Rohit Kumar's Views

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Posts Tagged ‘West Bank

Netanyahu: Israel ‘ready to negotiate borders’

leave a comment »

By Adrian Blomfield

The offer, which emerged tonight appeared to represent a major climb-down by Mr Netanyahu, who has consistently refused to discuss specific borders of a future state.


Benjamin Netanyahu and a masked Palestinian youth standing on top of a demolished building waves in the West Bank

A government official in Jerusalem told The Daily Telegraph the offer was dependent on the Palestinians dropping their campaign for statehood at the United Nations next month and accepting Israel as a Jewish state.

The offer appears to cross Palestinian red lines, and it seemed likely to be rejected – although the onus is now likely to be placed on the Palestinians to present a counter offer.

Mr Netanyahu reacted angrily when the 1967 proposal was made by Barack Obama in May but was now said to be offering to trade Israeli territory on its side of the line for West Bank land where its main settlements were located.

“We are willing in a framework of restarting the peace talks to accept a proposal that would contain elements that would be difficult for Israel and we would find very difficult to endorse,” said an official, answering a question about the Obama proposal.

The Palestinians said they had not received a proposal from Israel.

They have demanded that Israel stop construction in its West Bank settlements and east Jerusalem before peace talks resume. Mr Netanyahu was said to have wanted talks with no preconditions where issues such as settlements and borders would be discussed.

The ceasefire line dates from June 1967, when Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.

Advertisements

Palestinian house inside cage in Jewish settlement

leave a comment »

BEIT IJZA: The al-Ghirayib family lives in one of the stranger manifestations of Israel’s 43-year occupation of the West Bank: a Palestinian house inside a metal cage inside an Israeli settlement.

The family’s 10 members, four of them children, can only reach the house via a 40-yard (meter) passageway connecting them to the Arab village of Beit Ijza farther down a hill.

The passageway passes over a road used by Israeli army jeeps and is lined on both sides with a 24-foot-high (8-meter) heavy-duty metal fence.

The same fence rings the simple one-story house, separating it from the surrounding settlement houses. Some of those dwellings are so close that the family can hear the insults shouted by a nearby Jewish neighbor.

While al-Ghirayibs’ situation is unusual, Palestinians say it reflects the pressures put on their communities by Israel’s more than 120 West Bank settlements.

The Palestinian Authority has refused to hold peace talks with Israel while settlement construction continues. The latest round of talks collapsed over the settlement issue in September, only three weeks after starting.

Some 500,000 Israelis live in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, occupied territories claimed by the Palestinians for a future state.

This week, the Palestinians directed their anger toward the United States after it vetoed a resolution before the UN Security Council condemning the settlements as “illegal.”

The US said it opposes settlements, but that peace talks are the only way to resolve such issues. The council’s 14 other members voted for the measure.

“The Americans have chosen to be alone in disrupting the internationally backed Palestinian efforts,” Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said.

Ahead of the vote, Fayyad visited the home with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, who commented: “This is an inhuman life they have.”

Sadat al-Ghirayib, 30, said his father built the house in 1978 on about 27 acres of family land, where he planted fruit trees. The Israel army soon confiscated part of the land, he said.

The settlement of Givon HaHadasha was founded in the early 1980s. Al-Ghirayib said the army confiscated more land as the settlement spread. Today, it is home to some 1,100 Jewish settlers, some of their homes no more than two dozen steps from the al-Ghirayib home. Just a handful of trees remain.
In 2005, the army built a section of its West Bank separation barrier near the settlement. Israel says the barrier keeps out attackers. Palestinians say it steals land by cutting deep into the West Bank in some places.

The home was the only one in the village of about 700 people on the settlement side of the barrier.

Al-Ghirayib, who works in a local metal shop, said he and his family tried to stop the construction crews and the army detained them. When they were released, the cage was in place, he said. Security cameras at the heavy metal gate at the end of the passageway monitor all who come and go.

He said army officers have recently threatened to shut the gate, saying village children come in to throw stones at the settlement.

“They have cameras. If they see kids throwing stones, they can come shoot them,” said his 74-year-old father, Sabri. “Am I supposed to guard the gate?”

The Israeli army did not comment on whether the land was confiscated, how the fence was built or if there are plans to close the gate.

In a statement, it said the Israeli Supreme Court was examining the issue of the family’s land and that the army had “invested” tens of thousands of dollars to make sure the family can leave the home without coordinating with the army.

The neighbors are very close. On a recent afternoon, Gary Bar Dov, 15, who lives in a third-floor apartment overlooking the house, walked by while children on the inside gripped the fence and watched.

“It’s very strange to live this way,” he said. “It’s strange, but you get used to it.”

Independent Palestinian state gains China’s support

leave a comment »

RIYADH (AFP) – China on Wednesday endorsed efforts to create an independent Palestinian state as Saudi Arabia hardened its accusations that Israel is preventing a settlement of the Middle East conflict .


China’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi speaks during a joint press conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saudi al-Faisal in Riyadh. China on Wednesday endorsed efforts to create an independent Palestinian state as Saudi Arabia hardened its accusations that Israel is preventing a settlement of the Middle East conflict.

“China will continue its support for the Palestinian effort to establish an independent state,” Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said on a visit to Riyadh .

Yang said at a news conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal that China supports the principles of a two-state solution under the Saudi-driven Arab Peace Initiative , which calls for an independent Palestinian state based on 1967 borders and with Jerusalem as its capital.

Saud, meanwhile, stepped up the rhetoric over Israel’s refusal to freeze the construction of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and begin talks with the Palestinians.

“This is the longest conflict in modern times,” Saud said.

“The reason why this conflict is long is the refusal by Israel of all the attempts to end this conflict. Arab countries have done their job with the Arab Peace Initiative, which gives Israel security, and gives the Arab countries the restoration of their lands.

“But peace should be established by two sides, not just one side. If one side does not want peace, peace will not be achieved,” he said.

The comments came as both the US and Saudis have increased efforts to push the Palestinians and Israelis into final-status peace talks that would result in an independent Palestinian state.

Amid a sharp increase in regional diplomacy, White House National Security Adviser James Jones met Saudi King Abdullah late Tuesday on the first stop of a regional tour that will take him to Israel and the Palestinian territories .

US Middle East special envoy George Mitchell is also expected to visit soon.

The two sides remained at odds over the key issue of Israeli settlements .

The Palestinians and their Arab backers — with Saudi Arabia one of the most important — insist that peace talks cannot resume until Israel freezes the construction of Jewish settlements in the West bank and East Jerusalem.

Israel and the United States say talks should proceed with no preconditions.

Written by rohitkumarsviews

January 18, 2010 at 8:03 am

Catholic bishops criticize Israel on Palestinians

leave a comment »

By BEN HUBBARD, Associated Press Writer Ben Hubbard

JERUSALEM – A high-level delegation of Roman Catholic bishops criticized Israeli polices in Arab sectors of Jerusalem on Thursday and called for more contacts between ordinary Israelis and Palestinians.


Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal talks to a reporter after a press conference concerning the release of the final communique of the 10th Holy Land Coordination in Jerusalem’s Old City, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010. A high-level delegation of North American and European Catholic bishops has criticized Israeli polices in east Jerusalem and called for greater contact between ordinary Israelis and Palestinians. Concluding their annual Holy Land visit, the group issued a statement saying that violence, insecurity, home demolitions, the route of Israel’s West Bank separation barrier and other policies ‘threaten both a two-state solution and the Christian presence.’ (AP Photo/ Tara Todras-Whitehill)

The group of eight bishops from North America and Europe said violence, insecurity, the route of Israel’s West Bank separation barrier, home demolitions and other policies threaten peace prospects and endanger the dwindling Christian presence in the Holy Land.

The issue of Jerusalem – home to holy sites for Jews, Christians and Muslims – remains the most flammable in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Palestinians claim the city’s eastern sector as the capital of their future state. Israel, which captured east Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war, insists the city will never be divided.

In a statement issued at the end of their annual visit, the bishops called for the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

“For us, this is not merely about politics; it is an issue of basic human rights,” the statement said.

During their visit, the bishops visited Christian institutions in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, talked with Palestinians about their lives and listened to presentations from Israeli and Palestinian experts. It was unclear if they met with ordinary Jewish Israelis.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev disputed the group’s criticisms of Israel’s east Jerusalem policies.

“Only since reuniting Jerusalem in 1967 have the holy places of all faiths been protected under law and freedom of religion has prevailed,” he said.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, the bishops spoke of watching Palestinian children cross Israeli checkpoints to return from school and the humiliation Palestinians say they feel at such places. Israel says the crossings are necessary to prevent attacks.

Bishop Gerald Kicanas, vice president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the human rights situation for Palestinians in the Holy Land has gotten worse during the 20 years that he has been visiting the region.

Kicanas, also the bishop of Tucson, Arizona, said Israeli and Palestinian youth lack opportunities to meet each other.

“Unless they find a way to engage one another, to meet one another as ordinary human beings, the situation will remain grave,” he said.

Written by rohitkumarsviews

January 18, 2010 at 7:56 am