Israeli army orders confiscation of Palestinian land in West Bank

· Seizure would allow huge expansion of settlements
· Move seen as rush to make changes before US summit

Conal Urquhart in Jerusalem
Wednesday October 10, 2007
The Guardian

Construction workers in the West Bank
Construction workers in the West Bank. Photograph: Sebastian Scheiner/AP
 

The Israeli army has ordered the seizure of Palestinian land surrounding four West Bank villages apparently in order to hugely expand settlements around Jerusalem, it emerged yesterday.

The confiscation happened as Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met to prepare the ground for a meeting hosted by President George Bush in the United States aimed at reviving a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

However, critics said the confiscation of land suggested that Israel was imposing its own solution on the Palestinians through building roads, barriers and settlements that would render a Palestinian state unviable.

The land seized forms a corridor from East Jerusalem to Jericho and is intended to be used for a road that would be for Palestinians only. Analysts said the road would run on one side of the Israeli security barrier, while the existing Jerusalem-Jericho road would be reserved for Israelis.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli army said it was necessary to build a road to link Bethlehem and the Judea region with Jericho and the Jordan valley area in order to “improve the quality of life” for Palestinians.

She said the road would be nearly 10 miles long and would be built on 145 hectares (357 acres) of state land and 23 hectares of private land that had been confiscated. She added that the army had designed the route to minimise losses to private landowners.

Adam Keller of the Israeli peace group, Gush Shalom, said the confiscation of land belonging to the villages of Abu Dis, Arab al-Sawahra, Nebi Musa and Talhin Alhamar would “rob many villagers of their sole livelihood” but would also “facilitate the big annexation plan known as E-1, which is aimed at linking the settlement of Ma’aleh Adummim with Jerusalem and cutting the West Bank in two.”

He said the confiscations were aimed at constructing a “Palestinian bypass road” that would “push the Palestinian traffic between Bethlehem and Ramallah deep into the desert and effectively bar them from the central part of the West Bank”.

The E-1 area has been marked out on Israeli government maps for years but the state has refrained from large scale development of the area. The only building to be completed is the proposed headquarters of the Israeli police in the West Bank.

The plan for the area envisages 3,500 housing units and dozens of businesses which have yet to be started, although infrastructure such as roads and drainage is being constructed.

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Palestinian author under cyber attack before Wisconsin Book Festival

Annie’s Letters, October 9, 2007

Palestinian author and human rights activist Susan Abulhawa has come under a cyber attack just days before she is scheduled to appear at the Wisconsin Book Festival, and one week before the Dutch edition of her book is to be released in the Netherlands.

Before this past weekend, it was discovered that all news links to “Susan Abulhawa”, “Scar of David”, and her charitable foundation “Playgrounds for Palestine” have been blocked from access on major search engines, including GOOGLE, MSN, Yahoo, and Ask.com. Users clicking on “NEWS” and requesting any of the three listings were unable to receive links to news coverage between October 3, 2007 and October 4, 2007, despite the fact that more than 20,000 listings were provided the day before the incident. None of the search engines have offered an explanation for the interruption. GOOGLE and MSN have not commented at all, while both Yahoo and Ask.com have promised to resolve the issue.

The suspicious timing of the simultaneous blockage on multiple search engines points to an orchestrated effort to disrupt Abulhawa’s promotion of her book, with its unpopular perspectives on the Palestinian conflict with Israel.

For information contact: mark (at) scarofdavid.com

Apartheid Reigns In Israel, Activist-author Says


He Claims Nation Is Hurting Self With Its Policies

SAMARA KALK DERBY, The Capital Times, October 8, 2007

Israeli human rights activist and author Jeff Halper argues that in the Israel-Palestine conflict, the two-state solution is dead, and apartheid has taken over.

Jimmy Carter let the genie out of the bottle with his recent book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” but Halper has been using the same language for years.

“We use apartheid in a very precise way. We don’t use it as a slogan. We have been very careful about it. Apartheid is a system that can’t be exported,” Halper told a group of about 40 people during a talk Sunday at Memorial United Church of Christ in Fitchburg.

An apartheid system is one of separation in which one segment of the population separates itself from the others, Halper said. “And that’s what Israel calls its policy,” he added.

The other element of apartheid is domination, he explained. “One population separates itself from the others and then dominate them,” he said. “Permanently and institutionally.”

Israel’s offer to withdraw from 95 percent of the West Bank will create not peace, but rather a Palestinian prison state, said Halper, who has been called “a Jewish anti-Semite.”

Halper is a Minnesota native who has lived in Israel for 35 years. Formerly an anthropology professor at Haifa and Ben-Gurion Universities, he co-founded the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions to challenge and resist the Israeli policy of demolishing Palestinian homes. The organization was founded in 1997 after Benjamin Netanyahu became prime minister on a right wing, security-heavy platform.

Israelis have been moving into the occupied Palestinian territories – which includes the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem – through settlement construction and land confiscation. At the same time, Palestinian population growth has been confined to small “islands” within those territories.

The natural development of Palestinian towns has been curtailed by discrimination in building permits and zoning policies and the demolition of Palestinian homes, Halper said.

According to Halper, Israel has destroyed more than 18,000 Palestinian homes since 1967.

Halper has organized and led nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience against Israel’s occupation policies. He has faced down bulldozers in front of Palestinian homes and confronted Israeli soldiers. He also organizes Israelis, Palestinians, and others to help rebuild demolished Palestinian homes. He estimates that they’ve built more than 100 homes in the last 10 years.

In addition to opposing home demolitions, Halper is equally critical of Israel’s construction of the 26-foot tall West Bank separation barrier, which is more than twice as high as the Berlin Wall and five times as long. The Israeli government and its supporters say the wall has reduced terrorism. Critics charge it is laying the groundwork for a unilateral border.

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Cancelled Event Hoax

This e-mail was sent to the UW Middle East Studies listserver today, cancelling the Jeff Halper event tonight at Grainger Hall. The only problem is, the event was not cancelled, and no one knows who sent the e-mail. The Middle East Studies Program is investigating.

Date: Mon, 08 Oct 2007 09:22:48 -0700
From: “U. Wisconsin Middle East Studies Program” cmes@mailplus.wisc.edu
Subject: [Cancelled Event] TODAY – JEFF HALPER -ISRAEL/PALESTINE: COUNTDOWN TO APART… @ Mon Oct 8 7:30pm – 9:30pm ()
To: mes-events@lists.services.wisc.edu
HTML Attachment

U. Wisconsin Middle East Studies Program cancelled the following event:
TODAY – JEFF HALPER -ISRAEL/PALESTINE: COUNTDOWN TO APARTHEID?
Mon Oct 8 7:30pm – 9:30pm
(Central Time)
2080 Grainger Hall; 975 University Ave. corner of Brooks and University; UW Madison Campus (map)
Calendar:

JEFF HALPER, founder of the ISRAELI COMMITTEE AGAINST HOME DEMOLITIONS and Anthropology Professor at HEBREW UNIVERSITY will discuss whether President Bush’s upcoming Middle East Summit offers hope for peace or a continuation of the process of transforming the occupied Palestinian territories into a permanent political reality similar to what was in place during Apartheid South Africa. Where is the Israel-Palestine conflict headed? Halper, an Israeli citizen who has lived and worked in Israel as an academic and an activist since 1973, discusses what he has termed the “Matrix of Control” in shaping options for peace on the ground. He will also discuss the “CONSTRUCTING PEACE CAMPAIGN” to rebuild all Palestinian homes demolished this year by the Israel Army.Can Israel be described as an Apartheid regime? Why are some arguing that it is? Debate on this and other Israel-Palestine issues is increasingly important as the region descends into greater and greater turmoil.

This lecture is FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

Sponsored by the University of Wisconsin’s MIDDLE EAST STUDIES PROGRAM and the University of Wisconsin’s HAVENS CENTER; Local organizations groups supporting this talk include the Fitchburg Memorial United Church of Christ, the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, Jewish Voice for Peace/Madison and ICAHD-USA.

This event was removed from your calendar.

You are receiving this courtesy email at the account mes-events@lists.services.wisc.edu because you are an attendee of this event.