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October 01 2013

Jerusalem negotiable, right of return is not, Likud's Hanegbi tells J Street | Jewish Telegraphic…

Jerusalem negotiable, right of return is not, Likud’s Hanegbi tells J Street |
Jewish Telegraphic Agency

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israel will accept a peace agreement that includes handing over Arab parts of Jerusalem, senior Likud lawmaker Tzachi Hanegbi said.
“I think we will be able to give a good answer, a win-win answer, to almost every issue including the Jerusalem issue, including the settlement issue — every issue has a compromise that can be relevant to both sides,” Hanegbi said while speaking as part of a panel of Israeli lawmakers at the J Street national conference in Washington.
Hanegbi said the question of Palestinian refugees returning to Israel was the one issue on which there could be no compromise in the recently revived peace talks.
“We do know the two-state solution is the only relevant solution, even to those right-wing members of Knesset,” Hanegbi said. “I think they understand the alternative — escalation and bloodshed, or one state — is not an option if you want to keep a Jewish, Zionist state.”
In comments at a news conference following the panel discussion, Hanegbi described how he could convince more conservative members of his party that a two-state solution would be acceptable.
“Look, you’re afraid that Jerusalem will be divided? No, it’s going to be some creative idea that will allow them to have their own sovereignty in their neighborhoods and to declare whatever they want to declare about it, and we will have sovereignty over other parts,” Hanegbi, who is considered a confidant of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told reporters.
“All these things will be worked out. The devil is, as you know, in the details.”
Hanegbi was joined on the panel by lawmakers from the Yesh Atid, Labor, Hatnua and Shas parties. Udi Segal, the diplomatic correspondent for Israel’s Channel 2 News, served as the moderator.
The diverse representation was perhaps a sign of the transition by J Street, which describes itself as “pro-Israel, pro-peace,” from an organization shunned by the Israeli government and standard-bearing American Jewish organizations to one more accepted by the mainstream.
Labor lawmaker Merav Michaeli told reporters that J Street did not fit neatly within Israeli impressions of American Jewry.
“We in Israel are aware of two groups of American Jews: Those who run the foundations and are involved with groups like AIPAC, and those who don’t care,” Michaeli said. “But there is apparently a third kind who care but they think differently and want their voices amplified.”
Also Sunday at the J Street conference, Israeli opposition leader Shelly Yachimovich reiterated that her Labor Party would provide political cover for Netanyahu in the event he reaches a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
“Those who support a binational state are in fact promoting a bleak scenario that completely contradicts the basis of Zionism,” Yachimovich said. “The two-state solution is the only viable solution for us.”
Yachimovich called signing a peace deal “in our strategic interest, our economic interest and our moral interest,” and said she would not allow the governing Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu coalition to collapse over the signing of a peace deal.

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

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 26 2013

Dutch government urges local firm to cancel East Jerusalem project - Diplomacy & Defense Israel…

Dutch government urges local firm to cancel East Jerusalem project - Diplomacy & Defense Israel News Broadcast | Haaretz

Dutch government urges local firm to cancel East Jerusalem project
Royal HaskoningDHV is considering pulling out of the sewage treatment project after warnings from Dutch Foreign Ministry that it would be violating international law.!/image/118331449.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_640/118331449.jpg

#israël #colonisation #bds #pays-bas #palestine

August 19 2013

L'art après l'apartheid | Amateur d'art

L’art après l’apartheid | Amateur d’art

L’Afrique du Sud (où je ne suis allé qu’une seule fois) exerce un pouvoir certain de fascination, essentiellement pour la manière dont la réconciliation s’y est passée, en reconnaissant ce que fut l’histoire de l’apartheid, en ne niant pas ce qui s’était passé, mais en évitant la vengeance (on se prend à rêver à un tel scénario en Israël-Palestine, mais c’est un autre sujet ; prochaine expo à la Maison Rouge : My Jerusalem ???). Il est donc difficile d’aller voir une exposition d’art sud-africain sans garder à l’esprit tout ce contexte, que les artistes s’en inspirent ou qu’au contraire ils s’en distancent. Ce constant balancement entre art et histoire est ce qui fait l’intérêt de l’exposition My Joburg à la Maison Rouge (jusqu’au 22 septembre). Autant la précédente mouture, My Winnipeg, simple présentation d’une scène artistique marginale, était plate, autant cette exposition-ci est stimulante.

#Afrique_du_Sud #Johannesburg #My_Joburg #exposition

August 10 2013

*Eid under occupation* - In Pictures - Al Jazeera English

Eid under occupation
- In Pictures - Al Jazeera English
/Yotam Ronen/Active Stills/Al Jazeera

Border police officers stand in front of a Palestinian crowd as they wait to cross Qalandiya checkpoint on July 26, 2013. Many Israeli military checkpoints throughout the occupied territories have been dismantled in recent years, but Qalandiya remains one of the largest.
/Yotam Ronen/Active Stills/Al Jazeera

A Palestinian woman walks past an Israeli border police officer on July 12 at Qalandiya checkpoint - the main crossing point between Ramallah and Jerusalem.

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

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.


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

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

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

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 to bar all member states from funding Israeli settlements_

EU to bar all member states from funding Israeli settlements

An EU directive will bar all 28 member states from dealings with Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, including annexed Arab east Jerusalem, sparking attacks from Israeli officials Tuesday.

The directive, due to be published on Friday and take effect from 2014, forbids EU member states from funding or dealing with Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, according to Israeli media.

It requires a clear distinction to be made in all signed agreements between Israel and the territories it occupied in the 1967 Middle East war — the Golan Heights as well as the West Bank, including east Jerusalem.

A high-ranking official, who requested anonymity, described the European Union’s move as a disproportionate “attack” on Israel.

À mon avis, plutôt que du « courage politique », ou qu’un effet des menaces de boycott, je crois surtout qu’il s’agit de mettres les choses au clair pour que les institutions et les multinationales européennes cessent de passer devant les tribunaux à cause de leur participation à la colonisation. Parce qu’une directive qui interdit explicitement de financer la colonisation se contente, me semble-t-il, d’interdire ce qui est déjà interdit.

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

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.”

July 12 2013

What Netanyahu should learn from the fall of apartheid By Ilan Baruch Haaretz

What Netanyahu should learn from the fall of apartheid
By Ilan Baruch

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared his – at least rhetorical - willingness to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas without preconditions, even if he must do so in a tent on the way from Jerusalem to Ramallah. Netanyahu even committed to confining himself in the tent until peace is concluded. United States Secretary of State John Kerry has focused his efforts in recent weeks to bringing the two to a negotiating ‘tent’ in Jordan but, so far, without success.

What is likely to bring the two leaders - from Ramallah and from Jerusalem - to this tent of meeting? Can we in the Middle East learn how to negotiate a settlement to a conflict that spans generations from South Africa’s experience during the twilight of apartheid? Can the examples of leadership embodied by Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk at that time and place offer us a way to break the ice separating the Palestinian and Israeli leaderships right now?

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