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Home > News & Analysis > From the Media
Israeli settlers seek UN "human settlement" award
Ma'an News Agency, Aug 8, 2009

This article was originally published by Ma'an News and is republished with permission.

A group of Israeli settlers has launched a campaign for the United Nations Habitat Prize in "human settlement," the West Bank-based Israeli Channel Seven reported on Wednesday.

The annual prize, the Habitat Scroll of Honor, is handed out annually to acknowledge "outstanding contributions in developing and improving settlements and the quality of urban life," according to a fabricated quote on Channel Seven's English-language website.

The awards are actually presented for "outstanding contributions in various fields such as shelter provision, highlighting the plight of the homeless, leadership in post conflict reconstruction," and finally improving human settlements, also known as cities or towns.

Channel Seven quoted "Shomron Liaison Office" director David Ha'Ivri as saying that by voting, "Now you can show your appreciation for the dedicated pioneers of the Jewish communities in the Shomron," a Hebrew word meaning the northern West Bank in English.

But Ha'Ivri and his ilk may run into a number of problems in the application process, which according to the UN includes suggestions that projects have a "positive impact." Applicants are asked to list "types of beneficiaries (e.g. women, children, poor, war victims)," and to describe "how long the positive impact has been sustained so far."

However, Israeli settlements are all but universally considered detrimental to the indigenous population whose land was stolen to build them, and even a large percentage of Israeli society believes the colonies are immoral and destructive.

Award judges may also be concerned by information obtained from the applicants' required background submissions, including "substantive information about the organization or individual being nominated including their mission, goals, history, size," and length of experience, which if undertaken honestly would include admissions of radicalism and religious fanaticism.

But the eighth award criterium could derail the whole application in its entirety, as it asks for "a list of references, articles, publications, media reports about the initiative starting with the most recent ones and where possible, send copies of the actual articles as an annex."

The most recent winners of the prestigious award, which has been presented annually since 1989, have included efforts to improve shelter and urban services.

If the settlers are successful, they will win a plaque engraved with the name of the winner and their achievement will be presented during the Global Observance of World Habitat Day on 5 October 2009, according to the award's website.

Five initiatives will be selected, and winners will be announced in October.


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