First Published: 2009-09-08

 
Jewish extremists to battle construction freeze
 

Radical Jewish settlers certain that hardline Netanyahu will not permit half of illegal settlements.

 

Middle East Online

Jewish settlers are known for their violence, radical ideologies

NOKDIM, West Bank - Illegal Jewish Israeli settlers vow they will fight any partial freeze in construction of homes in the occupied Palestinian West Bank, a move they see as a cave-in by their government to American pressure.

The settlers adhere to radical ideologies and are extremely violent to almost-defenseless Palestinians.

All Jewish settlements are illegal under international law because they are built on Arab land (mainly Palestinian), illegally occupied by Israel.

Around illegal 200,000 Jewish settlers are estimated to have moved into the dozen or so Israeli settlements in Palestinian East Jerusalem.

There are about 300,000 more illegal Jewish settlers currently living in settlements the Palestinian West Bank.

"We will do whatever we can, democratically, to prevent a freeze that is nothing more than capitulation before (US President Barack) Obama," said Pinhas Wallerstein, a leader of the Yesha Council, the main settlers' lobby.

For now, the illegal settlers are holding protests, such as on Monday when several hundred gathered at a West Bank site near occupied Jerusalem, symbolically laying the concrete foundations of a new neighbourhood in the Maale Adumim settlement.

A few dozen kilometres (miles) away, a cloud of dust hung in the sky as heavy machinery tore up the earth to lay the foundations of several new homes in the settlement of Nokdim, near Bethlehem.

Israel's decision on Monday to authorise the building of 455 new illegal homes in the Palestinian territory ahead of any such moratorium was brushed aside by most radical settler leaders as not enough.

"It is an insult to our intelligence, we are very disappointed by this announcement," Wallerstein said.

The government announced last week that it would authorise a burst of new illegal settlement homes before agreeing to any halt in construction.

Washington has been pressing its key ally for months to stop all settlement activity in a bid to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that have been suspended since late December, when Israel bombarded besieged Gaza.

But hardline Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose right-leaning cabinet opposes such a move, has baulked at such a freeze.

The Israelis are currently negotiating with the Americans over a partial lull that would exclude Palestinian East Jerusalem and some 2,500 illegal housing units already under construction.

But for radical settler leaders, a partial freeze is unacceptable because it falls short of meeting the needs of the growing population of the illegal - often armed and dangerous - settlers in the West Bank.

"We have more demand than offers," said Tamar Castelnuovo, a real estate agent in the Tekoa settlement near Nokdim.

"Why should we stop construction?" she asked. "Americans have no right to tell Jews not to live in Judea, the cradle of the Jewish people," but the word 'live' really means control, or even stop the Palestinians - the original inhabitants of the land - from living there.

Israeli settlements in the West Bank are considered illegal by the international community, and the issue is one of the major obstacles to a Middle East peace deal.

Danny Dayan, the head of Yesha, is still not happy with the end of illegal setlement acticity in Gaza.

"We did this experiment in Gaza," he said in reference to the 2005 withdrawal of Israeli troops and settlers from the Palestinian territory, after Hamas gave the Israeli occupation too much of a headache via its resistance.

"The south of Israel became the target of rocket attacks," from the Gaza Strip," Dayan said, failing to mention that the Palestinian resistance is a response to Israeli occupation.

"To think it would be any different in Judea and Samaria is irrational," he added, using the biblical term for the Palestinian West Bank.

Many Jewish extremist think they have a 'God-given' right to take the Palestinian land.

Dov Levy-Neumand, 76, who has lived in Tekoa for a quarter of a century, remains unfazed.

"I don't believe the freeze announced by Netanyahu will happen," he said.

"It's rhetoric. Israelis will never accept a withdrawal from the West Bank after the failure of the (Gaza) disengagement."

Observers say as long as Israel's occupation continues - settlements or no settlements - Palestinians will always insist on their right to liberation, as guaranteed by international law.

Violent Jewish settlements are just one part of the brutal Israeli occupation, but it is not the only issue on the table.

 

Iraq PM arrives in Saudi to upgrade ties

UN ends Libya talks with no progress made

Tillerson does not expect Gulf crisis to be resolved soon

35 Egyptian police killed in Islamist ambush

Ancient Turkish town set to vanish forever under floodwaters

More than half of Austrians vote for anti-immigration party

Washington sees potential Hezbollah threat in the US

Cairo killing sparks security concerns among Copts

Morocco recalls Algeria envoy over 'hashish money' jibe

Ceremony marks 75 years since WWII Battle of El Alamein

Somalia attack death toll rises to 358

Long road ahead for families of jailed Morocco protesters

How Raqa recapture affects complex Syrian war

Israel hits Syrian artillery after Golan fire

Germany advances Israel submarine deal after corruption holdup

Bashir Gemayel's killer convicted, 35 years later

SDF hails 'historic victory' against IS in Raqa

Hamas delegation visits Iran

Turkish court orders release of teacher on hunger strike

Yemen rebel youth minister urges children to join war

Iran's Guards show no intention of curbing activities in Mideast

EU will cut some money for Turkey as ties sour

Iraqi workers return to oil fields retaken from Kurds

Kurdish disarray shows resurgence of Iraq's army

Iranian military chief visits frontline near Syria's Aleppo

Iraq army takes last Kurd-held area of Kirkuk province

Turkey issues arrest warrants for 110 people over Gulen links

Lebanon approves first budget since 2005

Moscow seeks to boost its influence in Kurdistan through oil

Hamas calls US unity comments ‘blatant interference’

OPEC chief pleased with oil market rebalancing

Turkish police detain leading civil society figure

G7, tech giants meet to tackle terror online

Iraq’s Kurdish regional government open to Baghdad talks

Tensions flare among Yemen's rebels

Baghdad court issues arrest warrant for Iraqi Kurd VP

Erdogan, Nigerian counterpart to ramp up cooperation

Russian medics operate on Yemen's Saleh despite embargo

Baghdad condemns oil deal between Russia’s Rosneft, Kurds

Power shifts again in Iraq's multi-ethnic Kirkuk

Syrian general accused of journalist deaths killed in Deir Ezzor

Raqa liberators ready for civilian handover, on to next battle

Revolutionary Guards say Iranian missile program will continue

Erdogan calls on three major mayors to resign

ICC investigating several war crimes in Mali