Psagot

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Psagot
Psagot Settlement.JPG
Psagot is located in the West Bank
Psagot
Psagot
Coordinates: 31°53′57.48″N 35°13′26.04″E / 31.8993000°N 35.2239000°E / 31.8993000; 35.2239000Coordinates: 31°53′57.48″N 35°13′26.04″E / 31.8993000°N 35.2239000°E / 31.8993000; 35.2239000
Council Mateh Binyamin
Region West Bank
Affiliation Amana
Founded 1981
Founded by Beit VeGan residents
Population (2008) 1,623
For the Israeli investment firm, see Psagot Investment House.

Psagot (Hebrew: פְּסָגוֹת, lit. Peaks) is a communal Israeli settlement in the West Bank located north of Jerusalem on Tawil hill adjacent to Ramallah, al-Bireh, and Kokhav Ya'akov. Psagot, established in 1981, falls under the jurisdiction of Binyamin Regional Council, with the council's headquarters located there.[1] In 2008 it had a population of 1,623.[2]

The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this.[3]

Etymology[edit]

The name Psagot was proposed by one of the early residents, Moshe Bar-Asher, a professor and head of The Academy of the Hebrew Language. It expresses the hope that the new village will achieve a peak in settlement and study of the Torah.[4] The name also refers to the location of Psagot on the peak of Mount Tawil.[1]

History[edit]

The Arabic name of the hill is Jabel Tawil (long mountain).[5]

Mateh Binyamin regional council headquarters, Psagot

Before 1967, Jabel Tawil was known to locals as "Kuwaiti hill" because of numerous visitors from the Persian Gulf who hiked in the area.[6][4] In 1964, some of the land was purchased by the Jerusalem municipality for a future tourist resort.[6] In the Six-Day War, it came under Israeli control. From September 1976, Arabs were prohibited from building in the area.[7]

In 1981, Ariel Sharon, then Israeli Minister of Defense, told Pinchas Wallerstein, head of the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council, that he would support initiatives to settle the area.[4] In July 1981, Wallerstein moved the council headquarters to the hill, then occupied by a military intelligence base. Five families from the Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit VeGan took up residence there. A year later, they were joined by a group from the Kerem B'Yavneh yeshiva who came to create a kollel.[6][4]

Arab–Israeli conflict[edit]

According to B'Tselem, Psagot prevents the expansion of Ramallah and cuts it off from the surrounding villages.[8] During the course of the Second Intifada, snipers shot at Psagot from buildings in Ramallah, leading to the construction of a concrete wall to protect the inhabitants. In 2001, the Israeli army stationed nearby fired two missiles into Ramallah targeting Marwan Barghouti.[9]

In November 2009, the Psagot settlement and the advocacy group Regavim petitioned the High Court of Justice in an unsuccessful attempt to stop construction of the Al-Bireh International Stadium, citing security concerns.[10]

The Sasson Report identified Psagot as the "parent settlement" of an Israeli outpost known as Mitzpe Ha'ai located approximately 400m to the southeast.[11] According to the report, the settlement, unauthorized by the government, was built on land appropriated illegally from its Palestinian owners. According to Peace Now 75.69% of the combined area of Psagot and Mitzpe Ha'ai is on appropriated private land.[12]

Status under international law[edit]

The international community considers Israeli settlements to violate the Fourth Geneva Convention's prohibition on the transfer of an occupying power's civilian population into occupied territory.[13] Israel disputes that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies to the Palestinian territories as they had not been legally held by a sovereign prior to Israel taking control of them. This view has been rejected by the International Court of Justice and the International Committee of the Red Cross.[14]

Economy[edit]

The Psagot Winery was founded by Na’ama and Yaakov Berg, who planted vineyards in 1998. [15] In addition to a modern barrel cellar, some of the oak barriques are stored in a cave dating back to the Second Temple era. The winery’s top wine is a Bordeaux blend named Edom. Regular varietal wines are produced in the Psagot series and there is also a Port-style wine. In 2007 and 2008, the winery produced 65,000 bottles annually.[16] In 2010, the winery produced 80,000 bottles of wine a year, the majority for export. Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews work there side by side, creating an island of co-existence in sea of mistrust.[17] The American evangelical Christian organization HaYovel has sent volunteers to tend and harvest Psagot Winery's vineyards.[18] Berg says calls to boycott his wines have only increased demand.[19] Other wineries exist around Psagot, and the Yesha Council hopes to make them a tourist attraction. According to the local Palestinians and the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din, the wineries are partially planted on privately owned Palestinian land.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b HaReuveni, Immanuel (1999). Lexicon of the Land of Israel. Miskal – Yedioth Ahronoth Books. p. 795. ISBN 965-448-413-7. 
  2. ^ "Locality File" (XLS). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. 2008. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  3. ^ "The Geneva Convention". BBC News. 10 December 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d Hoberman, Haggai (2008). Keneged Kol HaSikuim [Against All Odds] (in Hebrew) (1st ed.). Sifriat Netzarim page = 196-7. 
  5. ^ E. H. Palmer (1881). The Survey of Western Palestine. Arabic and English name lists. London: The Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund. p. 296. 
  6. ^ a b c Hilal, Sandi; Alessandro Petti; Eyal Weizman (Spring 2009). "The Future Archaeology of Israel's Colonisation". Afterall Journal (20). 
  7. ^ Arab Women's Information Committee; Lebanese Association for Information on Palestine (1977-01-01). The Arabs Under Israeli Occupation, 1980. Inst for Palestine Studies. p. 67. 
  8. ^ Brightonpalestinecampaign.org
  9. ^ Whitaker, Brian (3 September 2001). "The summit of Middle East tension". Guardian. Retrieved 28 October 2010. 
  10. ^ Hass, Amira (27 November 2009). "Settlers petition to tear down nearby Palestinian stadium". Ha'aretz. Retrieved 31 October 2010. 
  11. ^ Opinion on Unauthorized Settlements, Prime Minister's Office, 2005, Appendix I, "Detailed list of settlements", p. 37
  12. ^ Psagot and Mitzpe Ha'ai (outpost) Peace Now.
  13. ^ The settlers' struggle BBC News. 19 December 2003
  14. ^ Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory International Court of Justice, 9 July 2004. pp. 44-45
  15. ^ Where you stand changes the view, Haaretz
  16. ^ Psagot Winery at Rogov's Reviews
  17. ^ Peace with a paycheck, YNET, by Akiva Novick, 08.25.10
  18. ^ Jeffay, Nathan (25 March 2012). "Christians Called To Serve Jewish Settlers". The Forward. Retrieved 7 April 2012. 
  19. ^ Where you stand changes the view, Haaretz
  20. ^ Settler vineyards take root in West Bank BBC. 17 June 2009