Bethlehem /PNN/ By: Madeeha Al-A’raj
The National Bureau for defending land and resisting settlements ( nbprs ) stated in its latest weekly report, that within the so-called Israeli scheme the ‘Jerusalem Basin’ that links the settlements built on the Palestinian people lands with each other in Jerusalem and its neighborhoods, especially the Sheikh Jarrah citizens have been facing lawsuits since 1972 demanding them to evacuate in favor of settler organizations that want to establish a settlement on the ruins of their homes. Thousands of Jerusalemites are facing the risks of displacement in all neighborhoods of Jerusalem, starting from the Sheikh Jarrah to the Wadi Al-Joz neighborhood.
The occupation municipality in Jerusalem and the settlement groups use the Israeli judicial system as a tool to pass settlement plans that amount to ethnic cleansing by evacuating about 80 houses that are inhabited by about 2,200 Jerusalemites, and to reside settlers in their place, thus raising the number of settlers to become more than the number of Jerusalemites. To the east of the city, there are currently 12 homes threatened with evacuation as soon as possible, and they are inhabited by about 120 Jerusalemites.
This coincides with the Israeli municipality’s demand from the Israeli Local Affairs Court 3 weeks ago to renew demolition orders of scores of buildings in Silwan, which are inhabited by about 1,500 Palestinian Jerusalemites. If the demand approved, then more than 100 homes of 1,550 people in the Al Bustan area within the Silwan neighborhood are at risk of immediate demolition.
The municipality’s aims are to implement a settlement project in place of these Palestinian buildings and to establish the so-called ‘King’s Garden Park’, which was announced by the former mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, in 2010.
The plan calls for the establishment of this settlement project in the Al-Bustan neighborhood in Silwan to be a ‘tourist and archaeological site. The plan included the demolition of dozens of buildings and the expulsion of the Palestinian families who are living there.
At the same time, the Lyon’s Municipality approved the plan to establish a site that includes a memorial in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood for the soldiers of the Occupation Army who were killed during the occupation of Jerusalem in 1967.
The plan includes the construction of monitoring points and a small theater, at a time when the Palestinians suffer of lack public institutions and open spaces. The project is financed by the ‘Permanent Fund of Israel’, at a cost of NIS 1,000,000, and is located in the heart of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
This means that dozens of Palestinian families in the neighborhood will face lawsuits demanding that they vacate their homes, as part of a large settlement plan in the neighborhood, given that settlement associations claim the existence of Jewish ownership of the neighborhood since before 1948.
In a new and continued escalation, the occupation municipality began preparing the infrastructure to establish a huge sports complex that extends over an area of more than 4 dunams on land owned by Palestinian citizens of the town of Kafr Aqab, which borders Qalandia Airport – in Qalandia, north of occupied Jerusalem, and it has started to raze the lands. According to the municipality’s statement, the project includes a sports complex, a park, and a fire station.
The bulldozing operations to create the infrastructure coincided with the outbreak of violent confrontations with the Palestinians and the occupation forces, who escorted the bulldozers of the municipality.
The occupation authorities have intensified their military and security presence on Airport Street in the Kafr Aqab town and installed a sign announcing and demolishing facilities, bulldozing lands, and threatening to demolish commercial stores in the Al-Matar neighborhood in the town, declaring it a military zone.
Thus, many homes and commercial establishments in the project area are threatened with demolition based on demolition orders issued by the occupation municipality in Jerusalem 2 months ago, including 10 structures and at least 7 homes.
As for the settlement activities, the so-called Supreme Council of Settlement at the Civil Administration announced its approval of the seizure of about 50 dunums of Husan and Nahalin lands in Bethlehem Governorate, and work to change its agricultural nature in favor of the settlement of ‘Beitar Illit’.
The targeted lands are basins 3 and 4 in the Matreersia area, Khirbet al-Kabra, and Walad Abu Al-Hamra site from the lands of Husan village. The confiscation decision stated that these lands will be converted into public places, settler roads, and settlement units.
Within the occupation’s continuous plans to empty the Palestinian valleys of its people, the Israeli High Court’ approved the decision to demolish Khirbet al-Mateh in the northern Jordan Valley, knowing that a petition was submitted by the Wall and Settlement Resistance Commission to stop the demolition notices that the occupation forces delivered about a month ago to 26 families from the ruins, which opens the door before a new Israeli demolition and displacement process. The population of Khirbet al-Maita is about 700, and it is located within the Bedouin village of al-Malih and al-Mudarib in Wadi al-Malih. It is surrounded by many occupation army camps in addition to settlements. Worth mentioning that the area is rich in water, as there are 8 freshwater springs, besides being located near an archaeological area.
In Hebron, settlers stormed the Qafishah yard next to the AlIbrahimi Mosque in the Old City, using bulldozers.
The aforementioned yard is vacant due to the collapse of many of their homes, and the occupation authorities have prevented the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee from restoring it, but on the other hand, all the houses adjacent to these yards are full and inhabited homes, and there are real fears that the adjacent houses will be damaged or collapsed over the heads of their inhabitants as a result of such attacks.
Even though settlers intend to implement this settlement project in the heart of the Old City of Hebron to connect the outposts to each other, starting from Al-Daboyah, Asma School, the Bus Station and the Hisbah settlement, reaching the Ibrahimi Mosque, and achieving communication between them, taking advantage of the prevailing situation resulting from the Corona pandemic.