22 January 2018
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  • » 01/11/2018, 19.53

    ISRAEL – PALESTINE

    Expanded West Bank settlements drive the “last stake” in the heart of the two-state solution



    Israel approved 1,122 housing units and published tenders for an additional 651 today. In 2017, 420 Palestinian structures were demolished. Violence also continues with one Jewish settler from an illegal outpost killed.

    Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – Israel approved 1,122 new housing units in 20 settlements and outposts throughout the West Bank. In addition, tenders for 651 units were published today.

    For Palestinian activist Adel Misk, "This is the last stake in heart of the Two States solution, the death sentence for a project the whole world wants".

    Israel’s “right-wing led by Bibi Netanyahu and Lieberman wants to please the colonialists,” Misk noted. This is “propaganda for the elections that could be held later in the year".

    "The thing that surprises me is the silence of Israelis, of the peace camp. Those who years ago promoted the idea of ​​ two States. I’d like to hear them now, show them where this Israeli government is leading the Israeli people, the Palestinians and the whole world. We are sliding into a war and no one knows where it will end."

    For Sobhy Makhoul, a Maronite deacon in Jerusalem, the decision of US President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is behind the latest wave of tensions. "He encouraged the Israelis to build on Palestinian territory again.”

    "These are unilateral decisions. The Israelis always try to take decisions and initiatives and then impose them as a fact. As long as the international community does not move against America’s excessively pro-Israel policy, it will be difficult for it to change."

    "This creates tensions,” the deacon noted. However, Palestinians, in his view, will not opt for violence. "The Palestinians will continue to demand their rights, the application of the Camp David and Oslo agreements, in a peaceful way. But there are also those who think that this will be useless and that will choose the extremism of violence."

    In Israel, the Peace Now movement has slammed the decision to expand the settlements, calling it an attempt to "destroy the possibility of a two-state solution and the prospects of peace". This “runs counter to Israel’s national interest, as well as the interests of everyone who seeks a peaceful future in the region.”

    Meanwhile, violence continues in the Occupied Territories. The latest incident occurred on Tuesday. A 35-year-old Israeli settler was killed in a drive-by shooting at the Havat Gilad outpost, which was illegally established in 2002.

    Reacting to the man’s death, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he wants to legalise the outpost to honour the slain settler. His family said that he had asked to be buried in the settlement that “he loved so much".

    At the same time, the confiscation and demolition of Palestinian properties continue in parallel with the construction of new housing for Jewish settlers.

    Last year, Israel demolished 420 Palestinian structures in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, this according to the UN Office for Coordination and Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

    About 278 structures were razed in the West Bank, whilst another 142 were demolished in occupied East Jerusalem.

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    EGYPT – LEBANON
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    A conference was held on 16-17 January at al-Azhar. Many prominent figures from Lebanon took part, including the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi. The Arab world is divided between "complicit passivity" and "noisy but ineffective speeches". For a former Lebanese premier, coordinated actions are needed to ensure greater efficacy on behalf of Jerusalem’s "pluralistic identity " and "religious freedom". Card Al-Rahi called for joint prayers, Islamic-Christian interfaith solidarity in the Arab world, and support for the Palestinians.


    CHINA
    Yunnan: Christians accused of membership in an apocalyptic sect get up to 13 years in prison



    The Three Grades of Servants cult, an underground pseudo-Protestant sect founded in Henan, is especially strong in the countryside. Those convicted claim they are just ordinary Christians and know nothing about the sect. Defense lawyers have been threatened with loss of their license to practice.


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