Settlements

West Bank settlers plan to teach kids Arabic

By Nathan Jeffay, August 19, 2010

In the West Bank, both sides in the conflict are busy building barriers.

Construction is still under way on Israel's security barrier. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority is building trade barriers. But despite this, one settler leader claims to have come up with a plan to break down a barrier - the language barrier.

Oded Revivi, mayor of Efrat, south-west of Jerusalem, wants to make his schools home to Arabic master classes.

More..

Methodist set up Friends of Israel group

By Robyn Rosen, July 29, 2010

A Methodist preacher has set up a Methodist Friends of Israel group as a response to her church's call to boycott Israel.

Earlier this month the Methodist conference passed a report calling for a boycott of goods from "illegal" West Bank settlements, and for political lobbying to end Israel's occupation and the "siege of Gaza".

The decision was widely criticised and the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council said the church should "hang its head in shame".

Pam Smith, a preacher in Monmouth, South Wales, created a website and Facebook group to gain support for Israel.

More..

Arab MKs blast 'apartheid' Jewish state

By Marcus Dysch, July 29, 2010

Israeli Arab Knesset members have launched a blistering attack on the Jewish state and its Parliament, declaring Israel "racist, fascist and worse than apartheid South Africa".

Speaking to supporters of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign at the House of Commons on Wednesday, MK Haneen Zoubi said: "Israel is much worse than the apartheid regime in South Africa. There were no ethnic cleansing policies there, but there are those policies in Israel."

Demand for entrance to the event was so great that supporters filled two committee rooms.

More..

Report: Israel failed Gaza settlement evacuees

By James Lewis, June 16, 2010

A new report into the fate of the settlers evacuated from Gaza has accused successive Israeli governments of “absolute and complete failure” in dealing with them.

The state commission inquiry showed that 70 per cent of the settlers, who were forced to leave their Gush Katif homes during the Gaza withdrawal in 2005, have still not been found permanent homes. A large majority of those 9,000 who were removed from Gaza have still not been properly compensated and are currently living in temporary dwellings.

More..

BBC's Bowen: Problems in US-Israel relations 'enjoyable'

By Jessica Elgot, May 14, 2010

The BBC’s Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen has said that a report where he described the tension in US-Israeli relations as “enjoyable” was down to an editing glitch.

In his piece ‘Analysis: Bleak climate for Mid-East talks’ for the BBC News website, Mr Bowen wrote: “It has been an unusual and enjoyable new experience to be able to look on as the Israelis argued with their most important ally.”

More..

Palestinian boy 'shot by settlers', reports claim

By Jessica Elgot, May 14, 2010

Palestinian witnesses claim a 14-year-old boy was shot dead by Jewish settlers in the West Bank last night.

The witnesses, including the boy’s cousin, told police the boy was shot on Highway 60, a short distance from Ramallah after Palestinians threw stones at the car of the settlers.

He has been named locally as Ayssar Yasser from the village of Mizra al-Sharqiah, but this has not been confirmed by Israeli police.

The IDF said the body of a teenager had been found and the cause of death was unclear.

More..

West Bank settlers attack soldiers

By Jessica Elgot, April 21, 2010

Settlers from the West Bank town of Yitzhar have wounded an IDF soldier, hurled stones and slashed the tyres of a military vehicle.

The IDF strongly condemned the attacks, said to be in response to a closed military zone order against the settlers to keep them from entering the Palestinian village of Madma, south of Nablus.

The settlers, mainly teenagers, had intended to visit Madma on Yom Ha’atzmaut to protest against the settlement building freeze. A clash ensued after security forces tried to prevent the settlers from going any further.

More..

Netanyahu: I would always have built in East Jerusalem

By Jessica Elgot, March 26, 2010

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied claims on Friday that right-wing members of his coalition were pushing him into building in east Jerusalem – because, he said, he would have initiated such building himself.

Mr Netanyahu’s coalition has been the subject of speculation since he returned empty-handed from an apparently disastrous meeting in Washington with US President Barack Obama.

More..

Clinton: Israel situation 'unsustainable'

By Jessica Elgot, March 22, 2010

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called the current situation in Israel “unsustainable” but guaranteed the Obama administration’s “rock solid” commitment to Israel.

In a speech prepared to deliver to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) in Washington, which was released early by her office, Mrs Clinton will say: “Guaranteeing Israel's security is more than a policy position for me. It is a personal commitment that will never waver.

More..

Quartet: Settlement freeze and Palestinian state in 'two years'

By Jessica Elgot, March 19, 2010

The Middle East Quartet peace mediators have called on Israel to freeze all settlement activity and say their aim is to create a Palestinian state within two years.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who led the meeting with representatives from the US, the European Union and Russia, was the latest to condemn Israel’s plan to build 1,600 homes in Ramat Shlomo, east Jerusalem.

More..