Bethlehem/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 fifth anniversary of the UN Resolution 2334 that was 14 members were with, and with the abstention of the USA, the Security Council affirmed that settlement is illegal and a flagrant violation of International Law, and called on Israel to stop all settlement activities, including natural growth, and to dismantle all outposts erected since March 2001. But, following the issuance of the decision, we didn’t witness a slowdown in the pace of settlement. On the contrary, settlement plans increased and roamed the Palestinian land without being held accountable or punished.
Last years have witnessed dozens of settlement plans in the occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem, and infrastructure projects for settlements, such as the new settlement bypass road and sewage projects, and the construction of more outposts, which exceeded 280 ones by 2021, while 26,331 housing units were approved for construction in the settlements between 2017 – 2020, compared to 10,331 units scheduled for construction in the period 2013 – 2016.
Worth mentioning that many local and international circles expressed their concern about the high rate of crime and violence directed by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank as 2021 recorded the highest levels of violence in recent years at the hands of herds of settlers and Jewish terrorist organizations.
The rise in crimes against what the occupation authorities call a national background is linked to the outposts and agricultural farms that these authorities have allowed to establish in more than one area. In Yitzhar and Shilo near Nablus, there was an increase in crime, whether in chopping olive trees or throwing stones at Palestinian cars at crossroads.
An increase in violence was also seen in Hebron, where a number of settlement outposts and farms have been established in recent years. In the first10 months of 2021, there were 410 attacks by settlers against Palestinians of which 302 were against property and 108 against individuals, while the year 2020 witnessed 358 attacks and 335 attacks during 2019. These numbers do not reflect the whole truth.
49% of Palestinians who are exposed to settler violence didn’t file any suitcase because they do not expect justice. Indeed, according to the National Bureau for Defending Land and Resisting Settlement, and other international organizations, the Israeli authorities closed about 91% of the investigation files into settler attacks against Palestinians between 2005 and 2019 without charging any.
On the other hand, the planning authority in the occupation municipality approved a plan to expand the commercial complex ‘Al-Malha Mall’ on the lands of Al-Malah, Beit Safafa and Al-Walajah, by adding 12,700m2 for trade and employment, while two 18-story towers will be built – one as commercial offices and the other to accommodate 300 new settlement units.
The planning committee said that this policy goes in line with the approach of promoting the scale of construction and mixed uses along the light rail and public transport routes as a whole and that the Malha district will be one of the important public transports in the city.
As for settlers, they launched last week a series of attacks, some of which used firearms, on Palestinian villages in the vicinity of Nablus, concentrated in the village of Burqa, where 40 houses were attacked, 5 others were also attacked in the Sebastia village north of Nablus, and 10 other houses were attacked by settlers in the village of Deir Sharaf, as well as attacks on the villages of Qariut, Qusra, and al-Lubban, during which the settlers used weapons, stones, and sticks in their brutal attacks on the citizens.
Moreover, the Israeli occupation army issued lenient instructions to its soldiers about opening fire and pressing the trigger in targeting Palestinian citizens who are defending their lands in the face of settlers’ attacks.
The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem issued a statement, saying that the Israeli occupation forces don’t use shooting in the West Bank under special circumstances, but rather as a ‘routine procedure’, even without the targets posing a threat to these forces. Thus, the occupation army allowed its soldiers to shoot at Palestinians throwing stones at any case, just kill, even if they a not facing danger. Knowing that since the beginning of 2021, the number of martyrs who were targeted by the occupation bullets was 84 martyrs, 79 of them males and 5 females, including 7 cases of targeting and killing at the occupation checkpoints throughout the Palestinian territories.