Bethlehem/PNN/ report by: Madeeha Al-A’raj
The National Bureau for defending land and resisting settlements ( nbprs ) stated in its latest weekly report, it seems the Palestinian public opinion has been misled by the new US administration, as it has not announced yet a clear position on Jewish settlement in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. This coincided with the recent visit of the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Palestinian and Israeli Affairs, Hadi Amr, and his meetings with officials in Ramallah and others in Tel Aviv, during which he conveyed the Biden administration’s concern about the situation of the Palestinian Authority and that he did not see the authority in a worse situation than that, describing it as a dry forest waiting to erupt, calling on the Israeli government to take steps for the so-called confidence-building between the two sides.
Disinformation maneuvers by the Israeli media reported that PM Naftali Bennett is preventing the convening of the Higher Council for Planning and Building in the Civil Administration of the occupation army in response to a request made by the Administration.
The Israel Hayom newspaper, which is close to Benjamin Netanyahu in particular, exaggerated the deception to the extent of claiming that Bennett’s decision means “a complete freeze on future (settlement) construction” in the West Bank, explaining that “as long as the council does not meet, new (settlement) plans cannot be approved.”
It was considered as a capitulation to American dictates. According to the procedures followed by the occupation government, the Supreme Council for Planning and Building in the West Bank holds a regular meeting every three months, to approve new settlement plans, including the development of infrastructure in the settlements and the expansion of public space there.
The council is considered the supreme authority that grants approvals for any plans for settlement construction in the West Bank. In fact, it is considered the parallel council to the Qatar Planning and Building Committee, but its authority is limited to the West Bank and is administratively affiliated with the Ministry of the Army.
The Israeli government’s response on that was not delayed as the PM, Naftali Bennett, made it clear that there was no American pressure at any level, and that the Council did not meet even during the era of the former PM Netanyahu. Knowing that he is completely in line with the settlement policy that his government is following in accordance with the agreements reached in the consultations before forming the government, which confirmed that the new government will continue building in the settlements without restrictions, and the already approved plans in the settlements, including the so-called isolated settlements, during the Netanyahu government, which will be implemented soon.
Within the context, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that the current government will preserve and strengthen the settlement blocs in the occupied West Bank. Gantz’s statement came during a meeting with members of the Meretz party in the Israeli government to discuss security and political issues. He added about the settlement in the “Evitar” settlement that it will only be in accordance with the law, and a decision will not be taken until after the completion of the survey of the land.
In an unprecedented and dangerous public escalation, Israeli PM Naftali Bennett equated what he claimed as the right of Jews to worship on the Temple Mount, which is the Zionist name for the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the right of Muslims to Al-Aqsa Mosque. This came during consultations he held, with Minister of Internal Security Omer Bar-Lev and Inspector General of Police Kobi Shabtai. Bennett thanked the Minister of Internal Security and the Israeli police for managing the incursions while preserving freedom of worship for Jews on the Temple Mount.
Bennett added that freedom of worship would be guaranteed to Muslims who celebrate Eid al-Adha. This statement sets a dangerous precedent, especially as the reports added that Bennett instructed, during the security consultations, to continue allowing the Jews to storm Al-Aqsa. Naftali Bennett instructed the settlers to continue storming Al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied Jerusalem.
Bennett’s recommendation came in the wake of a situation assessment session in which the Israeli Minister of Internal Security and the Police Commissioner participated. Ofir Gendelman, a spokesman for the Israeli Prime Minister, said that Bennett receives reports on the situation on the ground, and will hold other sessions to assess the situation soon.
On the other hand, the Israeli High Court gave the so-called “representative of the state” 6 weeks to finish the issue of Khan al-Ahmar in East Jerusalem. The judges of the court made it clear that they did not intend to give the “state” another deadline, according to the Arabic-speaking Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation, a proposal will be presented to the Israeli government regarding the possibility of reaching an agreement on the voluntary evacuation of the residents in agreement with them