Wednesday, December 12, 2007

colonies grow/ les colonies s'etendent

(c) Anne Paq/
Expansion continue de la colonie de Har Homa/ Continuous expansion of Har Homa settlement.
12 Dec 2007.
Hier des photographies de la destruction d'une maison palestinienne dans la vieille ville de Jerusalem... aujourd'hui des photos de la construction de nouvelles habitations dans la colonie de Har Homa; pres de Bethleem. voila ce qui se passe sur le terrain.
Yesterday some photographs of the destruction of a Palestinian house in the Old city of some photographs of the construction of new housing in Har Homa settlement, near Bethlehem. this is what is happening on the ground.
Har Homa is not in Jerusalem - By J.R. Almoslino

Date: 11 / 12 / 2007 Time: 18:11 published in Maan news

Har Homa is not in Jerusalem.Israel announced a plan last week to build 307 new housing units in what most international media are calling "a Jewish neighborhood of East Jerusalem."Har Homa's white apartment blocs are draped on a hillside overlooking the city of Bethlehem, where I work. Like other West Bank settlements, it was erected on high ground, with the intention of intimidating the Palestinian population below. Spatially speaking, Har Homa is no more in Jerusalem than Bethehem itself is.The ongoing expansion of Har Homa has been evident to Palestinians in Bethlehem long before it aroused the "concern" of officials in Washington and Brussels. Every day the cranes swivel and the bulldozers move the earth, all in plain view on the adjacent hillside. New buildings seem to materialize before our eyes.In the lived reality of Bethlehem's residents, Har Homa is an eyesore, a sign of the weakness of the international system and of the collapse of past peace talks. It disfigures the landscape and serves as a perpetual representation of defeat. Har Homa's Israeli residents are a mystery. Physically they are our neighbors, but due to the segregation of Israelis and Palestinians, they might as well live on Neptune.Calling Har Homa a "Jewish neighborhood of East Jerusalem" gives the reader the sense that the settlement is somehow a natural, historic, and integral part of the city of Jerusalem. This is a fantasy.Har Homa was first constructed amid international outcry in 1997. It is built within the artificially-expanded municipal boundaries of Jerusalem. After Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem in June 1967, it enlarged these boundaries. Just two weeks after the end of the war, the borders of East Jerusalem bulged to ten times its pre-occupation size, so that they now abut the towns of Bethlehem to the south and Ramallah to the north.The United Nations recognizes East Jerusalem as occupied territory, and therefore rejects Israeli sovereignty over the area. In response to the expansion of Jerusalem's borders, the United Nations Security Council ruled the move "invalid" in resolution 252 of 1968.In July 1980 the Israeli government reaffirmed its de facto annexation of this area through the enactment of the Basic Law on Jerusalem. In August 1980 the Security Council, in Resolution 478, declared that "all legislative and administrative measures taken by Israel, the occupying power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and, in particular, the recent 'Basic Law' on Jerusalem, are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith."Official United States policy also does not recognize Israeli authority in East Jerusalem. In the 1991 Letter of Assurances to the Palestinians, part of the official record of the Madrid Peace Conference, the United States said, "We do not recognize Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem or the extension of its municipal boundaries."Israel's strategy, then, has been to use the construction of settlements to shape political space. The aim has always been to establish "facts on the ground" that would supplant and defy international norms of what is just and legal. Violence, not spatial reality, is what made the area known to Palestinians as Jebel Abu Ghneim, now Har Homa, "part of East Jerusalem."The violence of Israel's establishment and its subsequent conquests will have inevitably shaped any future Palestinian state. Replacing violence with justice is not possible under the present circumstances, but it is nonetheless important to insist on the illegality of settlements like Har Homa. Ultimately, in a possible two-state resolution to the conflict, it is the "mainstream" settler communities around Jerusalem that will become the most difficult. Israelis know that the militant outposts deep in the West Bank must be dismantled, but this understanding is not the case with the larger, more entrenched colonies along the western "seam zone."The use of concrete buildings, as much as the use of terminology, to shape the hegemonic conception of where Israel's boundaries in fact lie, is crucial here. If the 1967 borders, even in their arbitrariness, are to be the terms of reference, let us be relentless in our insistence on them.

w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m
Last update - 11:07 12/12/2007
From Annapolis to Har Homa

By Haaretz Editorial*
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice demanded explanations from her Israeli counterpart, Tzipi Livni, last week about the plan to build another 300 apartments in the Har Homa neighborhood of East Jerusalem. Rice did not make do with posing a question to Livni; she hastened to go public with the Bush Administration's objections to the plan. Administration spokespeople normally oppose any moves liable to damage Israeli-Palestinian final-status negotiations - namely, the settlements. But this time, Rice also expressed fear that the construction in Har Homa would disrupt the Annapolis process. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas claim to be racing toward George W. Bush's goal - concluding the negotiations and establishing a Palestinian state within a year - but the talks are still at the takeoff stage, and the presumption that the process is going quickly is threatening to crash into Har Homa. Israel has no good answer to the American objections. An internal matter? Har Homa is within Jerusalem's municipal boundaries and under Israeli sovereignty? A bureaucratic issue? An Israel Lands Administration tender whose turn had come to be published? These claims are ridiculous. No one in the world recognizes Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem. It is enough to examine the official maps published by the U.S. State Department and the CIA: Everything beyond the lines Israel held on June 4, 1967, is occupied territory. That is true for the Golan Heights, and it is true for the new neighborhoods Israel built in Jerusalem. Israel's unilateral steps are a game of make-believe that obligate nobody but itself - and especially not the world's greatest power, which is also the only country that gives Israel vital military and diplomatic assistance. Nor can Israel rely on Bush's April 2004 letter to former prime minister Ariel Sharon in which the U.S. president said the reality created by settlements in the territories must be taken into account. Bush's declaration was not a commitment to refrain from evacuating settlements, does not bind his successors and has even been demonstratively omitted from other diplomatic documents, including an almost identical letter he sent at the same time to King Abdullah of Jordan. In any case, anything that has happened in the three and a half years since then is surely not covered by the Bush declaration. It is no surprise that Israel's move has been interpreted as a provocation, or at best stupidity, coming as it does on the threshold of a fateful diplomatic breakthrough that Israel is ostensibly happy to participate in, not one it has been dragged to. The old tricks - like expanding the settlements' external boundaries, building new settlements under the guise of neighborhoods of existing settlements or, the most beloved excuse of all, "natural growth" - deceive nobody. They merely provide the Palestinians with ammunition for their propaganda, help Hamas to claim that Olmert is humiliating Abbas and push Bush and Rice into taking a stand against Israel. The Annapolis festivities have ended, and the test will be in the dull implementation. Thus far, not a single outpost has been evacuated, not the slightest diplomatic progress has been made, and Israel is retreating into the worst of all possible worlds - subject to terror attacks that the Palestinians are still not really trying to restrain, yet putting itself, with its own hands, on the diplomatic defensive. At this rate, and with this sagacity, the Annapolis conference will prove no more than a barren footnote.

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