Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his Jerusalem office December 2, 2018. Gali Tibbon/Pool via REUTERS

Netanyahu Examines American Administration’s Reactions on Settlement Activities

Ramallah/PNN/ By: Madeeha Al-A’raj

The National Bureau for defending land and resisting settlements ( nbprs ) stated in its latest weekly report, that It seems that any new American Administration’s stance doesn’t clearly affect nor restrains the Israeli policy with regard to the increase or decrease of settlement activities or settlement construction, and they are subject to the degree of the republican or democrat administrations’ bias to Israel. In both cases, the Palestinian people are paying the price, especially since the official US position on settlement activities has proceeded in a direction that serves the Israeli interests. Knowing that settlement was considered as a violation of international law then became an obstacle in the way of any political settlement. The difference is clear and indicates a decline in the successive American administrations’ stances, but during the Trump era, it was no more a violation, nor an obstacle, but legal.

Thus, the Biden’s Administration inherited a heavy legacy but somehow returned to a position closer to American positions that consider settlements an obstacle to the settlement. However, it didn’t send a clear message to the Israeli Government calling for it to halt settlement activities, which encouraged the occupation municipality in Jerusalem to approve a plan to expand construction in the areas outside the Green Line, specifically the Har Homa settlement in the Jabal Abu Ghneim area between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. The area between Har Homa and Givat Hamatos.

Moreover, it plans to build another neighborhood that will include more than 2000 settlement units later in the Givat Hamatos area. It is worth noting that construction in these two areas will effectively isolate the village of Bin Safafa from the rest of the Palestinian areas. The human rights groups indicate that settlement expansion in Har Homa and Givat Hamatos will prevent the division of the eastern and western parts of Jerusalem in any possible future political settlement between the Palestinian and Israeli sides. In a special press conference, the Israeli PM Netanyahu announced a plan to build 3,500 settlement units east of the occupied city of Jerusalem, as part of the expansion of the settlement project in the area known as E1.

Within the context, the occupation army confiscated 13 dunums of the lands of Hizma town, east of the occupied Jerusalem, to pave a new road with 1 km long and 16 meters wide. While settlers began to establish a new settlement outpost west of the Hamra settlement in the northern Jordan Valley, which was established in the ’70s of the last century and controlled more than 50,000 donums, and this comes within a clear Judaization policy that begins with placing scattered caravans inhabited by a number of settlers to seize larger areas, confiscate Palestinian lands, and gather Jordan Valley settlements in a major settlement city, especially since these lands have been controlled by the occupation for years, and their original owners are prevented from reaching them, and the land originally belongs to the Beit Dajan village. In Bethlehem, settlers protected by the Israeli army have also re-erected 2 tents in the Taqo’ area east of Bethlehem, after being removed by the owners of the land a week ago.

Nablus, in the Dahr area adjacent to the Yitzhar settlement settlers, confiscated land to expand their settlement. Moreover, the Israeli occupation authorities notified the demolition and cessation of construction in 63 facilities (tents for housing and livestock pens), and a 3200-meter agricultural road in the Ras al-Ahmar area in the northern Jordan Valley, and they also stormed Khirbet Humsa al-Tahta (Homsa Basalia) and photographed 6 tents.

On the other hand, Israel confiscated residential buildings and carried out a collective punishment for the demolition of houses, which are prohibited under international law. Furthermore, Israeli settlement organizations – with the help of the Israeli authorities – began forcible evictions of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem.

Estimations by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs showed that the evicted families were 200, which exposes 800 adults and children to the risk of displacement. The Civil Administration of the occupation issued demolition orders for Palestinian houses under the pretext of not having permits.

For its part, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz revealed that out of 187 orders to demolish new buildings issued by the Civil Administration in the West Bank from 2019 until the end of 2020, 159 orders were issued to Palestinians and only 28 orders to settlers. Civil Administration data showed a significant increase in 2020 in the issuance of orders allowing the demolition of new buildings in Area C within 96 hours without the possibility of appeal. Most of the orders were issued to Palestinians, who still have difficulty in obtaining building permits.

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