Israel settlements fuel suspicions

2012-04-24 18:08

Jerusalem - Israel legalised three unsanctioned West Bank settler outposts and was trying to save another on Tuesday, infuriating the Palestinians as the chief American Mideast envoy was in the region labouring to revive peace efforts.

The decision fuelled suspicions that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's hardline coalition would try to legalise as many rogue settlement sites as possible to cement Israel's hold on occupied land the Palestinians claim for a state.

Netanyahu faces stiff pressure from pro-settler hardliners within his own coalition to fend off legal challenges to the unauthorised construction. Some hardliners have even warned that the coalition, which until now has been remarkably stable, could unravel over the issue.

Palestinians claim all of the West Bank and east Jerusalem as the core of their hoped-for state, and see all Israeli settlement as illegal encroachment on those lands. They have refused to restart peace talks until construction halts.

"We call upon the Israeli government to immediately stop all unilateral acts," said senior Palestinian official Nabil Abu Rdeneh. "Netanyahu is pushing things into deadlock once again."

A string of Israeli governments have pledged not to build any new settlements. But critics say the settler movement, with quiet support from the government, has used the outposts to grab more West Bank land.

500 000 Jews

Dozens of clusters of houses or mobile homes dot the West Bank, in addition to more than 120 authorised settlements.

Netanyahu says the issue of settlements should be resolved through peace talks, which broke down more than three years ago over the settlement issue.

Israel began settling the West Bank and east Jerusalem immediately after capturing them in the 1967 Mideast war, and 500 000 Jews now live there. The international community widely condemns the construction.

The Israeli announcement came as US envoy David Hale was in the region, on a new mission to restart negotiations.

The Israeli government's formulation of its decision was that it was "formalising the status" of Sansana, Bruchin and Rehalim, three longstanding enclaves that are home to hundreds of Jewish settlers.

A government official denied they were outposts, insisting their establishment was authorised by previous Israeli Cabinets. He said Monday night's decision merely addressed technical and procedural issues and did not change the situation on the ground.

Related development

Despite the claim, two of the enclaves, Bruchin and Rehalim, were identified as unauthorised outposts in a 2005 government report.

The Netanyahu government has re-opened that report, saying the objectivity of its author, then-state prosecutor Talia Sasson, is now in question because she later joined an anti-settlement political party.

The official also acknowledged the third enclave, Sansana, was supposed to have been built within Israel proper.

In a related development, Netanyahu said on Tuesday that he would ask Israel's Supreme Court to defer next week's deadline for demolishing five apartment buildings erected illegally in another unauthorised outpost.

The court has ruled that the buildings, which house 30 families in the Ulpana outpost outside Jerusalem, must be razed by 1 May because they were built on privately owned Palestinian land.

Netanyahu said his government is looking for "legal" ways to prevent the buildings from being demolished.


It is not clear if the court would agree to a delay. Decades ago, the court outlawed settlement construction on privately owned Palestinian land.

Netanyahu disclosed his plans in a set of rare interviews given to Israeli radio stations on the eve of Israel's Memorial Day, which begins on Tuesday night.

Some members of Israel's ruling coalition have warned the government would fall if the buildings come down.

  • zaatheist - 2012-04-24 18:24

    I used be be an unconditional supporter and Israel sympathiser. No longer. The way they have behaved in recent years and the theft and building of settlements on Palestinian land makes any possibility of peace impossible and is a recipe for future disaster. Just as my prediction in 1978 that the Apartheid regime would collapse and lose everything if it did not negotiate from a position of strength, and was laughed at and mocked, so I expect the same with in respect of Israel. Before all the religious fundies go berserk, may I say that I continue to believe that Israel has an absolute right to exist but within borders freely negotiated on the basis of the borders that existed in 1967.

      zaatheist - 2012-04-24 19:13

      @Patrick That is what I said, yes. Two things would have to be agreed upon to happen. 1. The Palestinians and their supporting states must unconditionally acknowledge Israel's absolute right to exist. and 2. Israel must negotiate a return to an area based upon the borders that existed prior to 1967. Unfortunately, there is little likelihood that this will ever happen so there will be perpetual dispute in the area until the whole lot is made uninhabitable in a nuclear conflagration.

      Fidel - 2012-04-24 19:32

      Isn't it in Israel's interests to talk to Hamas so that, as part of a final agreement, Hamas does recognise Israel's right to exist? Right now, Hamas's non-recognition of Israel is its starting position - in a negotiation, you don't give away your strongest cards before you start. If i remember rightly, the PLO only officially recognised Israel in 1993,after the Madrid talks, not as a precondition of the talks. You were sadly deluded if you think Israel's refusal to negoatiate with Hamas is because of its refusal to recognise Israel. It is not part of the zionist imperative for a Palestinian state to exist. The zionist ideology doesn't allow this. Prof Juan Cole extracted a quote from Tzipi Livni which confirmed what everybody thought: “Israel takes more land [so] that the Palestinian state will be impossible . . . the Israel policy is to take more and more land day after day and that at the end of the day we’ll say that is impossible, we already have the land and we cannot create the state”. She conceded that it had been “the policy of the government for a really long time”.

      Fred - 2012-04-24 21:13

      You're falling for the manipulations of the Syrian and Iranian regimes, which are the real ones that will fall, and quite soon. Plus you're now in the company of Fidel and Patrick, with their inherent racism and lying.

      Fred - 2012-04-25 03:17

      The longer you play this "card-game" Fidel, the longer the Palestinians will suffer. Drop the game. Get real. Israel is not going anywhere. The unelected dictators of the region are, at the hands of their own people. Then the Palestinians will have the home they need.

      Bradley - 2012-04-25 13:50

      Awwwww shucks i hit a nerve and your ranting about Israel makes me sick. It is so plain to see how racist you are and the anger and hatred you harbor is good for no one.

      Fidel - 2012-04-25 18:41

      I do not hate Israelis because of their race. I abhor them because of the way they treat Palestinians and their land stealing practices. They are the polecats of the world just like their former apartheid allies in SA. Who knows it feels it!

      Fred - 2012-04-25 19:51

      You're an immature racist Fidel. This statement shows this clearly. And again, Israelis are on the land they've occupied for thousands of years. It is a tiny, tiny piece of the Middle East. Yet you and the autocratic dictators of the region deny this. Who loses? The Palestinians. Who gains? Your Ego and the autocratic, oppressive regimes who present a false enemy to their populations to hold onto power. Like the Apartheid state did with "Die Rooi Gevaar".

      Fidel - 2012-04-25 20:03

      I detest Israelis indeed Fred and I'm unapologetic about that because I can empathize with Palestinians. I've seen and tasted humiliation and suffering and I know how it feels. Do you?

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-04-25 20:20

      Fidel' You 'feel' for the Palestinian people........and at the same time you don't give a damn about the thousands of Syrians being slaughtered with the support of your heros !!!! You are nothing but a bullsh.tter !!!!!!!

      Fred - 2012-04-27 00:26

      That makes total sense Fidel. You're allowing the traumatized, unhealed part of you to distort your perspective of what is really happening between the Palestinians and Israelis.. When you see Palestinians in poverty, being stopped at road-blocks, launching attacks, etc., you relive your past, rather than look at what's really going on. You project that unhealed part of you with its personal memories and images onto them. And you project your past oppressors onto the Israelis. This is common, very well known in therapeutic circles. It's part of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. You really should get help, from the right people, who are not always easy to find. But you should get help. This sort of thing usually affects all parts of our lives, by slanting our perspectives to those past traumatic experiences which get played out again, and again, and again. Until we heal them..

  • goyougoodthing - 2012-04-24 18:31

    The real terrorists.

      Fidel - 2012-04-24 18:55

      In a country founded through terror, by terrorists!

      goyougoodthing - 2012-04-24 18:58

      As I recall when the Germans wanted a country with one religion they got into a lot of trouble. Seems it's okay for some though.

      cameronrh1 - 2012-04-24 20:20

      But when Arabs want over 22 Countries based on Sharia and Islam its alright?

      Fred - 2012-04-24 21:15

      This is consistent with your twisted beliefs that the US attacked itself on 9/11, the Rothschilds of all people are the source of all evil in the world, and central banks are arms of private banks not government. The real terrorists are human-rights aficionados to you.

      Fred - 2012-04-24 21:15

      Patrick, at least you're open about your arrogance.

      Fred - 2012-04-24 23:19

      You're on record as saying, "the world would be a better place if Jews were removed from all walks of life". Fact. The US did not train Al-Quaida to attack the US. What an absurd idea. Your racism at work. Case in point.

      Bradley - 2012-04-25 10:18

      Mmmmm Patrick USA attacked itself....too much sea water man. come up for some air.

      Fred - 2012-04-27 00:46

      Patrick, again, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in the 1980's with the intention of annexing it. To counter the very real threat the Soviet Union posed to human freedoms, with its now collapsed oppressive Communist system of government, and at the request of Afghans, the US successfully assisted the Afghans to repel the invasion. Afghans today, with the exception of the Taliban and Al-Quaida who have their own agendas, remember that assistance and still feel grateful. Osama Bin Laden was among those who the US trained. But he took that training and chose to use it for his own twisted aims. We all know where this got him. To suggest, or believe in your case, that the US trained Bin Laden to do 9/11 is truly silly, and only leads you, and those who might be unfortunate enough to choose to believe you, further into delusion. Best to see what really happened, and is happening, than to make stuff up.

  • hussain.adam - 2012-04-24 21:03

    keeping religion, ethnicity and ulterior motives out of the situation, the sane solution is a one state solution, i.e. The South African solution.... Where is their Morena... No more bantustans... Constitutional democracy, live together...

      Fred - 2012-04-24 21:19

      Provided Jewish people are allowed to live in peace without being attacked by self-serving terrorist regimes almost daily, as is the case now, and provided the other Middle Eastern countries do the same, based on modern constitutions that safe-guard human rights and the rights of minorities.

      Hoosen Essa - 2012-04-24 22:35

      fred, i respect you for your knowledge on history. do research on how the jews lived under muslim rule and tell me how they were treated generally. they lived in peace wit muslims when muslims ruled spain, when jerusalem was under salahudin's protection and they lived in harmony with the muslims just before Israel came in. now i have no issue with jews, but be realistic and tell me why muslims are having issues with Zionist leadership in Israel??

      Fred - 2012-04-24 23:27

      Those Muslims who have an issue are unfortunately not being smart enough to realize what is really happening. They are allowing themselves to be manipulated by the unelected Syrian regime, and the oppressive Iranian regime both of which are inciting the Palestinians to attack Israel almost daily for their own self-serving reasons. They present a false external enemy to their populations, to justify their existence. Like the Apartheid regime did with "Die Rooi Gevaar". Not all Muslims have an issue, which you unfortunately misrepresent. The more enlightened ones see what is really happening. What would you do if you were attacked almost daily in your home?

      Hoosen Essa - 2012-04-25 08:19

      Fred, now you are talking nonsense. clearly u hav no clue with wats going on. i stayed in palestine. i suggest u do it to, to fully comprehend how the palestinians are treated. Eat with the palestinian on their floor and sleep in their home. those palestinian are dictated by israel on how to live, wat can be purchased, were to go and were not to go. They have no electricity, they get attacked by israeli settlers from surrounding areas, and 2 weeks later their home is bulldozed for new israeli settlements. they don't need syria or Iran to incite them to attack, they attack out of Iraels actions and then Israel plays the victim card.

      Fred - 2012-04-25 13:43

      You have it upside down Hoosen. Did Israel attack it's neighbors in 1967?

  • Anneck - 2012-04-24 21:20

    Israel's land. They can do whatever they want on it! Period!

      Fred - 2012-04-24 23:34

      The Israelites have been in the area as long as the other tribes. Thousands of years. This is recorded fact.

      Fred - 2012-04-27 00:49

      Just do the research Patrick, on clean sites, not those weird ones you visit.

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