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We provide links to articles we think will be of interest to our supporters, informing them of issues, events, debates and the wider context of the conflict. We are sympathetic to much of the content of what we post, but not to everything. The fact that something has been linked to here does not necessarily mean that we endorse the views expressed in it.

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Did you know?

Settlements Generate Virtually No Economic Activity
"A recent Israeli government report estimated there are…$250 million in annual exports — [only] 0.55 percent of the national total — from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, territories the international community generally considers illegally occupied."
Jodi Rodoren cited by Richard Silverstein, 22 Jan 2014

Daily acts of violence committed by Jewish Israeli citizens against West Bank Palestinians
"These incidents — now particularly heightened during the olive harvest season — are not the aberration from the norm, but a regular feature of life in the occupied West Bank. In 2012, over 7,500 Palestinian olive trees were destroyed. In the 5-year period between 2007 and 2011, there was a 315 percent increase in settler violence."
Mairav Zonszein, Israel Must Stop Settler Violence, 8 November 2013
Police impunity
After their own investigations establishing a prima facie violation, Btselem has lodged over 280 complaints of alleged police violence in the oPt since the start of the second Intifada: "we are aware of only 12 indictments" Btselem April 2013
Runners in the first ever Bethlehem Marathon were forced to run two laps of the same course on Sunday 21 April 2013, as Palestinians were unable to find a single stretch of free land that is 26 miles long in Area A, where the PA has both security and civil authority. See Marathon report
30th March, land day.
On 30 March 1976, thousands of Palestinians living as a minority in Israel mounted a general strike and organised protests against Israeli government plans to expropriate almost 15,000 acres of Palestinian land in the Galilee.The Israeli government, led by prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and defence minister Shimon Peres, sent in the army to break up the general strike. The Israeli army killed six unarmed Palestinians, wounded hundreds and arrested hundreds more, including political activists. All were citizens of Israel.
* Out of 103 investigations opened in 2012 into alleged offences committed by Israeli soldiers in the occupied territories, not a single indictment served to date
Yesh Din, 3 Feb 2013
* In total, out of an area of 1.6 million dunams in the Jordan Valley, Israel has seized 1.25 million − some 77.5 percent − where Palestinians are forbidden to enter.
Haaretz editorial, 4 Feb 2013


Israel should start by drawing its own final borders

For previous postings on the comparative analysis of Israeli and Palestinian textbooks see Fall-out from textbook study, Israeli textbooks also obliterate ‘the other’


Begin from the end

No point in asking PA to recognize Israel as Jewish state, remove inciting textbooks from schools

By Shimon Shiffer, Ynet Op-ed
February 13, 2013

Following the announcement of President Obama’s expected visit to Israel, we once again heard the usual proposals for the resumption of the negotiations with the Palestinians. Former senior American officials, the “usual suspects” Dennis Ross, Aaron Miller, Dan Kurtzer and Martin Indyk, bombarded us with suggestions for “trust-building measures” that have never advanced the sides toward an agreement: Israel has been asked to make gestures such as releasing prisoners, giving up lands and removing roadblocks, while the Palestinians were asked to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jews, fight terrorists and remove educational material that incites against Israelis from school curriculums.

In the US they say, “There’s no business like Shoah-business.” Well, the peace process also promises those who are involved in it a guaranteed income for life.

As someone who has been covering the “peace business” conducted between Israel and its neighbors for close to 30 years, I have reached two conclusions. Let’s begin with the former senior officials in Israel and America, who appear again and again with the same “merchandise” in an attempt to complete the negotiations with the Palestinians. These officials do not get tired of mentioning ideas that have been proven to be ineffective and do not believe they should leave the stage to others and work behind the scenes. They should have said: “We tried; we failed; now we will let others take our place.” But no.

Those who wish to succeed in the journey to end the conflict, which is filled with disappointments and pain in light of the thousands of victims on the Israeli side, should think outside the box, look at the reality and begin from the end. The next Israeli government must do something that previous governments avoided doing, and that is to decide on the permanent borders it seeks within the framework of an agreement with the Palestinians.

Netanyahu’s new coalition must propose a new outline for an agreement and decide what Israel can cede and what it will keep. There is no more room for ambiguity and demands that are mainly declarations that cannot be backed up. We do not need the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and there is no point in dealing with the textbooks used in the Palestinian Authority. Don’t deal with the other side; just determine the territory that will remain under Israeli sovereignty forever. In other words: Netanyahu, tell us what the government’s plan is and how you plan to preserve Israel’s democratic nature and separate the country from the Palestinian people.

The same goes for the Palestinian side. They too must begin from the end: Declare what the permanent borders of the Palestinian state are and explain how they see the conflict coming to a close. After we get an idea of how the conflict will end, we will ask the US to convene the leaders of both sides, and the only superpower that is accepted by both Israel and the Palestinians will fill in the gaps with content and guarantee that the agreement will be implemented in full. But not before each side declares what its final goal is. Otherwise, we will continue to fund “peace initiatives” and legions of peace wheelers and dealers who will continue to fly business class and meet in magnificent mansions around the world to draft hollow position papers.

These same globe-trotters will leave us in the field, bleeding, moving further away from what can be done today but will be impossible to implement a year from now.

Simon Shiffer is a ‘veteran commentator’ for Yedioth Ahronoth. Israel’s largest circulation paper in Israel.

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