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Five big EU countries press Israel to delay settlement plans

Israel’s Civil Administration to go ahead with only 381 of intended 1,800 homes in West Bank settlements; Israeli officials: Technical problems, not EU pressure, led us to delay plans.

West Bank settlement construction

Following pressure by Western European diplomats, the Civil Administration decided on Wednesday to delay the recently announced plans to move forward on construction of 1,800 settlement homes.

The only plans approved by the Civil Administration’s High Planning Council concerned 381 housing units in Givat Ze’ev. Those involving construction in Ariel, Har Bracha, Alfei Menashe, Oranit and other settlements were put off, along with plans in the settlement outpost Al-Matan.

Planning council chairman Daniel Halimi said he received instructions for the delays shortly before the meeting, and a source who attended the session said, “Apparently the decision came from high up.”

On Tuesday, British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould and French Ambassador to Israel Patrick Maisonnave told National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen that their countries wanted Israel to hold off on advancing plans for the 1,800 settlement homes, which had been frozen for many months.

Gould and Maisonnave told Cohen that Germany, Italy and Spain would be conveying the same message, which the Italian and Spanish ambassadors did to the Foreign Ministry later that day, while German Ambassador Andreas Michaelis weighed in with Cohen early on Wednesday.

A senior European diplomat told Haaretz that the five ambassadors decided on the move after discussing their reaction to the Netanyahu government’s decision regarding the 1,800 homes, which was taken last week in response to the formation of the Fatah-Hamas unity government. In addition, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave Housing Minister Uri Ariel the green light to publish tenders for 1,500 new settlement homes.

Israeli officials: EU pressure not factor in change of plans

Senior Israeli officials involved in coordinating activities in the settlements played down the pressure, however, saying Thursday that only some of the plans up for discussion were postponed – due to technical reasons, they added, and not at the request of the European ambassadors.

“Most of the deliberations set for today’s original agenda were discussed, except for a plan that was removed at the request of the council and an additional plan that was postponed because of a publishing process that was not implemented as asked,” said the officials.

June 12, 2014 | 32 Comments »

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32 Comments / 32 Comments

  1. US expects “Loyalty” even when undermining its allies!!!!! What about the many gratuitous leaks from this administration at the expense of IL! Coming from an liar like Rice!

  2. Rice: US expects Israel to be loyal

    Obama’s national security aide says support for Israel is firm – but Israel must also back US on world stage

    The Obama Administration’s top national security adviser, Susan Rice, said Wednesday that while the United States will always stand by Israel, it expects Israeli support on the international stage, in return.

    “America will always maintain our iron-clad commitment to the security of Israel, ensuring that Israel maintains its qualitative military edge and can protect its territory and people,” Rice told participants of the annual Washington conference at the Center for a New American Security. “Equally, we consistently defend Israel’s legitimacy and security in the UN and other international fora.

    In turn, we expect Israel to stand and be counted with the US and other partners on core matters of international law and principle, such as Ukraine.”

  3. @ Ted Belman:

    Analysis: Where are the missing Israelis?

    Netanyahu’s failure to draw ‘red lines’ to minimize the cost of prisoner swaps may come at a high price

    As time goes by, the chances of finding the three missing Israeli yeshiva students — who were probably kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank on Thursday — grow slim. The efforts to trace them are now focusing on intelligence reports. Israel’s Security Agency (Shin Bet) and the military’s intelligence agency are utilizing all possible means to find the missing students, including human resources and agents as well as through the interception of communications.

    There are five possible scenarios for where the Israelis might be:

    They are alive.
    They are dead and buried.
    If they are alive, they may have been smuggled to a safe shelter in Gaza or even better (from the kidnappers’ perspective) to the Sinai Peninsula. Another possibility which has not been ruled out is that the kidnappers may have smuggled them to Jordan.
    They are in a safe house in the West Bank.
    They are somewhere else in the West Bank.

    Never before in the bloody history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were three Israelis kidnapped in a single terrorist attack. So far, all indicators point to a well-planned and professionally-executed operation. The kidnappers likely persuaded or forced the students who were hitchhiking to get into their car. This scenario is quite probable as past precedents have shown that previous kidnappers posed as Israelis, and these abductors probably spoke fluent Hebrew with no accent and wore typical Israeli clothes (maybe even typical of orthodox Jews).

    An unknown Salafist organization from Hebron took responsibility for the operation. But the announcement may well be just a decoy, a kind of disinformation created in order to conceal the true identity of those who are behind the attack. Therefore, it should be regarded with suspicion. The burnt car that was discovered in the vicinity could also just be a distraction.

    For now, the prime suspects are Hamas and the Islamic Jihad who have both in recent years attempted to launch kidnapping operations, which were all foiled. But the timing of this incident is bad for Hamas. Just a few weeks ago the militant group joined a national unity government led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Claiming responsibility for the kidnapping would greatly embarrass Abbas and the Palestinian Authority.

    Eventually, those who truly initiated and carried out the kidnappings will step out into the open by publishing a statement taking responsibility for the attack and presenting their demands.

    Israeli security sources are confident that the operation is aimed at bargaining with Israel to release Palestinian terrorists from Israeli jails. For the past 30 years, kidnapping soldiers and civilians has proven to be the most effective tool for Palestinians. Subsequent Israeli governments promised to never surrender to terrorism and caved in time after time, releasing thousands of terrorists in the process (many of them who had been serving life sentences for murder).

    Three years ago Israel was forced to free more than 1000 terrorists in exchange for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped near Gaza by Hamas. As a result of the public outcry that ensued regarding the heavy price paid by Israel, the government set up a special committee to come up with recommendations for similar scenarios in the future. In the end, the committee recommended that Israel draw “red lines” so as to minimize the cost of prisoner swaps: Israeli bodies would be exchanged for Palestinian bodies and not living terrorists, for each soldier kidnapped Israel would release just a handful of terrorists and not dozens.

    But Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s cabinet never adopted the recommendations out of fear that its negotiating power and maneuvering space would be limited in the future.

    It seems that the moment of truth has arrived. If the kidnapped students are alive and currently being held by terrorists and if a military rescue operation is not viable, Netanyahu will have to make a tough decision under pressure from families and the public to once again release hundreds of terrorists.

    Yossi Melman is an Israeli intelligence and security commentator and co-author of “Spies Against Armageddon, inside Israel’s secret wars.”

  4. Ted Belman Said:

    The Civil Administration is tasked with the job of managing relations. It is there to work things out, to remove problems and so on. Their role is not to punish Arabs. BB should never have asked for their opinion on how to punish.

    “punishment” is part of managing relations. Is removing jewish settlements and settlers part of managing relations and “working things out”. Asking ones subordinates for feedback, proposals and contingency plans is part of the normal process of management. I tend to agree that their reaction was political, unless they were misquoted. However, they may also have felt that they may be targeted by BB to become the patsy if they came up with punishments that he could than blame on them. They may not have trusted him and wanted to cover their backsides.
    Ted Belman Said:

    BB was in effect asking them to change gears. They had resistance to doing so as they would have to switch gears or put on a different hat. Hard for them to do.

    Is it switching gears to ask those who tear down jewish homes to instead tear down arab homes? that could have been a punishment to suggest which builds on their existing expertise in YS and Gaza. It’s not a big switch to remove arabs from their homes as they have done in Gaza and YS with Jews: There’s another suggestion that would not have been a big gear switch. it appears to me that they have no problem doling out punishment to Jews, only to arabs.

    As it is normal procedure to ask military subordinates to prepare contingency plans for various scenarios, I agree with Yamit that if they had political or moral compunctions they should immediately resign. This is also a normal procedure in private industry. I note that they seem to have no moral or political compunctions wrt Jews. Apparently the only distasteful gear switch is from punishing Jews to punishing arabs.

  5. Ted Belman Said:

    BB was in effect asking them to change gears.

    Apparently so!

    They had resistance to doing so as they would have to switch gears or put on a different hat. Hard for them to do.

    I don’t disagree but if that was the case they could have and should have resigned from the IDF.

    What’s the difference between asking soldiers to participate in removal of Jews from their homes and subsequent destruction of settlements by Jews who are ideologically opposed? Those same officers I’ll bet to a man or woman would not be as understanding. Any officer in the IDF who believes for any reason that they are unable to carry out lawful orders are required to resign their commissions. That’s the minimum.

  6. yamit82 Said:

    No DM since Begin who is responsible for appointments and promotions has been identified with the political right in Israel. None!!!

    Correction I forgot Moshe Arens was DM twice.

  7. @ yamit82:
    I didn’t comment on their duty to take orders. The government policy they have been dministering was to wrk things out. BB was in effect asking them to change gears. They had resistance to doing so as they would have to switch gears or put on a different hat. Hard for them to do.

  8. Ted Belman Said:

    BB should never have asked for their opinion on how to punish. Shows he was clutching at straws.

    Irrelevant they are senior officers in the IDF subject to lawful orders of their superiors and BB is their superior. It’s not their place to second guess the motivations or lawful orders and directives of their superiors.

    Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria

    The Civil Administration is part of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories disposition and constitutes the body responsible for implementation of government policy in Judea and Samaria and bettering these areas in civil matters in accordance with the guidelines set by the government and in coordination with ministries, the IDF and the security forces. As such, the Civil Administration is an integral part of IDF and Central Command operations on a routine and emergency basis.

    The main task of the Civil Administration is the civil and security coordination and liaison vis-à-vis the Palestinian entities. Within this framework the Civil Administration has regional representatives in various districts (regional coordination and liaison administrations).

    The Civil Administration also has authority over the population in Area “C” in matters relating to zoning, construction and infrastructure.

    In addition, the Civil Administration is responsible for liaison with the international community on issues relating to humanitarian aid and the promotion of various initiatives in Judea and Samaria.

    Almost to a man the cadre making up the Civil Admin are radical leftists, anti BB anti- Likud,anti-settlements and settlers and very pro Palestinian. Most are long time career officers who know the ladder of promotion is with the political left, no matter who is PM. No DM since Begin who is responsible for appointments and promotions has been identified with the political right in Israel. None!!!

  9. The Civil Administration is tasked with the job of managing relations. It is there to work things out, to remove problems and so on. Their role is not to punish Arabs. BB should never have asked for their opinion on how to punish. Shows he was clutching at straws.

  10. “I agree with you about our government minding its own business however.”

    Well, we agree on that point, Laura.

    Not too long ago PM Harper said such nice things in Israel. We were all proud of him, myself included. But weeks later there was an art exhibition in Ottawa which, basically, glorified and justified “Palestinian” terrorist atrocities. In Ottawa, right under PM Harper’s nose, and he did nothing about it. So, if you’re not going to do anything in your own country about antisemitism, don’t go to Israel and presume to empathize with the Jews there, as though you could even imagine what it’s like to be Jewish and living in a country become the most popular target worldwide for excoriation and slander and whipping-post canards against Jews merely because they’re Israeli Jews. Meanwhile the world is awash in the blood shed by the religious Muslim, and this atrocious reality doesn’t get half the condemnation.

    The Rolling Stones also support “the right of Jews to settle on their own land.” Christian fundamentalists are not unique in this regard. What makes their support peculiar however is that, unlike the Rolling Stones, they incubate a looking forward to a “return” of their noetically constructed “messiah” to modern Israel and his wresting control of the country from those Jews whom the same NT has in many places condemned to eternal damnation.

    Outside of these minor differences in our beliefs, we could probably survive sitting together for tea on any given day of the week, provided the weather is accommodating.

  11. M Devolin Said:

    “They should be told to mind their own damn business.”

    Likewise the American government and American fundamentalist Christians.

    I agree 100%

    I wonder how much support those wonderful christians would give if Israel finally and irrevocably banned all missionary activity in any form and jailed then deported all those breaking our laws? I concede there might be one or two, maybe!!! I consider them to be a Trojan Horse and they should be treated by us as such.

  12. Likud May be Preparing for General Elections
    Jewish press Report
    Some Likud party leaders claim have been given marching orders to begin preparing for general elections, according to a Makor Rishon report.

    The Likud party leaders claim the message came down directly from the Prime Minister’s office and that elections may be called in the coming months.

    The Prime Minister’s office, on their part, denies that elections are in the air, and that Netanyahu isn’t even considering the matter and no message was sent.

    There his been a lot of talk lately about Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party leaving the coalition, and the Haredi parties replacing them. Netanyahu had also previously threatened to fire Tzipi Livni if she met again with representatives from the Palestinian Unity government, which she did yesterday.

    The friction between Lapid and Livni against Netanyahu has only been escalating.

    Alternatively, Netanyahu may be using the hint of early elections as a weapon.

    Recent polls indicate that Livni’s HaTnua party will disappear completely or be subsumed by Labor, while Lapid’s Yesh Atid party will noticeably shrink. The threat of irrelevance may be enough reason to get the two of them back in line and stop disrupting the coalition.

  13. Netanyahu Links Hamas-Fatah Government to Missing Students
    Netanyahu speaks with Kerry, says yeshiva boys’ disappearance directly related to Hamas-Fatah unity.

    Possible Kidnapping

    IDF forces scanning Bethlehem and Hebron in search of the two teens Photo: Tazpit News Agency
    IDF forces scanning Bethlehem and Hebron in search of the two teens Photo: Tazpit News Agency

    The IDF has luanched an extensive hunt for the teens (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
    The IDF has luanched an extensive hunt for the teens (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

    IDF forces in the Bethlehem and Hebron in search of the two teens (Photo: Tazpit News Agency)
    IDF forces in the Bethlehem and Hebron in search of the two teens (Photo: Tazpit News Agency)

    Photo: Gil Yohanan
    Photo: Gil Yohanan

    Get Breaking News Alerts to Your Desktop

    Red email – send us news tips

    US citizen among missing teens in suspected West Bank kidnapping

  14. CuriousAmerican Said:

    But the government asked for an opinion; and did not give a direct order. If there be a problem it is with the government.

    This is not a polite civilized discourse it is a directive from the PM of Israel to his subordinates who as senior military officers must conform to the PM’s directives. It does not mean their suggestions will be acceptable but refusing to comply is Rank Insubordination and a form of rebellion to the constituted authority of the State. They can if their consciences will not allow RESIGN!!!

    I would have them fired, tried and shot. That’s my opinion and nobody hates BB more and has less respect for BB than I do.

  15. @ Laura:

    “They should be told to mind their own damn business.”

    “Likewise the American government and American fundamentalist Christians.”

    “American Evangelical Christians at least support Israel and the right of Jews to settle in their own land.”

    The remark you were responding to was just Michael’s not-so-subtle way of getting in another dig against CuriousAmerican (who had just posted a couple times, above) — without addressing him directly — and without acknowledging his own wish to silence him on this forum.

  16. American Evangelical Christians at least support Israel and the right of Jews to settle in their own land. I agree with you about our government minding its own business however.@ M Devolin:

  17. how pathetic that a prime minister of Israel never mentions the unbridled right of the Jews to build and settle in the land of Israel. BB has transformed a principled position into a haggling for price in a bazaar. He makes the jews look like thieves with his modus operandi. BB is definitely not leadership material for a state of the Jews.

  18. On Tuesday, British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould and French Ambassador to Israel Patrick Maisonnave told National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen ….

    This would be the perfect time to call ALL those ambassadors in and inform them that Israel expects them to follow through on their agreements and commitments to the Jewish people as established in all the relevant treaties and documents.
    That Israel expects them to cease obstructing the Jewish settlement which they committed in treaty to “encourage”. That Israel considers their reneging on agreements and their obstruction of settlements to indicate anti semitic double standards by assuming that agreements and commitments to the Jews can be ignored and disregarded.
    That furthermore their behavior is insulting to the Jewish people.
    That they must cease their libels and lies in calling Jewish settlement in the former mandate “illegal” or “illegitimate”.

    This would be the right time to set things right and speak the simple and obvious truths. However, I expect not one mention of the legality of Jewish settlement and the moral obligation of Israel and the internationals to fulfill their legal and moral obligations in this regard.

    A few honest, justifiable and obligatory words to these filthy ambassadors who continue to libel the jewish people is very little to ask of the leadership of the Jewish state.

  19. Steven678 Said:

    If true this demonstrates how Netanyahu misleads and manipulates, while allowing foreigners to control the Israeli government.

    this is how it usually looks to me with his repeated announcements when juxtaposed against the facts.
    I am not sure whether he is controlled by foreign govs or givng the appearance of being pressured as an expalantion for no follow through. The technical reason story sounds like pure BS. A person known to be consistently transparent and honest can be taken at his word, but with BB………there are serious questions.

  20. “They should be told to mind their own damn business.”

    Likewise the American government and American fundamentalist Christians.

  21. CuriousAmerican Said:

    No! It means the “only democracy in the Mideast” has a plurality of opinion. Not everyone is as determined as you would like.

    democracy implies transparency whereas BB’s behavior of announcing plans and then not following through has the odor of deception.

  22. @ Steven678:

    If true this demonstrates how Netanyahu misleads and manipulates, while allowing foreigners to control the Israeli government. If true this article demonstrates how Netanyahu actively participates in the loss of Israeli sovereignty and in the denial of Jewish land rights.

    No! It means the “only democracy in the Mideast” has a plurality of opinion. Not everyone is as determined as you would like.

    You might start by requiring that staffing for such agencies be determined by political views; but that usually runs against democratic practices.

    There is no doubt that if Israel were 100% as determined as you, Judea and Samaria would be settled.

    But Israelis are split. At least half of Israel is liberal. So you either educate them, or ignore democracy and act inspite of them.

  23. @ yamit82:

    Saw a report today where BB asked the West Bank Civil Authority (A Branch of the IDF and not civilian) to make alternative suggestions as to how the Government of Israel could demonstrate it’s displeasure with the Hamas Fatah unity agreement.

    They returned saying

    “they had no suggestions because they were unwilling to make any suggestion that would hurt the Arab Population”.

    Their response amounts to more than civil disobedience but Rank military insubordination to the Government of Israel, and they should all be court martialed and jailed with no accrued benefits. Their act is military rebellion and even treasonous.

    Look more like they were asked a suggestion. And the use of unwilling means they would prefer not to. It did not say they would disobey orders. Does not constitute defiance. If you feel such opinions are enough to get them dismissed, then press the issue.

    But the government asked for an opinion; and did not give a direct order. If there be a problem it is with the government.

    No everyone is as Zionist as you, Yamit. Ease up.

    Maybe the West Bank Civil Authority should be staffed with members who are more hard nosed. I suspect it is staffed with civil engineers.

    If they are asked for an opinion, you cannot fault them for giving it.

    The question you might ask is: Why did the government even ask for an opinion, and not give a direct order? Then you might have a legitimate complaint.

  24. If true this demonstrates how Netanyahu misleads and manipulates, while allowing foreigners to control the Israeli government. If true this article demonstrates how Netanyahu actively participates in the loss of Israeli sovereignty and in the denial of Jewish land rights.

  25. Report: Israel Won’t Build New Homes, After All
    After loudly announcing the construction as its response to the Hamas-Fatah deal, Israel is quietly rolling back the plan, a report said.

    I’m neither shocked or surprised.

    Saw a report today where BB asked the West Bank Civil Authority (A Branch of the IDF and not civilian) to make alternative suggestions as to how the Government of Israel could demonstrate it’s displeasure with the Hamas Fatah unity agreement.

    They returned saying “they had no suggestions because they were unwilling to make any suggestion that would hurt the Arab Population”.

    Their response amounts to more than civil disobedience but Rank military insubordination to the Government of Israel, and they should all be court martialed and jailed with no accrued benefits. Their act is military rebellion and even treasonous. Sadly they will all get away with it.

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    Ted Belman
    tbelman3- at- gmail.com

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