Washington, DC: Following the postponement – and likely failure – of the Knesset inquiry into the activities of Israel’s human rights community, the New Israel Fund released this statement from CEO Daniel Sokatch:
I am very pleased by the news today that the Knesset has indefinitely postponed the vote on the motion to investigate and, ultimately, persecute if not also prosecute, Israeli human and civil rights organizations, whose work is critically important to any accountable democracy.
I hope that as political support for this anti-democratic legislation continues to erode, that this motion will be relegated to the trash heap as it so rightly deserves in a country whose people remain firmly committed to the values of freedom of expression, rule of law and justice upon which Israel was founded. …
Now for the bad news (from Ir Amim):
The trends that Ir Amim warned about in the previous newsletter continue to multiply on the ground in East Jerusalem, especially the Israeli building plans beyond the Green Line. To learn more about these trends, you’re invited to read Ir Amim’s special report. In this report, Ir Amim summarizes the grave shift in Israeli policies in East Jerusalem in the last quarter of 2010. This shift appears against the backdrop of long-term neglect of East Jerusalem by the Israeli authorities. The High Court expressed this neglect in its discussion on the education system in East Jerusalem this past month. While the recently published al-Jazeera papers indicate that the two sides achieved significant progress on all aspects regarding a future resolution in Jerusalem, the rapid Israelization of Palestinian East Jerusalem, as discussed in this month’s newsletter, is liable to prevent the realization of any sustainable resolution.
Israeli Construction Continues in East Jerusalem
Continuing the trend evident since September 2010, planning authorities in Jerusalem continue to vigorously promote Israeli construction plans in East Jerusalem. Last month about three hundred new housing units in East Jerusalem for the Israeli public were approved, including in Ramot and Pisgat Ze’ev, and also in the seam line between the neighborhoods of Umm – Lison and Sur Bahr. In addition, the local committee approved the construction of 13 housing units in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, one of the main areas of settlement activity that seeks to Judaize the neighborhood by evacuating a significant number of Palestinian families.
High Court Criticizes Education in East Jerusalem
On February 6, 2011, the High Court ruled that the Ministry of Education and the Jerusalem Municipality has five years to absorb all the students from East Jerusalem within the public school system, otherwise they will have cover the tuition fees of the children who are obliged to attend private schools due to a the classroom shortage. Click for additional reading.