Q&A: Former American Jewish Congress Chief: U.S. Should Get Out Of The Way Of Palestinian U.N. Bid

With the international Quartet unable to relaunch talks between Israel and the Palestinians and the Arab League throwing its supportbehind a Palestinian bid at the United Nations, the prospect of a vote on Palestinian statehood in September is looming large on the horizon. But Israel and its U.S. ally are undertaking a furious diplomatic effort to avert the vote or defeat it, with a potential U.S. Security Council veto hanging over the proceedings.

Henry Siegman, the president of the U.S./Middle East Project (USMEP), a former member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the former 16-year head of the American Jewish Congress (AJC), spoke by phone to ThinkProgress to share his thoughts on how we got here, what the Palestinians are looking to get out of the U.N. and what the U.S. should do about it all.

You’ve shown support for the Palestinian initiative to have their statehood recognized by the U.N. Do you think the U.S. should get out of the way and not cast a veto in the Security Council?

I think the United States ought to do more than that, but at the very least ought to stop being the major obstructer to progress in the situation by getting out of the way. The reason the United States so far has not only been unable to make any progress and bring the situation forward, but so far has been the main player preventing any progress, is because the United States has taken the position that the only way to make any progress in this situation is a renewal of the peace process, getting [Israeli Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu and [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas to talk to each other. If there is anything to be learned from years of disappointment and failure, it’s that the so-called peace process is simply a vehicle for Israel to pretend there is some potential for progress even as on the ground they are making it impossible because of their settlement project. There is a basic dishonesty here. The United States, instead of saying, “This is a fraud,” says instead Israel wants to see a two-state solution, and thus provides a cover for Israel to expand its settlements on the ground and make an outcome absolutely impossible. So it’s in that sense that I’m saying the U.S. is the major obstacle. Because for years the assumption has been that the United States is uniquely in a position to bring about an agreement because of its leverage with Israel. But it turns out the U.S. is captive to Israel’s plans.

The U.S. says that the only way for a solution to be brought about is a negotiated deal between the two parties. You’ve written that you don’t think this is quite correct.

It’s not only not quite correct; it’s absolutely wrong. There are two reasons this is totally unreal. For nearly twenty years now — since Oslo, that is — we have been trying to move the parties beyond where they’ve been. And every effort, every round of negotiations, has failed. The parties have not come closer. The only thing that has happened is that Israel has succeeded in creating the network of settlements and support infrastructure that will make a Palestinian state impossible. There are people on the ground who think the two state solution is impossible because of that.

There is a reason the peace process is a hollow exercise. The assumption all along has been that what is needed to achieve a breakthrough is a change in the modalities of the peace process that would enable the two parties to reach an agreement, something both of them really want to do, but have been prevented from doing because of years of mistrust and conflict. So what is needed is an honest broker – i.e., the U.S. — who would help the parties to overcome existing obstacles. The U.S. believed itself to be the only mediator who could facilitate an agreement, and the rest of the world agreed. But this was based on a completely false understanding of the reality of the situation.

The reality is that Israeli governments — even before Bibi Netanyahu — have opted for territory over peace. From the very beginning in 1967, Israel’s goal has been to prevent a border being drawn between them and the West Bank. The goal has been to retain permanent control over the West Bank and Gaza. Israeli governments — and especially the current one — believe that peace is not nearly as important as territory.

Famously, years ago, Moshe Dayan said, when Israel had control of Sharm-el-Sheikh [seized from Egypt in 1967’s Six Day War], “Better Sharm-el-Sheikh without peace than peace without Sharm-el-Sheikh.” It turns out that they had to give up all of the Egyptian territory. But that’s what they now want with the West Bank — “better the West Bank without peace than peace without the West Bank.”

In terms of their own cost benefit calculations, they believe that whatever the downside to the absence of peace, that downside is far outweighed by the importance they attach to retaining the West Bank. The problem has never been finding a formula that would allow the diplomatic process to succeed, because one of the sides has no intention of letting go of the territory.

As a snapshot, where do you see things? Do you think the Palestinians can get a resolution recognizing their statehood through the U.N.?, The question is: Even if they do get it through, what have they got?

I think the Palestinians have a shot at getting the Gen Assembly to affirm their right to statehood based on the ’67 borders subject to land swaps. They do have a shot at it even if they do not get as much support from Europeans as they are hoping to get. The question is: Is it worth the effort? On the ground, very little will change, certainly in the short term, because Israel is not about to let go of its control of the West Bank. Nevertheless, it will be an important development. Because the goal of Israeli governments has always been to retain control of the West Bank, and to do it in a way where they can blame Palestinians for an absence of a peace accord, they never wanted to set a border. When Obama recently, a year ago, in a meeting with Netanyahu, asked him to tell him in the privacy of the White House where he wants the border to be, he refused. Netanyahu absolutely refused to indicate to Israel’s most important partner where he wanted the border to be. The reason he wouldn’t say is because he can’t, for he cannot concede that his goal is that there be no border at all.

Nothing will change on the ground as a result of the vote at the U.N. The U.N. can’t force Israel to do anything, and the U.S. certainly won’t do so, so why are the Israelis so upset about this? Why are they running around the world asking people to vote against this? Because it’s a vote that affirms a border. That, too, is why Netanyahu went wild when President Obama called for a border based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps. He called Obama before his speech and tried to convince him not to say it. That’s unprecedented.

The reason Palestinians are going ahead with this even though they know nothing will change on the ground in the short term is that Israel will be put on notice that the international community endorses a border on the 67 lines with territory swaps.

You say nothing will change on the ground in the near term. Are there no concrete benefits? Some commentators have said U.N. recognized statehood will allow the Palestinians to join the International Criminal Court (ICC), and be able to petition for prosecutions of Israeli crimes themselves rather than relying on other ICC signatories or the Security Council.

There are certain advantages, yes. They can go to the International Court. They get certain platforms that are currently not available to them to pursue their objectives. Ultimately the focus has to be not on diplomatic gamesmanship, the focus has to be on what changes the cost benefit calculation of Israeli governments. As long as they pursue a goal of controlling the West Bank and there is no price to be paid for it, any peace process — no matter how cleverly formulated — will fail because Israel will not give up that territory. So you have to change the cost-benefit calculation. There has to be a cost to Israel for pursuing that goal. Only when the cost gets serious enough will Israel make a deal and set that border. Indeed, the international community has tried to impose a cost, but the United States has prevented it.

But America’s ability to provide cover for such Israeli behavior will increasingly diminish. That’s one of the consequences of the Arab Spring. Some of the dictators who have been dancing to the American tune won’t be doing that any longer — which is something that Israelis have to think about as well. What this means is that the U.S. may not be able to afford to provide the kind of protection that Israel has been counting on. A critical development in Israel’s cost-benefit calculation has been its peace treaty with Egypt, which removed the only potential major military threat to Israel from within the region. But Israeli policies may now lead to the repudiation of that treaty by a future Egyptian government. That is a consideration that changes the cost-benefit calculation in a serious way.

Do you think there’s any chance that the U.S. might not exercise a veto at the U.N., that it might abstain from a vote?

The U.S. doesn’t like to be in the position to veto this. It’s entirely possible that the U.S. will come up with some alternative offer to get the Palestinians to withdraw it. But if they don’t, the Palestinians certainly have a shot at getting this resolution through. But that’s only a very small step, for reasons we’ve discussed, in a changing regional and international situation that will get clearer in time.

(thinkprogress.org / 23.07.2011)

Request for a Lawyer

This is a solicitation for legal assistance, to help me present a case, or cases, against the State of Israel and private individuals and organizations, for damages, because of human rights abuses and many other crimes perpetrated against me by persons of Israeli and American citizenship under the protection and with the encouragement of the State of Israel.

In the United States, a legal precedent for a similar lawsuit has probably already been set by the Jewish survivors of the Nazi holocaust perpetrated against them by the German Nazi regime until 1945. To my knowledge, such persons have presented a largely successful lawsuit (or lawsuits) against entities in France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. For further information, see here.

A very short overview of what happened to me and what I want

I was expelled by the Israeli Army from my home in Hebron in 2002 because of my work as a journalist, but before that I had been sexually harassed, beaten, insulted and slandered by the IDF and the illegal Jewish settlers, my home was repeatedly vandalized by the illegal Jewish settlers and IDF. I was hospitalized several times due to these mistreatments. I lost several jobs in a row due to Israeli pressure on my employers despite being a well-known and recognized journalist; I was defrauded of the fruits of my work by Israeli associates who made use of the inequality of Palestinians before Israeli law, and my work was subsequently used by the Israeli military to endanger my life. I live in Austria as a refugee under the Geneva Convention since 2002.
Due to the expulsion from my home by the Israeli government, I lost a respected job as a journalist and the social position attached to that occupation, an adequate income, my livelihood, my house, and I will very likely never again see my family. I do currently live, impoverished, from about 650 Euros per month which I receive from the social office of the city of Vienna. Still, compared to many other Palestinians, I am privileged.

While still living in Hebron, I presented over 300 complaints with the Israeli police for various abuses. My lawyer in Jerusalem tried to bring these complaints before Israeli courts. She was told that none of my complaints would ever be pursued by Israeli authorities, that this was a political decision. All these complaints were closed by the Israeli police without further investigation. I have posted some of these documents, which are in Hebrew, here.

I expect the outcome of any lawsuit to be ample compensation and punitive damages for the abuses and transgressions I suffered at the hands of the Israelis; the reconstruction of my house to the state it was before the Israeli military and the illegal Jewish settlers vandalized it; the reinstatement of my right to live in security in my home, Hebron. I expect as an additional outcome that such a lawsuit presented in my case will open the way for potentially all Palestinians, at home or in exile, to present similar compensation claims.

A potentially incomplete list of possible defendant(s): the Government of Israel; various Israeli civil and military officers; various identified and unidentified Jewish settlers, primarily those known to be integrants of the Kach and New Kach movements, which have been labeled as terrorist organizations by the US State Department; American, Israeli and other associations like JINSA, AIPAC, JTA, ADL, WJC, … which have been characterized by American investigators as obtaining the complicity of the USA in the genocide against Palestinians by using questionable methods to “convince” same legislators and officials to do their bidding; individuals and organizations throughout the world which supplement the finances of the illegal settlements in the West Bank and Gaza; companies in various jurisdictions drawing profits from their commercial relations with the occupiers in illegal settlements in the West Bank; media outlets around the world which act as enablers of the ongoing genocide because they routinely deny and mischaracterize the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people.

Because of similarities of my case and those of the survivors of the Nazis, I wrote an Email of similar content to the lawyer company which apparently represented the Jewish holocaust victims. Since they have not shown interest in my case to date, I am soliciting a lawyer in this way. Lack of interest in my case is their privilege. I commented on that here.

Please write me if you or your company are interested in my case and you think that you can achieve a satisfactory outcome.

(www.kawther.info / 23.07.2011)

Verdachte bloedbad sprak bewondering voor PVV uit

Anders Breivik, de vermoedelijke dader van de aanslagen in Oslo en Utoya, waarbij tot nu toe in totaal 91 doden vielen, sprak eerder op een Zweeds forum zijn bewondering voor de PVV uit. Hij noemde de partij ‘de enige echte conservatieve partij die er bestaat’.

Wilders zelf heeft via Twitter de aanslag scherp veroordeeld: ‘Vreselijke aanslag in Oslo, zoveel onschuldige slachtoffers van gewelddadige, zieke geest. PVV rouwt mee met nabestaanden en Noorse volk’, aldus Wilders via Twitter.

Breivik is een aantal jaren lid geweest van de conservatieve Progress Party, de op een na grootste politieke partij van Noorwegen. Partijleider Siv Jensen geeft dit ‘vol afgrijzen’ toe op de Noorse TV2, maar benadrukt dat deze daad de hele natie aangaat. ‘En dat we ons vandaag vooral moeten richten op de slachtoffers en meeleven met de getroffen families.’

Op politieke blogs waaronder Firstpost.com wordt de Progress Party afgeschilderd als uiterst rechts. Ze zouden de laatste jaren een enorm electoraat hebben verworven met hun anti-immigratiepolitiek gekoppeld aan christelijke waarden. De liberale immigratiepolitiek zou volgens de Progress Party helemaal mislukt zijn. ‘Het laat criminelen in Noorwegen, terwijl eerlijke hardwerkende mensen eruit gegooid worden.’ Breivik vond de rechts-conservatieve politiek van deze partij veel te liberaal en is uiteindelijk weer uit de partij gestapt.

Breivik noemt zichzelf een christelijk conservatief en ventileerde op internet vooral zijn afkeer tegen het socialisme, internationalisme en de multiculturele samenleving. Dat laatste noemde hij de grootste bedreiging van de westerse beschaving. De Noorse politie noemt de man een Christelijke fundamentalist.

Vertaling van een deel van de post van Breivik op http://www.minervanett.no/2010/01/27/det-imperfektes-politikk/
(www.parool.nl / 23.07.2011)

Extreem rechts in Noorwegen ‘zeer klein’

Extreem rechts in Noorwegen is tegenwoordig klein, ongeorganiseerd en weinig bedreigend. Dit meent de leider van het Noorse anti-racisme centrum Kari Helene Partapouli. ‘We hebben geen volledig overzicht van alle extreemrechtse groepen, maar kunnen wel zeggen dat er geen grote ‘witte’ machtsbeweging bestaat zoals in Zweden.’

Buurland Zweden kent een aantal neonazipartijen dat ook politieke macht heeft op gemeentelijk niveau. ‘Noorwegen heeft marginale groeperingen die geplaagd worden door interne conflicten en nauwelijks financiële steun genieten.’ De bekendste is de islam-kritische Noorse Verdedigingsliga. Partepouli: ,,De laatste keer dat zij een demonstratie hielden, kwamen er vier mensen op af.”

Experts denken dat het gebrek aan organisatie in extreemrechtse kringen deels komt door het ontbreken van sterke leiders. Er is wel een kanttekening: ‘Ze zijn misschien niet groot in aantal, maar het blijkt ook nu weer dat er niet veel meer dan één persoon nodig is om geweld uit te oefenen’, zegt Partapouli.

In de jaren ’70 blies een rechtsextremist een linkse boekhandel in Tromsø op. In 1979 gooide een rechtse activist een bom in een parade ter ere voor de Dag van de Arbeid op 1 mei. In 1985 blies de Nationale Volkspartij een moskee in Oslo op. De Volksbeweging tegen Immigratie probeerde in 1990 een asielzoekerscentrum op te blazen en nadien volgden enkele jaren van gewelddadige botsingen tussen extreem rechts en extreem links.

In 2001 werd de 15-jarige Benjamin Hermansen op straat doodgestoken door drie neonazi’s. Zij verdwenen voor 18 jaar achter de tralies. Daarna werd het stil rond radicaal rechts.

Het anti-racisme centrum ziet de afgelopen jaren wel een toename van individuen die vinden dat de populistische Vooruitgangspartij, Fremsskritspartiet, niet ver genoeg gaat in de kritiek op immigranten en de islam. De 32-jarige verdachte van de aanslagen is tussen 1999 en 2006 lid geweest van de jeugdafdeling van deze partij.

Partijleider Siv Jensen van de Vooruitgangspartij is ontzet over het feit dat de man partijlid was. ‘Dit is op de eerste plaats een man die groteske daden tegen onschuldige slachtoffers, tegen Noorwegen en tegen onze democratie heeft begaan.’

(www.parool.nl / 23.07.2011)

Norwegian terror suspect looked to the English Defence League as ‘an example’

The man arrested for yesterday’s murderous attacks in Norway admires Britain’s far right English Defence League and claimed to have held discussions with it.

More than 80 people attending a Labour Youth gathering were shot dead near the Norwegian capital Oslo when a man dressed in a police uniform opened fire.

A car bomb killed seven people earlier the same day outside Norway’s main government building in central Oslo.

Members of the ruling Labour Party were the targets in both cases. The killings have sent shockwaves around the world.

The media and “security experts” rushed to blame Islamic terrorists. But Norwegian police have arrested a Norwegian man, Anders Behring Breivik.

Breivik posted messages on a Norwegian website expressing his admiration for the English Defence League.

Among rants about Islam and Communism is the following (roughly translated from Norwegian):

“I have on some occasions discussed with SIOE [Stop Islamification Of Europe] and EDL and recommended them to use conscious strategies.

The tactics of the EDL is now out to “entice” an overreaction from Jihad Youth / Extreme-Marxists something they have succeeded several times already. Over The reaction has been repeatedly shown on the news which has booster EDLs ranks high.

This has also benefited BNP. WinWin for both.

But I must say I am very impressed with how quickly they have grown but this has to do with smart tactical choice by management.

EDL is an example and a Norwegian version is the only way to prevent Flash / SOS to harass Norwegian cultural conservatives from other fronts. Creating a Norwegian EDL should be No. 3 on the agenda after we have started up a cultural conservative newspaper with national distribution.

The agenda of the Norwegian cultural conservative movement over the next 5 years are therefore:

1 Newspaper with national distribution

2 Working for the control of several NGOs

3 Norwegian EDL”

It’s not known how many further links that Breivik may have with the English far right. But the hate that fuels the EDL showed its logical consequences in Norway this week.

That’s why we must make a renewed effort to build resistance to the EDL, in particular the national protest against the racist EDL in Tower Hamlets, London on Saturday 3 September.

(www.socialistworker.co.uk / 23.07.2011)

Anders Behring Breivik arrested for the terror attacks in Oslo.

So far, police have confirmed seven deaths in the blast attack in central Oslo, and another ten are dead in a shooting at Utøya where the Norwegian Socialist Youth League organized a summer camp.

On Friday afternoon the Oslo police arrested 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik, as a suspect for the attacks in Oslo and Utøya earlier on the same day.

 Anders Behring Breivik, according to the police, is the owner of the blog Fjordman and had for many years been the editor of  the anti-Muslim and Zionist blog” Gates of Vienna” and the website “Jihad Watch”, under the pseudonym, Fjordman.

On July 17, Anders Behring Breivik released a message on Twitter where he writes that “One person with a belief is Equal To The force of 100,000 WHO have only not raised.”
Updated at. 03:37

The latest information argues that Fjordman during Friday was writing an article and can not be identical with Anders Behring Breivik. Our information is based on that Breivik, about a year ago himself claimed to be the blogger Fjordman.

Of course, the task had not become so inaccurate, if not so many writers were to hide behind the same name. The fact that several people tonight gave the information that it is Breivik, who is hiding behind the pseudonym Fjordman, suggests that it likely could be the case.

If Fjordman feel unduly singled out, he is welcome with a clarification. Breivik, among other things on his Face book page earlier expressed the same opinions as the blogger Fjordman has spread in messages, so we can not see a reason to distrust Breivik’s own statement, that he was the man behind the pseudonym Fjordman.
(palestinefreevoice.blogspot.com / 23.07.2011)

Community Leader: Israel is Hunting down International Supporters

Bethlehem – PNN Exclusive – Sami Awad, director of Holy Land Trust, a local NGO that works in developing nonviolent resistance in Palestine, warned on Saturday that Israel is targeting international supporters of Palestinians and is attempting to illegalize their work.


Sami Awad

Awad’s statement came after Israel deported five French solidarity activists to Jordan on Friday. A group of French activists were crossing an Israeli military checkpoint between Jenin and Tulkarem, soldiers then detained the five and arrested them. The French activists were later taken to a military detention facility before they were deported to Jordan.

During an interview with PNN, Awad said that Israel is taking advantage of the silence policy some countries implement towards Israel’s crimes against those international activists.  Awad warned that the Israeli targeted deportation and denied entry campaign will soon include international human rights and aid NGOs working in the region.

According to Awad Israel’s crackdown on international solidarity activists comes due to the fact that military leaders in Israel have realized the impact solidarity campaigns have on the political situation.

Awad added that the best way to counter the Israeli policies is legal actions. He wondered how legal deporting five internationals without trail is.

(english.pnn.ps / 23.07.2011)

Boerkaverbod België aangevochten

In België stappen twee vrouwen die een boerka of nikab dragen naar het grondwettelijk hof. Ze zijn het niet eens met het verbod op de boerka dat vandaag van kracht is geworden.

Vrouwen in België mogen nu niet meer over straat lopen met kleding die hun gezicht helemaal of grotendeels bedekt. Wie dat toch doet, kan tot zeven dagen gevangenisstraf krijgen en een boete van 137,50 euro.

De twee boerka-draagsters noemen het verbod buiten proportie. Ook zeggen ze dat het strijdig is met de vrijheid van godsdienst. België vindt de maatregel nodig vanwege de openbare veiligheid.


Eerder kreeg één van de vrouwen gelijk in een procedure tegen de gemeente Etterbeek, waar het dragen van elk hoofddeksel waarbij het gezicht wordt verborgen, is verboden. De rechtbank oordeelde dat het verbod niet in verhouding stond tot de beoogde verhoging van de veiligheid.

In de Antwerpse binnenstad werd woensdag een journaliste van de krant De Standaard opgepakt toen zij in boerka over straat liep. Ze wilde zien hoe mensen reageren op een vrouw in boerka. De journaliste kwam ervan af met een waarschuwing.

(nos.nl / 23.07.2011)

Protesters killed amid huge Syria protests

Security forces blamed for more killings of civilians as mass demonstrations are held to show support for Homs.

Syrian democracy activists say security forces have killed as many as 11 civilians amid anti-government protests by more than one million people across the country.

Five civilians were killed early on Friday in the central city of Homs, 165km north of Damascus, when tanks were deployed to halt ongoing protests, residents told the Reuters news agency.

A further six were later shot dead in protests in Homs and two other places – the Damascus suburb of Mleeha and the Idlib area in Syria’s northwest, according to the Ammar Qurabi, the head of the National Organisation for Human Rights, an opposition group.

Al Jazeera has not been able to verify independently reports of the violence.

Meanwhile, two explosions were heard overnight on Friday from inside the Syrian Army War College in Homs, two residents told Reuters, saying the sound of heavy gunfire was heard and ambulances were seen heading towards the compound.

“Smoke rose from inside the premises. The injured were taken to the military hospital. It looked like an operation of some sort,” said one of the residents.

On Friday, protest organisers had called for mass demonstrations to show support for Homs, the AFP news agency reported. More than 50 people have been killed theresince last Saturday, Syrian activists said.

They accuse President Bashar al-Assad of causing sectarian strife among the city’s Christians, Sunni Muslims and members of his Alawite minority.

Prayer-day protests

In what has become a weekly occurrence, protesters took to the streets across Syria after Friday prayers, defying an intensified military crackdown on their uprising.

“More than 1.2 million people marched. In Deir az Zor there were more than 550,000, and in Hama more than 650,000,” Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the London-based independent group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), told AFP on Saturday.

Demonstrations demanding an end to Assad’s rule also broke out in the Medan district of Damascus, Latakia on the coast, and the southern city of Deraa, opposition activists said.

“Demonstrators have begun to march in various Kurdish towns” in the northeastern province of Hasaka, including Amuda, Derbassiya and Ras al-Aim, Abdel Karim Rihawi, head of the Syrian League for Human Rights, said.

Police and armed groups loyal to Assad used batons to attack thousands of pro-democracy protesters in the country’s mainly Kurdish city of Qamishli on Friday, witnesses said.

Hundreds more were marching in the southern town of Suweida, and demonstrations were also taking place in Idlib, particularly in Tastanas and Kafar Nubol.

At the same time, telephone communications and electricity were cut in Daraya and Douma, just outside Damascus.

Solidarity with Homs

Government forces have killed at least 22 people since Monday in Homs, according to activists.

A Syrian military official quoted by state media on Friday said that “armed terrorist groups” in the city had killed five soldiers and wounded three officers, and warned  that the armed forces were ready to respond with force.

Clashes have reportedly been taking place there between Syrian army soldiers and defectors.

Members of the Local Co-ordination Committee, an opposition rights group, in Homs told Al Jazeera that there were about 100 defectors from the Syrian army engaged in the fighting.

“Elements of the army and security forces are deployed in the districts of Qabun and Rukneddin. Barricades were set up at the entrances, limiting exits and entries,” Abdel Rahman of the SOHR told the AFP news agency, referring to the Homs offensive.

“Thousands of security officers are patrolling and conducting searches of homes and making arrests.”

Security forces also made a show of strength in Douma, on Damascus’s outskirts, especially in the market and main mosque, conducting identity checks of people including women at roadblocks, he said.

“Security officers have terrified residents while walking ostentatiously and by showing their weapons,” Abdel Rahman said.

“Many people have begun to leave in fear of arbitrary arrest” after the detention of many youths in the past few weeks.”

(english.aljazeera.net / 23.07.2011)

Israel to seize more Palestinian land

An internal Israeli military report has revealed that the military is taking steps to increase Israel’s land grabs in the West Bank.

The policy, as detailed in the report, would enable increased constructions around settlement blocks as well as strategic areas such as the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea, reports say.

If the plan is launched, it would prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state with territorial contiguity.

The US-sponsored talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have frequently been stalled over Tel Aviv’s settlement activities that are considered illegal by the international community.

The Israeli interior ministry also recently authorized “the enlargement of 2,000 illegal homes in the neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo” in the occupied East al-Quds (Jerusalem).

Israel occupied the Palestinian territories of East al-Quds and the West Bank in 1967 and later annexed the territories in a move not recognized by the international community.

The United Nations and the European Union consider the settlements built on either region illegal under the international law due to their construction on the occupied territory.

Israel, however, has claimed all of al-Quds as its “eternal and indivisible” capital.

The PA is to ask UN member states to vote for the recognition of an independent Palestinian state in September.

A majority of member states are expected to back the bid as over 100 countries have so far recognized Palestine based on the 1967 borders.

(www.presstv.ir / 22.07.2011)