Settlements

Analysis: Bibi fights his coalition on settlements

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 7, 2010

"Bibi really has a big dilemma right now,"a prime ministerial aide said this week. "This is probably the most difficult decision of his premiership."

Delaying tactics have become Binyamin Netanyahu's signature move but, this time, his stalling over whether or not to renew the building freeze in the West Bank settlements seems to be a sign of genuine soul-searching.

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Hague at conference, calls for settlement freeze

By Jennifer Lipman, October 6, 2010

William Hague has called for a two state solution “which brings security to both Israelis and Palestinians.”

The Foreign Secretary told the Conservative Party Conference that the coalition government’s “strong support” of the Middle East peace process comes from the need for Britain to pursue foreign policy that reduces the human and financial costs of conflict.

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Settlement freeze ends, talks teeter on knife edge

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 28, 2010

Israel's version of procrastination is epitomised in the phrase acharei ha-chagim. In other words, "after the High Holy Days", which is when Israelis promise to get things done, start a new diet and generally set their lives in order. This week, acharei ha-chagim also symbolises the next stage of the diplomatic process.

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Appeal for talks to continue as settlement freeze ends

By Jennifer Lipman, September 27, 2010

Benjamin Netanyahu has called for "expedited, honest talks" with the Palestinians to continue as the ten-month-long settlement construction freeze came to an end.

In a statement, the Israeli Prime Minister said: "Israel is ready to pursue continuous contacts in the coming days to find a way to continue peace talks."

US officials also urged the negotiations to continue despite the expiry of the moratorium.

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Frank Gehry backs settlement boycott

By Jennifer Lipman, September 22, 2010

Two prominent Jewish artistic figures have announced their support for a boycott of Israeli settlements.

Conductor Daniel Barenboim and architect Frank Gehry have added their names to a list of public figures expressing solidarity with Israeli artists who refuse to perform in the West Bank.

It follows the decision by Mr Gehry earlier in 2010 to abandon his role in the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Museum of Tolerance project in Jerusalem because of controversy over its location.

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Palestinian sues to obtain Israeli wages

By Nathan Jeffay, September 21, 2010

Normally, when Israelis and Palestinians row over the Green Line, the grievance is predictable - both claim authority over the same piece of land. But in an unusual court case, a Palestinian is advancing claims of Israeli jurisdiction.

Last week Nazer Fukra asked the Tel Aviv labour court to declare that the Nitzanei Shalom industrial zone, which lies on a spot of uncertain sovereignty right on the Green Line, should be considered Israeli.

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Israel may swap spy for settlement freeze

By Jennifer Lipman, September 21, 2010

Israel is believed to be considering a peace deal under which construction in the West Bank would remain halted in return for the freeing of a Jewish American jailed by the US for spying in 1987.

A freeze on settlement building is due to expire on September 24 and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has warned that he will leave the recently revived Middle East talks if it is not extended.

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Borders deal could eliminate settlement question

By Jennifer Lipman, September 14, 2010

Hillary Clinton has said that “there are lots of ways” for peace talks to proceed between Israel and the Palestinians despite concerns that the upcoming expiry of the West Bank construction freeze will derail the negotiations.

The partial ban on building of Jewish settlements is scheduled to end on September 26, and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas had warned that he might walk out of talks if it is not extended.

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Israeli actors to boycott West Bank theatre

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 7, 2010

On November 11, a new cultural centre will open in Ariel, across the Green Line. For many actors and theatre-goers, it will be a moment of truth.

Two weeks ago, 35 actors and dramatists signed an open letter telling the directors of their theatres that they would refuse to act on the stage of the largest Jewish town in Samaria. Since then, the Israeli drama scene has been up in arms, with season-ticket holders cancelling their subscriptions, counter-petitions flying around and politicians threatening to withhold funding.

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Analysis: Bibi's peace plan? Who knows…

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 2, 2010

Binyamin Netanyahu will try to manage the direct talks with the Palestinians in exactly the same way he ran the long period of preparation in the run up to them - bit by bit, without giving anything away until the very last moment he has to.

The Israeli prime minister is meeting the Palestinian president this weekend in Washington, under the auspices of President Barack Obama, without any details of his peace plan - if he even has one - becoming known.

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