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Posts Tagged ‘settlement

If all these countries oppose Israel settlements, then settlement never abate?

EU, Turkey condemn Israeli settlement plans in West Bank

Israel’s settlements undermine viability of a two-state solution and the possibility of lasting peace, states say.

Houses under construction are seen in a Jewish settlement near Jerusalem known to Israelis as Har Homa and to Palestinians as Jabal Abu Ghneim [Baz Ratner/Reuters]
Houses under construction are seen in a Jewish settlement near Jerusalem known to Israelis as Har Homa and to Palestinians as Jabal Abu Ghneim [Baz Ratner/Reuters]

The European UnionUnited KingdomFrance and Turkey have condemned Israel’s latest approval to expand illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

On December 25 and 26, Israel’s Higher Planning Committee approved the construction of 2,191 housing units in Israeli settlements.

The EU stressed that Israel’s decision undermines the viability of the two-state solution and the possibility of lasting peace in a written statement on Thursday.

“The European Union’s position on Israeli settlement construction and related activities is clear and remains unchanged: all settlement activity is illegal under international law,” the statement reads.

France on Thursday condemned the move and called on the Israeli administration to reconsider the decision which “heightens tensions”.

“The settlements endanger the two-state solution, which is the only solution that would allow for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The UK said the recent decision is “unacceptable and disappointing” and urged Israel to cease such actions.

“Such actions are illegal under international law and call into question Israel’s commitment to any future peace agreement with the Palestinians,” Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt said.

196 illegal settlements

Early on Friday Turkey’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement rejecting Israel’s “illegal decision” saying that it “carelessly continues to violate international law, especially the relevant United Nations resolutions and the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

Israel’s settlements in the West Bank are a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, according to the UN, which forbids states from transferring their citizens to occupied land, as well as a presumptive war crime under the 1998 Statute of Rome that set up the International Criminal Court.

Israel’s Planning Committee approved the nearly 2,200 new housing units a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced early elections for April 2019.

Israel ‘moving rapidly’ towards annexation: UN envoy

Plans for 82 new homes in the Ofra settlement near Ramallah – where a shooting attack occurred earlier this month – have also reportedly received the green light.

According to Palestinian figures, roughly 640,000 Jewish settlers now live on 196 settlements (built with the Israeli government’s approval and funded by the US funds) and more than 200 settler outposts (built without its approval) across the occupied West Bank.

The vast majority of the international community considers the West Bank and East Jerusalem as “occupied territories” and consider Israeli settlement-building activity there to be illegal.

The Israeli-Palestinian peace process collapsed in mid-2014 due to Israel’s continued refusal to halt West Bank settlement building and accept pre-1967 borders as a basis for a two-state solution.

While Israel’s settlement projects have regularly drawn condemnation from Palestinians and in Europe, the US administration under President Donald Trump has taken a largely uncritical public stand.

According to Michael Lynk, the UN special rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, Israel has refused to comply with more than 40 UN Security Council resolutions and about 100 General Assembly resolutions.

MORE ON PALESTINE

Nine brands you can start boycotting

Boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) are big news in 2014.

If Scarlett Johansson’s Sodastream fiasco didn’t grab your attention, perhaps the American Studies Association’s boycott of Israeli universities did, or Netanyahu’s increasing talk of million-dollar PR campaigns, legal offensives and diplomacy efforts to counter the BDS threat.

Opinion pages are filled with debate.

John Kerry has warned Israel that it could be facing a delegitimization campaign “on steroids” and voices from all sides are speculating that a boycott movement against Israel could be about to break into the mainstream.

But what would that actually mean in supermarkets and shopping baskets?

The BDS campaign covers all Israeli products: It’s a broad tactic aimed to pressure the state itself to change. But it also reserves a special focus for companies that are actually involved in — and make hefty profits from — occupation policies.

These organizations may be forced to pay attention to the boycott very soon — and they may not be the ones you’d expect.

1. Sodastream

Via: AP

Thanks to Scarlett Johansson’s recent adventure in international politics, most of us now know about Sodastream’s role in perpetuating the occupation of the West Bank.

The fizzy drinks makers are produced in Ma’ale Adumim, one of the many illegal Israeli settlements that cuts through Palestinian land, seizing resources and making the development of an independent Palestinian economy look impossible.

“The Israeli army forcefully expelled 200 Palestinian families from their homes to make space for the construction of Maale Adumim,” says Rafeef Ziadah, a spokesperson for the BDS National Committee. “Recently, it announced a plan to expel another 2,300 Palestinians to make way for the settlement’s growth.”

2. Jaffa Oranges

Via: AP

Brands like Carmel Agrexco and Mehadrin, which export the famous Jaffa brand of oranges, make big profits from farming on Palestine’s land.

Many of the companies’ fruits and vegetables — which include avocados, sweet potatoes and pomegranates — are grown and packaged in the Jordan Valley in the West Bank, where 94% of land is under direct Israeli control.

As well as violating international law, commercial farming in the area deprives Palestinians of agriculturally-rich farmland and seriously limits access to water, which local people are often forced to buy by the tank at vastly inflated prices.

3. Ahava

Via: AP

Ahava means love in Hebrew, but the story behind is unromantic.

The company’s major factory — and its plush visitors’ centre — is based in Mitzpe Shalem, a settlement in the occupied West Bank that also owns 37% of the brand.

The location gives Ahava privileged access to the minerals and mud of the Dead Sea, which form the big-selling ingredient in their face masks, body scrubs and moisturisers.

The company makes about $150 million a year from the sale of these miraculous products while Palestinians continue to be effectively barred from utilising the resources of the Dead Sea.

4. Golan Heights Wine

Via: AP

According to its website, this winery is located in Israel’s prime location for world-class vineyards.

However, that place is the Golan Heights: occupied territory seized from Syria in the War of 1967. Then, most of the 140,000 Syrians that lived in the Golan were displaced and have not been allowed to return, and today the area is home to some 20,000 settlers.

Although the Golan Heights Winery is one of Israel’s biggest exporters, it’s far from the only producer of settlement wine.

The Carmel, Tshibi and Barkan wineries all own vineyards in the Golan Heights, while Teperberg 1870 and Binyamina operate in the West Bank.

5. Victoria’s Secret

Via: AP

Victoria’s Secret is targeted by BDS campaigners because of where the brand sources its fabrics.

America’s largest brand of lingerie gets its textiles from Delta Galil Industries, a company with a warehouse in the Barkan Industrial Zone, an Israeli settlement in the West Bank.

It also runs stores in Ma’aleh Adumim and Pisgat Ze’ev — both in occupied territories.

Settlements like these destroy the contiguity of a future Palestinian state and are widely considered to be the biggest obstacle to the success of the peace process.

Victoria’s Secret, however, is not the only company to buy its materials from the settlement industry: Delta Galil also supplies to companies like Walmart, Calvin Klein, Nike and Columbia, among others.

6. Sabra Hummus

Via: AP

Food appropriation is a big deal in the Middle East, where the adoption of falafel and hummus as Israel’s national snacks is a point of contention for Palestinians.

Sabra, however, is a BDS target for other reasons: The USA’s top hummus manufacturer is owned by Strauss Group, an Israeli company with strong ties to the IDF.

The corporation has “adopted” the Golani Brigade, an “elite unit” of the Israeli Army with a reputation for bad behavior that ranges “from revolts against commanders to abuse of Palestinians,” according to Haaretz.

Golani troops were on the front line in Operation Cast Lead, the 2008-9 assault on Gaza which killed some 1,400 Palestinians.

Strauss, apparently, provided the lunches, exclaiming on its website that it provides “food products” for missions and “personal care packages for each soldier.”

After U.S. BDS groups targeted Sabra in 2010, Strauss removed the wording from its Corporate Social Responsibility pages. But it has said nothing of withdrawing its support for IDF troops.

7. Medjool Dates

These super-sweet dates are a Palestinian staple, traditionally eaten to break the Ramadan fast.

But today, over half the global harvest of medjool dates is produced by Israel, often on settlements in Palestinian land and especially in the Jordan Valley.

There, illegal labor practices have been recorded on a significant scale.

In 2008, 7,000 Palestinian children were found to be working on settlement date farms. What’s more, the provenance of settlement dates is often concealed with a “produced in Israel” label — Hadiklaim, one of the biggest settlement producers, markets its products under the brand names Jordan River, Jordan River Bio-Tops and King Solomon.

8. Eden Springs Water

Much of Eden Springs’ bottled water — which is widely marketed to universities, local authorities and other institutions — comes from the Salukia spring in the Golan Heights.

Israel’s occupation of the Golan has been condemned by the U.N., and, as Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem reminds us, international law only gives occupiers a limited right to use the water resources of occupied territory.

Despite that, settlers in the Golan can use as much as 17 times more water per capita than the area’s other inhabitants — a state of affairs that is not helped by the commercial exploitation of springs.

9. Hewlett Packard

Hewlett Packard’s slogan is a predictably Silicon Valley coinage: “If you’re going to do something, make it matter.”

For Palestinians, however, some of the things HP does matter more than others. The firm owns EDS Israel, which supplies the computer systems of the Israeli Ministry of Defense and produces hi-tech equipment like the Basel System, a biometric permit system that controls the movement of Palestinian workers through checkpoints in Gaza and the West Bank.

HP equipment is used by Israeli prisons and the army, and the company has also invested in the technological development of illegal settlements, taking part in the Smart City project in Ariel.

Bethan Parry

Bethan is a writer and editor currently based in Palestine and Israel. She’s written for a range of publications in the US, UK and Middle East, was previously a staff writer for The Day, where she wrote analysis on everything from fiscal policy …


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