Israel will not evacuate more settlements, Netanyahu pledges

An aerial view of Israel’s largest settlement, Maale Adumim, March 12, 2008. (David Silverman/Getty Images)

An aerial view of Israel’s largest settlement, Maale Adumim, March 12, 2008. (David Silverman/Getty Images)

(JTA) – Israel will not evacuate any more settlements, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged.

“We are here to stay forever,” the prime minister said at an event in the northern West Bank settlement of Barkan commemorating the 50th anniversary of Israel’s settlement of the West Bank. “There will be no more uprooting of settlements in the land of Israel.” [Read more…]

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Israeli government defends law legalizing some settlements

JERUSALEM (JTA) – The Israeli government said a law that legalizes certain settlements built on Palestinian property is “a humane, proportional and reasonable response to the genuine distress of Israeli residents.”

On Monday, the state submitted a brief to the Supreme Court supporting what is known as the Regulation Law. A private attorney submitted the brief after the country’s attorney general told the court he was against the legislation and would not defend it. [Read more…]

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U.S. opposes UN ‘blacklist’ of companies that do business in Israeli settlements

(JTA) – The United States has called on the United Nations not to publish a database of companies that do business in Israeli settlements.

The database, which the administration calls a “blacklist,” was approved by the UN Human Rights Council in March 2016 and includes American companies such as Caterpillar, TripAdvisor, Priceline.com and Airbnb. The list is supposed to be updated annually. [Read more…]

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Israel breaks ground on first new settlement in decades

Construction beginning in the West Bank on the new Israeli settlement Amichai meant for the evacuees of the Amona outpost, June 20, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Construction beginning in the West Bank on the new Israeli settlement Amichai meant for the evacuees of the Amona outpost, June 20, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

(JTA) – Israel broke ground on a new West Bank settlement – its first in more than two decades – to house the evacuated residents of an illegal outpost.

Preliminary work began this week on Amichai, meaning “my nation lives,” for the residents of Amona, who were forced to leave in February. Some 100 housing units are planned. [Read more…]

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Abbas reportedly ready to suspend settlement freeze demand to restart peace talks

President Donald Trump shaking hands with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during a joint news conference in Bethlehem, in the West Bank, May 23, 2017. (Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

U.S. President Donald Trump shaking hands with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during a joint news conference in Bethlehem, in the West Bank, May 23, 2017. (Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

(JTA) – Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas is willing to suspend his demand that Israel freeze West Bank settlement construction as a condition for restarting peace talks, a top adviser said.

Abbas also is willing to mute his campaign to prosecute Israeli officials for war crimes and to single Israel out for condemnation at the United Nations, Mohammad Mustafa, a senior economic adviser to Abbas and a former PA deputy prime minister, told Bloomberg on Wednesday in an interview in Ramallah on Monday, that  was published on Thursday. [Read more…]

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Peace Now reports 34 per cent increase in new West Bank housing

(JTA) – Construction starts in the West Bank grew by a third in 2016 over the same period in the previous year, according to a new report.

Peace Now’s annual construction report, which was released Sunday, showed 1,814 new housing units began construction, an increase of 34 per cent over 2015. Among the new building, according to the report, 70 per cent was in settlements east of the proposed Geneva Initiative border, or settlements that are likely to be emptied in a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Over 26 per cent, or 474 housing units, of the new construction was in areas that are east of the route of the security barrier.  [Read more…]

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Israel reportedly postpones meeting to approve new settlement building until after Trump visit

JERUSALEM (JTA) – A settlement planning committee postponed a meeting to approve building projects until after U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to Israel following a request from the Prime Minister’s Office.

The Civil Administration’s High Planning Committee moved the meeting to June from this week, Haaretz reported, citing an unnamed senior government official. Trump is scheduled to visit Israel May 21-22. [Read more…]

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