Facing unprecedented confusion, Netanyahu’s government opens hand for settlement

By: Madeeha Araj/ National Bureau for the Defending of Land and Resisting Settlement/

Hours before the UN Security Council voting on the draft resolution that calls on Israel to immediately halt all settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the so-called “Local Committee for Planning and Building” in Jerusalem encouraged by Netanyahu government to speed up construction of 300 housing units, of which 192 at Ramat Shlomo settlement, 8 at Beit Hanina and 136 at Romoot settlement in East Jerusalem.

Following the UN resolution 2334, which condemns Israeli settlement and calls to halt all kind of settlement activities, Netanyahu has taken mad reactions as he Instructed Israel’s ambassadors in New Zealand and Senegal to immediately return to Israel for consultations, and ordered the cancellation of the planned visit to Israel of the Senegalese foreign minister in three weeks. Moreover, he constructed the Israeli Foreign Ministry to cancel all aid programs to Senegal, and to cancel visits in Israel of the non-resident ambassadors of Senegal and New Zealand.

The National Bureau welcomed UN Security Council adoption of the resolution that condemning the settlements and halting building in the Palestinian Territory, where 14 countries voted in favor, with the US abstained. The Bureau demanded the UN Security Council to take actions on the ground action that would force Israel to stop settlement activity, to abide by the International Law and to hold Israel responsibility over the crimes it committed.

At the same time, the Bureau condemned the settlers and Netanyahu’s racist calls against the Palestinians, in which he said, my government is committed to settlement in the “Judea and Samaria” more than any government in the history of the State and that he and his cabinet exerted much efforts to keep the settlers in the West Bank, he also calls for accelerating the demolition of Arab homes in all Arab towns and villages, including East Jerusalem, furthermore, he instructed the Israeli occupation authorities to demolish 42-Palestinian houses in Jerusalem and some other areas. In response to the evacuation of the Amona outpost, the Legal adviser of the Israeli municipality in Jerusalem has submitted last October an application to the Israeli Court in order to allow carrying out the demolition orders of 14 Palestinian buildings inhabited by 40 Palestinians north the occupied Jerusalem. During a meeting with leaders of Amona outpost, the Israeli PM Netanyahu and Education Minister, leader of the Jewish Home Party, Naphtali proposed a deal to double the number of caravans to 24 instead of 12 and to increase the number of settlers as a consolation prize should the settlers agree to evacuate the outpost consensually and without violence to a land close to the place of the current outpost built on a land belonging to Palestinian citizens to the east of the occupied Ramallah.

Within the context, the Israeli general budget approved by the Israeli Knesset last week for the upcoming 2 years is NIS 906.8 billion, of which NIS 446.8 billion for 2017, and NIS 460 billion for 2018. Worthless mentioning that the Israeli government intends to approximately give 37% of the budget for the occupation, settlement and security. Moreover, the government will spend about NIS 150 million to 20 families living on a land belonging Palestinians. Furthermore, the Israeli PM, Netanyahu has proposed to minimize the budgets of some ministries by 1.25% of the overall State Budget in order to finance the evacuation and re-building of the Amona settlement.

According to a search data conducted by “Macro Center for Economic Polic”, showed that settlers in the occupied West Bank will be getting the highest financial privileges and exemption of taxes rather than the best fixed allocation of the budget at all ministries in the upcoming 2 years. Estimations show that each settler will receive a tax exemption up to 510 dollars, which means each family will get about US $ 3,000 annual tax privileges, excluding the financial privileges, particularly in the education sector, and the many facilities that lead to a reduction in prices of houses, and in municipal taxes and other aspects. Moreover, despite the settlers’ high standard of living in the West, they receive government support by 25% more than areas facing poverty.

A research prepared by Dr. Roby Natnzn confirmed that a settler gets 5-double budget of the by the average Israeli citizen budget. According to a study, 2 decisions have been made in favor of the settlers, one of them is to grant them a gift of NIS 75,000,000, while the other to grant settlers at outposts built in Hebron and Kiryat Arba, NIS 55 million until the year 2018. Those budgets will be given to settlers from the budgets of the various ministries, the study confirmed that there is another reason for preferring the settlers and the settlements in the general budget that is, the Settlement Department, which form a bypass channel for the transfer of funds as happened, for example, in 2014 by transferring 33% of the settlement department’s budget to the towns in the central areas. The budgets reached to 112 settlements in the West Bank, and ten towns in the green line.

At the same time the, the Israeli government has allocated a budget of NIS 215 million (US $ 55 million), to strengthen the settlers transportation buses in the occupied West Bank. Under the Israeli government’s plan to strengthen 113 additional buses during the years 2017 – 2021 . The Israeli Minister of Transportation, Yisrael Katz, quoted as saying that the government gives great attention to provide settlers in the occupied West Bank with armored buses, though such a move would strengthen the settlement and provide comfort and safety to settlers using public transportation.