Bennett Approves A number of Settlement Projects Few Days Before Leaving Office

Bethlehem/PNN/ By: Madeeha Al-A’raj

The National Bureau for defending land and resisting settlements ( nbprs ) stated in its latest weekly report, that the American Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman in his astonishing statements that reflect the racist-Zionist ideology, has urged the Netanyahu-Gantz’s Government to accelerate annexation of the occupied West Bank’s areas, adding that the Trump’s Administration would immediately recognize such a step to annex 30% of the lands, especially, in the Jordan Valley and Settlements, and support its sovereignty over them under the Deal of the Century.

Friedman said Israel can’t relinquish Hebron or any other areas, being in the heart of the Jewish Torah, and that 97% of the settlement can be expanded freely, including the Ariel settlement near Salfit, which he considered it as “Tel Aviv.”

Friedman also pointed out that vertical construction will be allowed in 3% of the settlements. “Democratic Administrations under certain conditions approved Israel’s sovereignty in the settlement blocs, for example in the Gush Etzion, Ma’aleh Adumim, and Ariel, but no one ever spoke of Hebron, Shilo, Beit-Eil. My administration understands how important are these areas to Israel. It is illogic that Israel relinquishes these areas, just as it illogic to expect that the United States can relinquish the Statue of Liberty and the Lincoln Memorial,” Friedman said.

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For his part, the Israeli Army Minister, Naftali Bennett approved the confiscation of about 1,100 to expand the “Efrat settlement” located between Bethlehem and Hebron in order to build 7,000 housing units in it with the aim of blocking the so-called two-state solution forever.

Minister of Security in the Occupation Government, who has the authority to approve building plans in settlements built in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, instructed the so-called in charge of State and Absentee Property to approve construction plans, and to start planning a new settlement on “Hill of the Eagles” as the occupation named it, and to be added to annexed to the Efrat settlement, which would inevitably lead to the separation of Bethlehem from its surroundings. The approval came with direct and urgent directions from PM Netanyahu before Bennett leave the cabinet to make his agenda a de facto before any Israeli government.

On another level, the Israeli army and settler gangs’ violations continued in a number of West Bank governorates. In Hebron Governorate, settlers have bulldozed areas of agricultural land in favor of building a settlement road near the “Night settlement” that was built on the land of the Dura town, south of Hebron. In Nablus Governorate, the Israeli occupation forces prevented citizens from plowing their lands in Al-Zawiya village, south of Nablus, on the pretext that they are closed military areas. Moreover, a settler has set up a tent in the Al-Wad area, others have cut hundreds of olive trees. In the Bethlehem Governorate, settlers cut down 450 vine-trees from the village of Al-Khader.

A Palestinian citizen mentioned that he owns 40 dunums of land between the settlement of Efrat, planted with grapes, almonds, and olives. He is subjected to permanent pressure and attacks by settlers in order for forcing him to leave his land.

For her part, May Golan, member of the Knesset for Likud party has agreed with the heads of settlement councils, supported by the Likud Minister of Economy, and other members of the Netanyahu’s camp at the Knesset, presented a bill to the Knesset to implement Israeli occupation sovereignty over the settlements in the occupied West Bank, the Jordan Valley, and the northern Dead Sea, alleging these areas are of strategic importance for Israel, and there are thousands of settlers living there, who are an integral part of the State of Israel.

Moreover, the Israeli Minister of Security, Naftali Bennett, approved restoration work in the section that was taken from the Al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron in favor of Jewish Prayer Halls, despite the fact that the powers to carry out any works there are within the jurisdiction of the Hebron Municipality, under the Oslo Accord and the Hebron Agreement. After the confiscation of lands adjacent to the Ibrahimi Mosque, Naftali Bennett approved that to provide access to the area for the physically handicapped and people with special needs, funded by the ministries of tourism, religions, and security, which cost about NIS 5,000,000.
On the context, official and domestic international responses that condemn the Israeli annexation projects supported and covered by the American administration continued. In addition to reactions condemning the annexation plans that the Israeli Emergency Government intends to implement, and tackled at the settlement report last week, the committee of the UN General Assembly called on the international community, in particular the Security Council, to assume its responsibilities and take urgent actions to address the dangers of Israel annexing the Palestinian lands, considering that undermines the so-called two-state solution. It also called on Israel to heed the Secretary-General’s recent appeal to halt its illegal actions and practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem.

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