Sunday, September 7, 2014

Palestinian land


By Jeffrey Heller

JERUSALEM, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Israel announced on Sunday a land appropriation in the occupied West Bank that an anti-settlement group termed the biggest in 30 years, drawing Palestinian condemnation and a U.S. rebuke.

Some 400 hectares (988 acres) in the Etzion Jewish settlement bloc near Bethlehem were declared "state land, on the instructions of the political echelon" by the military-run Civil Administration.

Edited time: June 28, 2013 12:43

Israeli settlers are up in arms about McDonald’s refusal to build an outlet in the West Bank, calling to boycott the company’s entire operations in Israel. The chain cited a policy of “staying out of occupied territories” with other businesses joining in.

McDonald's stated that its refusal to operate in the West Bank "had always been the restaurant chain's policy" and that its decision was not coordinated with McDonald’s headquarters in the US.

The co-owner of the new mall in the town of Ariel located in central West Bank admitted that some other international companies which were asked to open up businesses in the mall have also declined. He refused to specify which ones.

"The mediators told us that branches operating abroad and other companies holding rights in Israel for international brand names are worried about the potential negative response toward their businesses [from consumers] abroad if they open shops in the mall," Tzahi Nahmias told Calcalist newspaper.

In response Israeli settlers have called to boycott McDonald’s altogether. The right-wing ‘My Israel’ Facebook page posted a “McDonald’s: I’m not loving it” sign in protest.

Edited time: October 28, 2013 07:48
The Palestinian Authority is ramping up its diplomatic efforts against Israeli settlements in the territories it occupied in the 1967 war. It has called on 50 countries around the world to freeze business dealings and withdraw investments.

In letters to countries in Latin America and Europe, as well as to South Africa, Australia, Japan and South Korea, the Palestinian Authority asked governments to put pressure on local companies and discourage any relations with the Israeli settlements, Muhammad Shtayyeh, a senior Palestinian official, told the Financial Times.

The messages also requested that Israeli companies with connections to the settlements are barred from doing business in those countries. Citizens of those countries should be advised to abandon the settlements, because staying there is illegal, the Palestinian Authority said.

The campaign for an economic boycott was also given a boost by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during his trip to Europe.

"I call on European companies and foreign companies doing business in the settlements to put an end to their activities," he said following his meeting with European Council President Herman van Rompuy this week.

The campaign follows the EU’s decision in June to ban financial assistance to any Israeli organizations operating in the West Bank, East Jerusalem or the Golan Heights from 2014. The decision infuriated Israel and prevented the country from participating in the Horizon 2020 European scientific exchange program.

Also, in recent months, several individual members of the European Union, including the UK and the Netherlands, began to warn their companies against dealing with Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. This month Dutch infrastructure giant Royal HaskoningDHV announced the withdrawal from a wastewater treatment plant project in East Jerusalem, because the location is outside of the pre-1967 border of Israel.

There are currently more than 500,000 Israelis living in the settlements, which continue to be a point of bitter dispute with Palestinians. Many countries consider their existence unlawful and say they are a major stumbling block on the path toward a peaceful Middle East.

The government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been actively encouraging development of the controversial settlements in defiance of foreign criticism, which comes even from Israel’s long-time ally the US.

The end of any potential ‘two state solution’ to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel’s far right wing Likud government, headed by Binyamin Netanyahu, built or committed to build thousands of new family domiciles for Israeli squatters in Palestinian territory. In the absence of a Palestinian state, Palestinians are doomed to statelessness and a lack of basic human rights, living under Israeli military occupation. The only other possibility, given that they live on territory unilaterally annexed by Israel, is for them ultimately to gain Israeli citizenship. In the meantime, Israel’s treatment of the occupied Palestinians looks even worse than Apartheid or racial segregation and systematic discrimination in South Africa before 1990. Israeli Apartheid is likely to result in the country being sanctioned and boycotted by the international community.
Juan Cole

Jordan Valley settlers farm private Palestinian land while owners are barred from entering

Palestinian owners barred from Jordan Valley land while Israeli farmers profit
Haaretz 3 Jan -- Thai workers from the Israeli settlements are allowed across the border fence into the area, while the Palestinians are not; IDF spokesman also refuses to let Haaretz reporters tour the area -- Settlers in the Jordan Valley are farming more than 5,000 dunams (1,250 acres) of private Palestinian land located between the border fence and the actual border with Jordan. They received the land from the World Zionist Organization in the 1980s. The original owners, some of whom fled in 1967 and returned to the West Bank after the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords and the 1994 peace treaty with Jordan, are still not allowed to access the land because of a military order preventing them from entering the border area.
link to

SodaStream wants to clean up its reputation by spending millions of dollars for a 30-second ad during the Super Bowl on February 3, 2013.

SodaStream manufactures and distributes home carbonating devices and flavorings for soft drinks. Its products can be found in retail stores like Macy’s, Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, Costco, and others -- including those listed here. The company’s main production site is in the illegal West Bank settlement of the Mishor Edomin Industrial Zone, where the company conceals the fact that its products are manufactured in a settlement by using ‘Made in Israel’ labels. As an Israeli settlement manufacturer, it exploits Palestinian land, resources, and labor. 
Companies that produce in the settlements enjoy several structural advantages, such as tax incentives, lax enforcement of regulations, as well as additional governmental support. Despite SodaStream’s location in the West Bank, goods produced here do not serve the local population; instead, 65% of goods are shipped elsewhere and taxes and profits go to support the Israeli economy---not Palestinians. 
Click here to visit the excellent Global Exchange site about SodaStream.
Click here for a report on SodaStream.
Click here to see some of their arguments and counter-arguments.

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