A New Settlement Bloc Crossing the West Bank Toward Palestinian Valleys

By: Madeeha Araj/ NBPRS/

The National Bureau for Defending Land and Resisting Settlements said , that Israel is planning to implement a new settlement bloc project in the center of the West Bank  toward Palestinian Valleys. The national bureau added that as the Israeli elections are taking place next April, Israeli parties began issuing racist statements, harming the Palestinian people in order to gain the satisfaction of settlers at the expense of the rights of the Palestinian people, of which most recently the call made by Israeli Minister of Science and Technology, Ophir Akunis to impose Israeli sovereignty over the occupied West Bank, to accelerating the pace of settlement construction in the West Bank and to increase the budget of the Israeli security forces operating in there. He pointed out that security and construction would bring more Jews to settle in the West Bank. Knowing that last year, the Likud Party approved by a large majority a draft resolution to impose Israeli law on settlements in the occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem, and to annex them under the Israeli sovereignty.

Within this context, the planning and building committees in the military government approved a project to expand several settlements in the West Bank to form a settlement bloc that reaches the Jordanian border and the King Hussein Bridge. The Ma’ale Mikhmas settlement  and a number of surrounding outposts such as Mitzpeh Danny and Neve Erez will be the center of the bloc. Minister of Justice, the organizational committees in the military government, religious and settlement parties and the Yesha Council are doing their best before the upcoming Israeli elections to gain satisfaction and support of the settlers through seizing 40% of the West Bank -Area C- which constitutes 62% of it.

Not only Israel they are doing so, but the occupation authorities have for years implemented Judaization and change of the Palestinian character of the occupied West Bank’ Governorates through settlement expansion and roadblocks, while preventing Palestinians from building and/or expanding urban areas. Israel built a road called “Trans Samaria,” which connects Tel Aviv to the Jordan Valley, built dozens of settlements on its sides, and changes the features of the area. The road is located on the land of Salfit in the so-called Israeli “Ariel Finger,” which includes 15 settlements. It starts from the Palestinian town of Kafr Qasim inside the Green Line, passing through the towns of Salfit to Za’tara Junction to the south of Nablus towards the Palestinian Valleys.

Within the atmosphere that accompanies the Israeli legislative elections, the complicity of the Israeli Judicial System with the settlers can be easily felt. As the Jerusalem District Court convicted 9 Jewish youths of assaulting 2 Palestinian youths from the town of Beit Hanina in northern Jerusalem, causing 100% disability to one of them, the court did not sentence any of the attackers. Seven of the convicted filed a plea saying they are not involved, and the Judge, Moshe Drori agreed to release them, some of them were fined to pay NIS 2,000 – 5,000 to the victims, an eight-month imprisonment or work at the public service. Knowing that the prosecutor, Uri Goldstein ordered to be imprisoned for 18 months at least.

As for the ethnic cleansing and forced displacement of Palestinian citizens in most of the occupied areas “C”, and in and around Jerusalem and its surroundings in particular, the Israeli occupation authorities are continuing their arbitrary and racist measures to evacuate the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood to change its historical legal and cultural features. The Israeli Department of Justice delivered an order to the Sabbagh family demanding that they have to evacuate the building, which homes about 35 Palestinian families, before Jan. 23, 2019, and to replace them with settlers. Moreover, the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, which has been inhabited by more than 100 Palestinian families since the 1950s, the Settlement Associations has been working on their displacement in preparation for the construction of an 8-storey settlement, each of which consists of 12 floors, in a largest displacement process since the Nakba i.e. “the Palestinian Catastrophe”.

In a clear exploitation of the Arab and Islamic regional situation, and based on the Trump’ decision as he recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the occupying state, a change is being made on the historical and legal situation of Jerusalem. The Israeli Foreign Ministry has sent letters to all countries that have official relations with Israel demanding them to transfer their embassies to Jerusalem.

On the other hand, the Israeli Minister of Internal Security, Erdogan has written to Netanyahu requesting to end the mission of Temporary International Presence in Hebron, and not expel its workers, claiming that it harms soldiers stationed in Hebron and the 450 settlers in the city, adding it interferes with the work of the Israeli army and police, cooperates with extremist organizations and encourages the de-legitimization of Israel. He noted that the work of the international force in Hebron ends within 14 days and renewed every six months, calling not to renew for it.

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