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Settlements

TitleDescriptionDate
Israeli Troops Shoot Palestinian Family Harvesting Wheat, Wounding TwoIMEMC - Israeli forces attacked a family of Palestinians who were harvesting wheat on their farmland near al-Mughayyir village east of Jerusalem. The army was apparently called in by Israeli settlers who had earlier tried to harass the Palestinian family. Initially, the army issued a statement that two Palestinians tried to attack them with sickles). But eyewitness accounts paint a far different picture of what happened – and draw into question other statements by the Israeli military in which they claim they shot Palestinians ‘in self-defense’. [ak]26/5/2020
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Netanyahu says July 1 deadline for West Bank annexation won`t changeBarak Ravid - Israel`s Channel 13 News - PM Netanyahu said at a Likud Party faction meeting at the Knesset that Israel has "the biggest opportunity since 1948" to annex the West Bank, that "he will not let this opportunity pass" and that he will stick to his July 1 deadline for starting the process of annexation. Netanyahu`s agreement with Benny Ganz`s Blue and White Party says that he can bring "the understandings with the Trump administration" on annexation up for a vote in his Cabinet or the Knesset as early as July 1 — but only on condition that he has the full agreement of the White House for the details of annexation. For their part, The White House and the State Department have stressed over the last few weeks that the deadline set by Netanyahu is "not sacred" to the Trump administration — and that any discussion of annexation "needs to be in the context of renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks". Israel`s ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer - a close confidant of Netnayahu - has been lobbying American officials in recent weeks to back annexation, fearing that the plan could be derailed if Joe Biden wins the presidency in November. Meanwhile, Palestinian President Abbas said the Palestinian Authority considers itself free of all agreements and understandings with both Israel and the U.S. — including on security matters — because of Israel`s annexation plans. [ak] 26/5/2020
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40 British MP: Response to Israeli annexation should be like to Russian annexation of the CrimeaMiddle East Mirror - In the British Parliament, a cross-party Early Day Motion (EDM) sponsored by Conservative MP Crispin Blunt and Labour MP Andy Slaughter, and signed by 40 MPs, called on the government to make clear there would be “severe consequences” for Israel’s relationship with the UK if the annexation plan went ahead.The EDM called on the government to “make clear to the Israeli Government that such a step will have severe consequences for the UK-Israel relationship; and further calls on the Government to introduce sanctions similar to those imposed on Russia [for its annexation of Crimea] in the event that an annexation of occupied territory takes place.For his part James Cleverly, UK Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa, said that Israel’s plans to annex the West Bank are “contrary to international law” and "could make a sustainable two-state solution harder", but declined to specify what steps the British government would take in such a situation. [ak]19/5/2020
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King Abdullah II: If Israel really annexes the West Bank, it would lead to a massive conflict with Jordan Der Spiegel - King Abdullah II: Is now, in the midst of the corona pandemic, really the time to discuss whether we want a one- or two- state solution for Israel and Palestine? Or should we be discussing how we can fight the pandemic together? The two-state solution is the only way for us to be able to move forward. DER SPIEGEL: Politicians like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu want to take advantage of the opportunity presented by Trump and annex large parts of the Palestinian territories.King Abdullah II: Leaders who advocate a one-state solution do not understand what that would mean. What would happen if the Palestinian National Authority collapsed? There would be more chaos and extremism in the region. If Israel really annexes the West Bank in July, it would lead to a massive conflict with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Der Spiegel: You would suspend the peace treaty with Israel? King Abdullah II: I don`t want to make threats and create a loggerheads atmosphere, but we are considering all options. [ak] 19/5/2020
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Pompeo’s Visit to Israel Signals a Green Light Turns Yellow on Annexation, New York Times - What was so urgent and sensitive, in the middle of a virus pandemic, that America’s top diplomat had to make a 16-hour trip to Israel instead of simply picking up the phone? Although Mr. Pompeo took pains to avoid publicly addressing annexation, analysts suggested that a goal of the trip was to caution Israel’s leadership against moving too quickly.Mr. Pompeo met first with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had campaigned on a promise to push ahead with annexation as soon as possible, and later with Benny Gantz, alternate prime minister in the new government, who had campaigned against unilateral annexation. Without explicitly suggesting that Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Gantz slow the process, Mr. Pompeo seemed to signal as much, telling Israel Hayom, a pro-Netanyahu newspaper, that Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Gantz “will have to find the way forward together.”“To the extent that in the coalition agreement, Gantz waived his veto right over annexation, Pompeo is handing it back to him,” said Ofer Zalzberg, a senior analyst at the International Crisis Group. [ak]19/5/2020
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At least, the army brought back the 200 sheep Amos Gvirtz - Don`t Say We Didn`t Know - Ten Jewish settler-colonists coming from the `dismantled` settler-colony of Homesh attacked and wounded a Palestinian shepherd. [bz]12/5/2020
A Call to Collective International ActionDr. Hanan Ashrawi - PLO Dept. of Public Diplomacy - The Palestinian leadership welcomes important statements made by many states and regional organizations, including the European Union, Russia, China, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Ireland, Italy, and Norway rejecting Israeli plans for the annexation of Palestinian territory as illegal and unacceptable. These statements reflect a global and principled commitment to the standing and universal application of international law, which strictly prohibits annexation. Immediate corrective measures are required to confront unilateralism, annexation, and land grab and save the prospects and requirements of peace. It is time for preemptive and concrete measures that can change the dangerous dynamics on the ground and restore the relevance and effectiveness of accountability and international responsibility, as they are detailed in international and European laws. States need to individually and collectively honor their domestic laws and international obligations in relation to human rights violations, annexation, and other illegal actions Israel is undertaking. The international community can and should leverage its collective influence to chart a new and credible multilateral political, legal, and financial approach that stops Israel’s illegal and toxic actions from condemning the region to perpetual conflict. [ak]9/5/2020
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Israel announces plan to build 7,000 homes in EfratJewish News Syndicate - Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday announced the approval of a plan to build some 7,000 new housing units in the town of Efrat in Gush Etzion. The town, which lies southwest of Jerusalem and about halfway between the capital and Hebron, is currently home to more than 11,500 people, many American immigrants. An additional 7,000 homes could potentially more than triple its population. The move comes ahead of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s planned visit to Israel next week, and amid recent statements by U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman reiterating U.S. support for Israeli sovereignty in parts of Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley within the framework of the Trump peace plan. Bennett, whose term is nearing its end as a new government is expected to be sworn in next week, said in a statement released by his office that the move would allow new residents to flow into the area, “as part of reinforcing the greater Gush Etzion region.” [bz]9/5/2020
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Former US national security officials urge Dems to oppose annexationEric Cortollessa — Times of Israel - More than 30 former Democratic foreign policy officials have urged the Democratic National Committee to take a stronger stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in its 2020 platform than it did in 2016.“The 2020 platform should expressly state a commitment to a resolution of the conflict that ensures both Israel’s security and future as a Jewish and democratic state with equal rights for all its citizens, as well as Palestinian rights, including self-determination, security and freedom. “It should include clear opposition to ongoing occupation, settlement expansion and any form of unilateral annexation of territory in the West Bank as well as clear opposition to violence, terrorism and incitement from all sides.” Such language would reflect a shift for the party, which in past platforms has been reluctant to criticize Israel. This year, however, there may be increasing pressure on the DNC and presumptive nominee Joe Biden to change that.[ak] 9/5/2020
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PA: Israeli seizure of Hebron municipal powers for elevator is a crimeKHALED ABU TOAMEH and TOVAH LAZAROFF - Jerusalem Post - Every person, irrespective of whether or not they are disabled, should have the opportunity to visit the tomb, which is an important Jewish heritage site,” Bennett said. But he acknowledged that the move was also about asserting Israeli rights to the site, where the Jewish patriarchs and matriarchs are buried. He authorized the Civil Administration’s Higher Planning Council to seize all the necessary administrative planning powers necessary from the Hebron Municipality so the project could be completed. [bz]5/5/2020
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Palestinian land confiscated for a settler cemetery Ma`ariv /IMEMC - 10 acres of Palestinian farm land have been confiscated to create a cemetery for the Israeli settlement of Sha’ar Ha`Shomron. As quoted in Ma`ariv newspaper, Yossi Dagan - head of the "Samaria Regional Council" which represents Israeli settlers in the northern West Bank - considers that the confiscated area would accommodate "as much as 30,000 tombstones", that erection of the cemetery "is a clear sign that we are going to remain there, forever" and that erecting the cemetery is part of the effort to increase the settler population on the West Bank to a million (living) people [ak]. 5/5/2020
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Israel`s Top Court Denies Settlers` Appeals in `Terrorist` anti-Palestinian AttacksHagar Shezaf - Haaretz - Mazuz wrote that [the settlers`] actions indicated a clear ideological motive and that they had committed a “series of crimes centered around doing bodily harm and damage to the property of innocent Palestinians to terrify them.” -- In reducing the sentence of one defendant from three years in prison to 30 months, the court noted that, although he had played a major part in the offenses for which he and his associates were convicted, he had successfully undergone rehabilitation for his acts and had cooperated with teachers and therapists from the moment of his arrest. All of the defendants’ names were barred from publication, either because they were minors at the time of the crimes or because they were at that time serving in the army. [bz]  | 5/5/2020
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Israeli charged with stoning Palestinian mother to death allowed back to West Bank settlementTheNewArab - Less than two years after Aisha Mohammed Rabi was brutally killed by stone-hurling Israeli settlers, the main suspect, a minor, is allowed back to the settlement [ry] 4/5/2020
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A Call to Collective International Action against Israeli Annexation PlansDr. Hanan Ashrawi - PLO Department of Public Diplomacy - The Palestinian leadership welcomes important statements made by many states and regional organizations, including the European Union, Russia, China, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Ireland, Italy, and Norway rejecting Israeli plans for the annexation of Palestinian territory as illegal and unacceptable. Immediate corrective measures are required to confront unilateralism, annexation, and land grab and save the prospects and requirements of peace. It is time for preemptive and concrete measures that can change the dangerous dynamics on the ground. [ak]28/4/2020
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Israeli settlers exploit coronavirus to take over West Bank land with military backing: Violent attacks spike in April B`tselem - April 23 press release - A particularly serious incident took place on 16 April, when brothers `Issa and Musa Qatash from al-Jalazun Refugee Camp were attacked by settlers while out for a walk in their family plots near the village of Jibya. The brothers were beaten so severely that they required medical attention. The assault on `Issa Qatash was prolonged and resulted in a fractured bone in his leg and two broken front teeth. The settlers also spat at him, which forced him to enter isolation in a Palestinian Authority facility for fear of corona infection, keeping him away from his family for several days after the traumatic event (...) [bz]23/4/2020
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Settlers continuing to take advantage of the absence of Israeli activists (week report April 12-18) Michal Hai - Ta`ayush - (...) Saturday April 18, an activist from Tawane accompanied a shepherd grazing around Haruba for fear of the settler-colonists. Shortly thereafter, settler-colonists from Havat Maon came out to them, followed by an army Humbee. The soldiers chased the activist, pushed him down to the ground, beat him up and grabbed the camera he was using to document the incident. Later it was returned to him without its memory card. (...) [bz] 23/4/2020
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Rotation, annexation et al: Key elements of the Netanyahu-Gantz coalition deal\Times of Israel - The “emergency national unity government” that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz agreed to is supposed, for its first six months, to focus on tackling the Coronavirus pandemic, and will not pass major legislation that does not relate to the crisis - with, however, one important exception: annexations on the West Bank. On July 1, 2020, Netanyahu will be allowed to have the government and/or the Knesset vote on annexing parts of the West Bank, on the basis of the Trump administration’s peace plan. Such a vote would be held “as quickly as possible,” the agreement states, with no delays at the committee stages. Although coalition members will be able to vote as they see fit, the pro-annexation camp in the Knesset is likely to enjoy a majority.[ak]21/4/2020
Settlers Assault Palestinian Farmers and ActivistAli Salam - IMEMCnews - "Israeli soldiers were said to have done nothing to help the Palestinian civilians under attack, however they ensured the safety of the colonial settlers, and helped to force the Palestinian farmers to leave their own land" [ry] 20/4/2020
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Extremist Settlers, quarantined in West Bank abscond with IDF supplied tentsJudah Aari Gross and Jacob Magid - Times of Israel - Settler extremists quarantined in West Bank abscond with IDF-supplied tents. After being accused of attacking three Palestinians, the ‘hilltop youth’ allegedly steal equipment from facility specially set up for them by military and flee scene; two arrested. [ak]16/4/2020
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Settlement extension under the cover of the CoronvirusMichal Hai - Ta`ayush - Taking advantage of the general closure (imposed by Israel to prevent Corona- virus spread), the Israeli settlers are constructing a series of new settler outposts on the hill range around Auja, expanding and building in the illegal outposts already existing in the South Hebron Hills, invade with their flocks sown Palestinian fields inside Area C and causing extensive damage to their Palestinian neighbors, nearly always without any interference by Israeli army and police; Palestinian communities in the South Hebron Hills have put up a network of checkpoints manned by volunteers in order to prevent the spreading of Corona among the rural communities there and the urban center of Yatta – the security official of Carmel settlement summoned the army in order to dismantle such a checkpoint at the entrance to the Palestinian hamlet of Umm Al Kheir; a fundraising campaign to aid shepherd families in need in the Palestinian Jordan Valley who are on the brink of famine following the state of emergency – update and link for donations at the end of the present report [ak]16/4/2020
While on Coronavirus quarantine, settler youths assault Palestinians, torch cars The Jerusalem Post - A week ago, some twenty of the "Hilltop Youths" - the most violent, unruly element among Israeli settlers on the West Bank - were found to have been exposed to a Coronavirus carrier, which required them to go into quarantine. Accordingly, the army set up for them a Quarantine Tent Camp at Metsoke Dragot near the Dead Sea. However, being under quarantine did not change their normal proclivities. They are now reported to have started assaulting Palestinians passing on a nearby road - throwing stones on them, spraying them with pepper spray and then proceeding to torch cars. [ak] 14/4/2020
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Israel settlers spitting on Palestinian cars raises concern over attempt to spread coronavirusMEMO - Israeli settlers have been accused of trying to spread the coronavirus in Palestinian neighbourhoods by spitting on cars in a West Bank village. Residents of the village of Beit Iksa, northwest of occupied Jerusalem, reported the shocking incident last week of Israeli settlers spitting on vehicles travelling into and out of the village which is surrounded by illegal Israeli settlements. Speaking to Palestinian WAFA news agency residents described how settlers from Ramot settlement, build on land belonging to Beit Iksa in violation of international law, stood at the entrance to the village and started to spit on Palestinian cars entering or leaving the village in an attempt to spread the coronavirus.(rh)7/4/2020
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Ganz gave in on annexation, Netanyahu on the judicial system - but extreme right opposition delays cabinet dealHaviv Rettig Gur - Times of Israel - In the bargain struck between the two parties, Likud seems to have won backing for West Bank annexation, while Gantz had won the power to reverse right-wing reforms of the legal system and judiciary. Blue and White understandably prioritized the judiciary and the legal system. The party was united on the question of pushing back against what it viewed as the right`s anti-democratic legal reforms; it was not similarly united in opposing annexation. Conversely, Netanyahu prioritized annexation, which was a key pledge of his campaign, and for which the Trump years seem to offer a unique "window of opportunity". However, once details of the impending deal leaked to the media, Netanyahu`s extreme right allies made a vehement protest: "Netanyahu has completely surrendered the legal issue to Blue and White. [Former chief justice] Aharon Barak and his judicial revolution are returning to center stage. In exchange, Netanyahu got some vague statement about sovereignty that says nothing. Extreme right opposition seems to have given Netanyahu cold feet - or alternately, Netanyahu`s backing out of the deal might be no more than a last moment negotiations tactic... [ak] 7/4/2020
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Israelis, Palestinians and COVID-19 - March 2020 assesment from the Geneva InitiativeGeneva Initiative - The Two-State Index - Israeli-Palestinian cooperation rises to meet threat of COVID-19: Effect of the global pandemic on Israeli and Palestinian societies leads both sides to work together against a common enemy, and enables an unprecedented Israeli decision to allow PA security forces to enter East Jerusalem and Area C. COVID-19 crisis freezes push for West Bank annexation: The Israeli government’s fight against the spread of the virus, along with the political stalemate, curtail efforts to annex parts of the West Bank in the near term. Gaza and the West Bank see dramatic drop in violence as PA initiates assistance measures: COVID-19 crisis pushes Israel and Palestinian factions to almost entirely halt all attacks, while Hamas and the Palestinian Authority take new steps to combat the virus. However: New evidence and activity related to settlement expansion: Among other findings, a new report shows that settlement approvals soared in 2019, and more action is taken by Israel to allow for building in E1. [ak]2/4/2020
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