2024 / 2 / 6
By: Madeeha Al-A’raj
The national Bureau for Defending the Land and Resisting Settlements stated in its latest weekly report , that at a far-right conference organized on Feb. 28, 2024 by Itamar Ben Gvir in partnership with Daniela Weiss, head of theSettlement Movement ‘Nahala’, and Likud leaders, the extremist Israeli Finance Minister, BezalelSmotrich, said, “Settlement means security.” The conference was held in the so-called ‘Nation Buildings’in West Jerusalem in a festive, carnival-like atmosphere, where about 12 ministers and 15 Knesset members from the Likud Party and other ruling coalition parties in Israel participated, to promote the return of Jewish settlement to the Gaza Strip. All the participants danced in a nonsense and disgusting way, appeared as if they were preparing for the upcoming electoral battle after their party’s image deteriorated in the opinion polls, which are conducted by specialized centers in Israel.
For its part, the most widely circulated newspaper in Israel ‘YediothAhronoth’, described the conference as the ‘starting bullet’ for plans to be implemented by settlers in the coming months, similar to the plans for establishing random settlement outposts in the West Bank, a scheme initiated by the head of the “Nahala” settlement movement, Daniela Weiss, who is leading the process of establishing random settlement outposts in the West Bank, with the head of the ‘Samaria Council for settlements in the northern West Bank’, Yossi Dagan.
The settlement plan in the Gaza Strip is being implemented bygaining the support of external parties and bodies for this plan, in addition to recruiting Israeli public opinion, and motivating families that agree to move to settlement in the Strip.The newspaper described Yossi Dagan as a ‘strong figure’ in the Likud Party, who intends in times of war, to work jointly with Daniela Weiss, to push laws that support the expansion of settlements, including in the Gaza Strip after the “disengagement” law was abolished in the 2005 disengagement plan from the Strip, and also to push for the formation of a lobby within the Knesset to cancel that law.
Settlement leaders are not only working on the internal front of Israel, but they also expanding their activity abroad in order to translate the -dir-ections of that conference and turn them into official policy, settler they send English messages to the United States and manage a network of relations with American media, according to a plan already prepared during wartime conditions that stipulates not to transfer settlers from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip, but rather transferring residents from all parts of Israel, especially from the south, to settle in the Gaza Strip, where meetings were held in Ashdod and Sderot, which included sailing boats off the shores of the Gaza Strip.
According to the plan, the settlement centers must be prepared for the day of implementation, and their members must arrive carrying their equipment to settle in the settlement points from the families that have expressed their approval for settlement in the Gaza Strip, where discussions are held among them, and tents and equipment are distributed to them to reside in settlement outposts within the Gaza Strip. ‘Nahala’ plans for families to stay in the ‘Gaza Envelope’ area so that they will be ‘ready to go to the settlement points’ inside the Strip, provided that the settlers entry into the Strip will be protected by army forces.
Netanyahu remained silent and continued to say that it is forbidden to practice partisan politics in wartime conditions,´-or-to talk about the next day after the war,´-or-to talk about elections and official investigation committees, to determine who is responsible, who plunged the occupying state into the hole, in contrast to Smotrich, who linked settlement with security: “Without Settlement has no security, and without security in the Gaza Strip, there will be no security in all of Israel.” As for the leaders of the Zionist opposition, they contented themselves with a passing denunciation of the settlement conference as damaging to the state’s reputation.
According to opposition leader YairLapid, it “causes international harm to Israel, and to a possible prisoner exchange deal. This conference exposes Israeli army soldiers to danger.” As for Benny Gantz, he merely criticized the ministers participating in the conference: “They have harmed our legitimacy in the world and efforts to find a framework for the return of our abductees.” While Avigdor Lieberman mocked those in charge of the conference, saying, “Those who talk about returning settlement to the Gaza Strip must first return the residents of the Gaza envelope, to their towns.”
On the other hand, Smotrich s Ministry is not the only side that practices robbery of Palestinian funds, as other Israeli sides, including the army, the occupation police, and settlement councils also participate in acts of piracy. This is what happened last week with a citizen from Arab-Daisat, who was asked by the army to pay a heavy fine amounting to about US -$- 40,000 if he wanted to recover his confiscated sheep. It is a high sum in exchange for the recovery of 700 sheep that lost their way and entered a grazing area near the ‘Masawa settlement’ in the Al-Jiftlik area in the Middle Jordan Valley.
The beneficiary of this fine is the Jordan Valley Settlements Council, which participated with the army in detaining the sheep and did not release them before receiving the sum. Head of the ‘Jordan Valley Regional Council’, David Al-Hayani, is behind this policy. He merely responded to an inquiry from the Israeli newspaper “Haaretz” on this subject by saying: “The monitors worked according to the laws that help the council.” He did not even bother to answer the question: What is the reason for thisterrible punishment for shepherds, according to the newspaper.
This is not the first time such fines have been imposed on Palestinian shepherds, knowing that such fines are not imposed on settler shepherds, as the occupation army, which acts as an agent for the settlement councils, excludes them from this matter. These fines remain a new method that is consistent with other methods taken by the occupation authorities against Palestinian shepherds in more than one place and region, especially in the Jordan Valley, with the aim of removing them from their pastures and cleansing the area of them. This method has been added to theft of the funds of the Palestinians, who are subjected, on top of all of this, to arrest, siege, confiscation of lands, and demolition of homes in a policy entitled: ”We will impoverish them and deprive them of the means of life. This is the best way to push them to leave their lands and pastures.”
What happened with the Palestinian citizen of the “ArabDaisat” last week also happened the same with one of the citizens in the same area, who owns a donkey that also lost its way, so the occupation forces and police imposed on its owner to pay a fine of about US -$- 300 in exchange for its release, just because the donkey approached a military point in the Al-Jiftlik area. The amount was more expensive than the price of the donkey, where the owner decided to leave his donkey captive to be sold at a public auction.
Such examples of robbery of citizens’ property are many, and they are more at the level of restricting them to leave. Here, the ‘Al-BaidarOorganization for Defending the Rights of the Bedouins’ documented that the occupation authorities and settlers carried out 159 property seizures, which led to the confiscation of 15 tents and a caravan, 65 vehicles belonging to citizens, 10 cranes, 18 agricultural tractors, 15 water tanks, and 3 rooms as well as agricultural equipment, 7 electric generators and solar cells, 10 agricultural equipment, 15 cell phones belonging to citizens, an electric bicycle, a crane, and other stolen building equipment and materials. And in order for some of these properties be returned to its owners, a price must be paid by them in favor of the settlement councils.
All this takes place in light of the continuation of settlement activities throughout the West Bank, with a focus on the Jerusalem Governorate, where the Supreme Planning Council in the so-called Civil Administration is scheduled to advance this week a plan to build 68 new settlement units in the “GivatZeev” settlement, in addition to promoting dozens of plans to build Public and industrial buildings, noting that in 2023 the current government promoted about 12,349 housing units, which is a record number compared to previous years, after several changes took place in the civil administration, the most important of which was transferring the authority to promote construction plans to Minister Smotrich without the need for government approval, which opened the way to promote settlement plans according to the minister’s interests without coordination with the Minister of Army´-or-the Prime Minister.
In all governorates of the West Bank, attacks and robberies of citizens’ lands continue. At this level, the occupation authorities extended the validity of the decision to seize 76 dunums from the basins of Al-Buqi’a, Qat’at Al-Batma, Dhahr Al-Deir in Al-Khader, Khallet Abu Hurt, Al-Hamar in Battir, Abu Hamra, and Umm Al-Shaqaf in Husan, with the aim of expanding settlement road n. 60, which extends from the main entrance to the villages of the western countryside, all the way to Husan.
They also seized about 154 dunums and 127 meters from the lands of Derastia and Haris, in Salfit Governorate, in the area called “Al-Shaftan,” and from the lands of the village of Haris in the area called “Al-Bureij,” to the west of the ‘Refafasettlement’, and settlers placed a number of mobile homes ‘caravans’ on citizens lands in the Al-Qa dah area in the town of Derastiya with the aim of expanding the settlement outpost in the Al-Qa dah area after seizing the land. In the same governorate, the municipality of QarawatBani Hassan reported that the occupation authorities declared the areas of Al-Ras and Nabaa Al-Nuwaitf as closed military areas, which prevents the townspeople from reaching 3,000 dunums of their lands planted with olives.
In Ramallah and Al-Bireh Governorate, the settlers established a settlement outpost on the lands of the village of Burqa with the aim of controlling large lands in the area and linking them to nearby settlements in the area, knowing that it is private property of the people and they have official papers on that.
Within the context, the Israeli Minister of the Environment, AiditSilman participated in planting trees in the illegal” settlement site “Abraham Farm” south of Mount Hebron, where all construction is considered illegal. This visit was organized with the Hashomereush organization, which describes itself as an organization that helps Jewish farmers in West Bank settlements. She described her visit to the informal site as part of her activities to preserve the environment, and her visit comes in an attempt to expand the powers of her ministry.
The minister went a few days before this tour to BezalelSmotrich, the Minister of Finance, in his capacity as a minister in the Ministry of Security, and asked him to expand the powers of her ministry in implementation of the government’s decision taken six months ago, which provides her ministry with additional powers to be able to impose laws on dumping construction waste, sewage, and air pollution, which means providing capabilities to enhance the settlers’ field presence under the supervision of the Ministry of Environment.
Within the context, Israeli Minister of the Environment AiditSilman participated in planting trees in the “illegal” informal settlement site “Abraham Farm” south of Mount Hebron, where all construction is considered illegal. This visit was organized with the Hashomereush organization, which describes itself as an organization that helps Jewish farmers in West Bank settlements. The Minister of Environment described her visit to the informal site as part of her activities to preserve the environment, and her visit comes in an attempt to expand the powers of her ministry. The minister had gone a few days before this tour to BezalelSmotrich, the Minister of Finance, in his capacity as a minister in the Ministry of Security, and asked him to expand the powers of her ministry in implementation of the government’s decision taken six months ago, which provides her ministry with additional powers to be able to impose laws on dumping construction waste, waste, sewage, and air pollution, which means From a practical standpoint, providing capabilities to enhance the settlers’ field presence under the supervision of the Ministry of Environment.
In a unique American symbolic significance action, US President Joe Biden issued an executive order containing American measures against settlers who launched attacks and terrorist acts against Palestinian citizens in the occupied West Bank, where settlers have escalated their attacks on Palestinians since the start of the aggression on the Gaza Strip. The executive order stated, “The situation in the occupied West Bank, particularly the high levels of violence by extremist settlers, the forced displacement of individuals and towns, and the destruction of property, has reached unbearable levels and constitutes a serious threat to peace, security, and stability in the West Bank, Gaza, Israel, and the Middle East region.”
The executive order includes imposing sanctions on four settlers, including freezing assets they may have in the United States, and refraining from carrying out any financial transactions with them. Among the four settlers is David ShaiShasdai, from a random settlement on the lands of the town of Huwwara, who is accused of leading acts of violence that led to the death of a Palestinian civilian. Likewise, Yinon Levy, who is accused of leading a group of settlers from the illegal settlement of Metarim Farm, attacked Palestinians and Bedouin civilians in MasaferYatta and destroyed their property.
List of Israeli Assaults over the Last Week Documented by the National Bureau:
• Forcing Jerusalemite, Adnan Darwi, to self-demolish his house in the town of Al-Za’im and gave him 24 hours before demolishing it and fining him. The demolition of the house comes within a plan to expand a settlement street between the towns of Al-Za’im and Al-Issawiya. It also forced citizenJamil Sari to demolish his house in JabalMukaber after the occupation municipality crews stormed the house, threatening him with heavy financial fines if the occupation mechanisms demolished it.
• Destroying a commercial vehicle repair facility, belonging to the Ayed family, under the pretext of building without a license in the town of Silwan, and the Palestine Equestrian Club in the village of Qalandia, owned by KhaledHammad Al-Efrangi, with an area of 500 square meters and a stable for horses with an area of 300 square meters, and there are 20 horses for training, noting that the club was built eight years ago on land owned by the Islamic Endowments Department.
• Demolishing about 110 homes in the city of Jerusalem during the past year, while forcing the owners of 130 homes to self-demolish them, according to statistics issued by Jerusalemite institutions.
• Demolishing the tent of citizen Khalil Al-Akhras in the Fatih Sidra area in MasaferYatta, destroyed 20 olive trees, and grazed their livestock on lands and crops belonging to the Hamamda family, vandalized and damaged water tanks.
• Destroying a house in the town of Al-Samou’ in Khallet Al-Karsana, belongs to citizen Hassan Muhammad Al-Mahareeq, who has legal documents including licenses and ownership of the land.
• Assaulting citizen, Gabriel Musa Numan, with rifle butts in the “Aqawawis” area in MasaferYatta and forced him at gunpoint to stay at home and not go out with his sheep to the pastures he owned, and threatened to kill him unless he complied with that.
• Chasing shepherds in the “Shaab al-Batm” area and prevented them from reaching pastures, while those forces allowed the settlers to enter their sheep into citizens’ fields.
• Attacking citizen Ibrahim Aweida Al-Sawarka and his family members in their tent in the “Wadi Bass” area in the village of Kisan with the aim of forcing them to leave their land, threatened them not to return to the area, and then tried to seize his agricultural tractor, while a settler from the “IbiHanahel” settlement shot citizen Yasser Musa, and his sheep while he was in the BirKisan area, west of the village.
• Preventing a number of shepherds from reaching the pastures in QirbatKaisan at gunpoint, while settlers uprooted about 300 vine trees in the village of Battir, west of Bethlehem in the Al-Hanjaliyah Al-Qusayr area, east of the village,
• Attacking citizens lands in the Abu Al-Awf area in Sinjil and brought their cows onto them.
• Injuring a citizen during an attack launched by settlers on the village of Bitello, northwest of Ramallah. They also smashed the windows of the house and smashed a number of vehicles parked in the place.
• Uprooting 450 olive and almond seedlings on the lands of the village of DeirSharaf, owned by citizen Ghazi Antri, who discovered this after going to his land located in the area opposite the “ShaveiShomron” settlement. This is the fourth time that settlers have uprooted trees on his land during the past two years, as they destroyed 99 trees, 102 and 200 in the last three times.
• Confiscating the municipal waste collection’s vehicle in the town of Qablan, while unloading the waste in the Bir al-Janna area. They also seized three vehicles in the village of Al-Sawiya without explaining the reasons.
• Seizing a bulldozer in the area linking the villages of Seneria and KafrThulth, south of Qalqilya that was belonging to the citizen Basil Ibrahim Issa, under the pretext of working in an area “C”.
• Running over a flock of sheep in the Al-Marajat area, belonging to Suleiman Malihat, causing the death of a number of them, and the theft of others.