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    Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution' (OP)


    Salaam

    With Trump in power, Netanyahu has a free hand.


    Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'


    Land grab law 'allows theft, stalls peace process'

    Law that retroactively legalises settler homes on private Palestinian land widely condemned as legitimising theft.


    Israel's land grab law that retroactively legalises thousands of settlement homes in the occupied West Bank legitimises theft, violates international law and ends the prospect of a two-state solution, according to politicians, legal experts and human rights groups.

    The so-called "Regulation Bill" instantly drew wide condemnation as it was voted in by members of the Knesset late on Monday with a 60 to 52 majority.

    The law applies to about 4,000 settlement homes in the West Bank for which settlers could prove ignorance that they had built on privately owned Palestinian land and had received encouragement from the Israeli state to do so.

    Three Israeli NGOs - Peace Now, Yesh Din and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel - and numerous Palestinians said they intend to petition the Supreme Court to cancel the law.

    UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday in a statement: "This bill is in contravention of international law and will have far reaching legal consequences for Israel."

    The EU's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement that the bloc "condemns" the law and urges against its implementation "to avoid measures that further raise tensions and endanger the prospects for a peaceful solution to the conflict".

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the law was an aggression against the Palestinian people.

    "That bill is contrary to international law," Abbas said following a meeting with French President Francois Hollande in Paris. "This is an aggression against our people that we will be opposing in international organisations.

    "What we want is peace ... but what Israel does is to work toward one state based on apartheid."

    Hollande called on Israel to go back on the law, saying it would "pave the way for an annexation, de-facto, of the occupied territories, which would be contrary to the two-state solution".

    Hours before Abbas' meeting with Hollande, Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, told the Associated Press news agency that the law puts "the last nail in the coffin of the two-state solution".

    Calling the move "theft", Erekat said the ruling showed "the Israeli government trying to legalise looting Palestinian land".

    The Arab League also accused Israel of "stealing the land" from Palestinians.

    "The law in question is only a cover for stealing the land and appropriating the property of Palestinians," said the head of the Cairo-based organisation, Ahmed Aboul Gheit.

    Palestinian owners will be compensated financially or with other land, but cannot negotiate their terms.

    The law is a continuation of "Israeli policies aimed at eliminating any possibility of a two-state solution and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state", Aboul Gheit said.

    Jordan, one of the few Arab states to have diplomatic ties with Israel, also denounced what it called "a provocative law likely to kill any hope of a two-state solution".

    According to the UN envoy for the Middle East peace process, Nickolay Mladenov, the law crosses a "very thick red line" towards annexation of the occupied West Bank, and sets a "very dangerous precedent".

    Speaking to the AFP news agency, he said: "This is the first time the Israeli Knesset legislates in the occupied Palestinian lands and particularly on property issues."

    He also raised the possibility the law could open Israel up to potential prosecution at the International Criminal Court, a threat Israel's own top government lawyer, attorney general Avichai Mandelblit, has also warned of.

    Mladenov called for strong international condemnation of the legislation but declined to criticise the US after President Donald Trump's administration refused to comment on it.

    Trump is more sympathetic to Israel's settlement policies than previous US presidents; the Israeli government has approved plans to build thousands of new homes on occupied territory since the far-right leader settled into the White House.

    "I think that is a very preliminary statement," Mladenov said. "Obviously they do need to consult, this is a new administration that has just come into office and they should be given the time and the space to find their policies."

    White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the US was likely to discuss the law with Netanyahu when the Israeli prime minister visits on February 15, but did not comment further in a press briefing on Tuesday.

    David Harris, head of AJC, the global Jewish advocacy organisation, said that "Israel's High Court can and should reverse this misguided legislation" ahead of Netanyahu's meeting with Trump in February.

    That was also the message from Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who said last week: "The chance that it will be struck down by the Supreme Court is 100 percent."

    'Against all international laws'

    International law considers all settlements to be illegal, but Israel distinguishes between those it sanctions and those it does not, dubbed outposts.

    A Palestinian Cabinet minister also called on the international community for support.

    "Nobody can legalise the theft of the Palestinian lands. Building settlements is a crime, building settlements is against all international laws," said Palestinian Tourism and Antiquities Minister Rula Maayaa. "I think it is time now for the international community to act concretely to stop the Israelis from these crimes."

    Nabil Abu Rdeneh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, called the law "unacceptable" and urged the international community to act immediately.

    "This is an escalation that would only lead to more instability and chaos," Rdeneh said.

    Palestinians want the occupied West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip - territories Israel occupied in the 1967 Middle East war - for their future state.

    The international community views settlements as illegal and an obstacle to reaching peace.

    Shortly before leaving office, US President Barack Obama allowed the UN Security Council to pass a resolution declaring settlements illegal.

    Tobias Ellwood, Britain's Middle East minister, also condemned the land grab bill, saying it "is of great concern that the bill paves the way for significant growth in settlements deep in the West Bank".

    Yuval Shany, an international law professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, said the law violates basic rights, interferes with property rights and is discriminatory because it regulates only the transfer of land from Palestinians to Jews.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/02/israel-land-grab-law-ends-hope-state-solution-170207143602924.html
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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

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    Salaam

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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Salaam

    The Jewish establishment moving in on Gilad Atzmon.

    Gilad Atzmon Needs Your Support!


    I am being sued for libel in the High Court in England by Campaign Against Antisemitsm’s chairman Gideon Falter. I have made the decision to fight this crucial battle for freedom of expression even though this fight poses a real risk of bankrupting me and my family.

    I choose to fight their suit because I believe that the CAA and its chairman and its use of libel laws pose a danger to freedom of speech and the future of this country as an open society. Enough is enough!

    Mr. Falter has sued me for comments I made on my own website.

    My comments were made in the context of expressing my opinion about the situation where, lastJuly, The British Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) attested that there had been no increase in anti-Semitism in Britain, and Gideon Falter and the CAA refused to accept the CPS’s verdict. Falter and the CAA insisted that anti Semitism was on the rise. Sky news reported on the discrepancies between the findings of CPS and the CAA.

    Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2LgDoRqgN8

    My article focused on the choice examined by Sky News between two accounts, one maintained by Falter and the CAA, an NGO that is dedicated to prosecuting antisemitism with “zero tolerance”, and the judicial approach of the CPS: a public body, subject to scrutiny and committed to impartiality.

    My comments about the CAA are the basis of their lawsuit. I believe that I have the right to express my opinions on my own website: freedom of political expression is at the heart of freedom of speech. Mr Falter claims that my criticisms of him do not amount to an opinion at all, and is seeking an order that would stop me from saying anything similar about him again, as well as paying him huge sums in libel damages and legal costs.

    The CAA has contacted Jazz venues, community centres, concert halls and even overseas companies demanding that my events be cancelled. They have now escalated this battle and if they win this will ruin me financially.

    I can not fund my defence alone. I am obliged to ask every peace loving human being who cares about freedom and ethics for funds to help me defend this case. Fighting this battle may cost tens of thousands of pounds. I am going to need some four figure donations to fund the ludicrous amount required. But every single penny mounts up and please do give something.

    If you have ever enjoyed my writing – join the fight. If you don’t agree with me yet support freedom of speech – my fight is your fight. If you support the right to point at the truth without being labeled ant-Semitic – this lawsuit is the battle ground, my fight is your fight.

    I appreciate any help you can give.

    http://www.gilad.co.uk/
    Last edited by Junon; 4 Days Ago at 11:19 AM.

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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Salaam

    Another update, missed this

    Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh blacklisted as ‘terrorist’ by US




    State Department says Haniyeh has been ‘involved in terrorist attacks’ on Israeli citizens and is a ‘proponent of armed struggle… against civilians’

    The United States on Wednesday put the head of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, on its terrorism blacklist in a move that will raise tensions already high due to Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

    “Haniyeh has close links with Hamas’ military wing and has been a proponent of armed struggle, including against civilians,” the State Department said in a statement.

    “He has reportedly been involved in terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens. Hamas has been responsible for an estimated 17 American lives killed in terrorist attacks.”

    The 55-year-old Haniyeh, who was named head of Hamas in May 2017, is now on the US Treasury sanctions blacklist, which freezes any US-based assets he may have and bans any US person or company from doing business with him.

    He is now a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist”, or SDGT, a title used to describe leaders of international terrorism organisations or perpetrators of mass-scale terrorism attacks. Hamas, which controls Gaza, has been officially considered a terrorist organisation by the US for decades.

    ‘A failed attempt’

    A spokesperson for Hamas told Middle East Eye that placing Haniyeh on the list was an attempt to legitimise the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

    Putting the Hamas leader on the list is “is a failed attempt to put pressure on the resistance, and will not deter us from continuing to uphold resistance as a tool to expel the occupation,” the spokesperson said.

    “The decision of the US treasury reveals the extent of US bias towards the Israeli occupation and their participation in denying the rights of our people, and this decision is an attempt to legitimise the occupation,” he said.

    Leaders committing crimes against the Palestinian people should be on the list instead, he added.

    The State Department also designated Harakat al-Sabireen, a group which operates in Gaza, and two Egyptian groups – Liwa al-Thawra and Harakat Sawa’d Misr (HASM) – as terrorist organisations.

    “Some of the leaders of the violent splinter groups, Liwa al-Thawra and Hasm, were previously associated with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood,” a statement by the State Department noted.

    The Trump administration reportedly considered blacklisting the Brotherhood last year. Muslim American groups had warned against such designation, saying that it would be used to target all Muslims in the US.

    The popular Islamist movement has been outlawed in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

    In Egypt, where the military overthrew Mohammed Morsi, the country’s first democratically elected president who was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, the group says it is committed to peaceful political activism.

    The department said Wednesday’s designations “target key terrorist groups and leaders… who are threatening the stability of the Middle East, undermining the peace process and attacking our allies Egypt and Israel”.

    “Ismail Haniyeh is the leader and president of the political bureau of Hamas, which was designated in 1997 as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation and in 2001 as an SDGT.”

    “These designations seek to deny Ismail Haniyeh, Harakat al-Sabireen, Liwa al-Thawra, and HASM the resources they need to plan and carry out further terrorist attacks.”

    rest here

    https://www.middleeastobserver.org/2018/02/01/hamas-leader-ismail-haniyeh-blacklisted-as-terrorist-by-us/

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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Salaam

    Another update

    Israel celebrates 'pyrrhic' victory as it turns 70

    Israel benefits from a strong military and even stronger allies, but analysts warn the state faces major challenges.


    It appears Israelis have every reason to be in a festive mood this week as they celebrate the 70th anniversary of their state's founding. This "Independence Day", which Israel marks according to the Hebrew calendar, on April 19, the regional, security and diplomatic environment looks to be the most favourable Israel has faced in its short history. The Palestinians have been crushed and Israel faces no international pressure to concede a two-state solution. The Arab states are in disarray, with growing signs that Saudi Arabia and some other Gulf states may be ready to normalise relations.

    The Trump administration is little more than a cheerleader for Israel, and has pre-empted Palestinian ambitions for statehood by moving its embassy to Jerusalem next month. And Israel has one of the few economies that is thriving despite the global recession sparked by the financial meltdown a decade ago. Nonetheless, analysts warn, the picture over the coming decades may prove to be far less rosy than it appears now. The relatively free hand Israel currently enjoys comes with new costs and dangers, they argue.

    "This is more like a pyrrhic victory," Amal Jamal, a politics professor at Tel Aviv University, told Al Jazeera.

    "Israel has won this round of the battle, but at a price it probably can't afford in the coming rounds."

    'The end of the Jewish state'

    That sentiment is shared in unlikely places. Last month, Israel's popular Yedioth Aharonoth daily published the assessments of six former heads of Israel's spy agency Mossad, headlined: "The country is in grave condition."

    One, Dani Yatom, went so far as to predict "the end of the Jewish state". Another, Nahum Admoni, warned that the rift within the Israeli Jewish public was "greater than at any other time" in Israel's history. Michal Warschawski, an Israeli analyst and founder of the Alternative Information Centre, argued that Israel was suffering from "classic hubris".

    "Israel is strong, rich and has powerful allies. That explains its extreme arrogance at the moment," he told Al Jazeera.

    "We are now in a strange situation in which the security apparatus has more insight into Israel's problems than the politicians."

    An indication of Israel's troubles ahead are the popular, unarmed protests that have exploded on to the Palestinian political scene along Gaza's perimeter fence. For decades Israel's internal security has been carefully built on an intricate system of containing, isolating and repressing Palestinians with walls, checkpoints and blockades. But the Gaza protests suggest to some observers that Israel's complex fortifications could quickly turn into a house of cards if unarmed resistance by Palestinians grows or spreads.

    Israeli military commanders have repeatedly warned that they have no strategy for countering a mass popular revolt. The use of snipers to terrify away protesters was a sign of Israel's desperation, say analysts. Veteran Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery observed in a column at the weekend: "Like the British in India and the white racists in the US, the Israeli government does not know how to deal with unarmed protest." Assad Ghanem, a political scientist at Haifa University, told Al Jazeera: "What happens to Israel will depend in part on what Palestinians choose to do, and Palestinians aren't going to accept third or fourth-class status forever."

    He noted that historically Palestinians had looked to the wider Arab world for support, including military assistance.

    "For the first time, the Palestinians are on their own. They have slowly internalised the fact that Israel cannot be defeated with arms, and they must move towards a non-armed struggle."

    Israel would be in "serious difficulty" if the protests in Gaza spread, unifying Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, Israel and the refugee camps of Lebanon and Syria. "Israel cannot repress all these fronts at the same time," he said.

    Jamal, of Tel Aviv University, observed that the Palestinian struggle would be influenced by changing international circumstances.

    "The Israeli right is behaving as if the shift to the right in the west will last forever. It won't - there will be a backlash," he argued.

    'No depth to international support'


    But if Israel has reason to worry about where increasing hopelessness may drive the Palestinians, it has additional dark clouds looming on the horizon. International support for Israel has no depth, according to Jeff Halper, an Israeli analyst.

    "Israel may have the support of Western governments, but it has lost the fight for international public opinion. Its defenders sound increasingly shrill and isolated," he told Al Jazeera.

    Ilan Pappe, an Israeli historian, noted that Israel's position was severely weakened by its explicit abandonment of any peace process.

    "While the two-state framework was formally on the table, it was much easier for people to accept the current reality," he told Al Jazeera. "But without it, Israel is naked, it is exposed as an apartheid state."

    That, said Jamal, would make it much harder for Israel to maintain alliances with progressives movements in the US and Europe. He pointed to Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain's opposition Labour party, as an example of the new breed of politician prepared to be outspoken in support of the Palestinians. Polls have also revealed for the first time widespread antipathy towards Israel from within the ranks of the Democratic Party in the US.

    "Palestinian strategies of resistance can accelerate this trend," Jamal added.

    Shift to the right

    The dramatic shift in Israel towards the far right in recent years, with a series of ever more ultranationalist governments under Benjamin Netanyahu, has provoked growing polarisation among Israeli Jews and mounting alienation from liberal Jews overseas.

    Traditionally, the latter have been vocal advocates for Israel abroad, especially in the US. In the run-up to the 70th-anniversary celebrations, there has been an outpouring of fears from liberal commentators about the future. Bradley Burston observed that Israel was now led by "a government of the racist, by the racist, for the racist", while Chemi Shalev warned that it was time for liberal Jews in Israel and the US to "circle their wagons" against the Israeli leadership.

    Emilie Moatti argued that the "thuggery" of the current government would soon seem moderate in comparison to the "nightmarish circus up the road".

    Meanwhile, analyst Yossi Klein argued: "A clerical fascist state will rise here much faster than you think." He added that Israel was rapidly becoming a country that "you have to get out of, and fast".

    Such fears have been exacerbated by a raft of discriminatory and racist legislation and relentless efforts to delegitimise the Israeli Supreme Court and human rights groups.

    "It is not just the illusion of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state that is crumbling, Israel is actively abandoning any pretence of being democratic. It is more interested in its Jewishness," Warschawski said.

    Jamal said Israel was becoming "a theocratic, nationalist state" dominated by religious extremists and the settlers. "That is not a direction those Israelis who want peace can go in. The secular population will have to fight for what's left of Israel's democracy," he said.

    Pappe said growing economic gaps between a rich elite and the country's middle classes were also straining traditional internal solidarity. In 2015, the finance ministry warned that over the coming years Israel was on track for a Greek-style fiscal meltdown.

    "Israel has the largest gap between rich and poor in the OECD (an organisation promoting economic cooperation between the world's 35 most developed countries)," said Pappe.

    "The middle classes can hardly survive, and mostly are living off overdrafts. They are on the verge of protests."

    All agreed that Israel risked a brain drain - and a loss of legitimacy - as younger liberal Israelis looked for options to leave.

    Jamal said: "Israel has traded on the claim that the occupation is temporary. But clearly, that is no longer tenable. So, Israelis will have to choose. There can one sovereign state for everyone living here, or there can be apartheid."

    Halper struck a similar note. "What has saved Israel has been the fact that there is no countervailing push for a resolution of the conflict," he said. "Israel has won the argument by default.

    "One state is in the air, and it could quickly build a dynamic of its own, both locally and outside. The churches, trade unions, solidarity groups, civil society organisations are all looking for someone to articulate a new way ahead."

    And Israel could soon find itself deprived of its traditional supporters abroad to help it counter the intensified international solidarity with Palestinians, such as the boycott (BDS) movement. Warschawski said: "In a generation, the unconditional support Israel has enjoyed from Jewish organisations overseas will become a thing of the past. Young Jews either don't care about Israel or are openly critical of it."

    A survey in February found only 40 percent of American Jews under the age of 35 in the San Francisco area were "comfortable with the idea of a Jewish state", compared with nearly three-quarters of those over 65. In a sign of the Israeli right's growing fears, settler leader Naftali Bennett, the Jewish diaspora minister, announced last month plans for Israel to forge ties with tens of millions of people it has classified as "potential Jews" or those with an "affinity" to the Jewish people.

    Anshel Pfeffer, an analyst with the Haaretz daily, argued that Israel realised it could no longer rely on overseas Jews, in an article headlined: "Disappointed with the Diaspora, Israel is now looking to replace it".

    Pappe said in practice, as liberal Jews abandoned Israel, it would have to climb into bed with US Christian Zionists, religious conservatives who backed Trump in large numbers in the last presidential election.

    "Jews have needed to believe that Israel embodies moral and universal values. Christian Zionists don't care. They will support it whatever it does," he said.

    Rising global powers could also make a difference to Israel's long-term fortunes, acting as a counterweight to current US dominance.

    Jamal noted that, in preparation, Israel was already trying to develop closer economic and military ties to India and China. Halper said: "Israel has depended on the US being the main player in the Middle East. But Russia is already getting more involved, and there are signs that China will eventually do so too.

    "That will require Israel to navigate a more difficult military and diplomatic environment."

    https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/israel-celebrates-pyrrhic-victory-turns-70-180417065357314.html

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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Salaam

    Another update,

    South Africa president hails Palestinians’ defiance in face of Israel aggression



    South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa hailed defiant Palestinians during a memorial service held on Saturday for South African anti-apartheid icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

    Addressing thousands of mourners at Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg’s Soweto, Ramaphosa said Madikizela-Mandela “lives on in the Palestinian teenager who refuses to stand by as he’s stripped of his home, his heritage and his prospects for a peaceful and content, dignified life.”

    Eighty-one-year-old Madikizela-Mandela died on 2 April after a long illness for which she had been in and out of hospital since the start of the year.

    Madikizela-Mandela was the ex-wife of the late Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president. She was one of the country’s greatest icons in the struggle against apartheid.

    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180416-south-africa-president-hails-palestinians-defiance-in-face-of-israel-aggression/

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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Quote Originally Posted by Junon View Post
    Salaam

    Another update

    Israel celebrates 'pyrrhic' victory as it turns 70


    *snip*
    Dat article. Eerily similar to what I've been thinking.

    Especially the part about hubris causing the Israeli leadership to be blind to what's happening. I would add, an extreme case of groupthink, with all the characteristic that makes it susceptible to it: Strong pressure towards in-group conformity, and a towering superiority complex causing confidence in the opinions and the wisdom of said in-group.

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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Salaam

    Most interesting discussion.


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