Brussels - Marking the World Day of Social Justice on February 20 a coalition of more than 100 civil society organizations, has launched a European Citizens Initiative (ECI) to stop trade with illegal settlements in occupied territories. An ECI is an official instrument for democratic participation of citizens in EU policy making. If an ECI garners one million signatures from EU citizens over 12 months the European Commission must consider and debate the petition’s demands. This ECI demands EU legislation that will outlaw trade with illegal settlements, anywhere and at all times, including trade with Israel’s illegal settlements in occupied Palestine.
By Kim Bellware for The Huffington Post - On Sunday, hundreds of mostly young, American Jews rallied in Washington, D.C., during the first day of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee 2017 Convention, to protest the expansion of Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. “We’re protesting [AIPAC] en masse as Jews to say that to be Jewish in America at this moment doesn’t mean to support Israel unconditionally,” said 25-year-old Yonah Lieberman, one of the co-founders of the anti-settlement group IfNotNow, which spearheaded the protest in Washington D.C. Lieberman described Sunday’s march as “the biggest ever Jewish-led protest of AIPAC.”
By Mark LeVine for Scoop - Those who long ago succumbed to cynicism and hopelessness when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can find many reasons to discount the importance of Security Council Resolution 2334, passed unanimously (14-0 with the U.S. as the only abstention) on December 23. It is certainly true that Israel will ignore and indeed work actively to undermine the Resolution just as it has ignored innumerable other resolutions demanding a halt to settlement construction or expansion. As one activist tweeted shortly after its passage, in all likelihood Israel will expand the seizure of Palestinian land and construction of settlements just to thumb its nose at the UN...
By Philip Weiss for Mondoweiss - President Obama’s decision to allow passage of a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements as illegal has done more to change the shape of the conflict than any other action in the last ten years, even than Israel’s massacres in Gaza. He has nudged Israel, and the media, toward recognition of the country’s new status, as a rogue state; he has split the Israel lobby right down the middle, or down the side anyway; and he has given huge impetus to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS).
By Zaid Jilani for The Intercept - THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION on Friday finally allowed the UN Security Council to call on Israel to halt its settlement expansion on Friday. The resolution essentially re-states U.S. policy that settlement activity in the West Bank is illegal and counterproductive, and that Israel’s security must be protected. The U.S. did not support the resolution, but it did not utilize its veto power either. In a press call Friday afternoon, White House Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes explained that the White House abstained on the resolution because it “expresses a consensus international view on Israeli settlement activity.”
By Staff for Ma'an News Agency - BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- After a vote on a UN Security Council resolution demanding that Israel end its illegal settlement building in the occupied Palestinian territory was postponed on Thursday, reports have emerged that the US had intended to allow for the resolution’s approval, while US President-elect Donald Trump was reportedly recruited by Israel to apply pressure to prevent the vote. Palestinian officials have been busy in recent weeks trying to negotiate on the resolution with the Obama administration to avoid an American veto at the UNSC.
By William Booth for Washington Post - HEBRON, West Bank — Arriving aboard a tour bus, accompanied by a former Israeli machine-gunner turned human rights activist, an international delegation of pretty famous writers came to the heart of this old city to see for themselves how 850 hardcore Jewish settlers, protected by 650 young Israeli soldiers, live among 200,000 angry Palestinians. The writers didn’t like what they saw. The settlers didn’t like the writers much either, especially their hosts.
By Matthew Lee and Bradley Klapper for AP. WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States will endorse a tougher tone with Israel in an upcoming international report that takes the Jewish state to task over settlements, demolitions and property seizures on land the Palestinians claim for a future state, diplomats told The Associated Press. The U.S. and its fellow Mideast mediators also will chastise Palestinian leaders for failing to rein in anti-Israeli violence. But the diplomats involved in drafting the document said its primary focus will be a surge of construction in Jewish housing in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. The U.S. approval of the harsh language marks a subtle shift. Washington has traditionally tempered statements by the so-called "Quartet" of mediators with careful diplomatic language, but the diplomats said the U.S. in this case will align itself closer to the positions of the European Union, Russia and the United Nations, who emphasize Israel's role in the Mideast impasse.