From the July 8 Meretz USA e-newsletter
Until I read this morning’s Israeli newspapers, I thought I was going to use this platform to discuss the flotilla and the fly-in protest. After all, these two related campaigns have dominated the Israel-Palestine conversation for several weeks. It’s what everyone’s talking about.
But as I clicked through to the various articles in today’s Haaretz, I was disturbed to discover that, with all eyes glued to the Audacity of Hope, the Juliano Mer and the other flotilla vessels, Israel’s government was busy promoting some rather dreadful measures that too few are paying to attention to. So rather than write the thousand and first treatment of the Gaza situation (important issue though it is), I decided instead to discuss land expropriation, the ‘boycott bill’, and an initiative to undermine the funding of Israeli human rights organizations.
Let’s start with land. Although Chaim Levinson’s report on the issue is rather dry, his opening paragraph says it all: “For the first time in three years, [Israel] has confiscated uncultivated land in the West Bank. The land will be used to legalize a nearby settlement outpost.” The outpost in question, we learn, is “HaYovel”, which, according to Shalom Achshav’s Settlement Watch database, is a mile away from the nearest ‘authorized’ settlement, Eli. Eli, by the way, is well southeast of Ariel, and far, far away from the settlement bloc area that many feel should eventually be incorporated into Israel as part of a swap of territory with the Palestinians.
So let me see if I have this right: At a time when Prime Minister Netanyahu insists he is interested in getting the Palestinians back to the bargaining table so that Israel can make a “generous” offer on territory (according to his speech to Congress), his government is deepening Israel’s hold on occupied areas that it supposedly has no desire to retain. Interesting.
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