By: Madeeha Araj, NBPRS/
The Israeli Knesset passed a law in the second and third readings, to impose the Israeli Civil Law on Israeli academic institutions in the West Bank settlements, and placed them under the authority of the Israeli Higher Education Council. The decision included Ariel University in the Ariel settlement that built on the Salfeet Governorate’s land, the Orut College in the Kana settlement, built on the lands of Nablus governorate, and the Herzog College in the Alon Shvut settlement near the Bethlehem and Jerusalem Governorates. The National Bureau condemned the move and to turn it into a new platform for boycotting, divestment and sanctions against Israel. The law, which was enacted with the support of Education Minister, Naftali Bennett, was another step in a series of steps and plans, which was prepared by the Israeli settlement government with the aim of implementing the creeping annexation of the occupied West Bank and imposing Israeli sovereignty over the Palestinian territories, in flagrant defiance of the international legitimacy’s resolutions, including the recent Security Council resolution 2334.
Moreover, Israeli PM Netanyahu’s office decided to respond to a request by the Bracha settlers to approve a new plan to whitewash the Nativ Ha’avot outpost and settle 15 Israeli families, and to build permanent settlement for settlers instead of their mobile homes in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc between Bethlehem and Hebron. This step will be taken before March 6, the date was scheduled for the demolition of the outpost according to the Israeli High Court, noting that the outpost was built in 2001 supported by the Ministry of Construction worth NIS 300,000. At the same time, the Israeli government approved the construction of a settlement’s road extending from the Beit Jala lands to the settlement of Elazar that built on the Palestinian land. The Israeli government has also approved the establishment of 67 settlement units on the land of the Al-Khader town.
According to Netanyahu, “the imposition of Israeli sovereignty over the settlements is based on two principles. Firstly, the law must pass as a government initiative, not a personal one, because the talks are about a historic process. Secondly, is coordinating with the Americans being a strategic alley to Israel. Moreover, our plans to annex the occupied West Bank, which Netanyahu’s asserted such plans. Hebrew media have presented the 3 annexation plans put forth by the Israeli right wing. The first proposal, presented by Israeli Education Minister, Naftali Bennett, refers to the annexation of C areas in the occupied West Bank i.e. 60% of its area, in which some 300,000 Palestinians live, while the settlers are about 400,000.
The second is by the Likud, MK, Yehuda Glick, which stipulated the annexation of the occupied Jerusalem areas, including the eastern settlements of Ma’aleh Adumim and others, and requested the annexation of 3% of the West Bank, including the large settlement blocs, such as, Gush Etzion and some Isolated settlements. The third, presented by KM, Yoav Kish, which stipulated the annexation of the majority of settlements in the West Bank, including the settlement blocs and the nearby settlements, up to one kilometer away from each others.
Within this context, the Israeli Minister of Justice, Elit Shkid said that Israel must act in accordance with its interests even if the entire world opposes the annexation of the West Bank settlements to Israel, stressing that Israel should do what it deems appropriate, and the whole world must aware that we are going to annex the West Bank sooner or later. Israeli President, Reuven Rivlin said he also supported the annexation of the West Bank to Israel.
Furthermore, Israeli preparations for the inauguration of a train linking the two cities of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, to be latterly linked with the Al-Buraq Wall near the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Preparations are under way to inaugurate the train in the upcoming April or early May. The Israeli Ministry of Communications and Railways has begun work on the next phase of the train, which connects West Jerusalem terminal with the Al-Buraq Wall, which will be named after the American President, Trump as a thans for his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The occupation authorities began working on the upper floors of the settlement Jewish project: “Beit Al-Jawhar” i.e. “Beit Haliba” west of Al-Buraq Square, about 200 meters west of Al-Aqsa Mosque, through what is known as “Wailing Heritage Fund”, which is a government company directly affiliated to the Israeli PM’s office. The occupation authorities erected a construction crane and other equipment within the boundaries of the place designated for the construction of the project, and they implement it on an area of 2825 sq.m2, including 2 floors above the ground, and one under the ground, which was established by the so-called “Jewish Restoring and Development Company,” supported by the Israeli occupation Municipality in Jerusalem. The Israeli occupation authorities also installed new monitoring cameras in Al-Shiah St. in the Al-Tur area that overlooks the Old City of Jerusalem.
Within the context of settlement construction, the Regional Planning Committee approved a plan to establish a “visitor center” in the Jewish cemetery at Mount Olives. In addition to the development of a site controlled by the Elad Association near the Jabal Al-Mukaber, where a restaurant is to be built, as the Jerusalem Development Authority is working on a bridge of ropes that starts from the restaurant and ends at Mount Zion. Such plans aim at developing the infrastructure in order to attract more settlers and tighten the movement of the Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem.