More Settlement Drama, Final Preparations Underway for Conference
More Settlement Drama
The drama never ends when it comes to the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. This week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to evict the settlers of the Ulpana neighborhood in the Beit El settlement in accordance with a Supreme Court ruling last month. The New York Times saw this as a possible “glimmer of hope” for advancing peace talks with the Palestinians, but it quickly became clear that Netanyahu decision was not a diplomatic gesture at all. After legislation to legalize the outpost introduced by right-wing Knesset members failed, he mollified them by promising to continue building. On Wednesday he announced the government would build 850 new apartments in the West Bank, including 300 in Beit El. The international community denounced the decision.
Undeterred, the government went a step further on Thursday when it announced that 13 of the 18 outposts that current Israeli law deems illegal will be legalized. Settlers built the other five on private Palestinian property and the government will eventually evacuate them.
Settlers continue to stir up trouble by clashing with nearby Palestinians outside Yitzhar, a settlement close to Nablus that has many extremist residents. In the previous two weeks, Yitzhar residents shot two Palestinians while the IDF watched nearby. This week, the IDF stepped in to save a Palestinian man after settler youth shot him, tied him up and beat him.
Final Preparations Underway for 2012 Advocacy Conference
The CMEP staff and interns are working hard to ensure that the 2012 Advocacy Conference from June 18-19 provides valuable insight into the current realities of the Israeli and Palestinian conflict and prepares participants to effectively advocate for peace in the halls of Congress and their own communities.
On Monday June 18, participants will have the chance to learn about topics such as:
On Tuesday June 19, participants will come to Capitol Hill and visit the offices of their representatives and senators to lobby for a just and peaceful solution to the Israeli and Palestinian conflict. They will be asking their representatives and senators to support policies that promote peace including:
The UK’s Guardian marks the fifth anniversary of the Gaza blockade by doing a 12-hour live blog documenting the impact it has on the 1.7 million residents living in the coastal enclave.
Amnesty International documents human rights violations associated with Israel’s practice of administrative detention in their most recent publication “Starved of justice: Palestinians detained without trial by Israel.”
For the first time ever, a Palestinian athlete qualified for the Olympics based on merits and not just as a goodwill gesture. Maher Abu Ramila got the call from the IOC two weeks ago telling him his performance at a recent judo tournament earned him a spot in the Olympics. He says, “I view it as an achievement that I have reached the Olympics on my own merits, not as a sign of solidarity. Also, it is of course a good feeling to represent Palestine.”
The American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem published its May newsletter detailing the great projects they are supporting, such as a summer camp for children in Ramallah. It also includes a calendar of events and a recipe for a tasty Palestinian dish.
Formed in 1984, Churches for Middle East Peace is a coalition of 24 national Church denominations and organizations, including Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant traditions. It works to encourage U.S. government policies that actively promote a just, lasting and comprehensive resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, ensuring security, human rights and religious freedom for all people of the region.