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CH4S Admin , Outstanding Contributor
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Olmert approves West Bank construction
By AMY TEIBEL, Associated Press Writer
2 hours, 17 minutes ago



Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has approved new construction in a West Bank settlement outside Jerusalem, a Construction Ministry official said Sunday, just days after a Palestinian man killed eight Israelis at a religious seminary.

The news immediately drew Palestinian condemnation and came just days before a U.S. general was due in the region to monitor progress in troubled peacemaking.

Construction Ministry spokesman Eran Sidis said a project for 546 apartments in the Givat Zeev settlement has proceeded in fits and starts since 1999. With Olmert's approval, those apartments will be completed and the ministry will soon market more than 200 more, bringing the project to some 800 units in all, Sidis said.

The project was approved by previous governments, and Olmert approved its resumption because it meshes with government policy, government spokesman Mark Regev said.

It "is consistent with our long-standing position that building within the large settlement blocs, which will stay a part of Israel in any final status agreement, will continue," Regev said. Construction outside the settlement blocs has been frozen, he added.

Palestinian attacks on Israel and Israeli retaliatory strikes, along with continued Israeli settlement construction, have upset U.S.-backed peace talks. The talks, resumed last November after a seven-year breakdown, aim to reach a final peace agreement by the end of the year.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last week persuaded the Palestinians to resume talks, which they had suspended to protest an Israeli military operation against Gaza rocket squads that killed more than 120 Palestinians. The talks suffered another blow with Thursday night's seminary shooting.

Israeli officials said privately over the weekend that negotiations would proceed despite the attack on the seminary, which is the flagship for Israel's settlement movement. The Givat Zeev construction may have been a gesture by Olmert toward the settlement movement, which opposes his talk of withdrawing from large parts of the West Bank and Palestinian neighborhoods in east Jerusalem as part of a final peace deal.

But Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the decision to build new housing in Givat Zeev raised doubts about Israel's commitment to peace talks.

"It seems to me the Israelis are determined to put a stick in the wheel of negotiations," he said. "It will undermine the U.S. effort to revive the negotiations.

He noted the decision came just days before a U.S. envoy, Lt. Gen. William Fraser III, arrives in the region for his first joint meeting with Israelis and Palestinians. President Bush appointed Fraser in January to monitor implementation of the U.S.-backed "road map" peace plan — which among other things calls on Israel to freeze all settlement activity.

Givat Zeev is in one of the three major settlement blocs that Israel intends to retain in any peace agreement. The Palestinians have expressed willingness to consider swapping land where settlement blocs stand for equal amounts of Israeli land.

An overwhelming majority of the 270,000 West Bank settlers live in the major blocs, and an additional 180,000 Israelis live in Jewish neighborhoods Israel built in Jerusalem after capturing and annexing it in 1967. Israel does not consider the east Jerusalem neighborhoods to be settlements, but the Palestinians and international community do.

Separately, an Israeli soldier wounded by Gaza militants in a border ambush on Thursday died Sunday of his wounds, the military said. He was the second soldier to die as a result of the attack, and the fourth soldier killed in Gaza violence this month.

Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press.
 

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Thats what really gies me encouragement about the Israelis and Palestinians really will work things out, as stated above each side really wants to work together and the Israelis have really stopped antagonising, using and abusing and taking the Palestinians for granted..................
 

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Yep let the whole Palestinian population pay for what one criminal does. That's sound fair to me and I am certain that Rice is rubber stamping an authorization to pretend to be blind to this settlement. Business as usual folks, nothing to see, please don't disturb the status quo or you would be called all of sorts of names and shit.
 

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Oh, let me simplify the real policy for everyone: Israel would NEVER want peace in that region. They will promise, stall then renege, that has been the MOD since its inception and that's how they sucker the USA into shelling out big $$ making us think that its a peaceful and "democratic" state, the ONLY one in that region of course...
If you ask the hard core Zionists what it would take to have peace, which by the way I have asked, the answer is simple: No Arabs in that region!
 

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^^
You mean religion and guilt? Yes that's a standard and effective tactic that has always worked. Works great with fear too
 

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Lordy Lordy Lordy.................

Intelligence paints grim picture for Israel

JERUSALEM (AFP) — Intelligence agencies were to paint a bleak picture of threats facing Israel in an annual assessment on Sunday that comes on the heels of the deadliest Palestinian attack in Jerusalem in four years.

"The intelligence will paint a bleak picture of the strategic threats surrounding Israel," a senior Israeli official told AFP ahead of the report to be presented at the weekly cabinet meeting by the Aman military intelligence, domestic security service Shin Beth and the Mossad spy agency.

A defence ministry official said the report will say that arch foe Iran is operating through the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah group in Lebanon and the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, in the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank.

"Iran's presence and threat is felt both in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank" through its proxies, the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"We'll also hear about Hezbollah's rearmament and the threat it poses along Israel's northern border," he said, referring to Israeli claims that the Shiite militant group has been smuggling in weaponry from Syria since the 34-day war it fought with Israel in 2006.

Olmert said Israel was capable of confronting any menace.

"Israel can respond to all threats and can answer all the dangers and has the knowledge, courage and strength to face anything that might threaten its citizens and security," he told the cabinet.

The assessment comes just days after a Palestinian gunman shot dead eight students, mostly teenagers, at a Jewish theological school on Thursday, the deadliest such attack in the Holy City since February 2004.

Israeli police remained on a state of alert, while the army maintained a closure of the West Bank that it imposed after the shooting.

In the wake of the attack, a hardline minister called for the revocation of the residency permits of the family of the man who carried out the attack, a Palestinian from east Jerusalem with the blue Israeli identity card that allowed him free movement across the country.

"We should pass a resolution or change the law if necessary so that the family of anyone who carries out an attack... should have their residency permit immediately revoked and their homes destroyed," Eli Yishai, trade and industry minister from the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, said in a statement.

It was feared the attack would derail international efforts to negotiate a truce between the Israeli army and Palestinian militants and to advance faltering peace talks.

But both Israeli and Palestinian officials told AFP on Saturday that the peace negotiations -- relaunched to much fanfare in November but stagnant ever since -- will resume next week despite the violence.

The talks received a new blow on Sunday, however, with Olmert giving his approval to the expansion of the Givat Zeev settlement in the occupied West Bank to the fury of the Palestinians.

"With this decision, Israel wants to demolish the peace process and demolish the international efforts to advance the peace process," senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP.

There has been a sharp upsurge in violence around the Islamist-controlled Gaza Strip since February 27 when an Israeli raid killed five Hamas militants, prompting a barrage of retaliatory rocket fire against southern Israel.

Since then, at least 132 Palestinians have died in Israeli attacks, including several dozen children. Four Israeli soldiers and one civilian have died over the same period.

In the past week, efforts have been underway in Egypt to work out a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants.

Senior Israeli defence ministry official Amos Gilad was due to travel to Cairo on Sunday to discuss the situation around Gaza.

Last week delegations from Hamas and Islamic Jihad were in Egypt for similar talks and senior US State Department official David Welch also held talks on the issue in Cairo.

AFP: Intelligence paints grim picture for Israel
 

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^^
That's the fear factor I was talking about
Look, we're surrounded by Indians...I mean ayrabs that want to kill us
Please pay us no questions asked or else! Oh, and keep your sons and daughters in Iraq, you know, to balance that region for us, you know, those bad Iranians are at the gate. Oh, and when the time comes we will ask you to invade Iran, you know, you owe us such a sacrifice because you slept at the wheel when Hitler was roasting our people, that's it you should be ashamed of yourselves, now pay up and STFU
 

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^^^^Well when you put it that way it only seems fair.................from an AIPAC point of view anyway.........
 

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JE, did you notice the chirping sound of no response? People live in fking denial, it's incredible!
 

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JE, did you notice the chirping sound of no response? People live in fking denial, it's incredible!

Yeah I noticed when I read the thread this morning, that is why I brought the thread back to life on the 1st page, give people a 2nd chance...........
 

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