Jerusalem/PNN/ By: Madeeha Al-A’raj
The National Bureau for defending land and resisting settlements ( nbprs ) stated in its latest weekly report, that on the eve of the Knesset elections on the 23rd this March, the right-wing parties in Israel are competing to win the votes of the settlers, as Israeli PM Netanyahu clearly said that settlements constitute a lever for the Likud party, while the head of the New Hope Party, Gideon Saar vowed to consolidate settlement activity in the West Bank in the coming years, claiming that the Likud leader missed the opportunity to do so during the former US President Donald Trump.
It is known that as the elections draw nearer, votes of the right-wing and extreme-right parties and the settler parties are rising, which view settlements as a lever to win the elections as the number of settlers in the West Bank including Jerusalem exceeds 750,000 settlers, and that Palestinian Jerusalemites often pay the price.
Within this context, the occupation government steps up settlement plans, as the Israeli Ministry of Interior approved amendments and additions to the project presented by the Moshe Leon Municipality in Jerusalem three weeks ago, to build 930 new settlement units as part of a comprehensive plan to expand the Pisgat Zeev settlement on the land of Palestinian villages northeast of Jerusalem, including Beit Hanina, Hezmah, and Anata, with investments of approximately NIS 400 million.
Since the beginning of this year, the occupation municipality in Jerusalem has started working on two parallel lines, the first is to accelerate the demolition of Palestinian homes, and the second is to encourage to expand of settlements in the areas north and south of the city, and the promotion of a new strategic plan to reinforce the settlements of Pisgat Zeev and Ramat Shlomo in the north of the city, and Gilo and Givat Hamatos in the south, claiming that this came within a project to expand the public space, community life, education, sports, culture, and entertainment, along with implementing advanced transportation and reform road solutions to boost local business.
The cost of implementing the plan is estimated at NIS 400 million in the settlement of Pisgat Zeev, where the red line of the light railway will be extended to connect the north of Pisgat Zeev with the central station on Jaffa Street in West Jerusalem. Work on the project will begin in the coming months to extend the railways north of Pisgat Zeev and build about 930 additional housing units in the settlement, as part of the plan, and to market plots of land to build about 680 housing units, and about 250 luxury housing units protected. The transportation system will also be developed at a cost of more than NIS 277 million to reduce traffic between Binyamin Settlement behind the Apartheid Wall and Pisgat Zeev.
In Jerusalem, the occupation government also continues the policy of systematic expulsion and ethnic cleansing in parallel with settlement projects, as the Central Occupation Court in Jerusalem issued a resolution rejecting the appeal of three families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem against the Reconciliation Court’s decision to evict them.
The court gave them a timeout to evict their houses by the end of coming April. Moreover, the Central Court in the middle of last month issued a similar decision against 4 other Palestinian families in the same neighborhood and gave them a timeout for the beginning of May to vacate their homes, and also the decision to evacuate the Sabbagh family in Nov. 2020.
These decisions put them at risk of forced displacement at any time. It was learned that the families intend to petition the Israeli Supreme Court against the eviction decisions, as settler groups are planning to establish a settlement of 250 settlement units on the rubble of Palestinian homes.