Monday, September 04, 2006

[ePalestine] Oh, say can you see...Tenders issued for hundreds of homes in W. Bank settlements / El Al Planes...

If the first article boils your blood...just wait till you see the the one that follows...

Last update - 16:49 04/09/2006 

Tenders issued for hundreds of homes in [illegal] W. Bank settlements 

By Nadav Shragai, Yoav Stern and Akiva Eldar, Haaretz Correspondents 

In the largest wave of new settlement construction activity approved by the Olmert government since it came into office, the Housing Ministry issued tenders Monday morning for the construction of 690 new housing units in the [occupied Palestinian] territories. 

The new apartments will be built in large settlements, included in the settlement bloc plan, which the government intends to annex to Israel as part of a final agreement. 

Tenders for the construction of 788 housing units across the Green Line have been issued since the beginning of the year. 

The tenders issued Monday include the construction of 342 housing units in the settlement Betar Ilit and the construction of 348 housing units in Ma'aleh Adumim. The municipal territory of Betar Ilit has been expanded in the last year in a manner that brings the orthodox settlement much closer to Jerusalem. 

Betar Ilit is located southwest of Jerusalem and is home to a poor Orthodox population of over 25,000. Its growth rate is one of the fastest in Israel. 

Israel also seeks to connect Ma'aleh Adumim to Jerusalem through the E1 building plan, currently on hold. 

According to Peace Now, the tenders prove that the "Olmert government functions as a right- wing government in all senses; instead of evacuating outposts and freezing construction in settlements, the government is building hundreds of housing units in the territories and plans on authorizing dozens of illegal outposts. 

"These actions go against Israel's commitments in the road map and the commitment made by Labor and Kadima to the voting public." 

MK Dov Chenin (Hadash) commented that "the Olmert-Peretz government is cutting back on health and education and investing hundreds of thousands in the settelments. This will cause a social and political catastrophy." 

The Yesha Council of Jewish Settlements, for its part, said the building plans were "too little too late." 

The approval of construction in the large settlements accompanies the Ministry of Justice outpost aurthorization initiative. 

According to a recent Haaretz report, the Ministry of Justice has formulated a decision proposal according to which no illegal outposts in the West Bank would be evacuated. Instead, the state would legitimize the outposts and provide them with government funding, discarding the recommendations made by Talia Sasson in her report. 

and if that was not enough... 

Last update - 19:18 04/09/2006                          

Europe nixes landing rights for El Al planes with IDF cargo 

By Zohar Blumenkrantz, Haaretz Correspondent 

A number of European states are refusing to allow El Al cargo planes carrying Israel Defense Forces equipment from stopover landings in their airports. 

The refusal came from states considered friendly with Israel, including Britain, Germany and Italy, according to Captain Etai Regev, the chairman of El Al's pilots' union. 

Regev sent a letter of complaint on the matter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and to the Defense Ministry, the Finance Ministry, and the Tourism Ministry. 

According to Regev, El Al flights bearing heavy loads that arrive from U.S. bases "are not given approval by European states to make stopover landings for refueling, for political reasons. 

"As a result, cargo planes are taking off from the U.S. with much lighter weight, and are reaching Israel with significantly fewer munitions than needed." 

Regev called this "a substantial blow to state defense." 

In his letter, Regev complained about the government's decision last month to allow Italy's flag carrier, Alitalia, to fly Israeli state employees abroad for the first time. 

"Israel's response to this is the transfer of labor to Italian pilots at the cost of Israeli pilots," he wrote. 


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