Bethlehem/PNN/ By: Madeeha Al-A’raj
The National Bureau for defending land and Resist settlements ( nbprs ) stated in its latest weekly report, that head of the Settlement Section in the World Zionist Organization, Yishai Merling, revealed that a move has begun to establish 1,000 settlement housing units to absorb Jews fleeing from Ukraine.
He added that a detailed plan was drawn up weeks before the start of the Russian-Ukrainian war to create temporary homes for Jewish families in Ukraine, who plan to immigrate to Israel.
The plan includes building apartments with 55-90m2 that will be erected in areas near the northern border in the Negev and Wadi Araba, the Valley of Springs near Bisan, and in the Jordan Valley.
The Head of the Gush Etzion settlement council stated that the council receives Jewish families that have fled Ukraine, and that the settlers are lucky to host the Jews.
It is reported that 2 flights arrived in Israel from Ukraine before the closure of its airspace with the start of the war, one from Kyiv and the other from Odessa, and there were only 100 immigrants on board, which indicates that most of Ukraine’s Jews, who number more than 200,000 refuse to immigrate to Israel, but prefer staying in their country, or migrating to other places, a situation that shocked the Zionist project.
Within the context, the Israeli Minister of Communications, Yoaz Handel, said that Israel will not give up the Golan Heights or give up the Jordan Valley in exchange for any security guarantees in any future political process, adding that this position stems from the lessons learned from the Russian war on Ukraine, saying: We must learn how Israel must remain a regional power that knows how to defend itself.
Moreover, settlers have began building tents and barns in the Bayoud area, 400 meters to the east of Ain al-Hilweh in the northern Jordan Valley, specifically in the lands that the occupation authorities declared a “nature reserve” several years ago. At the same time, settlers from “Yitzhar” settlement placed several mobile homes on the lands of Asira al-Qibliya village, southwest of Nablus, near the house of Abd al-Basit Ahad at the southern area of the village.
The data of the Yesha Settlement Council showed that the number of settlers in the West Bank areas including the Jordan Valley will rise to reach half a million by the end of this year 2022. According to these data, there is a jump in population growth among settlers, as 15,890 new settlers lived in those settlements during 2021, compared to 12,123 in 2020. The total number of settlers in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley reached until last January 491,923 live in 150 settlements and outposts.
The annual population growth rate in 2021 was 3.3%, while in 2020 it was about 2.6%, and the population growth in settlements is much higher than in all of Israel, which reached 1.7% by the end of 2021. Since 2011, the number of settlers has increased to 43% in ten years, an average of 3.7% each year. At the end of 2021, the population of Israel was about 9.449 million, of whom 5.2% lived in settlements in various regions of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley. The settlements of Modi’in, Illit, Beitar Illit, Ma’ale Adumim, Ariel are among the largest settlements in the West Bank, and more than 211,751 settlers live in them, constituting 43% of the settlement population.
In a new report, “The Routine of Violence,” B’Tselem – a human rights organization concerned with the rights of Palestinians under occupation monitored the aggravation of settlers’ attacks and crimes against Palestinians in the West Bank in general and in East Jerusalem in particular, pointing to the practices of the police and settlement groups in Silwan Sheikh Jarrah and at the crossroads in the West Bank and on the outskirts of settlements and outposts. It said that what is happening in the occupied Palestinian territories reveals two paths, the official path being carried out by the government and the army, where Israel has looted more than two million dunams of West Bank lands since it occupied it in 1967, and the second unofficial path expresses itself with attacks, thefts and robbery of settlers by force, weapons and arrogance on Palestinian lands under the protection of the army, the settlements in the West Bank control hundreds of thousands of dunams, lands to which Palestinian entry is prohibited or restricted.