Peace Now staffer Yotam Yaakoba talks to youth about realities beyond the Green Line.
Recent opinion polls show aRecent opinion polls show a disturbing trend among Israeli youth: they are becoming more hawkish and less concerned about peace, democracy and human rights. To help counter this trend, Shalom Achshav (Peace Now) in Israel is running an educational project aimed at Israelis, aged 17-19, who are in their “gap year” – between high school and military service. The project – funded by Canadian Friends of Peace Now – will expose about 2,000 youths to a different narrative about peacebuilding and democracy than that which they normally receive.
Normally, Israeli high school students have very little exposure to the reality beyond the Green Line. Their education is based on a highly one-sided narrative – one which erases the Green Line, demonizes Palestinians and creates rifts between different groups inside Israeli society. As a result, they are prey to hard liners. Even those inclined to dovish views may be handicapped because of being isolated and vulnerable if going against the establishment message.
Over the next five months, Shalom Achshav will hold a series of talks onpeace and democracy issues for gap-year youth throughout the country. Dynamic speakers from among Shalom Achshav staff and volunteers will be the presenters. It is hoped the participants will gain resources, tools and peer support to become peace champions and change-makers of the future. Canadian Friends of Peace Now is proud to be a partner in this important project.
New data show sharp rise in settlement construction in 2016
On March 22, the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS) published its data on construction starts for 2016. According to the ICBS, during 2016, 2,630 housing construction starts took place in West Bank settlements. This is a 40% (39.6%) increase compared to 2015 (1,901).
Furthermore, this is the second highest number of construction starts in the past 15 years (since 2001). The only year during which more construction starts took place was 2013 (2,874). It is worth noting that the 2016 figure is likely to grow, as the ICBS updates its data in the months after its publication.
On average, since 2001, 1,790 housing units begin to be constructed in West Bank settlements each year. In 2016, construction starts surpassed the yearly average by 840 housing units.
Based on ICBS data, since Netanyahu took office in 2009, over 14,000 (14,017) housing units began to be constructed in the settlements.
Peace Now: “the sharp increase in settlement construction sends a clear message to the Palestinians and to the international community that Israel is not interested in a two-state solution. Since Netanyahu took office in 2009, over 14,000 housing units were constructed in the settlements, and last year alone, 2,600 housing units began to be constructed – 40% more than in the previous year. By speeding up settlement construction, Netanyahu is leading Israel towards becoming an apartheid state.”
Have a listen to PeaceCast – enlightening podcasts from Americans for Peace Now
If you care about Israel, about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, about Israel’s future as a democracy and a Jewish state, this podcast is for you. Episodes feature experts, activists, advocates and scholars whose work or passion is Israeli-Palestinianpeace.
Some sample shows:
Missed opportunities and de facto annexation: A conversation with Galia Golan
Trump, Netanyahu & American Jews: A conversation with Alon Pinkas
The 50-year tipping point: Interview with Oded Haklai
The Azaria trial, the IDF & Israeli society: Interview with Amos Guiora