Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

AIJAC UPDATE - The Principles and Principals of the Gilo Housing Project

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Today's Update looks at last week's controversial approval for a proposed plan to build 1,100 homes within the boundaries of the Jewish suburb of Gilo in Jerusalem. Gilo lies just over the Green Line and is now home to 40,000 Israelis. As Commentary's Jonathan Tobin explains, Gilo is a symbol for many Israelis, having been a target for numerous terrorist sniper shootings during the Second Intifada and "was the laboratory where Palestinian terrorists sought to discover whether they could force Jews into abandoning their homes. They failed".

This article from Ynetnews outlines the announcement and the details of the proposed plan.

A good primer on the actual proposed construction comes from blogger ElderofZiyon who includes maps and aerial footage of Gilo and where it is situated vis-a-vis Jerusalem and the Green Line. He demonstrates how no housing will be built on land owned by Palestinians nor does it encroach on the Palestinian village of Beit Jalla.

Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon criticised foreign intervention on the housing project arguing any spurious condemnation merely entrenches Palestinian rejection for a return to peace talks.

A Jerusalem Post editorial makes it clear that Israel has every right to build in an area that even the Palestinians concede will become part of Israel should a peace deal be reached, but suggests restraint might have been better at this time.

Jerusalem Post senior columnist Herb Keinon looks at the reasons why Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu allowed the project to proceed, noting that the US was fully aware of the proposal well before its announcement. He discusses the domestic and international considerations that Netanyahu had to weigh up. To read this article, CLICK HERE.

Pro-Israel Dutch advocacy group Missing Peace offers seven reasons why the Gilo housing project is a distraction and not worthy of international condemnation. To read this article, CLICK HERE.

Human Rights Watch founder Robert Bernstein, who has previously attacked the organisation for its obsessive anti-Israel bias, writes that long term Palestinian-Israeli peace will only arrive when there are protests demanding a cessation of "the endless and overwhelming words of hate and incitement to genocide effectively spread to Arabs and Palestinians" against Jews and Israel. To read this article, CLICK HERE.

Readers may also be interested in:

- For those who missed it, Israel has accepted the Middle East Quartet's call for Israel and the Palestinian Authority to return to the negotiating table without preconditions. After initially outright rejecting the Quartet's recommendation, the Palestinian Authority has remained non-committal. Washington Institute for Near East Policy's David Makovsky analyses the Quartet's statement and the parties' responses.

- Jonathan Tobin takes CIA chief Leon Panetta to task for claiming that Israel is increasingly isolated and needs to take risks for peace.

- Further analysis of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' speech at the United Nations seeking recognition for a Palestinian state comes from Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer who argues that Abbas is no different from his predecessors who wanted a state without needing to make peace. British writer Melanie Phillips on the topsy-turvy response by many in the West and much of its media to Abbas' speech.

- A Libyan-born Jew returning from exile to Libya has been prevented by the post-Gaddafi leadership from rebuilding Tripoli's main synagogue.

- Walter Russell Mead argues that there has been no revolution in Egypt, any changes are superficial and the army overthrew Hosni Mubarak to stop his son succeeding him.

- Foundation for Defence of Democracies analyst Emanuele Ottolenghi critiques the foreign policy of Turkish PM Recep Erdogan which many observers characterise as neo-Ottoman.

- Veteran Australian Jewish leader Isi Leibler, who now lives in Israel, responds to former Australian PM Malcolm Fraser's opinion piece which whitewashed Hamas' agenda and record.

 

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