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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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Action Alerts


The BEDOUIN

We have posted more than 30 articles on The Bedouin of the Naqab/Negev over the last three years

See the JfJfP briefing note on Bedouin Palestinians of the Naqab and download our 2013 leaflet on the Prawer plan
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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
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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
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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
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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.
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* 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
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* 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
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Posts

Can Kerry focus on Palestine/Israel talks?

News reports from AFP, Reuters, Ha’aretz, Al Arabiya

John Kerry and Mahmoud Abbas in relaxed mood last May; it’s Israel he needs to put the pressure on – if he has the mind for it during his European visit to drum up support for a US strike against Syria. Photo by Khalil Mazraawi, AFP/ Getty images

Kerry to meet Abbas Monday in London: US

By AFP
September 05, 2013

US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in London on Monday to discuss the direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians, US officials said Thursday.

Kerry, who has met with Abbas numerous times over the past five months, will next see him at the end of a September 6-9 trip that will also take him to Lithuania and France, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

In London, Kerry will discuss with Abbas “a range of issues including the ongoing, direct, final status negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians,” Psaki told reporters.

Direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians resumed on July 29, after Kerry shuttled between Jerusalem, the West Bank and Amman for several months seeking to end a three-year stalemate in the negotiations.

The two sides have since met three times in August and in early September in Jerusalem.

In line with Kerry’s desire to keep the details of the negotiations secret in order to give the process a chance to work, little has leaked about the talks. But Palestinian officials have complained about the lack of direct US involvement, even though Kerry has appointed veteran diplomat Martin Indyk to act as the US go-between to the talks.

Ahead of the first bilateral meetings in Jerusalem on August 14, Israel announced plans to build more than 2,000 Jewish settler homes on Palestinian territory, in a move that angered Palestinian negotiators.

One senior Palestinian official said Wednesday that the talks have so far proved “futile.”

“Until now there has been no progress,” the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Yasser Abed Rabbo told Voice of Palestine radio, after several weeks of meetings between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators.

“Despite our decision to take part in talks, we’re now seeing what we expected — that there is little hope for their progress, in fact that hope is non-existent and negotiations are futile,” he said.

Kerry will also meet with Arab League officials in Paris to update them on the state of the talks, Psaki said.

Another State Department official, who asked not to be named, said Kerry would also meet soon with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but no date had yet been set.

In Vilnius, Kerry will meet with senior Lithuanian government officials to discuss a range of issues, including regional cooperation, and energy diversification.

He will also meet with the EU foreign ministers in informal session, at which the crisis in Syria is likely to top the agenda. Kerry will travel to France on Saturday before heading to London on Monday.



The building of 1000 new units to make the Jewish settlement of Har Homa in east Jerusalem. Spending on new infrastructure to service the settlement has been approved by the Jerusalem municipal council and a Knesset committee. Photo by AFP/Getty Images

Peace talks with Israel going nowhere: senior Palestinian

By Ali Sawafta, Nidal al-Mughrabi, Ari Rabinovitch, Crispian Balmer, Reuters
September 04, 2013

RAMALLAH – Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians are proving pointless and will not bear fruit without much greater pressure from Washington, a top aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Wednesday.

In the most damning Palestinian assessment to date, Yasser Abed Rabbo said that the negotiations, which kicked off in late July after a three year hiatus, had made no progress.

“These negotiations are futile and won’t lead to any results,” Abed Rabbo told Voice of Palestine radio.

“I don’t expect any progress at all unless there is huge and powerful American pressure, such as the one we are seeing from America to deal with the Syrian issue,” added Abed Rabbo, one of just two officials authorized by Abbas to discuss the talks.

An Israeli official in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office declined to comment on the remarks, saying the two sides had agreed that only the United States should speak about the talks. “We are abiding by that agreement,” the official said.

The U.S. State Department said on Sunday that Israeli and Palestinian delegations had been meeting continuously since direct talks resumed on July 29, adding that a U.S. envoy had taken part in one of the encounters.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has given the two sides nine months to work out their differences, with meetings going on in both Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.

Little information has leaked about the focus of the initial talks, but Abed Rabbo said continued Israeli settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem on land the Palestinians want for their future state, had undermined the negotiations.

“Israel did not commit to stopping settlements and we see the continuation of the settlement policy as destroying any possible chance of (a deal),” he said.

Israel announced tenders for, or advanced the planning process on about 3,100 housing units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem last month. It brushed off Palestinian anger, saying the homes were destined for well-established settlements that it expected to keep as part of any final accord.

In a message marking the Jewish New Year, Netanyahu said on Wednesday that he wanted “real and enduring peace … not an agreement that we celebrate for two minutes and then collapses”.

“This must be anchored on recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and on our security. This is what ultimately is needed.”

Both Netanyahu and Abbas are due to meet Kerry separately in Europe in the coming week to discuss the negotiations.


Palestinian official: Israeli proposal for provisional borders unacceptable

Dozens of West Bank settlements and military bases would remain intact in Israeli proposal; Palestinians say Israel’s security demands would take away 40 percent of West Bank lands; No comment from Israel.

By Barak Ravid and Associated Press, Ha’aretz
September 05, 2013

The Prime Minister’s Office has remained silent in the face of a deluge of Palestinian leaks that reportedly outline Israel’s positions in the six rounds of talks held over the last month. According to a report by the Associated Press, Israel suggested the establishment of a Palestinian State with temporary borders, covering 60% of the West Bank. “We have no comment on this,” said sources at the Prime Minister’s bureau.

When talks were launched in Washington at the end of July, both sides committed to not leaking reports on the contents or even the dates of their meetings. According to the agreement made with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, only the American side would disclose any details relating to the negotiations.

The bureaus of the Prime Minister and of Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is the cabinet Minister responsible for the negotiations, have cast a veil of secrecy over the talks. The Israeli side refuses to divulge even the smallest technical details relating to the talks, both before and after each meeting.

In contrast, the last 24 hours have seen at least four reports on details of the talks, coming from senior Palestinian officials, both unnamed and named.

Israel has proposed leaving intact dozens of Jewish settlements and military bases in the West Bank as part of a package to establish a Palestinian state in provisional borders, a Palestinian official told The Associated Press on Wednesday.


Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary of the PLO’s Executive Council, left and Nabil Shaath, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, both deeply pessimistic about the talks. Photo by Mati Milstein / EPA

The Palestinian team said such a proposal is unacceptable. “We said ‘Let’s agree on a state based on the 1967 borders first, and then we can agree on having this state in phases.”

The Palestinian official said formal talks on borders have not yet started, and that negotiations have focused on security matters. He said the Israelis want to retain control of the West Bank’s border with Jordan, keep early-warning stations on hilltops, and retain military bases near the Jordanian border.

“Israel is using the issue of security to take land,” he said. “From the general discussions we had in the last couple of weeks, the Israelis have shown no intention to dismantle any settlement.” He said the current proposals indicated that Israel would seek to retain control over about 40 percent of the West Bank.

Another senior Palestinian official told the Chinese news agency Xinhua that Israel is unwilling to discuss anything except security arrangements. According to him, Israel presented 17 points that include its security demands. He added that in the course of the talks, a dispute broke out over the refusal of the Palestinians to accept any Israeli military presence within the Palestinian state.

In parallel to the two unnamed sources, two senior Palestinians openly referred to the talks. Yasser Abed Rabbo, the secretary of the PLO’s Executive Council, told the Palestinian radio station “Voice of Palestine” that the talks have been fruitless, with no progress made so far. According to him, nothing will be achieved without American pressure on Israel.

Nabil Shaath, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, also sounded pessimistic in an interview with the Palestinian news agency Ma’an. He said that the talks so far have only dealt with procedural issues and the topics to be discussed in further talks. “All that’s happened for a month and a half is that Israel has presented the topics it wishes to discuss.” According to Shaath, Israel wants to start the negotiations from scratch, without any reference to previous negotiations with former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Israel also insists on maintaining control over the Jordan River and on Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, according to Shaath.


Israel offers to leave settlements, military bases intact in West Bank

By Al Arabiya
September 05, 2013

Israel has proposed leaving intact dozens of Jewish settlements and military bases in the West Bank as part of a package to establish a Palestinian state in provisional borders, a Palestinian official told The Associated Press on Wednesday, in the first detailed glimpse at recently re-launched peace talks.

The official said the proposal is unacceptable to the Palestinians, underscoring the tough road ahead as the sides try to reach an agreement ending decades of conflict.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because Israel and the Palestinians have pledged to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry not to discuss the content of their talks with the media – a pledge that has largely held up until now.

For their future state, the Palestinians seek the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war.

With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposed to a return to the pre-1967 lines, the idea of a Palestinian state in temporary borders has gained appeal with the Israelis.

Such a deal could give the Palestinians independence, while leaving the thorniest issues, such as the fate of Jerusalem and the status of millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants, to later negotiations. The Palestinians reject any notion of a provisional agreement, fearing that a temporary arrangement that falls short of their dreams will become permanent.

Talks resumed in late July after a nearly five-year break stemming largely from Israeli settlement construction. The Palestinians have objected to Israeli construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. The Palestinians say these settlements, now home to more than 500,000 Israelis, make it increasingly difficult to partition the land between two people.

After months of U.S. mediation, the Palestinians agreed to resume talks. Although Israel did not pledge to freeze settlement construction, U.S. officials have said they expect both sides to avoid provocative moves. Negotiators have been quietly meeting once or twice a week for the past month or so.

The Palestinian official said formal talks on borders have not yet started, and that negotiations have focused on security matters. He said the Israelis want to retain control of the West Bank’s border with Jordan, keep early-warning stations on hilltops, and retain military bases near the Jordanian border.

“Israel is using the issue of security to take land,” he said. “From the general discussions we had in the last couple of weeks, the Israelis have shown no intention to dismantle any settlement.” He said the current proposals indicated that Israel would seek to retain control over about 40 percent of the West Bank.

“They said, ‘Let’s discuss a state with provisional borders.’ We said, ‘Let’s agree on a state based on the 1967 borders first, and then we can agree on having this state in phases.”

In the previous round of talks, conducted in 2008 under then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Israel offered to withdraw from roughly 94 percent of the West Bank, and compensate the Palestinians with the equivalent of 6 percent through a “land swap” that would allow Israel to keep major settlements. Olmert also proposed international administration of Jerusalem’s holy sites.

The official said the Palestinians have proposed resuming peace talks from the point they broke off. Netanyahu has said he is not obligated to accept Olmert’s proposals.

A senior Israeli official refused comment on the Israeli proposal, citing the commitment to keep the talks secret.

“It was agreed between the sides that all public discussion about the negotiations would be through the Americans,” the Israeli official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media about the issue.

Netanyahu’s office declined comment, citing the pledge not to discuss the negotiations in public. Likewise, there was no immediate U.S. comment.

In a statement released for the Jewish new year holiday that began Wednesday evening, Netanyahu said he hoped the talks would succeed.

“We seek to advance peace with the Palestinians while maintaining our security and ensuring that the peace will be a real and enduring peace. Not a ceremony, not an agreement that we celebrate for two minutes and then collapse,” the statement said. “We want a real, genuine and enduring peace and this must be anchored in recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and in our security. This is what ultimately is needed.”

Yasser Abed Rabbo, a top aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, would not discuss the specifics of the talks. But speaking on the Voice of Palestine radio station, he said, “Until now, there are no signs of progress. The Israeli position has not changed. It’s the one that we know on the ground, through daily settlement expansion.”

He urged the U.S. to put pressure on Israel. Otherwise, he said, “there will be no progress.”

Earlier Wednesday, Israeli police arrested seven Palestinians after clashes between stone-throwing demonstrators and Israeli security forces in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the clashes erupted when about 300 Palestinians tried to block a group of visitors from reaching a sensitive hilltop compound revered by both Jews and Muslims. He says masked demonstrators began to throw stones, prompting security forces to move in.

He says some demonstrators sought refuge inside the nearby Al Aqsa Mosque. Police did not enter the mosque, and no one was injured.

The compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, is the holiest site in Judaism. Known to Muslims as the “Noble Sanctuary,” it is Islam’s third-holiest site.

Rosenfeld said security has been heightened for the Jewish New Year holiday.

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