Isreli gov’t to impose settlement agenda on the Biden administration

By: Madeeha Al-A’raj/ NBPRS/

The National Bureau for defending land and resisting settlements (NBPRS) stated in its latest weekly report , that in 2010, the Israeli government announced its approval of expanding settlement in the Ramat Shlomo Neighborhood in the East Jerusalem, which caused serious tension between Israel and the United States at that time as the Netanyahu’s gov’t announced to build 1,600 housing units during the US Vice President, Joe Biden visit to Israel. Subsequently, construction was frozen until Trump came 4 years ago and encouraged that, thus, hundreds of settlement units have been built in the aforementioned settlement and other thousands of settlement units in various West Bank settlements, including East Jerusalem.

Tension continued between the Government of Israel and the administration of President Barack Obama and his deputy, Joe Biden, who called on the Government of Israel to demonstrate its commitment to the two-State solution with the Palestinians at the American Jewish Lobby Conference in March 2016, where he affirmed that ‘the Israeli government’s continuous endeavor to expand settlements and legislate outposts, adding land confiscation undermine hopes for a two-state solution.

Biden reiterated his criticism of the Israeli government, publicly and explicitly, in a rare precedent for a prominent US administration official towards Israel, where he said  in a speech to the pro-Israel J- Street group in the American capital, Washington, that there is increasing frustration within the US Administration over the positions of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is leading the country in the wrong direction. He wonders, “How can Israel be both a Jewish and a democratic state at a time?”

Hours before the new US President Joe Biden takes office, an attempt to impose settlement agenda on his Administration by, the occupation Government took the opportunity and published tenders through its Ministry of Housing and the Israeli Land Authority for the construction of 2572 new settlement units in the West Bank including occupied East Jerusalem. The decision includes 460 settlement units in the Bhasghat Ze’ev and Har Homa settlements in East Jerusalem, 941 in the settlement of Amanuel, 377 in Adam, 359 in Beit Ariyeh and 196 in Ma’ale Ephraim, 150 in Alfih Manche, 95 in Karneh Shomron and 16 in the Beitar Illit. Knowing that the published tenders are added to the 792 settlement units that was approved by the Israeli Civil Administration’s Bilateral Planning and Construction Commission, distributed among several settlements in the occupied West Bank. They include the construction of settlement units in the settlement of Tal Mnshe, and settlement outposts near Qalqilya in the northern West Bank, the status of which has not been settled. In addition, settlement companies in the northern West Bank have offered bids to build a settlement neighborhood in the north of the settlement of Itamar, southeast of Nablus. According to the project, a settlement neighborhood will be built with complete foundations.

Within the context, the Israeli Yesh Din organization has monitored at least 44 violent attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank in just a month. The attacks included attacks on Palestinians and the sabotaging their property protected by the Israeli army. According to the organization, in 31 cases monitored, settlers closed major junctions along the settlement road 60 in the West Bank, and threw stones at Palestinian cars, injuring at least 9 Palestinians, including a child. In 10 other cases, settlers broke into Palestinian villages, threw stones at residents and houses, and torched cars, in 3 other cases, groups of armed settlers attacked Palestinian farmers while they were working on their land.