Bethlehem / PNN /
The National Bureau for Defending the Land and Resisting Settlements stated in its latest weekly report that Occupation Gov’t intends to double the budgets transferred to the settlement councils in the West Bank to be used in monitoring and documenting Palestinian construction in Area C, for the years 2023 - 2024. A budget of NIS 40,000,000 will be allocated to the Local and Regional Settlement Councils. The settlement is looking forward to double the budget that will be allocated to settlers in order to provide them with drones and patrols that monitor Palestinian construction in Area C, with the aim of fighting the Palestinian presence there.
Knowing that Ministry of Settlement, headed by Tzachi Hanegbi has approved in 2020 a NIS 20,000,000 budget to monitor Palestinian construction in Area C. In recent years, the so-called ‘Land Patrols’ have been operating and active in the West Bank settlements, which monitor Palestinian construction and agriculture, where the occupation patrols submit their reports to the ‘Civil Administration’ and the army in order to issue notices of demolition and stop construction for the Palestinians.
The Civil Administration also operates a hotline calling on settlers to report Palestinian construction work, which is known in Israel as the ‘Campaign on Area C’, as part of a plan to empty Area C of Palestinians and annex it to Israel.
At the same time, the Occupation Authorities are promoting preliminary plans for about 6,500 settlement units in new or existing settlements in East Jerusalem, despite their repeated commitments to a temporary halt to construction in the settlements.
Moreover, the Israeli Local Planning Committee in Jerusalem submitted plans for the Wadi Joz Business Center ‘Silicon Valley’, the Lower Canal, and Ramot. The Local Planning Committee in Jerusalem had recently held discussions on 5 settlement plans in French Hill // Mount Scopus 2, Givat Shaked, Pisgat Ze'ev, and Ramot, and the objections submitted on the lower canal plan on March 29 and rejected it.
Whereas the lower canal plan includes the construction of 1,465 housing units and would lead to the expansion of the territorial contiguity between ‘Har Homa and Givat Hamatos’, which would lead to an increase in settlement wedge between the southern end of East Jerusalem and the Bethlehem area in the West Bank.
As for the Wadi Al-Jouz Business Center, despite the claim that it will increase job opportunities for Palestinians and boost the economy in East Jerusalem, there is a deep concern that it will eventually lead to the eviction and demolition of about 200 Palestinian companies.
As for the Ramot North A and Ramot North B Scheme that was discussed by the Planning Committee. It would result in the expansion of the current settlement of Ramot northeastward towards Bir Nabala. Concerning French Hill / Mount Scopus, work is underway within the framework of the development of 2 plans in the area and the buildings of the Hebrew University campus in Mount Scopus for a total of 1,539 housing units. This is in addition to the expansion of Pisgat Ze'ev by about 730 housing units to the east towards the separation wall and the Hizma area, which leads to the depletion of the few remaining land reserves in the area.
Thus, the local planning committee at the Occupation Municipality in Jerusalem had rejected the objections submitted to the Wadi Al-Joz Business Center’s plan ‘Silicon Valley’ and recommended approval of the plan, which will be built on the ruins of the Industrial Zone. The period for submitting objections to the plan ended on February 26, when 59 objections were submitted by landowners and business owners in the area, while the Israeli authorities claim that the Wadi al-Jouz Business Center ‘Silicon Valley’ will increase employment opportunities for Palestinians and boost the economy in East Jerusalem, there is also concern that it will eventually lead to the eviction and demolition of about 200 Palestinian establishments, and replace them with Israeli or international companies.
At international level, the UN Human Rights Council adopted 2 resolutions on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the illegality of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, during a meeting in its 52nd regular session, where 38 countries voted in favor of the decision on the illegality of settlements in the Palestinian territories, including occupied Jerusalem, 5 countries abstained from voting, namely: Cameroon, Georgia, Lithuania, Romania and Ukraine, and 4 countries voted against, namely: the Czech Republic, the United States, the United Kingdom and Malawi.
As for the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, 41 countries voted in favor of the decision on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, and 3 countries abstained from voting, namely Cameroon, Lithuania and Romania, and 3 countries voted against the resolution, namely the Czech Republic, the United States and the United Kingdom, and the UN resolution came about two weeks after the Knesset approved the cancellation of what is known as the “disengagement law” or the law of “separation” from the occupation settlements and camps in the Gaza Strip and 4 settlements in the West Bank, which allows settlers to return to 4 settlements in the northern West Bank evacuated in 2005.