Abusing pandemic: US & Israel to approve annexation maps

By: Madeeha Al-A’raj/ NBPRS/

The National Bureau for defending land and resisting settlements stated in its latest weekly report , that annexation plans are no longer obstacle to the formation of a new Israeli government as the Likud Party’s leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Kahol Lavan  Party’s leader, Benny Gantz have agreed in principle to impose Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea next July, in complete coordination with the American Administration.

Within the context, the Israeli Human Rights Organization “A’raim” warned the upcoming government of the consequences of annexing the Jordan Valley, and the settlements in the occupied West Bank under the so-called ‘Deal of the Century’, adding that the government is exploiting the world’s preoccupation with confronting the novel coronavirus to escalate its ongoing aggression against the Palestinians through annexing the above-mentioned areas. For his part, Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu vowed to the Head of the Settlements Council in the West Bank, David Al Hayani that annexation will be implemented soon.

Based on this, Israel Authorities continue to implement its plans of building in the areas inside the West Bank, especially in the ‘E1’ project that links Jerusalem with the Ma’ale Adumim Settlement, and by its completion, the project will separate the southern West Bank from its north. Knowing that Israel has caused during the last two and a half years a major boom in the project as it started to build 15,000 settlement units along with a decision to build 10,000 other units, and legalizing a large number of settlement outposts built by settlers in the West Bank.

On the other hand, the Israeli Government plans to seize large areas of Palestinian land north of the Jerusalem city in order to expand existing settlements in the region and impose new facts difficult to be changed in the future.  Thus, it launched in the beginning of March 2020 a construction plan aimed at expanding the Kochav Yaakov settlement located outside the borders of the Jerusalem municipality, and the construction of about 3541 new settlement units on the lands surrounding the settlement that belong to the villages of Kafr Aqab, Burqa and Makhamas, in a move that would undermine the geographical communication of these Palestinian communities. According to the Israeli maps, the area allocated for the new settlement construction exceeds 1591 dunums in the basin no. 3,5 of the Kafr Aqab village, west of the settlement, and basin no. 10 in the village of Burqa, north of the settlement, and basins no. 17 and 14 of the village of Makhamas, east of the settlement, with the aim of developing the settlement by 2040.

In a dangerous escalation, the occupation army and its settlers expanded their attack on the people in Palestinian cities and villages in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, as the Palestinian citizens quarantined themselves due to coronavirus since the declaration of the state of emergency. International, Palestinian and Israeli Human Rights Organizations have warned of the attacks by settlers against the Palestinians and their properties and lands.  B’Tselem for example has documented the occupation army and settlers’ attacks against the Palestinians and their properties.

Regarding the Israeli activities in the Bethlehem Governorate, the occupation authorities started installing cranes and heavy machinery in the Beir-Ounah area in preparation for receiving the excavators that will start to open tunnels in a mountain  parallel to those that were built in the first half of the 90s of the last century to be part of the main road crossing the territories of the occupied West Bank known as the bypass road no. 60, which is 235 km long. According to the data, there is a plan to construct at least two tunnels to be parallel to the existing one, the first of which is 270 meters long and the second is with a length of 900 meters connected by a bridge in the Beir-Ounah area.

In Jerusalem, the Israeli planning authorities put forward a plan to build an underground railway tunnel in the occupied city of Jerusalem that reaches the outskirts of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, a plan that began during the emergency period announced by the Israeli government, and the decision of the State Committee for Israeli Infrastructures to prepare the plans for Tatal 108, and Tatal 108, both of which have a favored position called a ‘state infrastructure projects.’ The first project relates to the construction of an underground railway tunnel that connects West Jerusalem and the Moroccan Gate area with the outskirts of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, while the second relates to the construction of a railway above the ground in the Jerusalem neighborhoods.