Friday, April 02, 2010

The Settlement Issue

Dear All,
PIAG’s monthly dispatch for April, 2010 reports on the current impasse in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, and suggests how nonviolent direct action can address the deadlock.

The U.S. insists that Israel must halt the expansion of Jewish-only settlements on disputed lands in order for negotiations to begin. Here is a cool, interactive map that shows how settlements have expanded in and around Jerusalem:

Israel refused to stop expanding its settlements, and in fact, announced the building of even more at the very moment Vice President Joe Biden paid Israel a diplomatic visit. Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu then visited Washington and was deliberately snubbed by the White House.

Meanwhile, Meron Benvenisti, a “dovish” Israeli historian known for his study of Israeli building on land it captured in the 1967 war, made the startling pronouncement that Israeli settlements have “buried the two-state solution.” He is now advocating a bi-national state, an idea that Israel is very unlikely to accept.

In the US, a new Zogby poll has found that the majority of the public agrees that the settlements are wrong and should be stopped, and are “deeply concerned that the continuing Israeli-Palestinian conflict puts US interests at risk across the Middle East.”

What to do? Economic actions have a long, respected history of moving powerful governments from intransigence to productive negotiation. For many years, PIAG has been compiling a list of bold initiatives around the world to end the Israeli occupation. The report, entitled “Global Actions to End Israel's Occupation of Palestinian Land,” contains hundreds of actions taken by governments, businesses, labor unions, NGO's, academic and religious organizations, and other groups, and is now disseminated and updated regularly by the Interfaith Peace Initiative.

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