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Radical Settler Terrorism

Radical Settler Terrorism

In a week which marks the return to school for Israeli children, three 12-13 year olds stood accused in an Israeli courtroom, their pixellated faces appearing on the front of this morning’s national papers. Their crime, the firebombing of a Palestinian taxi in the West Bank – an incident that left six Palestinians injured. Their friends joined them in the court, interrupting proceedings with signs of support shouting “Be strong,” and “We’ll blow them apart.”

This attack is the latest in growing trend of violent attacks by radical Israeli settlers on Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Today I catched a podcast from the Council on Foreign Relations titled, “Radical Settler Terrorism”, which ties in with an article published in this month’s Foreign Affairs by Daniel Byman and Natan Sachs, “The Rise of Settler Terrorism: The West Bank’s Others Violent Extremist” – both worth the listen/read.

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Posted by on August 27, 2012 in The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

 

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Banging Your Head Against ‘The Wall’

Banging Your Head Against ‘The Wall’

This Wednesday morning I found myself on the Palestinian side of the Qalandiya check-point staring out across a section of Israeli-West Bank separation barrier. I know relatively very little of the Palestinian West Bank but I am sure that there are few places as bleak and depressing – especially on an uncharacteristically dark, grey and cold winter’s afternoon. It’s at moments like this where you can’t help but feel disheartened that all attempts to change the status quo and the occupation have been seemingly futile and ineffective. Where to go from here…?

Thankfully the rest of the day in nearby Ramallah was more uplifting as we spent the morning finalising the work plan of a € 220,000 Palestinian business project (improving export capacities) with PalTrade, the Palestinian Trade Center. It might not change the situation much, but at least it’s something…

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Maps of the West Bank and Jerusalem

For someone who has an endless fascination of maps, Israel offers some quite mind-boggling complex examples. Take  this map below which arrived in my inbox this morning – the latest map on the West Bank compiled by Israeli NGO, Peace Now.

The map highlights construction in the settlements and outposts and shows that there has been a considerable increase in new construction in the settlements over the last year. These new projects must be stopped if we are to have a two-state solution. (Peace Now)

 

The division of the land into a myriad of brown and blue/white areas  – indicating Palestinian and Israeli controlled territories respectively – goes a long way of showing how intractable the peace process has become over the years. It’s hard to imagine how a viable Palestinian state could redrawn from such a map…

Having only travelled a handful of times in the West Bank (mainly to and from the Dead Sea, Jericho or Ramallah) it’s impossible for me to grasp the realities of living in a territory divided and jumbled up in such a manner. And those times I have, holding a British passport I don’t have to worry about being denied entry at Israeli checkpoints and can cross freely into Palestinian controlled territories – something which Israel bars its citizens from doing (on security reasons).

And then the map of Jerusalem (see below) where coloured lines run through and around Jerusalem demarking the varied ways in which Jerusalem has been, is and could be divided. Of course on the ground these lines are nowhere to be seen and it’s hard to tell if where you are standing is part of internationally recognised West Jerusalem, East Jerusalem, the latest the latest illegal suburb/settlement. It’s all a bit confusing. Case in point, The Hebrew University: geographically in East Jerusalem and once part of Jordanian-controlled Jerusalem (1949-67); now, however, an essential part of Jewish Jerusalem but still technically located on the ‘wrong’ side of the pre-1967 borders (i.e. the internationally unrecognised part of Israeli-controlled Jerusalem).

 
 

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