Wednesday, December 27, 2006

 

More objective evidence of Israeli malfeasance

In an article which describes Palestinian rocket attacks on Israelis and a new building announcement which may or may not go against the Israeli committment in the "road map"; which do you lead with?

If you guessed along the lines of "if it bleeds, it leads" and said "rocket fire", then you are unaware of the oft-used "Israeli exception" and not a Wshington Post editor.

The headline tells you which way the Post is going here: Despite Pledge, Israel Approves New Settlement

“Israel has approved a new settlement in the West Bank to house former Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip, officials said Tuesday, breaking a promise to the United States to halt home construction in the Palestinian territories.”

This is just a small AP article on the matter but the night before, they were a little more verbose about the announcement, posting another AP article: Israel Settlement Breaks Promise to U.S.

Not a lot of details as to just how the settlement “breaks” the promise but I’m curious as to U.S. reaction. The AP reports one U.S. reaction:

“"The U.S. view on settlements remains unchanged," said Geoff Anisman, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv. "The U.S. continues to urge both sides to meet their road map obligations and to avoid taking steps that could be viewed as predetermining the outcome of final status negotiations."

Meanwhile, later in the article, we learn that:

"...despite a truce, militants in Gaza launched seven rockets into Israel, hitting a street in the town of Sderot and seriously wounding two 13-year-old boys, Israeli officials said. The radical Islamic Jihad group asserted responsibility for the attacks."

More U.S. reaction?

“A spokeswoman for the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, which deals with the West Bank, said a new settlement would be troubling. "We're looking into it, and if turns out to be a new settlement, we would be very concerned, given Israel's obligations under the road map," said Micaela Schweitzer-Bluhm, the spokeswoman.” Israel approves new West Bank settlement - International Herald Tribune

…so despite AP’s pronouncement that this is a breach of a promise, the promisee hasn’t yet so declared. Perhaps because Israel may have a perfectly reasonable explanation:

An Israeli official, however, insisted that the settlement was not "new," but rather a revival of a settlement approved in 1981 that, by the mid-1990s, had become a school for training people before they entered the army.

“The defense minister, Amir Peretz, the dovish head of the Labor Party, gave his approval to a promise made by his predecessor — Shaul Mofaz, then of Likud and now of Kadima and the current transport minister — that houses would be built on the site of an army base in the northern Jordan Valley. The houses would be used to resettle Israelis who were forced to leave settlements in the Gaza Strip in 2005, according to a Defense Ministry official.” IHT

Remarkably those are from the International Herald Tribune, which is a NY Times publication. But don’t worry; the Tribune quickly goes about making sure we all know who is to blame out there. It liberally quotes the reliable Israeli critics at Peace Now:

This is a veritable scandal, all the more so that this decision was taken by Amir Peretz," himself a former activist with Peace Now, Oppenheimer said. What may begin with 30 houses could easily become more due to "thickening," Peace Now said.”

…and it makes assertions apparently believing they are self-evident:

“Much of the world considers all Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be illegal under international law; the United States, which used to call them illegal, now calls them "obstacles to peace." The outposts are illegal under Israeli law because the government has not authorized them.”

Seriously, that is unattributed 'hard journalism' within - this in an article critical because the government is, in fact, authorizing a settlements.

Jimmy Carter could not be reached for comment.

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