[OSM-talk] Nice Israel policy... to cartographers

Stefan de Konink stefan at konink.de
Mon Feb 8 22:28:24 GMT 2010

JERUSALEM (AFP)--Israel has banned a Palestinian cartographer 
specialized in Jewish settlement growth from traveling abroad for six 
months for security reasons, the Shin Bet internal intelligence service 
said Monday.
The ban applies to Khalil al-Tafakgi, a cartographer at the Arab Studies 
Society who served on the Palestinian negotiating team in the 1990s as a 
specialist in border and settlement issues.
"The [interior] minister issued the order after reviewing relevant 
information and a recommendation by the Shin Bet that there is a 
significant security threat by the exit of the aforementioned person 
abroad," the Shin Bet said in a statement to AFP, without elaborating.
Tafakgi, who went on several trips last year to attend conferences and 
lectures, said he had no idea why the order was issued.
"They issued the order for security reasons, nothing else," he told AFP. 
"This is the first time this has happened in my life. I am not even a 
member of any political faction."
He said he planned to appeal the order in the coming weeks.
The growth of Israeli settlements has been a major obstacle to 
relaunching peace talks that collapsed during last winter's Gaza war. 
The Palestinians have demanded a complete settlement freeze before any 
new direct negotiations.
Israel in November imposed a limited 10-month moratorium on the 
construction of new buildings in the settlements but excluded east 
Jerusalem--which the Palestinians claim as their capital--as well as 
public buildings.
Nearly half a million Israelis live in more than 100 settlements 
scattered across the occupied West Bank, including in annexed east 

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