Less than 24 hours after Israeli and Palestinian leaders relaunched indirect peace talks, Israel on Monday announced its intention to expand Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem, a step that Palestinians warned could torpedo the process.
Almost three in four Palestinian children living in East Jerusalem are classified as poor and the city is still the poorest in Israel, figures released by a human rights group and the Central Bureau of Statistics show.
The figures were compiled, separately, ahead of Jerusalem Day - which begins tonight and marks 43 years since the establishment of Israeli control over East Jerusalem in 1967.
As Israeli-Palestinian negotiations restart, Palestinians are determined to begin by tackling the issue of borders, before working backwards toward deciding how to implement the establishment of a Palestinian state. Once agreement is reached on borders, the thinking goes, it will become clear who has the right to decide whether or not settlement activity can continue.
Naturally all this talk must have a reference point. While exact borders are a matter for negotiation, it is hard to begin talks if one side insists on anticipating a fixed outcome. Yet the most recent maps published by the governemt unilaterally annex Palestine to Israel while ignoring the existence of many Palestinian communities.
Israel has no plan to review its nuclear policies, a government official said on Friday, playing down efforts by world powers at a U.N. non-proliferation conference to promote a Middle East free of atomic arms.
Hoping to win Arab backing for sanctions against Iran, the United States and other permanent U.N. Security Council members on Wednesday called for ways to be found to implement a 1995 initiative that would guarantee nuclear disarmament in a region where Israel is widely assumed to have the only such weapons.
Diaspora Jews around the world are beginning to realize that the time has come to reject the right’s dictate that being pro-Israel means that you need to support the policies of Israeli governments, no matter what they do; that the Jewish right represents a small minority of the Jewish people.
Caring about friends and family doesn’t mean that we do not criticize them, when we believe that they are harming themselves. In caring for somebody’s wellbeing, we are often required to make clear that they are going the wrong way. Hence Liberal Jews in the Diaspora firmly stand by Israel while trenchantly criticizing the occupation and settlements.
Strangely, in all this no one has wondered how it is possible that the IDF, the body charged with imposing the law on the West Bank, never lifted a finger against its officers who settled in an illegal outpost in the first place.
Moreover, how can an officer in the career army who breaks the law and ignores a court order serve as a model for his soldiers?
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday signed a law banning Palestinians from working in Israeli settlements and selling settlement goods, with violators facing up to five years in prison and stiff fines.
The law marks the Palestinians' most determined campaign against the settlements Israel has built on lands they want for a state. The Palestinians vehemently oppose the settlements but many rely on them for work.
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