New Year, New Settlement Outpost, New Demolition

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

As the entire world marks the New Year, the Israeli Occupation right-wing government demolishes more Palestinian houses in the C areas, and in Jerusalem city in order to expand the Ma’ale Adumim settlement.

Recently, it has demolished 11 houses and an animal husbandry barn in Al-Khan Al-Ahmar area east of Jerusalem at “Wade Snisl” and “Be’er Al-Maskob, known as area “E1” where more than 200 people, most of them children and women were displaced.

On the other hand, mayor of the Israeli occupation municipality in Jerusalem, Nir Barkat plans to put the cornerstone for the Ma’alot David settlement outpost, as the local committee proposed 17 building licenses for general objection, which were built already at the former Israeli police headquarters in Ras al-Amood neighborhood adjacent to the Ma’ale Zeitim settlement.

In an advertisement issued by the committee of planning and construction, it said  the committee announce under the item 149 of the law of planning and construction of the 1965 that an application was submitted by the Karen Shalem ltd Co. to construct a new housing that includes 17 housing units, at the Jericho road, in Ras al-Amood neighborhood – Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. Deputy Mayor of the occupation of Jerusalem municipality, Kobe Ekhalon, and the Head of the so-called Local Committee for Planning and Construction announced that ‘objections” are open until next Jan. 13th, 2017, and so objections will not be accepted after that, and that the scheme documents can be seen and checked at the archives of the Licensing department.

It is clear that the goal behind those units is to carry out the first stage, which is considered as the cornerstone to build Ma’alot David settlement outpost, moreover, the committee planning to build 104 settlement units to be added to the already built 116 units at Ma’ale Zeitim in the Ras Al-Amood neighborhood. The move came to expand settlement towards the Ras Al-Amood neighborhood. The new outpost is built on Jerusalem on a land that was used by the Jordanian Police before being occupied in 1967, which was vacated by the Israeli police in 2009, to move to its new location in the E1 area that threatened by settlement.

 The National Bureau has warned of the risks of the scheme to annex “Maale Adumim settlement” that considered one of the largest settlements in the West Bank, to pre-empt any possibility to establish an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.  Taking into account that such a racist decision separates the West Bank and cut it into apart without a geographical coherence, besides, the dangerous negative effects that such a step incurs against several villages and towns around the holy city. Moreover, the Bureau warned against the serious remarks by the Israeli Education Minister, Naphtali Benitt to re-propose the scheme of annexing Maale Adumim settlement to Jerusalem and imposing Israeli sovereignty on it, as he said his party is pushing towards annexing the Ma’ale Adumim settlement as part of a strategy to bring all C areas in the West Bank. For her part, the so-called Israeli Minister of Justice, Eilat Shaked said, “annexation of Ma’aleh Adumim is an introduction to annex all C areas.”  It is noted that, Benitt initiative isn’t new, but rather an attempt to support a draft law presented by the Land of Israel Lobby at the knesset, which was signed by various coalition members, except Yahdoot Ha-Torah, the draft law was signed by heads of the Likud, Jewish Home, Yisrael Beiteinu, Shas and Kolano, besides a  deputy from each block.

Within the context, the Arkansas x-Governor of America, Mike Huckabee recently visited the Maale Adumim settlement in Jerusalem, and put the cornerstone for the establishment of a new settlement there. It is known that Huckabee is strongly pro-Israel, and visited it many times during the last few months . He also visited many Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem, which he considered as an Israeli land. He expressed his full support for the settlement. He also visited Shilo settlement to the south of Nablus city in August 2016 during which, he discusses the nuclear deal reached between President Obama’s administration with Iran. In a statement, he was quoted as saying, “(Israel) doesn’t have to swap the land for peace, and it can maintain control on both Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Israeli sources disclosed that the official religious school at the Sha’arei Tikva settlement in the West Bank was illegally erected on a Palestinian land in Azzun Atma village near Qalqilya, adding it receives official support from the Israeli Ministry of Education, as the ministry claimed that the school was temporary built on the place. This is not the first illegal public school built on a Palestinian land contrary to law.  In 2012, “Mihat Hinokh School was built on a Palestinian land in the Jacoub neighborhood north of Jerusalem. At the time, the Civil Administration delivered an order to halt building in the school; it also issued a demolition order. But on the ground, neither the demolition carried out nor building works stopped.

It was revealed that the Israeli Army military commander for the Central Area, Major-General, Roni Numa, approved last week, the transfer of Amona outpost to another land belonging to Palestinians, who have documents prove their ownership of the land, and they have submitted their objections on that.  However, Israeli forces began bulldozing plot no. 38 in order to shift settlers to it despite the fact that a Palestinian citizen from Silwad village has submitted an objection for shifting the settlers, and he presented documents that show his ownership of 90% of the plot. The military order issued by Numa also targeted a number of plots, which the Israeli occupation intends to declare them as absentee properties and then to be given to settlers. The military order allows the occupation authorities to seize a land for 2 years and not for 8 months as was the case before.  It also reviewed a number of plots, i.e. 38.28, 29.30 and 54, in order to shift Amona settlement to them.