source: Middleeasteye.net

Israel whitewashing settlements instead of evacuating them  

By Madeeha Araj/ NBPRS/

In an amazing development, Hebrew sources revealed that the Israeli occupation authorities are working to whitewash settlement outposts instead of evacuating them.

Since 2011, Israeli authorities have contributed to the construction of at least 14 out of 17 settlement outposts approved by the Israeli Civil Administration, without official announcement on land confiscated by the occupation authorities.

Large areas of the so-called “state land” is then whitened. Eleven settlement outposts were established as agricultural projects and farms, which later turned out to be used for permanent housing. The Israeli government financed the construction of those outposts in indirect ways, such as, the “Hill 387” outpost that was established by the “Haruya Heifer Association,” which aims, according to Israeli official to rehabilitate the “Hill Youth.”  The Association receives annually hundreds of thousands of shekels from the ministry of education.

The Israeli Housing and Construction Minister, Yoav Galant announced that his government plans to build 1,000,000 new settlement units in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem over the next 20 years and that 20 – 30% of them will be built in Jerusalem. It will not include Jerusalem’s current borders, but rather areas in what it called the “Greater Jerusalem and West Jerusalem” i.e. the Ma’aleh Adumim, Gush Etzion, Givat Ze’ev and Anatut settlements’ project which includes adding the Maaleh Adumim settlement east of occupied Jerusalem and one of the largest settlements in the West Bank to the city, and the confiscation of 12,000 donums extending from the lands of “East Jerusalem” to the east of the Dead Sea, as part of a project to separate the south of the West Bank from its center.

Galant began to promote a large building plan in the city of Jerusalem, including the construction of 300,00 housing units, as well as, preparing of infrastructure related to transport and commercial areas and others. Galant supports Environment Minister, Ze’ev Klein’s plan to separate the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem from the city and to apply Israeli sovereignty over the settlements.

In Jerusalem, the Jerusalem Municipality’s Planning and Building Committee approved the project to expand the Gilo settlement in the south of occupied Jerusalem at the expense of the Palestinian village of Walaja, where 300 new settlement units have been approved. Building permits to expand the Gilo settlement to 3 settlement communities for the Haredim: “Gelat Tzion” will be granted 114 settlement units “3 buildings” and “Orr and Baraka” community will be granted 117 settlement units “3 buildings” and Kiryat Milakh Association will be granted 46 units, 2 buildings.”

The final plan for the settlement project is estimated at NIS 2.5 billion, including a 3-kilometer underground tunnel connecting the Hauma station with Al-Buraq Wall and the so-called Jewish Quarter, which was built on the ruins of the Al-Sharaf Neighborhood that was destroyed in 1967 war, bulding 2 stations at a depth of 52 m. below the ground on the King George and Jaffa streets crossroad, near the “Cardo” in the “Jewish Quarter” of Old Jerusalem, thus, the tunnel and the two stations will reach the fast line between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem through Ben-Gurion Airport and the “Modi’in settlement Station” next to the so-called “nation building” at the entrance to Jerusalem.

Moreover, the US administration implements its decision in transferring its embassy to occupied Jerusalem, where information reported that the US government purchase Diplomat Hotel in occupied Jerusalem, in preparation for transferring the US Embassy to it. The embassy will be moved temporarily to the Arnona Hotel located in the Jerusalem neighborhood until the  construction of the embassy building. Hebrew sources said, the Planning Department at the municipality of the occupation approved an engineering plan for the construction of a building for the US Embassy in Jerusalem, which includes fortified rooms, a shelter and surrounding security walls.

In a situation that reflects the disrespect of the International Law, the State Department in Washington rejected the request of its ambassador to Tel Aviv, David Friedman, to remove the term “occupation” in official correspondence and documents issued by the United States of America to refer to the West Bank or the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967, asking his country’s Foreign Ministry to stop using the word “occupied” in official documents, adding it should use official writings in their documents, such as “West Bank territory” instead of “occupied territories.” In the past, Friedman called for fixing Israel in the West Bank. “We are talking about an alleged occupation. Israel has only 2% of the land in the West Bank,” he said.

At the Knesset level, the Finance Committee made several decisions, including NIS 60,000,000 for settlements, NIS 20,000,000 for the Amihai settlement, NIS 38,000,000 for “youth settlement development.” Moreover, the committee allocated NIS,000,000 to settle in Hebron, another $ 117,000,000 to the Ministry of “Jerusalem Affairs.”

At the same time, it has been unveiled that millions of shekels have been made to settlement councils in recent years through tenders prepared according to certain criteria that only applicable to the Amnah Movement, and it turned out that the head of the movement, Ze’ev Heber, one of the senior settlers, who presents his movement as a construction company, which works to settle more than a million Jews in the West Bank.

The movement has crossed the “law” on a number of occasions, taking part in the establishment of illegal outposts, including those set up on private Palestinian land and involving false signatures on documents and false statements. Despite its involvement in “illegal activities,” four settler councils in the occupied Palestinian territories “Gush Etzion, Mateh Binyamin, Mount Hebron and Shomron” are paying millions of shekels, Heber said, for ideological or economic reasons, those four settlement councils find ways to receive financial support for them only. Netanyahu’s effort to win the support of the settlers in his battle with the Israeli police and corruption scandals, does not hesitate to extend a helping hand to the settlers. A day after he met with rabbis from religious Zionism, the Israeli government approved the transferring of NIS 40,000,000 to the settlements.

According to the government decision, the Ministry of Finance will transfer the budget soon. In a scene that reflects the rush of the Israeli right to exploit the US president’s decision to recognize occupied Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.  The information revealed the Likud party intention to participate in a public meeting to vote on a bill aimed at annexing the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem to the Jewish state. 900 members of the party signed the project on the agenda, where a meeting will be held on Sunday, 31st, 12.

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