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Israel approves 2,300 new settlement units deep in the occupied West Bank

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Israel has advanced plans for more than 2,300 illegal settlement units deep in the occupied West Bank, Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now has reported. 

The Higher Planning Committee (HPC) of the Israeli Civil Administration, the body responsible for authorizing settlement construction, convened over the course of Monday and Tuesday and approved 2,304 housing units, along with plans to retroactively legalize three outposts that were constructed illegally.

According to Peace Now, 88% of the units that were approved are located deep within the occupied territory, in settlements that “Israel will probably be forced to evacuate under a two-state agreement.”

Of the units that were advanced, 838 housing units were promoted for “validation”, the second or final stage of approval, while 1,466 housing units were approved for “deposit,” the first stage in the approval process.

The advancement of these new units comes just one week after the Israeli security cabinet announced it would be approving 715 permits for Palestinian construction in Area C of the West Bank, a move that was largely seen as a policy shift towards extending Israel’s sovereignty in the territory. Israel also approved 6,000 new settlement units at the time.

“The linkage of thousands of housing permits for settlers and a negligible number of housing units for Palestinians cannot hide the government’s discrimination policy,” Peace Now said.

The group highlighted the HPC’s approval of the illegal Haroeh Haiviri outpost that stands adjacent to the bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar “for which the government refuses to approve any construction permits and instead seeks to transfer.”

One of the more notable advancements by the HPC is the approval of the construction of a new neighborhood in the Ganei Modiin settlement, which lies just along the Green Line in the Ramallah district of the West Bank.

Plan No. 208/3/1 in Ganei Modiin will see the construction of 194 new units on the northwestern end of the settlement, right up to Israel’s separation barrier.

A map of Ganei Modiin and the new planned neighborhood. (Photo: Peace Now)

“Recall that just two weeks ago, Israeli authorities demolished 72 housing units in Wadi Hummus (in Area A and B) East of Jerusalem, claiming that they were built adjacent to the separation barrier and posed a security threat,” Peace Now highlighted.

Despite Palestinian residents of Wadi Hummus going so far as to apply to fund a high wall that would meet Israel’s security requirements, Peace Now noted, their application was rejected and the houses were demolished anyways.

But in the case of Ganei Modiin,“despite this inconsistency, the authorities decided to approve the construction of this plan in Ganei Modiin. The developers agreed to fund the building of a high wall for security purposes, thus resolving the matter,” Peace Now said.

There are an estimated 622,000 Israelis living in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in settlements that are considered illegal under international law.

According to the Times of Israel, over the past decade of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rule, Israel has begun building nearly 20,000 settler homes in the West Bank.

Many of the settlements are built on privately owned Palestinian lands, and result in the widespread destruction of Palestinian homes and agricultural land, restrictions on movement for Palestinians living in nearby towns, and settler violence towards Palestinians.

Israeli NGO B’Tselem has said “the settlements are the single most important factor in shaping life in the West Bank”:

“When it comes to Israeli settlements, the state turns a blind eye and offers support and retroactive approval, all as part of an overarching policy to de facto annex parts of the West Bank to Israel’s sovereign territory.

Palestinian communities, on the other hand, are subjected to painstaking bureaucracy, stalled plans and widespread demolitions, in keeping with Israel’s policy to prevent Palestinian development in the West Bank and continue dispossessing Palestinians of their land.”

Yumna Patel

Yumna Patel is the Palestine correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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2 Responses

  1. Misterioso on August 7, 2019, 10:35 am

    From my Canadian friend:

    https://canadatalksisraelpalestine.ca/author/peterlarsoncanada/

    “WHAT’S BEHIND THIS CANADIAN ZIONIST’S PROVOCATIVE PUBLICITY STUNT AT JERUSALEM’S DOME OF THE ROCK?” Canada talks Israel/Palestine, august 4/19

    “Canadian Lauren Isaacs caused much resentment among Palestinians (and the entire Muslim world) when she unfurled a ‘Herut Canada’ flag at the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem in June. In response, she claimed she was just visiting Jerusalem with her mom. But behind her apparent touristic naivety lies a right wing Canadian organization with an explicit objective.

    “A Jewish Canadian tourist in Israel feigned surprise at the hostile reaction from Palestinians and Muslims from around the world, after she posted on line a picture of herself holding up a Zionist flag on June 11th in front of the 1400 year old Dome of the Rock, an important symbol of the Muslim religion in Jerusalem.

    “In response to the anger, Isaacs told the Canadian Jewish News ‘I think that’s ridiculous. I was not provoking anyone. And I did not intend to incite anything. Holding a flag doesn’t incite anything. It’s prideful. It’s, celebratory, it’s happy. Everyone should hold their flags with pride.’

    “Isaacs naive claim to not want to ‘incite’ is hard to believe. Does she really believe that ‘everyone should hold their flags with pride?’ If a Palestinian were to happily wave a Palestinian Flag in front of the Wailing Wall, would Isaacs also see that as simply ‘prideful.’ Or would it be incitement? How long does she think the Palestinian would last before Israeli security (or outraged Jewish civilians) swarmed in?

    “No Innocent”
    “But Ms. Isaacs is no innocent tourist. She is the newly appointed Canadian director of a Toronto based organization called Herut Canada. Ms. Isaacs’ FB page tells us that she came to Herut from a previous job at Hasbara Fellowships Canada, an organization that ‘brings students to Israel and trains them to be effective pro-Israel activists on college campuses.’

    “Two weeks after her provocative stunt at al Aqsa, a bullhorn-toting Isaacs was back in Toronto leading ‘a small loud contingent’ of pro-Israel activists attempting to disrupt a demonstration protesting the Trump administration’s ‘Deal of the Century.’

    “According to its website, Herut Canada ‘promotes Aliyah and supports the right of Jewish communities to live and thrive throughout all of the land of Israel, including in Judea and Samaria.’

    “In other words, Herut Canada is a pro-settler organization, encouraging Jews from around the world (including Canada) to move to Israel and settle, including in the West Bank. Isaacs must know full well that Canada, in line with the UN Security Council, agrees that Jewish settlements in the West Bank are illegal and against international law.

    “Herut was founded as an Israeli political party in 1948 by Menachem Begin, who had previously been leader of the Irgun, an underground terrorist organization. Under Begin, the Irgun attacked both British colonial administrators and Palestinians in an effort to drive them out of Palestine in order to found a Jewish State.

    “Begin was no stranger to violence, either before or after the creation of the State of Israel. The Irgun claimed not only British Mandate Palestine but also all of today’s Jordan for a new Jewish state. (See the Irgun crest.)

    “Today, Herut supports the Zionist idea that Jews from anywhere in the world, be it Canada or Russia, can move to Israel and become citizens, while the Palestinians who were expelled in 1948 are prevented from doing so because they are not Jewish.

    “A provocative publicity stunt”
    “Its hard to classify Ms. Isaacs’s action as anything other than a crude publicity stunt aimed at raising the profile of her organization among Jews in Canada. And perhaps at provoking a Palestinian reaction.

    “It seems to have worked in part. She got full coverage in the Canadian Jewish News which reported Ms. Isaacs’s claim she has received ‘death threats’ over her actions, although that remains unverified.

    “Canadians (Jewish and otherwise) should recognize that this action comes at a time when Israeli police control the access to the Dome of the Rock and the al Aqsa Mosque, and often prevent Muslims from praying there. Her action was both disrespectful and deliberately provocative.”
    ____________________________________________________________
    Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) encourages and promotes a thoughtful discussion among Canadians on the Israel/Palestine issue, including a well informed and sensitive discussion about solutions. CTIP encourages serious people who disagree with any column to make comment. Disagreements respectfully offered are welcome. To learn more about what CTIP does, contact us at [email protected].

  2. eljay on August 7, 2019, 2:49 pm

    || Nathan: … It’s really interesting to point out that self-criticism is even better that criticism, and self-criticism typifies Israel society. … ||

    Let’s see…

    … According to the Times of Israel, over the past decade of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rule, Israel has begun building nearly 20,000 settler homes in the West Bank.

    Many of the settlements are built on privately owned Palestinian lands, and result in the widespread destruction of Palestinian homes and agricultural land, restrictions on movement for Palestinians living in nearby towns, and settler violence towards Palestinians.

    Israeli NGO B’Tselem has said “the settlements are the single most important factor in shaping life in the West Bank”:

    “When it comes to Israeli settlements, the state turns a blind eye and offers support and retroactive approval, all as part of an overarching policy to de facto annex parts of the West Bank to Israel’s sovereign territory.

    Palestinian communities, on the other hand, are subjected to painstaking bureaucracy, stalled plans and widespread demolitions, in keeping with Israel’s policy to prevent Palestinian development in the West Bank and continue dispossessing Palestinians of their land.”

    Even more typical of Israel than self-criticism is deliberate and unapologetic colonialism, (war) criminality and religion-based supremacism. These acts of injustice and immorality by Israel have withstood decades of criticism and “even better” “self-criticism”.

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