|Israeli settlements continue to act as a convenient smokescreen to hide Palestinian intransigence|
After UN Vote, Israel Approves New Housing -Itamar Eichner
In response to the Palestinian move at the UN, Israel decided to approve the construction of an additional 3,000 housing units in Jerusalem and the West Bank. In addition, planning will be furthered for the E1 project connecting Ma'ale Adumim with Jerusalem.
Israel to Use Tax Funds to Pay PA's Electricity Bill -Omri Efraim
Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz stated that the tax payments collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority this month would be used to offset the Palestinian debt to the Israel Electric Corporation.
Steinitz added that the decision to further construction on the E1 segment was made "because it's time to connect Ma'ale Adumim with Jerusalem. It should have happened a long time ago. We made it clear to the Americans that if the Palestinians go to the UN, this will be our response."
The Palestine Mirage: UN Gesture Violates Oslo Accords -Editorial
In effect, the General Assembly voted to violate the 1993 Oslo Accords, which are the legal basis for Abbas' Palestinian Authority and require negotiations with Israel to create a state. Somebody needs to send Abbas the message that there's a price to be paid for flouting his agreements with Israel and ignoring the pleas of the Administration.
The tragedy of Thursday's vote is that it will only encourage Palestinians to remain in their make-believe world.
(Wall Street Journal)
Government Okayed Planning, Not Building -Herb Keinon
The Israeli government gave a green light to zoning and planning in the E1 area between Jerusalem and Ma'ale Adumim, but not to actual construction there,
Prime Minister Netanyahu clarified Sunday.
Netanyahu seemed to signal to the Palestinians that if they go further with the type of unilateral actions they took at the UN, Israel would indeed build in E1.
Netanyahu also said the 3,000 housing units authorized would be built in communities in the large settlement blocs, as well as in post-1967 neighborhoods in the capital, Jerusalem.
Ma'ale Adumim Mayor Hopeful -Tovah Lazaroff
Ma'ale Adumim Mayor Benny Kashriel was hopeful that after 18 years the Israeli government might be finally ready to authorize construction in an area of his West Bank city known as E1.
Former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin first promised Kashriel that he could build there in 1994, Kashriel said. E1 is located on state land and there are no Palestinian homes on it.
Kashriel added that it would become part of Israel in any final status agreement with the Palestinians.
The Logic of E1 -Editorial
Despite claims to the contrary, building in E1 would not necessarily undermine the contiguity of a future Palestinian state. An access road could easily allow Palestinian traffic from the south and north to pass east of Ma'ale Adumim.
Legal Implications of UN Resolution -Alan M. Dershowitz
The General Assembly vote declaring that Palestine, within the pre-1967 borders, is a "state" would have nasty legal implications if it were ever to be taken seriously by the international community. It would mean that Israel is illegally occupying the Western Wall (Judaism's holiest site), the Jewish Quarter of old Jerusalem (where Jews have lived for thousands of years), the access road to the Hebrew University and other areas necessary to the security of its citizens.
It would also mean that Security Council Resolution 242, whose purpose was to allow Israel to hold onto some of the territories captured during its defensive 1967 war, would be overruled by a General Assembly vote - something the UN Charter explicitly forbids. It would be the first time in history that a nation was required to return all land lawfully captured in a defensive war.
Israel Refuses to Rescind Settlement Decision -Herb Keinon
One government official slammed what he said was Europe's disproportionate response. The official asked where the EU's outrage was when PA President Mahmoud Abbas praised Hamas' launching of rockets on Israeli civilian targets, or when he accused Israel of tunneling under the Temple Mount to destroy the Aksa Mosque or when he denied any Jewish connection to Jerusalem. The source described Israel's move as a "proportionate and measured" response to Abbas' support of Hamas rockets on Israel, the UN move, and his hate-filled speech in the UN.
Sources: U.S. Behind European Protest Measures -Attila Somfalvi
The U.S. was behind the summoning of Israeli ambassadors by several European nations over settlement construction, Israeli sources said Monday. "The European move is essentially an American move," one official said. "The Brits asked the Americans how to act."
Israeli Settlements' Legal Basis -Alan Baker
The oft-used term "occupied Palestinian territories" has no basis whatsoever in law or fact. The territories are neither occupied nor are they Palestinian. No legal determination has ever been made as to their sovereignty, and by agreement between Israel and the PLO, they are no more than "disputed" pending a negotiated solution, with both sides claiming rights to the territory. Israel has nevertheless committed itself to negotiate the fate of the area with the Palestinians.
As long as settlements do not violate local Palestinian private property rights, and as long as the issue of the fate of the areas remains a negotiating issue, there is no legal basis for preventing continued settlement, pending the outcome of the final status negotiations.
The writer, legal adviser to the Israeli Foreign Ministry from 1996 to 2004, participated in the negotiation and drafting of agreements and peace treaties with Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the Palestinians.