Americans for Peace Now Benjamin Netanyahu Israel Israeli occupation Israeli settlements Jerusalem

Gilo construction part of larger settlement expansion plan

Netanyahu willfully engineered a confrontation with the U.S. over announced plans to build in the West Bank town of Gilo, according to Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now and Danny Seidemann of Ir Amin. They make a persuasive case that the plans were a deliberate provocation of the U.S., as Netanyahu had many other options if he wanted to show he was acting with restraint in East Jerusalem.

Whether or not a battle with Obama was what Bibi had in mind, Friedman and Seidemann also add something new to the conversation by pointing out the significance of the Gilo plan to the contours of Jerusalem. It turns out the planned construction of Gilo is part of a plan that includes an entirely NEW settlement:

The plan is being spun in the Israeli press as something simple and non-controversial – construction in one of the oldest Israelis settlements in East Jerusalem, one that many Israelis forget is technically a settlement at all.

This is, of course, just spin. The plan, if implemented, will allow the construction of 844 units, and these units won’t be inside the existing footprint of the settlement. Rather, they will be on the settlement’s southwestern flank, expanding Gilo in the direction of the Palestinian village of Wallajeh (a village in which a large number of the homes are fighting Israeli demolition orders). This new Gilo plan clearly dovetails with another plan to build a new settlement, called Givat Yael, which would straddle the Jerusalem border and significantly extend Israeli Jerusalem to the south, further sealing the city off from the Bethlehem area and the West Bank (and connecting it to the Etzion settlement bloc). That plan, it was reported yesterday, also appears to be suddenly gaining steam…

The Gilo plan…has important strategic implications, since the plan, [if] implemented, would impact on border options for Jerusalem under a future peace agreement.

35 thoughts on “Gilo construction part of larger settlement expansion plan

  1. It is an idiotically provocative measure.

    It is intended as a slap in the face of Obama, as Netanyahu during the previous week stated that they would permit existing construction in progress to be continued, but explicitly stated that there would be NO NEW settlement construction planned or begun.

    Netanayahu’s assertion though is that the land is within the already annexed portions of Jerusalem, which is apparently both untrue, and unilateral with NO COUNTRY on the planet (except Israel) accepting the annexation as valid.

  2. Good news, if true.

    No one here in Israel is losing sleep over the assertion that “no one in the world recognizes the annexation as valid”. For that matter, no one recognizes the annexation of WEST JERUSALEM which Ben-Gurion carried out in 1949. Jerusalem was supposed to be a “corpus separatum” according to the 1947 UN Partition Plan. That is why foreign embassies are not located there. I don’t see people losing sleep over that annexation, either.

    The “division” or “sharing” of Jerusalem means the DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM. Maybe some people on the Left look forward to that, thinking that will somehow knock out the religious community, once it is cut off from the Jewish holy places as was the case from 1948-1967. The rest of us won’t allow it.

  3. Here’s a (relatively) nonideological appeal. Whatever we think of Gilo’s legitimacy or lack thereof, can we at least agree not to call it a “West Bank town” or part of “East Jerusalem”? All Israelis consider it part of southern Jerusalem. You can look at a map.

    If you enjoy calling it a “settlement” and its residents “settlers” you can certainly continue doing so after acknowledging that it’s part of Jerusalem. Many Jerusalem neighborhoods are “settlements” in the 1967 sense: Gilo, French Hill, the Jewish Quarter, Ramot, etc. Many left-wing, Meretz, anti-settler types live in some of these neighborhoods and are therefore “settlers” themselves (I’ve known a few), though they’d probably reject that label. There’s no contradiction between being a “settler” and living in western or southern Jerusalem.

    Bringing in the ideology now, the question of whether the building would expand Gilo’s footprint as reported here is crucial. If it would, then that fact should be emphasized. Personally, I see nothing wrong with building inside Gilo’s existing boundaries, because Gilo will almost certainly stay under Israeli jurisdiction under any peaceful partition agreement. I don’t like the idea of Jewish Jerusalem expanding into “Arab territory”, though. I think a lot of other people look at it that way too.

  4. As I said, ONLY Israelis and some European Jews think of it as Southern Jerusalem.

    To ignore that international concensus is really to walk in peril of isolation.

    Its incremental, so in your day to day sense of what is natural, the rest of the world that peeks its head up every year or decade sees as unnatural and expropriative.

    The armistice lines that made West Jerusalem part of Israel were/are accepted as Israel. The 1967 lines aren’t.

    “The rest of us won’t allow it”.

    These are the mythic times. Or, these are the fantasy or mythic times, in gross violation of Torah.

  5. Mr Whitty, I hate to bother, but could you contact me for a word in private?

    Annexation is redundant. Jews have a legal right to live in the land mislabeled Palestine and no impartial court has ever ruled otherwise. The binding Mandate for Palestine ended, but the right to settle did not. This is now set in stone.

    Article 70: Consequences of the termination of a treaty
    1. Unless the treaty otherwise provides or the parties otherwise agree, the termination of a treaty under its provisions or in accordance with the present Convention:
    (a) releases the parties from any obligation further to perform the treaty;
    (b) does not affect any right, obligation or legal situation of the parties created through the execution of the treaty prior to its termination.

    My guess is that NO country on earth recognizes Israel’s rights because Israel has little to offer that can trump trouble free access to a strategic resource that would bring any country to its knees if the supply was cut. Case in point, Japan during the embargo. Not normally involved in the Middle East, Japan was declared hostile in November, after some begging on the carpet to find out what it could do to get the oil ramped back up, within days Japan threatened to change the relationship with Israel if it did not withdraw to the Auschwitz line, the oil was flowing again by Christmas and Israel had another public detractor that would not have been created without dependency on oil.,_The_United_States,_And_Oil

  6. (4th try with reductions)

    What I have to discuss does not concern Mr Fleshler or this blog, I only assumed, and guessed correctly I would find you here. My sincere apologies to the blog, but I could think of no other way to beg a moment of your time that is not for public discussion. This is the 4th attempt to explain this and post a link to my facebook page and my youtube page. Both forums have an anonymous means of communication if privacy is your concern. Perhaps the links were seen as spam by WordPress? Simply typing my name and facebook will link you to the proper site, assuming you have an account on either site. Thank you.

  7. BTW, I’m in Israel now, doing some work for Givat Haviva, among other activities. Might do a report while here (might not).

    Aaron (#3), you will note that I called Gilo a “West Bank town” and was careful not to use the word “settlement,” It is a settlement, technically, and so is French HIll. But you are correct that it is important to distinguish between areas that are clearly going to be part of Israel under any agreement and those that are open to question.

    The tricky one is Ariel. It is not inconceivable that this will not be part of the Jewish state, someday, somehow, so I would call it a settlement.

    Michael, I am sorry you are having so many prrblems but I don’t know what to suggest. Maybe you could “Friend” Richard on Facebook. His last name is “Witty” By the way, many moons ago, you commented on this blog that I had called you “immoral” during my speech at Book Beat in the Detroit area. It has subsequently been telecast on C-Span. If you view it, you will see that I called you no such thing. The only time I used the word “immoral” was to describe Hamas’ rocket fire into southern Israel.

  8. I’ve got no problem with folks on the Zionist left calling Gilo a settlement, any more than I have with anti-Zionists calling Tel Aviv a settlement. Obviously every side’s language is polemical. What puzzles me is the Zionist left’s objection (see Richard Witty’s post) to calling the settlement of Gilo a Jerusalem neighborhood, which is what it is, whether or not Israel’s jurisdiction is legitimate. You’re already referring to the Jewish Quarter and (presumably) French Hill as neighborhoods of Jerusalem which are also settlements, so why not Gilo? Or to put it the other way, if Gilo is a “West Bank town”, why not call French Hill a West Bank town too?

  9. Aaron-
    Why not go all the way and say that the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem and the Jewish presence at the Western Wall are also “illegal West Bank settlements” over the Green Line, according to the logic of the “peace camp”.

  10. YB-D: Because what puzzles me isn’t Richard’s calling Gilo a settlement, it’s his denial that Gilo is part of Jerusalem. I just took French Hill as an example because geographically it’s more similar to Gilo than the Jewish Quarter, which is in the heart of old Jerusalem. I’m not being sarcastic when I say that calling the Jewish Quarter a settlement is OK with me, just as calling Tel Aviv a settlement is OK with me. I think it’s reasonable to call both of those places “settlements”.

    Being a settlement and being part of Jerusalem aren’t mutually exclusive, so what’s the problem (for Richard Witty) with saying that Gilo, like French Hill and like the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, is a settlement which is part of Jerusalem? It’s not a big deal or anything, just puzzling.

    Dan Fleshler’s follow-up comment about Ariel is interesting. He would call it a settlement because it might not stay under Israeli jurisdiction. “Settlement” has lots of different meanings when applied to Israel, which is one reason I try to avoid the word, but I’ve never seen the probable future status used as a criterion. Everyone, Zionist as well as anti-Zionist, seems to agree that it’s the current legitimacy or lack thereof which determines whether a community is a settlement.

  11. Its a settlement because the legal status of East Jerusalem is asserted to be part of Palestine, the developments in Gilo are being leased to exclusively Jewish residents, and the intention of the annexation and construction is TO expropriate land through a legalist (but not legal) means as a state enterprise sold to unwitting Jewish individuals (not knowing that their leasehold or property rights are not perfected and therefore unsalable and potentially contested in a color-blind court).

    The basic law provision of equal due process under the law afforded to all residents, means something.

  12. Aargh! I already understand why Gilo is a settlement! I’m not arguing with that. What I don’t understand is, why won’t you guys describe Gilo as a settlement which is part of Jerusalem?

  13. Yonkers is contiguous to the Bronx (part of New York City). They are two separate cities, as is Gilo (a suburb).

    As Portchester, NY is contiguous to Greenwich, CT (in two separate states).

    Gilo is in annexed land, subject to the 1951 laws prohibiting return even to make land claims in court and to expropriate “abandoned” land.

    Please consider that the basis of the rationalization assumes that then annexation of 15 sq miles into East Jerusalem and surrounding areas, is legal or consented.

  14. Although not directly related to this thread, this piece from the New York Times is enligthening regarding the “peace process” and particularly Israel’s relationship with its “peace partner Egypt”.
    When reading this keep in mind that Egyptians and Algerians are brother Muslims and Arabs who love each other and feel fraternal friendship between them. Us Jews/Zionists, on the other hand, they DON’T like:

  15. It wasn’t even political.

    Consider the contempt that many Jews express (sometimes violently) against other Jews in Israel.

    How do you speak of and think of peace activists for example?

    Do you hate them in any way? Do you or your colleagues express hatred in any way?

  16. Richard-
    I see you are into the old “moral equivalency” like many of the ‘progressive’ bloggers have been since Ft Hood. As soon as a Muslim carries out another mass murder (and they occurr EVERY DAY in the Muslim world, carried out by people who claim to be acting in the name of Islam) the Jewish ‘progressives’ have to trot out “we are terrible people too”.

    Well, Richard, if we were like them there would be riots every day of different Jewish groups going at each other, there would be massive amounts of political violence. the state-controlled media would be telling everyone to go out and beat up Arabs or kill them, as the Egyptian media was more or less doing as was stated in the article…in other words, Israel would look like Egypt. Does it? Why do you think the Arab countries are falling further and further behind Israel and the West? Because of attitudes like those in the article…tribalism, cynical manipulation of the media, primitive emotions.
    How hard would it be for the government media in Egypt to start calling for outright war with Israel, as happened in 1967? If they can whip up hate for Algerians so easily, what about us, whom they DON’T like. You’re right, the rage they stirred up wasn’t political. So how hard is it to stir up hate for Jews , where it IS political? I think most civilized people who consider the Egyptian government’s behavior barbaric.

    I really can’t understand all you “progressives” who identify with our enemies on an almost knee-jerk reaction basis.

    If we really were the same or similar as the Muslim world, a Richard Witty would arise, say in Paris, among the million or so Muslims there and organize a mass demonstration saying “NO TO MUSLIM TERROR IN PAKISTAN, AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ -IT IS A PERVERSION OF ISLAM!!”. Do you see demonstration like this?

    Don’t you think it is rather odd, that if Major Hasan who so concerned about fighting other Muslims didn’t consider becoming a concientious objector and maybe even end up sitting in jail for his convictions? How is slaughtering his fellow soldiers whom he took an oath to help and protect help his cause and torn loyaties? But as I said, we see Muslims slaughtering fellow Muslims EVERY DAY, so you should not think it impossible that Hasan would do the same to people whom he considers non-jizya (dhimmi tax) paying dhimmis.

  17. Hasan did request that he not be sent to Afghanistan. It is partially his officers fault for ignoring his concerns (presuming that he was malingering or cowardly), and the lack of alternatives due to over-deployed forces.

    I think it is relevant to be wary of specific Muslims and influences.

    It is a REALITY though that there have been significant political assassinations of Jews by other Jews in Israel, and assassinations of non-Jews by Jews.

    And, I greatly wish that you would candidly convey your feelings, rather than hide about them.

    Do YOU express hatred or feel hatred of progressive Jews for example?

    I’ve met Muslims that express dissent against terror as means, so they certainly exist. I don’t know why there aren’t mass demonstrations about it.

    I don’t know why there aren’t mass demonstrations in Israel either expressing humane concerns about Palestinian life.

    It is a truth that Palestinians are suffering currently, in multiple ways that are primarily initiated by unnecessary Israeli policies, application of “law”, by legalistic (rather than legal) expropriation of land, and the suppression of Palestinian self-governance.

    If your claims about Palestinian behavior is influenced by the generalization that “Muslims can’t be trusted. They are by nature or culture, very violent.”, then that is a poster child of racism, generalization.

    Individuals and groups are responsible for their own behavior. When a Muslim person murders, that is not “Muslims murder”. When a political group undertakes violence as its means, that is not “Muslims ARE violent”, or “Arabs are violent”.

    One of my criticisms of your comments here, is that they have been negligently unspecific.

    When a Jew murdered Rabin, or Goldstein murdered Arabs at Machpelah, it wasn’t “Jews murder Arabs”, but more specific. There was a connection to their political and religious movements, hopefully misinterpretations of rabbis’ teachings.

    So, you could then accurately say “Kahanists murdered”.

    Emotions breed self-talk. You are not as cool-thinking as you profess.

  18. Richard-
    I’ll turn it around. Do you hate right-wingers? Do you hate settlers? Many of your “progressive” friends, among them MJ Rosenberg and Phil Weiss certainly do….they tell enough lies about them.

  19. The question was to you Yakov.

    Its easy to justify one’s own prejudices by siting the prejudices of others. The point to become a mensch, or even politically astute, is to look in the mirror.

    Its important to avoid self-talk.

    So, do you find yourself hating Arabs, when it is specific individuals or groups that are doing what you find objectionable, reasonably.

  20. I have no intention of answering such a question. I find it odd that someone like you who is subject to so much abuse at MONDOWEISS would attempt to carry out a witch-hunt here.

  21. I hear your comments containing generalizations about “THE” Arabs, and it sounds like self-talk.

    Again, my criticism of your comments is that they have been negligently unspecific.

    And again, I know that because I’ve met my Abrahamic 50, the first pass before God, not the subsequent negotiation.

    You stated that you adopted the Abrahamic covenant, but seem to reject the Abrahamic model of behavior and social role, in favor of a single characteristic of unverifiable promise of title to land.

  22. I don’t hate right-wingers. I think the rationalization for policies and behavior of expropriation are inhumane, irrational, contrary to Torah, fearful to the point of cowardice, incompetent.

    The contrasting humanity, rationality, conformance with Torah, courageous and competent approach would be to commit to form proposals and relationships that realize a fair and viable peace that results in two healthy states.

  23. “It is a REALITY though that there have been significant political assassinations of Jews by other Jews in Israel, and assassinations of non-Jews by Jews.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong–but I believe these can be counted on one hand?

    As for Nidal Hasan…I strongly believe the army, like the nation at large, is suffering IN PART from political correctness.

    Interestingly, it’s Muslim soldiers in the US army who have been the most sound and upfront this time around.

  24. And, its always been initiated by the Kahanists, who declare that it is ok to kill a Jew to protect their interpretation of Torah (which includes rationalization for abandoning the commandments, in favor of the “occupy the land” commandments given only to Joshua, not permanance).

  25. Richard,
    The first political assassination in the modern Yishuv occurred in 1924. It was carried out on the orders of the Labor Zionist establishment against a Haredi rival.

    A book recently came out by Haggai Segal about his uncle, who was associated with the ETZEL who was murdered by HAGANAH people. There has been plenty of political violence carried out by the Left against the Right. The first attempt to murder a cabinet minister was carried out in the 1950’s by Leftist writer Amos Keinan who died recently. He put a bomb in the house of MAFDAL minister David Zvi Pinkas. He was considered a big hero by the Left for doing it.

  26. Recently, its ALL been by the right, the Kahanists and neo-religious that justify killing Jews, in the name of “Torah”.

  27. I read this whole thread with great interest. I think it all boils down to one simple statement… “Its easy to justify one’s own prejudices by siting the prejudices of others.” That is brilliant. Thank you. You made my day.

  28. Gee, Richard, do you really believe you can’t make certain generalizations about groups of people? Didn’t Churchill say publicly about the Germans “the Hun is either at your throat or at your feet?”. Don’t people say about the pre-war Germans that they were “militarists”?

    RabbiBrant Rosen posted this poll at his blog to show that Muslims, as a group, supposedly oppose terrorism:

    Actually the poll shows a high degree of support for terrorism among Muslims.

    Here is a quote:

    In nearly all nations polled more than seven in 10 say they disapprove of attacks on American civilians. “Bombings and assassinations that are carried out to achieve political or religious goals” are rejected as “not justified at all” by large majorities ranging from 67 to 89 percent. There is a growing belief that attacks on civilians are ineffective, with approximately half now saying that such attacks are hardly ever effective.


    Seven in ten “disapprove” of attacks on American civilians. BUT 3 OUT OF TEN APPROVE OF THEM!. With a billion Muslims in the world, this would mean 300 million Muslims approve of slaughtering American civilians. It also say majorities support attacks on American military personnel, which, of course, is what Major Hasan did, although he did it inside the US, but in the name of driving American forces out of the Middle East, which majorities approve of.

    Also, WHY do the 70% who oppose attacks do so? Is it because it is “wrong”, or “unIslamic”, or is it because it is “ineffective” (a majority think the attacks are ineffective). And this poll does not answer the question of how those oppose the attacks view those who support them. The group I identified as saying “the terrorists mean well, but they are going a little too far” would fall in the 70% majoritywho oppose attacks on civilians in the US. The fact that a MAJORITY supports the goals of Al-Qaida but views terrorism as not an effective way of achieving it says that most Muslims seem to view them as “good boys who mean well but just go a little too far”.

    Thus, this poll does NOT answer the question of how those who oppose terrorism relate to those who support it.

    Let’s turn it around….while 30% of Muslims approve of attacks on American civilians, I suggest you take a poll of the congregants in a typical synagogue, or ask the Jews of a random town how many approve of attacks on civilians in Middle East countries because of Arab terrorism against Israel over the years. Or ask how many would approve of Jews carrying out suicide attacks against German civilians because of the Holocaust. I’ll bet the answer is ZERO! This is the end of “moral equivalence”.

  29. I don’t buy your generalization (as in prejudicial in this case) in content, or that generalization is realy EVER a politically accurate or effective means of analysis.

    I grant that it is necessary to apply different means to secure a treaty with Muslim dominated value system than with Europeans or Americans, but that is a FAR cry from saying that that is impossible.

    But, that is a matter of gaining familiarity with worldview, priorities, language, more than some failure born of laziness or incompetence or intention. (Those are the terms that I use to describe the unwillingness to try, to gain any familiarity in fact with their culture and actual persons.)

    To complete the turn around. If you took a poll of the numbers that are willing to isolate Palestinians, to deny civil rights, to deny free movement, to imprison without trial, to retaliate excessively, to expropriate land without compensation, to tear up “enemies” orchards, to prohibit access to courts, you’d find a higher number than 30%.

    Don’t be so vain. Actually make an effort.

    Be the first to look in the mirror, even if your neighbors don’t care enough about their integrity to bother to consider as Abraham.

  30. The logic of potential harm to one’s community of letting even a single Jew harmed is real and important.

    Similarly, the logic of potential harm to one’s community of letting even a single Jew rationalize their harms to others, is also real and important.

    One kills bodies, the other kills souls.

  31. In the last two days there was announced a 10-month settlement freeze (of course named as only in the West Bank, not in the CRITICAL East Jerusalem area).

    And then, 24 hours later, the announcement of an “exception” of authorization of 28 buildings (likely comprising more than the 800 units contested in the Gilo construction).

    This is NOT a good sign, NOT an example of sincerity.

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