Egypt's Sovereign Fund partners with Scatec, Fertiglobe to develop green hydrogen facility    IMF sees Egypt's government gross debt hitting 91.4% of GDP in 2021    Egypt to be listed on JP Morgan emerging bond index late January 2022    Egypt hosts regional conference of EU refugee agency EASO    SCOHRE sparks discussion on harm reduction, tobacco control    TikTok hits 1 billion monthly active users worldwide    Egypt to receive first of six high-trains from Spain's Talgo in mid-November    Healthy food brand Abu Auf plans Egypt IPO in Q2-2022    National Bank of Egypt wins licence to open Saudi Arabia branch    Egypt's iron and steel exports jump 197% in 8 months    Ethiopia halts work at its embassy in Egypt for 'economic reasons'    It's a bit frustrating to draw at home: Real Madrid keeper after Villarreal game    Russia says it's in sync with US, China, Pakistan on Taliban    Shoukry reviews with Guterres Egypt's efforts to achieve SDGs, promote human rights    Sudan says countries must cooperate on vaccines    Over 100 officials resign from Tunisia's main Islamist party    Johnson & Johnson: Second shot boosts antibodies and protection against COVID-19    Egypt to tax bloggers, YouTubers    Egyptian court bans use of mosques for political purposes    Brazil calls up 8 EPL players for World Cup qualifying    Refugees in fear as sentiment turns against them in Turkey    We mustn't lose touch: Muller after Bayern win in Bundesliga    Egypt records 36 new deaths from Covid-19, highest since mid June    Egypt sells $3 bln US-dollar dominated eurobonds    Sisi calls on House, Senate to commence second legislative sessions on 3, 5 October    Huawei Technologies has invested $10 mln over 5 years in innovation centres in Egypt    Gamal Hanafy's ceramic exhibition at Gezira Arts Centre is a must go    Italian Institute Director Davide Scalmani presents activities of the Cairo Institute for ITALIANA.IT platform    Qa'a play showing at Lycee El Horreya Theatre, Alexandria is a must go    Orange Egypt Introduces Amazon Prime Video    Tokyo Olympics: Cautious opening ceremony, shy start for Egyptians in competitions    Mallawi Museum in Upper Egypt holds recycling workshop for children during Eid Al-Adha    Egypt keen on stable tax policies to attract more investors: Finance Minister    Sudan declares state of emergency as water goes beyond Merowe Dam capacity    Niagara Falls illuminated in Egyptian flag to mark 23 July Revolution anniversary    Capital flows into EM keep recovering after March 2020 slump: Central Bank of Egypt    1 child orphaned every 12 seconds due to COVID-19-associated death: World Bank    Egypt, Japanese Olympic Committee discuss boosting sports cooperation    US emphasises AU's role in mediating Ethiopian damdispute    Ethiopia ready to resume dam talks with no legally binding agreements: Ethiopian official    Sunken city of Thônis-Heracleion in Egypt's Abu Qir bay yields new archaeological treasures    New films, concerts, and destinations for Eid Al-Adha holidays    Egypt, Oman discuss enhancing bilateral economic, investment relations    Al Ahly v Kaizer Chiefs: Cairo giants eye 10th CAF Champions League title    Tunisia hopes to have a UN role in resolving Egypt-Ethiopia dam dispute    APO Group enters new exclusive agreement with Getty Images on African press releases and images    On International Museum Day, Egypt opens two new museums at Cairo Airport    Old Cairo's Al-Fustat will be revamped on Egyptian President's directives    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.



Israel still building settlements
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 23 - 07 - 2009

Despite US demands to the contrary, Israel continues to expand Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank, especially in Arab East Jerusalem, writes Khaled Amayreh in Ramallah
Last week, the Obama administration informed Israel that the demanded freeze on settlement building applied to East Jerusalem as well as to the rest of the West Bank. Israeli sources said the State Department had summoned Israeli Ambassador to Washington Michael Oren, informing him that plans for the construction of a vast housing complex in Arab East Jerusalem must be terminated.
The "unusual" American message infuriated the Israeli government, prompting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to declare that East Jerusalem was not occupied territory but rather "part of Israel's eternal and undivided capital". The brazenly mendacious remarks, however, seemed directed at Netanyahu's extreme right-wing partners who are firmly opposed to ending the decades-old Israeli occupation of the West Bank on religious and ideological grounds.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967, annexing it shortly afterwards.
Adding to his remarks, Netanyahu argued that it was unfair to bar Jews from building homes in the eastern part of Jerusalem when the city's Arabs were free to build or purchase homes in the western part. "We cannot accept the idea that Jews will not have the right to live and buy [homes] anywhere in Jerusalem," Netanyahu said.
In fact, since 1967, not a single Palestinian home gained permission to be built in West Jerusalem despite the propagandistic claim that the city is "united and undivided" and all of its inhabitants are treated equally. Moreover, while Israel built more than 50,000 settler units for Jews in and around East Jerusalem, not a single apartment was built by the Israeli state for the town's Palestinian inhabitants.
Furthermore, it is well known that thousands of Palestinian families still own homes and property in West Jerusalem dating back to 1948 when entire Palestinian neighbourhoods, such as Ein Karem, Lifta and Al-Malha were purged of their Palestinian inhabitants and repopulated with Jewish immigrants from around the world. It is believed that as much as 95 per cent of land in West Jerusalem is actually owned by Palestinians.
This week, the building of the housing complex in the heart of the Palestinian Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem became the latest point of contention between Israel and the Obama administration. The huge complex, funded by Irving Moskowitz, a Florida-based bingo and gambling magnate, is designed to serve as an incentive for the acquisition of more Arab property and real estate.
The ongoing construction has infuriated the Palestinian Authority (PA) whose leader Mahmoud Abbas has accused the Israeli government of "being interested first and foremost in stealing and Judaising Jerusalem and altering its Islamic and Christian identity". Abbas has also said that the PA would not return to the negotiation table with Israel as long as the Jewish state continued to build settlements.
Another Palestinian official, former chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, also warned that all "Obama's efforts, which we appreciate, could evaporate if Israel continues to build and expand settlements." He added: "Settlements and peace are two parallels that don't go together."
As part of "managing the crisis" with Washington over the settlement issue, Israel has been promising that it will dismantle illegal outposts and refrain from confiscating more Palestinian land. However, it seems that these promises, made to US Middle East Envoy George Mitchell by Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak earlier this month, contain very little substance.
In fact, Israel is continuing to confiscate privately owned Palestinian land for the purpose of expanding and servicing Jewish colonies built on stolen Arab land. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported 21 July, that Israel was planning to seize hundreds of hectares of private Palestinian land near the northern West Bank colony of Ofra. The plan of seizure blatantly contradicts assurances made by Netanyahu to US officials that the Israeli government would desist from confiscating more Palestinian lands as part of implementing the US-backed roadmap plan for peace.
Another Israeli tactic aimed at giving the impression that Israel is serious about dismantling "illegal" settler outposts takes the form of showing off Israeli soldiers struggling with fanatical settlers resisting the removal of their "homes". In fact, many if not most of the estimated 23 outposts the Israeli army has been ordered to remove happen to be unpopulated and merely used as rallying point for settlers who are bent on preserving the occupation.
But the settlers, most likely in connivance with the Israeli army and government, seem determined to make a big show out of this minor effort in order to give the impression that the Israeli government would risk a Jewish civil war if it carried out US demands for freezing settlement expansion and dismantling settler outposts in full.
This week, herds of Jewish settlers torched large swathes of Palestinian orchards and olive groves in retaliation against the evacuation by the army of a few mobile homes from a hilltop near Nablus in the northern West Bank. Settlers also attacked Palestinian motorists and vandalised Palestinian property, in full view of Israeli army troops who refused to intervene.
Mitchell and US Defense Secretary Robert Gates are due to visit Israel in the coming weeks in an additional effort to get Netanyahu to freeze settlement construction. According to observers here, Netanyahu will likely throw, as always, the proverbial ball into the Arab or US court by linking any possible settlement freeze with the acquisition of high-profile gains for Israel, such as gaining Palestinian recognition of Israel's "right" to exist as a Jewish state, or obtaining a promise from Arab states of unconditional normalisation with Israel.
In the final analysis, the Obama administration will soon reach a "moment of truth" with Netanyahu. How the US administration deals with that moment will determine the success or failure of Obama's strategy not only in Palestine but also arguably throughout the Muslim world.


Clic here to read the story from its source.