‘Postponing vote on settlement bill at the Knesset does not reduce its risks’

 PNN/ Bethlehem/ 

By: Madeeha  Araj, National Bureau for Defending Land and Resisting Settlement

 In a tricky political understanding that took place between the Jewish Home Party’s leader, Naftali Bennett and the Israeli PM; Benjamin Netanyahu to postpone the authentication of the settlement bill (legalizing the settlement) until US President Barack Obama leaves office. The understanding came because of the fear of the Obama’s administration to harm Israel at international level should the bill be ratified in the first and preliminary readings after crossing off item 7 in it that provides to apply it retroactively on the “Amona settlement,’ near Ramallah. The bill states, legalizing about 55 settlements and outposts in the West Bank, that means, recognizing and legitimizing of illegally-classified 4,000 housing units, by Israel.

The bill stipulates compensating any Palestinian should he/she proves his/her ownership of the land within a highly complicated judicial proceedings, which last for many years, it also legalizes construction on the lands of Absentees to consecrate Israeli control over the West Bank, and to uproot any opportunity for the two states solution through partitioning of our homeland Palestine.

 Postponing vote on settlement bill at the Knesset doesn’t reduce its risks. These risks clearly appears in the Israeli government endeavors in accordance with the above mentioned bill, to cover up, the annexation of scores of settlements in the West Bank and its willing to form new outposts as is the case with “Shiloh outpost” and “Ariel settlement” south of Nablus city, “Alfe-Menashe outpost” near Qalqilya, “Ma’aleh-Adumim” east Jerusalem, and “Gush-Etzion” south Bethlehem.

Bennett, was obvious in disclosing risks of the bill, where he assured that the draft settlement bill of legalizing the outposts aims to abort the two-state solution. Bennett added, “It is over, the draft was passed to settle half a million of Israelis in “Judea and Samaria,” pointing that the laws applied within the green-line, will be applied on them, too.  Considering that the green-line is gradually fading away. He also belittles the international criticism of the bill, recalling that the world at the time opposed the application of the Israeli law in East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

As well, the seriousness of this bill being devoted to control the Palestinian land occupied in 1967, lies in the means that the Israeli occupation authorities believes that they are legal, and to allow the application of the Israeli sovereignty on the occupied land, paving the way to actually annex all or part of it to Israel after being seized by force or military means. Doing so, Israel defies the international community, the laws and principles,  international agreements, including the Hague Treaty of 1907, the 4 Geneva conventions of 1949, the UN Charter, international covenants for social and economic rights, the civil and political rights and human rights charter of 1948. It also violates the resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations, which refer to the illegality of settlements in the Palestinian Territory, and demand to stop settlement activity and to dismantle settlements built in the occupied territories, including the settlements built in the Arab Jerusalem.

Within the context of proposing the racist laws that seek to looting the Palestinian lands, the “Zionist Camp Party proposed a draft law for “the security fence”, which states to accomplish the construction of the apartheid wall on the green-line with the West Bank, and to classify the building as a “national scheme” that enjoys the allocation of special resources and budgets.

As for the schemes of Judaizing and settlement, the Israeli Military Governor issued in less than a week, 2 resolutions to confiscate large areas of the Palestinians land in the Ramallah area under the same pretext of “regional importance” as he said, a special scheme was issued and authenticated by the civil administration on the Silwad and Ein-Yabrood villages, that stipulates transferring their lands from being agricultural to constructional  ones, and exempting them from licensing for temporary places of residence and considering them of regional importance.  This Israeli announcement is a temporary change for 8 months, to be applied on the lands of Silwad village (basin no. 17, 137, 141), as well as land in the Ein-Yabrood village, basin no. 6, piece 132. The announcement ignored the landowners’ rights to oppose the resolutions, being issued by the Civil Administration on Thursday though having no time to submit their objections within 48 hours as Saturday is a holiday.

In addition, the Organizational and Constructional Commission authenticated the building of 770 housing units at the “Gilo settlement,” and a Jewish synagogue between Bethlehem and East Jerusalem area as well. The Israeli occupation municipality also proposed for discussion the building of 20 judaization and settlement outposts in different parts of Jerusalem, and pushing forward to carrying them out soon, mostly in East Jerusalem within the lands occupied in 1967, of which the ratification of the largest scheme of settlement in the southern slopes of the “Gilo settlement” south-west of Jerusalem, near the annexation and apartheid wall in the Bethlehem area on Al-Walaja village’s lands.

Of the maps, it is clear that the occupation municipality is going to intensify construction in the “Gilo settlement,” scheme no. (5-17555) that includes the construction of 770 housing units and ion of buildings and touristic buildings on 142 and 846 donums,. The Commission also discussed a draft under the title unification and distribution of portions, which is in fact judaizing Al-Walaja lands within a comprehensive scheme for settlement in Gilo area, scheme no. (16231), that guarantees the construction of 981 housing units on 4,269 donums. The commission also discussed an expansion scheme to increase the percent of construction at the Ramot settlement on an area of 15 donums, where 44 housing units will be added to the already authenticated 112 housing that totaled up to 1560.

They also discussed the construction of a large synagogue in “Ramat Shlomo” on about 4925 donums of the lands of Shuafat neighborhood north of Jerusalem, scheme no. (9187921), besides, the construction of a religious school and a spiritual direction center . A plan was also revealed to expand the “Ramat Shlomo” on the lands of Shuafat to the north along the new street 20.21 down to street no. 443 Tel Aviv-Modein with 1200 new housing units under discussion and planning.

In a provocative way, Israeli Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister, Tzipi Hotovely visited “Native Habert” outpost to the south of the city of Bethlehem, which a decision to remove it was issued by the Israeli Higher Court.  Hotovely added, the “settlement bill” that stipulates legalizing and laundering settlement in the West Bank and East Jerusalem will prevent the demolition and evacuation of settlements.

At the same time, an Israeli public opinion poll carried out by the “Israeli Institute for Democracy and Tel Aviv University, showed that 46% of the Zionist public, supports the government’s position in “settlement bill”, which states to enact a bill on preventing the evacuation of settlement outposts, despite the Higher Court resolutions, where 43% said that opinion of the Legal Advisor must be taken into account, and not to enact the bill that prevents the evacuation.

In a new development targeting the Christian holy places, the Israeli occupation forces issued a decision to allocate 50 donums of the Armenian Church’s land to build the so-called “National Park” in the village of Al-Walaja, north-west of Bethlehem. The Armenian Community assured that the park, which the so-called “the Israeli authority of Nature and Gardening began to use affects the holy place as many of the senior Armenians clerics over the generations used   a spring near the Al-Walaja village epiphany.

The Armenian community fears that the place where many pilgrimages visit and all religious Christian rites performed in Jerusalem would be transferred into a Haridion Jews Epiphany.

The decision comes in the wake of the previous occupation endeavors through which the Zionist Nature and Gardening Establishment to build the “garden” on agricultural land belonging to Palestinians of the village, but their resistance and refusal foiled the scheme, but preparations are going on for the establishment of “Zionism National Park” in parallel to the planning for building a separation wall in the area, that expected to pass through the residential houses and the agricultural land owned by the residents there.