golan Heights.

On Monday, National Security Council chairman Yaakov Amidror convened a meeting to discuss the implications of the new EU rules. The discussion, which took place at the level of ministry directors-general, was in preparation for a similar meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to hold in the coming days.

One of the topics discussed was whether Israel should join the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and development program, in which the economy, education and science ministries are all slated to participate beginning next year.

Bennett’s associates said that the opinion he expressed was his personal position, and that at the meeting with Netanyahu, the ministry’s professional opinion will be presented.

#BDS

August 04 2013

Israel's new development plan to benefit more settlements - Diplomacy & Defense - Israel News |…

Israel’s new development plan to benefit more settlements - Diplomacy & Defense - Israel News | Haaretz
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.539667

Le « processus de paix » se déroule le plus normalement du monde,

The cabinet on Sunday approved a new map of national priority areas, which includes an additional 20 West Bank settlements and communities inhabited by former Gaza settlers.

The list of national priority areas features hundreds of towns and villages that are entitled to government benefits in housing, infrastructure, education, culture and security. The list was last updated in 2009 to include dozens new West Bank settlements.

Fifteen out of 20 communities to receive national priority status are strongholds of Habayit Hayehudi, one of Netanyahu’s chief coalition partners. Conversely, two Haredi communities have been removed from the list. However, the government claims that the reason for including settlements on the list has to do with security and is not at all linked to a policy of settlement expansion.

#foutage_de_gueule monumentalissime #colonisation #Palestine monumentalissime #impunité.

July 25 2013

Israel pushing ahead with grandiose West Bank railway plan, ignoring political borders By Chaim…

Israel pushing ahead with grandiose West Bank railway plan, ignoring political borders
By Chaim Levinson
Haaretz 25th of July 2013
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/.premium-1.537737

The Civil Administration decided Wednesday to go ahead with its grandiose railway plan for the West Bank and open it up for public objections, after the Palestinian Authority refused Israel’s request to participate in the planning.

The program is being aggressively promoted by Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud). Some NIS 1 million has already been invested in the planning process. The plan, first made revealed by Haaretz, included 473 kilometers of rail with 30 stations on 11 lines, meant to connect all cities and regions within the West Bank and the West Bank with Jordan and Syria. Due of the West Bank’s hilly terrain, the plans include dozens of bridges and tunnels.

The railway plan, which is supposed to accommodate all populations living in the West Bank, completely ignores all current political borders. Initial discussions were held about 18 months ago. Even if the hundreds of billions of shekels needed to realize the plan are never found, the mere existence of the plan means that any construction program from now on will have to take the theoretical railway lines into account.

Today the Civil Administration discussed the details of the plan, presented by Alex Schmidt , who was hired by Israel Railways to planning the lines. “There are 11 tracks. The central line runs parallel to the route connecting Jenin, Nablus, Jerusalem’s outskirts, Hebron and Be’er Sheva. Another line runs along the Jordan Valley and connects to Jordan and Syria. There will also be latitudinal lines connecting the two main lines: a line between Nablus and the Adam Bridge, Tul Karm and Nablus, and Nablus and Rosh Ha’ayin; a line connecting the Allenby Bridge to Jerusalem and Ramallah; a line from Ramallah to Lod and Tel Aviv; a line connecting Kiryat Gat to Hebron; and another line in Gaza that will make it possible to connect Ramallah with the Gaza Strip using Israeli trains.”

In terms of the demand for railway services, Schmidt said: “We used the data provided by the Palestinian Bureau of Statistics. We got the number of residents who work in the industrial areas. We checked how many people use private vehicles compared to how many use public transportation. We also calculated population growth. We expect 12,000 people to use the mountain ridge line between Jerusalem and Ramallah during the morning rush hour, and 3,000 between Hebron and Beer Sheva at the same time. We estimate that 2035 will see 30 million train rides.”

During the discussion, it was revealed that the Civil Administration forwarded the plans to ask the Palestinian Authority asking for its input but that PA personnel refused the request. The issue was also raised at a meeting between the Civil Administration head and the director general of the PA’s Interior and Civil Affairs Ministry but to no avail. It was therefore decided to proceed without Palestinian input. Survey Staff Officer Eli Livni, who is also a member of the Supreme Planning Council in Judea and Samaria (and brother of Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni), asked if such a small area really required so many lines. Schmidt responded, saying “This is what reality on the ground requires considering the cities that have to be connected.” Committee member Benny Weil added “OK, let’s say you’re right about the mountain ridge. But the Jordan Valley?! There are hardly any buses traveling there today. Is there really a demand for trains?” Schmidt responded that “The mountain ridge line is for local passengers and commuters, whereas the valley line would serve tourists traveling to the Dead Sea, Eilat and the Sea of Galilee. In any case, it’s the last of our priorities.”

At the end of the discussion it was decided to publish the plan for submission in another 30 days, which means that the documents will now be made public so that reservations and comments may be submitted. Once these objections are discussed, the plan will be published for final validation, whereupon concrete discussions of each and every railway line will begin. Committee chairman Daniel Halimi said that he hopes that the Palestinians will cooperate this time. “From our perspective, publishing the plan for comment submission is an important step for including the public in the planning process.”

July 17 2013

Israel's moment of truth is approaching - settlements and Europe 17th of July 2013 Editorial…

Israel’s moment of truth is approaching - settlements and Europe
17th of July 2013
Editorial Haaretz
http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.536181

The European Union recently issued a directive stipulating that agreements between Israel and EU member countries will not apply beyond Israel’s pre-1967 borders.

According to Barak Ravid’s report Tuesday, the EU guideline, binding on all of its 28 member states, bars any funding or cooperation with Israeli entities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The order also requires that any future agreements signed with Israel include a provision stating that the settlements are not part of the State of Israel and therefore are not subject to these agreements.

The sanctions imposed directly on the settlements and indirectly on the State of Israel have thus been ratcheted up a notch. A senior official in Jerusalem characterized the new EU directive as “an earthquake.” The guideline has reportedly generated tension and concern in both the Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry.

The report of this latest development comes just days after Yossi Verter reported that major European banks recently considered a recommendation to cease providing loans to any financial entity in Israel with direct or indirect links to the settlements. That recommendation has been put on hold for the time being, but it, too, has engendered concern.

And Justice Minister Tzipi Livni recently warned that Europe might not be satisfied with a boycott of the settlements; boycotts could be extended to include all of Israel proper. These developments reflect a new international reality that is rapidly taking shape. For now, for the most part, they are still merely warnings − but ones that Israel cannot ignore.

Until now, European governments have striven to maintain good relations with Israel despite the impasse in peace negotiations and construction in the settlements − sometimes to the chagrin of growing segments of the population in their own countries. The United States’ position and the legacy of European history have prevented harsher measures. Now, however, it appears that the patience of European governments is about to be exhausted.

In the immediate future, Israel will have to decide if it is prepared to sign agreements containing the new territorial limitations, which will have to be included in accords with all EU member states. If not, the European Union, which is the largest market for Israeli exports, is liable to halt its cooperation with Israel.

Israel can persist in its recalcitrance. The government can continue to impose more and more conditions on an agreement with the Palestinians. But the moment of truth is quickly approaching. Israel’s government needs to decide if it is ready to continue to endanger the country’s future for the sake of continuing the occupation.

How the EU caught Israel off guard with its new settlement guidelines by Barak Ravid Haaretz

How the EU caught Israel off guard with its new settlement guidelines
by Barak Ravid
Haaretz
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.536229

A senior Israeli official Tuesday described new guidelines conditioning future EU agreements with Israel on the latter’s recognition of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights as occupied territories as an “earthquake.”

The guidelines, which were drawn up by the European Commission, are expected to be officially released on Friday. Haaretz revealed Tuesday that the document was circulated among all the EU institutions, foundations, investment funds and aid organizations two weeks ago, as well as to all 28 EU member states. They go into effect on January 1.

In a scathing response, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “We will not accept any external edicts on our borders.” Most cabinet ministers were caught by surprise. Economy Minister Naftali Bennett called the decision an “economic terror attack.” Finance Minister Yair Lapid said it was “unfortunate and badly timed,” adding, “every day that Israel is not in talks harms its international status even further.” Meanwhile, opposition chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich called for an immediate resumption of talks.

July 16 2013

EU orders member states : Exclude West Bank settlements from any future deals with Israel By Barak…

EU orders member states: Exclude West Bank settlements from any future deals with Israel
By Barak Ravid
Haaretz 16th July 2013
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/eu-orders-member-states-exclude-west-bank-settlements-from-any-future-deals

The European Union has published a binding directive to all 28 member states forbidding any funding, cooperation, awarding of scholarships, research funds or prizes to anyone residing in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The regulation, which goes into effect on Friday, requires that any contract signed by an EU country with Israel include a clause stating that the settlements are not part of the State of Israel and therefore are not part of the agreement.

A senior Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, described the new ruling, which was published on June 30, as an “earthquake.”

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