Netanyahu Begins Early Knesset Elections Campaign Meeting Settler Councils

Bethlehem/PNN/Report By: Madeeha Araj

In his weekly report about Israeli settlements activities in the occupied West Bank including Jerusalem the National Bureau for the Defense of Land stated , that following the Israeli resolution to end the Knesset term, and move to early elections on coming April 9th, Netanyahu began his campaign meeting with the heads of the settler councils after he approved the construction of thousands of new settlement units, promising them more should they vote for him. Thus, the budget committee at the Knesset recently approved the transfer of NIS 80 million to support the settlements, where 50 NIS million was allocated to the so-called “settlements councils” in order to implement the provisions of the “settlement law” that was approved by Netanyahu’s settlement committee, another NIS 26 million allocated as compensation for evacuees from the settlement outpost of Netivot Habut, and to promote settlement in Gush Etzion and Kiryat Arba, and the rest was allocated for settlement purposes in the occupied West Bank.

Within the context, the so-called “Supreme Planning Council” in the Civil Administration, the executive arm of the occupation and settlement in the West Bank, approved plans to build 2191 new housing units in settlements of the West Bank. 87% of those will be built in scattered outposts, 1,908 housing units will be built in settlements east of the separation wall in the West Bank, 283 housing units in settlements west of the wall. The Supreme Planning Committee approved plans for the construction of 1,100 housing units in the West Bank of which 150 housing units in the in the Mount Hebron area, 300 in the Giv’at Ze’ev settlement north of occupied Jerusalem, and 300 in the Neveh Daniel and Karmei Tsur settlements south of Bethlehem.

The committee also approved plans for the construction of another 450 housing units in the following settlements: plans for the construction of 129 housing units in the settlement of Avnei Hefetz, 121 housing units in the Yitzhar settlement south of Nablus, which is considered a stronghold of ultra-Orthodox settlers and Jewish terrorist organizations, 42 in the Tsufim settlement, 42 in the Alfei Menasheh settlement, 62 in Maale Mikhmash, 55 in Tomer, 18 in Adora and 16 in Metasad, and only one in Shilo settlements, and 135 in “Tina Omarim” neighborhood. Besides, 13 other building plans waiting for of approval, of which 152 units in “Shavei Shamron”, 94 units in “Hagai” and 100 units in “Helmish – Neve Tzuf” and 75 units in “Shvut Rachel-Shilo” and 98 units near ” Amos “, 82 units in” Ofra “and two units in” Tsufim”.

In a dangerous development, a new Israeli law allows if approved, the control of Palestinian villages in the occupied West Bank located in areas “C” under the so-called “absentee properties” in the West Bank, as it allocates rural areas in favor of the Settlement Brigade, and authorizes it to manage the lands and register them, knowing that “the brigade or the Settlement Department” is considered as the executive arm of the occupation government in the West Bank for decades.

On the other hand, Israeli Knesset Speaker, Paul Edelstein decided to participate in a tour organized by the so-called “extreme right-wing Um-Trasto Movement” in Hebron, as they called for the application of Israeli sovereignty over Hebron. He also participated in the Lobby land of Israel Conference, which was held at the Knesset under the title, “Support, Solidarity and Commitment to Jewish settlement in Hebron”. Adding Israel is working to develop and invest in Hebron for generations to come. Worthless to say, Israeli Minister of Culture and Sport, Miri Regev also participated in the inauguration of the “Amona outpost” after settlers recently re-established it.

For his part, and in his context of continuing his activity and support policy of settlement and annexation, Nir Barkat, the former mayor of the occupied Jerusalem, concluded recently an extensive visit to the US, in which he presented the political formula adopted by the Israeli right, which is the imposition of Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank, granting Palestinian self-rule, where his meetings focused on presenting the political plan agreed on the Israeli right as an alternative to “the failed plan that is called the two-state solution.

A report issued by the Peace Now on the ongoing Israeli operations to launder settlement outposts and legitimize them under the title “From the Occupation to the Apartheid”, showing the most significant changes in the legal status of the Palestinian territories in the West Bank and the settlements in it he last decade, where Netanyahu is in office, confirmed that the starting point was the change in the Israeli government’s attitude towards the illegal settlement outposts by announcing its intention to legitimize them. This was translated on the ground through legitimizing more than 35 outposts until today.

In light of this policy practiced by the Israeli Government, neglecting the international community, international law and the resolutions of international legitimacy, including resolution 2334 of the UN Security Council at the end of 2016, the European Union, France, Britain and Turkey condemned the Israeli government’s agreement to build more than 2,000 housing units settlements in the occupied West Bank. “The European Union’s position on Israeli settlement construction and other related activities is clear and unchanged,” said Maya Kosianicic, spokeswoman for European Head of Diplomacy, Federica Mugirini. “All settlement activities are illegal under international law.

For its part, the French Foreign Ministry issued a statement on the Israeli authorities’ resolution in which it confirmed such resolution will lead to the expansion of settlements in the West Bank contrary to international law, as confirmed by resolution 2334 of the UNSC.

The National Bureau for Defending the Land and Resisting Settlement welcomed these positions and the decision of the Danish parliament last week, which adopted a large majority, 81 votes in return for 22 votes on the resolution to exclude the Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine from any agreements with Israel, and also decided to strengthen government lines directed against the investment of official and personal bodies in the settlements. The resolution also supports the work of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in drafting a “black list” of Israeli companies operating in the territories. He called on all governments of the world to stop all forms of cooperation with Israeli settlements and stop the entry of goods produced in the Israeli settlements.