By: Madeeha Araj
The National Bureau for Defending Land and Resisting Settlements criticized the lack of international obligatory mechanism to apply the international legitimacy resolutions on settlement in Palestine after 50 years of its occupation. The UN merely issued resolutions that condemn the settlement and call for halting it. The Bureau added that the international silence on the Israeli practices forms a cover, and encourage it to continue implementing its policies and settlement plans. Besides, the governing Israeli right-wing members compete in the launching of statements and proposing ideas and plans that reflect its colonial expansionism ideology at the expense of the Palestinian land in order to strengthen the right’s control on the Israeli government, and to satisfy the extremist settlers.
The right boasted that the PM Netanyahu is the first one to built a new settlement after 10s of years, adding that he is doing what he should do to maintain Jewish settlement in the West Bank. For his part, Netanyahu said, the Kiryat Arba settlement will remain in place for 100s of years, he has promised that his State will retain military control in the West Bank, considering that the 1967 war was not a war of occupying a foreign homeland, but the restoration of our territories including Jerusalem, Hebron and Nablus.
As for Israeli President, Reuven Rivlin also ointed out in his speech that the Ministerial Council unanimously adopted the construction of settlements throughout the occupied West Bank, besides preparing construction plans, and maintaining settlement. Israeli Justice Minister, Ayalit Shaked said that the ministerial committee will not discuss any proposed government law that does not address settlements in the occupied West Bank, and considers that as part of its efforts to impose Israeli legislation and sovereignty on the West Bank.
The Israeli Minister of Construction and Housing, Yoav Galant, also said that the Jew settlement in the Hebron hills is so vital as it prevents the geographical connection between the Arab Bedouin villages in the Negev and the Palestinian towns in Hebron. During the discussion of the council’s plan to develop settlements in the West Bank occupied in 1967 war, Galant said that the southern line from the Judean Desert separates Hebron, Yatta and Dora from other Arab villages in the Negev. He stressed that the area of Avni Hefetz, Oranit, Nili, Na’aleh, Gush Halmish and Talmonim i.e. from Kfar Saba to the Lod airport is very important for the course of life of the so-called Gush Dan, adding that settlement in this area provides a strategic security solution. Additionally, the Likud MK Haim Emselm said, without building in Ma’aleh Adumim and Jerusalem, they might be transformed into homes for the elderly, thus, we must support Netanyahu in moving forward.
According to the Peace Index Poll that issued by the Tel Aviv University and the Israeli Centre for Democracy, it showed that:
50 years on the occupation of the West Bank, 62% of the Jews believe that Israel’s policies in the West Bank can’t be described as occupation, and 50.8% of them consider the establishment of settlements in the occupied West Bank as valid and important for Israeli interests, while 31.3% oppose that, 54.2% said that Israel should have annexed all the territories occupied in 1967 i.e. the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Syrian Golan and the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula, to Israeli sovereignty.
At the same time, the Israeli government approved a resolution to construct about 3178 new housing units in the occupied West Bank. The resolution, published by Israel’s anti-settlement Peace Now Movement said that this was the largest new settlement announcement in the West Bank and Jerusalem since June 5, 1967 war, and after the Trump’s visit to the region. Last Tuesday, the Israeli government decided to propose plans to build some 1,500 new settlement units in the occupied West Bank. The Israeli Planning Committee affiliated to the Defence Ministry approved the construction of about 900 housing units. In a separate operation, the Committee laid out recently plans to build about 688 new settlement units.
In details, the Planning and Administration Committee at the Israeli Civil Administration has approved the construction of more than 1,000 settlement units in various areas of the West Bank. The approval came directly from the Israeli political level, while the secondary committee for settlement approved a series of settlement construction projects in the West Bank, including the establishment of a new settlement called ‘Amihai’ to absorb 120 families of Amona outpost, knowing that only 40 families of Amona were evacuated . The Peace Now Movement said that the Israeli occupation authorities have ratified plans to build 1500 units in the occupied West Bank.
The committee also forwarded several other settlement projects to build 8 buildings that contain 48 housing units in the Ma’aleh Makhmash settlement, and 98 housing units in the settlement of Talmon, 56 housing units in the Hamleish settlement, 840 in Ariel and 174 housing units in Ma’ale Adumim as well as transferring agricultural land to Ofra settlement. Thus, Israel has given the green light to build more than 6,000 settlement units in occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank since Trump took office.
Within the context, the housing minister, Yoav Galant in coordination with the settler leaders prepared a plan called East Gush Dan to build 67,000 settlement units between Modi’in Illit and Alfei Menashe in the West Bank that absorbs 340,000 new settlers under the pretext of solving the housing crisis in Tel Aviv and the Centre. The plan also includes the construction of 8 industrial zones and many other facilities. It is noted that the initial plan targets the occupied Palestinian territories outside the so-called “large settlement blocs”, and comes within the framework of the Israeli plans to increase the number of settlers located outside the settlement blocs. The Interior Committee discussed Minister, Galant’s plan as he said, “building in the West Bank’s hills is a strategic security to Israel, and helps solve housing problems.
The National Bureau welcomed the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres press statement on the 50th anniversary of the Nakba, in which he said: The time has come to end the conflict, and to establish an independent Palestinian state living side by side with the State of Israel. The Bureau also welcomed the UN Office for Humanitarian Assistance and Development Activities, in which he called for an end to the occupation, and the statements made by Amnesty International Secretary-General Salil Shetty, saying that the condemnation of Israeli settlement expansion is not enough, but financing settlements which in themselves constitute a flagrant violation of international law and war crimes shall stop.
The Weekly Israeli Occupation and Settlers’ Violations Documented by the National Bureau, were as follows:
- A plan to monitor all entrances, exits and streets of occupied Jerusalem with a network of cameras. The plan connects all the cameras of the headquarters and institutions of the occupation police to a central room in the Gilo settlement.
- Storing several neighbourhoods in the town of Silwan and distributing demolition orders to a number of houses belonging to Jerusalemites under the pretext of building without a license of which a house belonging to Khalil Abbasi in the Ein Luza neighbourhood.
- Writing hostile slogans against our prophet, the Palestinians and Arabs, damaging 14 private cars and spoiling their tires, cracking and dropping tombstones in Beit Safafa’s cemetery.
- Threatening to bomb the Al-Aqsa Mosque by an extremist settler, as the Israel police in Tel-Aviv received a message on that.
- Stealing agricultural items (120 iron angles) to fix grape seedlings from a land in Al-Khader town, belonging to Ibrahim Musa.
- Notifying the Kisan village residents to stop paving a street under the pretext that it is under Israeli sovereignty.
- Informing a citizen to evacuate a cave located in his 22 donums land, north of Beit Jala village.
- Distributing leaflets on citizens in the Okba Hassna’s area near Al-Khader town, stating to disturb their lives.
- Confiscating equipment in the Beit Fajjar town. Security source said that the occupation forces raided a blacksmith Workshop belonging to Yousef Shaheen and seized his equipment under the pretext of “manufacturing weapons.”
- Setting fire to a large area of the town of Burin’s land.
- Handing over demolition orders of 2-tourist restaurants in the Sebastia town, belonging to Na’el Aql and Fakhir Makhmir, under the pretext of being located in C area.
- Bringing mobile-caravans and erecting them at the Hiwara checkpoint.
- Settlers storming the Awarta town, under the pretext of performing religious rituals in the sites, claimed that they were Jewish.
- Beating, Moh’d Abu Morshid and Mah’d Abu Hamza in the Qusra town.
- Storming the Asira al-Qibliya town under the protection of the Israeli occupation forces and setting fire to agricultural land on the outskirts of the town, causing loses of many olive and fig fruitful trees.
- A group of settlers from the Novim settlement established a new settlement outpost on a land of Dirastia town, they erected 13 tents and a number of wooden caravans.
- Closing an agricultural road with concrete blocks that connects the Ezbet Oyoun, with Kufr Thulth near Salfit.
- Farmers calls for helping them to stop destruction of their crops, they also complained of the continued breaking of their fruitful trees, such as apricots, apples and others.
- Warning citizens to demolish the surrounding of the Water Spring in the Barta’a town, located behind the apartheid wall, under the pretext of being unlicensed. Worth mentioning that it is the main source of drinking water for the town.
- Storming the evacuated Mapu Dotan Camp near Arrabeh town, bulldozing the site, and warning owners of buildings at the Arrabeh crossroad to demolish their facilities there.
Jordan Valley :
- Warning citizens to stop a solar cell of one of the families at Khallet Hamad in the northern Jordan Valley.
- Destroying tents and barrels of water belonging to Yasir Abu ‘Aram near Khirbet Samra in the northern Jordan Valley.
- Settlers on “tractors” rooming different parts of the Jordan Valley, citizens fear that this might be a sign to establish a new settlement outpost there.
- Photographing facilities in Khirbet Al-Hamma by the so-called “Israeli Civil Administration” located to the north of the Jordan Valley.