- 2 juli 2010
Settlers torch hundreds of Nablus olive trees
Nablus – Ma'an – Residents of the illegal Yitzhar settlement set fire to more than 100 dunums of Palestinian lands near Urif village, southwest of Nablus on Wednesday afternoon, Palestinian officials said.
Local official in charge of the settlements file in the northern West Bank Ghasan Daghlas said the fire was set in the Jabal Marwes area, the hill separating the villages of URif and Asira Al-Qaliya, into which Yitzhar's "municipal area" extends.
"The settlers had set fire to the area, and it spread across a large swath of agricultural land," Daghlas said.
When Palestinians saw the fire, dozens rushed to put it out, Daghlas continued, but said hundreds of almond and olive trees were destroyed.
"Clashes broke out between the Palestinians and the settlers who had lit the fire," Daghas said, and Israeli forces used tear gas to disperse the fight.
The fields, village official Fawzi Shaehada said, belong to Mohammad Salamh A’mer As-Aafadi from Urif.
An Israeli military official said a fight broke out in a "disputed area" between what she estimated was 50 Palestinians and Yitzhar residents, where "mutual rock throwing" took place. She said Israeli border police dispersed the fight and noted no arrests.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=289105 23 nov 2010, 01:55 , Respect
Maria 3 juli 2010
Settlers attack Palestinian farm land in Yasuf
Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian farmers and residents on Thursday night near agricultural lands between the Yasuf and Iskaka villages in the northern West Bank district of Salfit, Palestinian Authority police said.
A report said clashes erupted as settlers opened fire at young village locals after they began throwing stones in response to the attack.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=296492 29 nov 2010, 10:44 , Respect
Maria East Jerusalem: 'They broke into the block like a swarm of ants'
(4:22) East Jerusalem: 'They broke into the block like a swarm of ants'
Thaer Qirresh is a 14-year-old Palestinian living in the Muslim quarter of the Old City in East Jerusalem. His family are the last Palestinian family left in the block after a settler organisation purchased the lease and moved in
1 dec 2010, 01:19 , Respect
Maria 5 juli 2010
A Special Place in Hell / As Bibi faces Obama, settlers try radical shifts in tactics
With the settlement movement caught between an unsympathetic White House and an Israeli public that is much more apathetic than supportive, how long can they depend on the Palestinians to keep them where they are?
Like many an Israeli who travels to the United States, on the eve of the prime minister's visit to Washington this week, Benjamin Netanyahu has been saddled with loads of baggage he does not want, courtesy of people who do not much like him, but who need a favor.
Netanyahu would surely prefer that his meeting with Barack Obama be about Iran policy. But the excess baggage will be there in the room: the settlement issues increasingly at the fulcrum of Obama administration Mideast peace policy, and consistently the primary point of friction between the White House and Israel.
To be sure, settler leaders are marking this week's Washington visit with sharp changes in tactics most of them directed against Netanyahu and a startling change in narrative.
The opening gun came at the weekend. The Yesha Council, the principal voice of the settlement movement, took out large ads in Israeli newspapers, showing a wan, bloated Netanyahu, and warning him against bowing to possible U.S. pressure to extend the settlement freeze he promised would end in September. The cost, the ads hinted ("We voted for you because you gave us your word"), could be his job.
The right's more radical quarters were more explicit. According to Army Radio, right-wing activists plan to put up large numbers of posters reading "Netanyahu is Bad for the Jews," as part of a campaign to thaw the freeze by setting up new, unauthorized settlement outposts.
The most intriguing element of the current pro-settlement campaign is a palette of talking points given a public try-out this week by Yesha settlers council CEO Naftali Bennet. What the points demonstrated, if nothing else, is that the Israeli public has either tired of, or has come to disagree with, the past arguments of the settlers. Time for something unexpected.
The first new tack presented the settlers as facilitators of the peace process and other diplomatic moves they have long and strongly opposed.
Playing on the Yesha newspaper campaign's emphasis on the word "milah," which literally means word but also can indicate a promise, as in word of honor, Bennet alluded to additional connotations, that of clout and authority.
"If this nation has no milah, what incentive does Abu Mazen have to make progress with it toward an accord? What incentive does Hamas have to move forward on the Shalit deal? What incentive does [Turkish Prime Minister] Erdogan have to lift the pressure?"
The second shift in message came when influential radio interviewer Razi Barkai pressed Bennet on the subject of diplomatic progress. How would a major Palestinian concession, for example, agreement to Netanyahu's condition to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, affect Bennet's views on settlement construction, Barkai asked. "Even then, for you, isn't a freeze on settlement construction still out of the question?"
Suddenly, the second jagged shift of narrative. "Certainly," Bennet replied. "Look, when we speak about Judea and Samaria [the West Bank], this is not just a sectoral interest of the settlers. Judea and Samaria is a belt of defense against refugees, millions of refugees, eight million refugees according to the Arabs, who would stream in from Arab countries.
"Certainly we have to stay there and stay there forever, not only stay there, but strengthen that wall, Israel's wall of defense."
And then, without so much as a taken breath, the third turn: portraying the settlers as Gazans, penned in, beset by hardship, unable to provide good lives for their little children.
"This is not the settlers' matter, although I can tell you that the situation on the ground today for 320,000 settlers is very tough. The state of Israel is today choking off their very lives.
"A person wants to send his kid to day care, but doesn't have anyplace to send him to, because there's no room."
"There's never been anything like this in Israel's history," Bennet said. "This freeze is an immoral act, and certainly not Zionist."
The abrupt shifts in emphasis effectively distanced the Yesha Council from its own campaign pressing Netanyahu to "Keep Your Word" and end the freeze in September. If the initial newspaper campaign fell flat, the reasons are not difficult to discern.
Bennet, who served for a time as Netanyahu's bureau chief when the Likud leader was head of the opposition, knows why as well as anyone: The public little expects Netanyahu to keep his word. In fact, the public expects even less honesty from the Yesha Council.
For more than four decades, the settlement movement has distinguished itself in bending, defying, ignoring, exploiting, autonomously redefining and retroactively manipulating the law, the judicial system, the civil government and the military of Israel. All Israelis know it. Many approve of it. Most suffer it in silence. But everyone knows it.
It is slowly dawning on the settlers that they have lost the support of the bulk of Israel's public, and that they never had the kind of support they believed they did. In the past, the spikes of support in their favor have come almost exclusively from Israeli reactions to Palestinian suicide bombings and rocket attacks on Israeli cities and towns. The profound political and diplomatic disarray of the Palestinian national movement over the last decade has also aided the settlers, by default.
At a time when Palestinian militants are largely silent, how long will the public continue to support the crushing cost of the settlements, the ever-expanding price to Israel's diplomatic standing, its military burdens, and the diversion of much needed resources to correct social-welfare burdens within the country?
Caught between an unsympathetic White House and an Israeli public which is much more apathetic than supportive, how long can the settlement movement depend on the Palestinians to keep them where they are?
1 dec 2010, 23:00 , Respect
Maria 6 juli 2010
Blind man says settlers stoned home
Hebron – Ma'an – A Hebron-area family said their home was attacked by settlers on Sunday evening, when their blind grandfather was at home alone.
Hasan Al-Matour, 65, from Sa’ir village north of Hebron said he heard stones being thrown at his house, and "knew that settlers accompanied by troops were there."
The family said that when they returned home, several window panes were broken.