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JfJfP comments


2016:

06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics

2015:

23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

13 Sep: Rosh Hashanah greetings

21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

15 April: Letter re Ed Miliband and Israel

11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo

2014:

15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

3 Aug: Urgent disclaimer

19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014

2013:

29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

November: Press release, letter to the Times and advert in the Independent on the Prawer Plan

September: Briefing note and leaflet on the Prawer Plan

September: JfJfP/EJJP on the EU guidelines with regard to Israel

14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011

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Posts

Two JNews postings on East Jerusalem

jnews_short-logo

24 March 2010

Israel, the US and Jerusalem:
Challenging deep-seated assumptions

Hillary Clinton has firmed up US opposition to construction in Jewish neighbourhoods in occupied East Jerusalem

By JNews editorial

[And see the associated 26 March briefing:  Background Paper: Israeli policies in East Jerusalem]


The signs from Washington are clear: the US seeks to bring about a building freeze in all settlements, including those in East Jerusalem, before negotiations are renewed.

The international community, while formally opposing the illegal annexation of East Jerusalem and refusing to locate foreign embassies there, has generally stopped short of openly challenging this annexation.

At most, international leaders have reminded Israel that East Jerusalem is ‘occupied territory’ and warned of changes to the ‘status quo.’ These admonitions have usually come in the wake of the demolition of Palestinian homes, evictions and appropriation of property by settlers in the heart of Palestinian neighbourhoods near the Old City.

Now, as repeated by Hillary Clinton several times at her address to AIPAC Monday, it is the status quo itself that is seen to endanger the peace process.

Most Israelis do not regard the established Jewish neighbourhoods built in East Jerusalem after 1967 – such as French Hill, Gilo or Pisgat Ze’ev – as ‘settlements’ in the sense of the Jewish settlements in the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, although this is clearly their status under the laws of war and in the opinion of the international community. For Israelis, even many in the peace camp, they are seen as part of Israel, built “legally” by Jerusalem’s popular former mayor Teddy Kolleck, based on the annexation of the eastern part of the city and the subsequent application of Israeli law to it.

Similarly, even those Israelis who think that the settlements on the West Bank should be dismantled because they are provocative, illegal under international law and non-negotiable, consider challenging established settlements in Jerusalem as taboo.

The rules of this game have recently been challenged – by the Israeli government, which has accelerated the building of new Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem to unprecedented levels. More importantly, it now openly supports the more aggressive type of settlement in the heart of the Old City and adjacent Palestinian neighbourhoods. It is precisely this type of settlement that is viewed by many Israelis – and certainly by the international community – as provocative and dangerous.

In the past, such settlements were initiated by private groups; and Israeli governments kept a careful distance (albeit providing indirect support by funding their private security arrangements).

Now, Jerusalem’s hardline mayor Nir Barkat has come out in public support of these settlers, and his municipal administration has earmarked large tracts of lands around the Old City, ostensibly for development, but in fact in order to entrench Jewish control over access routes to the sacred sites.

According to Israeli watchdog Ir Amim, there are plans to build tens of thousands of new housing units in East Jerusalem in the Old City, in adjacent Palestinian neighbourhoods, and in newer Jewish neighbourhoods such as Ramat Shlomo, Giv’at HaMatos and Giv’at Yael.

This policy will deepen Israeli control over East Jerusalem and sever the city from the rest of the West Bank. It will seriously compromise any future negotiations by creating a situation that it will be almost impossible to reverse. The building is taking place as fast as possible before any real pressure is exerted on Israel to stop.

It is this situation that the US is referring to when speaking of the ‘status quo’ in the city, and it is exactly right in demanding a clear freeze in this process before new negotiations can begin. Any other approach will play into the hands of the ‘facts-on-the-ground’ factions, and lead to inevitable failure.

Paradoxically, the decision of Netanyahu’s government to blur the distinction between official governmental settlement policies and unofficial settlers’ activities may yet undermine the faith of the Israeli public in the distinction between the expansion of settlements on the West Bank and the continuation of construction in Jerusalem.

According to a poll held by Haaretz last week, Israeli public opinion could go either way. Almost half (48%) are willing to risk a rift with the US, and think Israel should keep building in the capital; close to this number (41%) think Israel should accept the American demand to stop building in Jerusalem until the end of any future negotiations.

The real question may already be whether the current situation is reversible – whether separation, even now, is possible in Jerusalem. One is reminded of the words of Edward Said, who believed, already in 1999: ‘…In the area between Ramallah to the north and Bethlehem to the south, eight hundred thousand Israelis and Palestinians live on top of each other and cannot be separated.’

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