Settlements

EU, UN criticise Israel for settlements

By Jennifer Lipman, December 10, 2010

Israel’s refusal to change its position on settlement building has prompted criticism from members of the European Union and the United Nations.

The rebukes came as Israeli envoy Yitzhak Molcho flew to Washington to discuss the progress of the peace process at meetings with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Middle East George Mitchell.

On the same day Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak met Thursday with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

EU High Representative Catherine Ashton said that the EU considered settlements an obstacle to peace.

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Hague anger at no Israel settlement freeze

By Robyn Rosen, December 9, 2010

The Foreign Secretary William Hague has said he is “disappointed” Israel has not renewed its freeze on settlement building.

The announcement comes after the United States abandoned its efforts to persuade the Israeli government to freeze construction in the West Bank for a further 90 days.

Mr Hague said: “I am disappointed that Israel has not renewed the freeze on settlement construction and that peace talks are currently on hold.

“It is Britain’s longstanding view that settlements are illegal under international law and an obstacle to peace.

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Netanyahu struggles to get votes for settlement freeze

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 25, 2010

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is finding it hard to gain the necessary cabinet votes he needs to pass an agreement with the Obama administration on a new settlement freeze period and renewed talks with the Palestinians.

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Actors agree West Bank settlement pact

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 18, 2010

Israeli theatre companies will play at the new concert hall in the settlement of Ariel while allowing individual actors not to perform.

This was the uneasy agreement reached between the theatre industry and the Culture Ministry following a dispute which included threats of boycotts and a curtailment of funding.

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Hague condemns West bank construction plans

By Jennifer Lipman, November 9, 2010

The Foreign Secretary has described plans to build nearly 1,300 homes in East Jerusalem as an “obstacle to peace”.

The proposed construction, in the Har Homa and Ramot settlements, has been approved by Israel’s interior ministry. But a ministry official said building would be unlikely to begin for several years.

However William Hague, who has just returned from an official visit to Israel, said: “The latest announcement…is extremely disappointing and unhelpful.

“Their construction should stop.”

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'Bibi will agree to new freeze'

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 4, 2010

Israel is expecting a renewed push to restart the peace talks with the Palestinians now that the American midterm elections are over. According to sources close to Prime Minister Netanyahu, he will agree to a new form of building freeze in the settlements.

Peace talks with the Palestinians ground to a halt a month and a half ago when the ten-month moratorium on building in the West Bank ended.

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Analysis: A settlement boycott Palestinians don't back

By Nathan Jeffay, November 4, 2010

In May, the Palestinian Authority announced that it will become a crime for Palestinians to work in settlements. But all indications are that come the first day of the ban, January 1, Palestinian workers will be going to settlement jobs as normal and nobody will bat an eyelid.

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Mosque attack part of tit-for-tat policy

By Nathan Jeffay, October 14, 2010

Who were the arsonists at Beit Fajar, and why would anybody want to torch a Palestinian mosque?

The obvious answer is that it was an act of hatred, akin to when antisemites desecrate Jewish cemeteries in Europe: it is simply a bubbling over of the contempt that some settlers have for Palestinians.

In all probability, however, the attack was not an expression of anti-Arab anger but rather a show staged by extremist settlers to communicate a specific message to the Israeli authorities. The Beit Fajar mosque was essentially caught in the crossfire.

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Rabbis replace Korans damaged in West Bank

By Nathan Jeffay, October 14, 2010

Just over a week ago, residents of the Palestinian West Bank village of Beit Fajar witnessed a strange spectacle. Six settler rabbis arrived, greeted city elders, and made their way to the mosque.

Settlers rarely enter Palestinian areas, both because of concern for their safety and because they are not welcome. But the rabbis and the
village elders felt that special times call for special measures.

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Netanyahu to Abbas: recognise Israel for settlement freeze

By Jennifer Lipman, October 11, 2010

Benajmin Netanyahu has offered to halt construction in the West Bank if the Palestinians recognise Israel as a Jewish state.

The Israeli prime minister said that the Middle East conflict “will never end” unless the Palestinians agree to this.

A ten-month-long freeze on settlement construction expired last month. Talks between Mr Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas have stalled in the wake of this.

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