UN Special Rapporteur S. Michael Lynk tells an audience in New York, “annexation trends in the occupied territories, particularly with respect to the West Bank, are quickening, and annexation is in the air, and formal annexation may be occurring sooner than we are thinking.” The Israeli right has been creative, but the human rights activists give him hope.
Category Archives: Land Grab: Israeli settlements in the West Bank
A tiny Palestinian Bedouin town located in the West Bank hills outside of Jerusalem is bracing for an impending eviction to make way for plans to expand an Israeli settlement. This case has implications far beyond the 32 families who live there and the nearly 200 students who attend the school in the town. If the eviction moves forward, it will pave the way for a Jewish-only settlement bloc to divide the West Bank into two, rendering impossible the creation of a unified Palestinian state in the occupied territory.
In an effort to legalize thousands of settler homes in West Bank, the Israeli government audaciously claims that it can “legislate anywhere in the world”, that it is “entitled to violate the sovereignty of foreign countries”, and that “is allowed to ignore the directives of international law in any field it desires”.
Israeli authorities have approved over 1,000 new illegal settlement units in the occupied West Bank, sparking condemnation from both Palestinian and international officials. According to Peace Now, since the election of US President Donald Trump, the Israeli government has promoted plans for 10,536 units and tenders for 5,679 units in settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Israel finally built an access road to the West Bank village of Khan al-Ahmar last week, after half a century of delays. But the only vehicles allowed along it are the bulldozers scheduled to sweep away its 200 inhabitants’ homes. As Bedouin resident Ibrahim Abu Dawoud observed: “For us, leaving the desert is death.”
Israeli forces began razing buildings in two Palestinian-Bedouin villages today in preparation for taking over the land, alarming human rights groups who say such a move would effectively cut the West Bank into two. Angela Godfrey-Goldstein of Jahalin Solidarity called the move Trump’s gift to Netanyahu for July 4th, while lawmakers from Britain’s Labour party called for a decisive response.
Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian for throwing stones last week, but when settler youths threw stones at soldiers to prevent the evacuation of a settlement, they were treated with kid gloves. That Israeli-Jewish settlement outpost was evacuated without a shot; while scores of Palestinians are massacred on the border.
“We build, or we don’t build, either way, they, take our money and our dreams. Together we need to find a new way to stay here,” said Mariam, 16, a Palestinian from the Bedouin village of Abu Nuwar.
Wasan Abu-Baker pens a reflection on growing up in Palestine as a “child of the stone” dedicated to Ahed Tamimi. She recalls when her father first came home to live with the family after years in prison. Wasan was already seven: “I still remember those days when we came home from school and then going out to the field to pick the olives, then coming back home to finish our homework. After the harvest was completed we would take the olives to our family factory where the olives were pressed to make olive oil. I remember standing next to my dad to have a taste of the freshest olive oil along with my pita bread. He used to say that once you drink olive oil it becomes part of your soul. I will never forget and miss always miss the smell of olives on those days.”
Israel’s ruling Likud party announced last Sunday a new bill that seeks to apply Israeli domestic law directly to settlements, which would de facto annex all of the illegal West Bank settlements to Israel. Whether the bill is finally passed or not, it is clear is that Israeli annexation policies will continue unstopped, as they have since the beginning of the occupation.
“One day they shot 43 teargas canisters at my house”–Murad Shteiwi, head of the popular committee in the West Bank village of Kufr Qaddum.
Almost one month after Israeli forces shot him seven times during a night raid in Deheisha refugee camp, 22-year-old Raed al-Salhi succumbed to his wounds on Sunday in Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital. Israeli forces had warned Raed al-Salhi in late July that they were coming for him. “They called him and told him ‘we will shoot you in front of your mother’,” Khaled, 24, one of Raed’s four older brothers told Mondoweiss. Two weeks after the call, on August 9, 2017, Israeli forces shot Raed in the courtyard behind his home at 4 a.m, as his mother sat inside the family’s living room just feet away.
Mersiha Gadzo collects the tales of villagers who were expelled from towns outside of Jerusalem in 1967, where today an Canada Park, popular picnic spot, sit atop the rubble of the destroyed Palestinian houses.
Read an excerpt from Gershon Shafir’s latest book, “A Half Century of Occupation: Israel, Palestine, and the World’s Most Intractable Conflict,” which investigates the strategies, policies, and historical continuities that promoted Israel’s colonization of Palestinian territory. In this excerpt Shafir seeks to answer the question, why has the occupation lasted 50 years? “Israeli colonization, to paraphrase William Faulkner, is not dead; it isn’t even past. The tools of colonization, honed before 1948 to a sharp edge, and subsequently deployed within Israel’s new boundaries, were available and ready to be pressed into service in the territories newly occupied in 1967,” Shafir writes.
The Jahalin Bedouin in Jabal al-Baba face imminent demolition. Mersiha Gadzo reports: “Forty-two-year-old Atallah Mazara’a from the Jahalin Bedouin tribe recalls a time when residents were free to move, unhindered by concrete walls and unobtainable permits. Such a scenario today remains a distant dream, even though Jerusalem is only 2.5 miles away. Now, Bedouin communities stand in the way of the E1 zone, which would expand settlements from Ma’ale Adumim to occupied East Jerusalem.”
Yair Svorai traces the history of the settlement movement from its early planner Arthur Ruppin . . . to Donald Trump: “The expansion of Jewish settlement in Palestine has followed a consistent pattern for about 100 years: people replacement – the replacement of Palestinians by Jews. It is crucial to understand the timing of such expansion: whenever the opportunity arises. And, for Israel, Donald J. Trump is a historic opportunity on a grand scale.”
The Israeli government on Thursday rejected a request made by U.S. President Donald Trump last month to hold back on settlement activity in the occupied West Bank with the announcement of plans to establish the first new settlement to be legally created under Israeli law at the start of construction in nearly 20 years. PLO Legislative Council member Hanan Ashrawi pointed out the irony of the Israeli government’s announcement taking place on Land Day, a Palestinian commemoration of Israel’s 1976 land grab, during which 5,000 acres of land was confiscated, six Palestinians were killed and hundreds more injured: “Forty-one years later, Israel’s policies remain unchanged as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his extremist, racist coalition government continue to persist with their systematic policies of settler colonialism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing, showing a total and blatant disregard for Palestinian human rights, independence and dignity.”
Can Netanyahu placate both Trump and settlers who want opposing policies on settlement construction? Seems so.
Aline Batarseh writes, “Despite Israel’s efforts to “unify” the city, Jerusalem remains divided. No one understands this reality better than the people who live in this contested city. Despite the fact that Israelis and Palestinians live in close proximity to one another, there is little communication between them. I personally have never socially interacted with an Israeli in my life. We live separate—and unequal—lives.”
Fathy Shebana’s family has lived in Sinjil, a rural village between Ramallah and Nablus for as long as any of them can remember. Today, much of their land is gone, annexed by Israel for illegal settlements. Since Israel passed a new law retroactively legalizing at least a dozen settlement outposts built on private Palestinian land, Fathy and his community fear even more for the future of their land and livelihoods.
“After 24 years the flag of Palestine has been lowered and taken down from the post, to be substituted by the flag of Israel,” Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett proclaims
In practice there has never been a serious limit on theft of Palestinian land. But now, after passing the “Regularization Bill,” Israeli government support for the plunder will be explicit in law. It will be impossible to blame the outposts on “rogue” settlers, or claim that Israel is trying to safeguard Palestinian property rights.
The Israeli Knesset passed a law last night legalising theft of Palestinian lands by settlers; it repeats what Israel has done many times before
The Israeli Knesset on Monday passed a controversial new law that allows the Israeli government to expropriate private Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, making more than a dozen Israeli settlements legal under Israeli law. It is the first time in history that the Knesset has imposed Israeli civil law the occupied West Bank, which is under Israeli military and civilian rule. Xavier Abu Eid, a spokesperson for the PLO’s Negotiations Affairs Department said the law essentially “legalized theft of Palestinian land” adding that the legislation “negates peace and the possibility of the two-state solution.”
Israeli police evacuated more than 200 Israeli settlers Wednesday from the West Bank outpost of Amona, dragging families with young children out of the illegal community that was built more than a decade ago. It may seem that justice prevailed in favor of the original Palestinian landowners, but for many it is not a victory. Amona residents will ultimately be relocated in adjacent plots of land, which also belong to Palestinians.