Bethlehem/PNN/ report by: Madeeha Al-A’raj
The National Bureau for defending land and resisting settlements ( nbprs ) stated in its latest weekly report, that the Israeli Occupation Government headed by PM Bennett continues the annexation and settlement expansion policy, as the previous Netanyahu government approved the construction of 9000 housing units on the Qalania Airport land in Jerusalem, the spokesman for the military authority that supervises the civil affairs in the occupied Palestinian territories since June 1967 announced mid-last week that the Higher Planning Committee in the Civil Administration has approved the construction of some 3000 settlement units in settlements established in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which means ending the two-state solution and preventing the establishment of a Palestinian State.
The approval comes despite the US opposition towards settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank, and the public statements made by officials in the White House in this regard, as the spokesman of the secretary f state said, “We are very concerned about the Israeli government’s plan to build thousands of settlement units, and we oppose this settlement expansion, which is completely incompatible with what he called efforts to reduce the level of tension and harms the prospects for a two-state solution.
Under the plan, 1,800 settlement units out of the 3,144 received a final permit to start settlement construction, while a plan has been pushed to build 1,344 settlement units that require additional permits. The settlement units are to be distributed among about 30 settlements and outposts in the West Bank and Jerusalem; Kfar Etzion 292 units, Har Brakhah 286 units, Talmon 224 units, Alon Shavut 105 units, Karnei Shomron 83 units. Moreover, the ministry announced the marketing of 1,500 new settlement units in the Jordan Valley during the next 5 years.
Wide international condemnation to this Israeli move, as the United Nations expressed its deep concern, stressing that all settlements are illegal, as well as 12 EU’s countries, along with Russia and Britain, called on Israel to immediately refrain from building 3,000 new settlement units in the West Bank. In a joint statement to spokesmen for the foreign ministries of Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, and Sweden, they stated their strong opposition to the settlement expansion policy, which violates international law and undermines efforts for a two-state solution.
They renewed the demand for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 with all its provisions in order to restore confidence and create the necessary conditions for consolidating peace.
At the same time, the Israeli municipality in Jerusalem approved last week a large settlement plan in Wadi Al-Joz Neighborhood to build offices and shops on a 230,000 m2. The plan appears to be developmental to the neighborhood, while in fact, it is a settlement, as it strengthens the Jewish presence in the area. Moshe Leon, mayor of the occupation municipality in Jerusalem named the plan “Silicon Valley” hoping to attract investors who support the Israeli economy in Jerusalem, knowing that the plan faces multiple problems as it targets lands that are mostly private ones.
On the other hand, it is inferred from the data provided by the Civil Administration to the Center for the Defense of the Individual “HaMoked” about the year 2020 that the Israeli army rejected 73% of Palestinian farmers’ requests to cultivate their lands.
Furthermore, data provided by the Civil Administration as part of a petition based on the Jerusalem Freedom of Information Law showed that Palestinian farmers had submitted 8,015 application forms to get entry permits to their lands in the seam area, but only 2,187 of these applications i.e. 27% were approved, while 5,831 applications i.e. 73% were rejected due to security reasons, the data reveal that only 0.9% of the rejected applications i.e. less than 1% were rejected on security grounds, and bureaucratic reasons. Adding that the army decided, that there was no “agricultural need” to cultivate plots of land called “plots of less than the minimum area” i.e. less than 330m2