Smotrich dismantles Civil Administration , uses Army to deceive the world and cover up his settlement project

Madeeha Araj
2024 / 6 / 30

By: Madeeha Al-A’raj

The National Bureau for Defending the Land and Resisting Settlements stated in its latest weekly report , that minister of Finance and Minister of Settlements in the Ministry of the Army, Bezalel Smotrich, exploits his position in the occupation government to implement his plan to finish the relationship with the Palestinians, and the future of the West Bank, as he announced his plan in Sept. 2017. The plan says: “Whoever is willing and able to give up the realization of his national ambitions can stay here and live as an individual in the Jewish state. While giving him the right to vote for municipal councils, but not for the Knesset, and in the long term, these rights can be improved through a settlement with Jordan, within which those he calls the Arabs of “Judea and Samaria” can vote for the Jordanian parliament. As for those who do not want´-or-cannot put aside their national ambitions, the occupying state provides them with assistance to immigrate to one of the Arab countries´-or-to any other destination in the world.
This is not migration on rickety boats, as he put it, but rather on a plane towards a better future. The state can, and should, be generous towards Arabs who prefer to live in other countries, and provide them with a grant that, for its part, constitutes a parting grant. As for those who refuse this and that, they will be dealt with firmly by the security forces and with greater force than we are doing today, and under more comfortable conditions, and when there is decisive and unambiguous political -dir-ection, the Israeli army knows how to defeat them in a short time. Kill those who must be killed, collect weapons until the last bullet,

In brief, the Bezalel-Smotrich project, in essence, puts the Palestinians in the West Bank before three options: accepting to live in my country’s rule under the sovereignty of the occupying state,´-or-emigrating abroad with the encour-agement and facilitation of the occupying state, and whoever refuses this and that, the occupying army will settle the score with him. His plan as he calls it, found its way into implementation with clear support from Benjamin Netanyahu after the recent Knesset elections and the resulting formation of a government that is the most aggressive and extremist in Israeli history. Many details are included in this resolution plan, and in essence it revolves around the policy of deepening and expanding settlement in the West Bank by fattening existing settlements, establishing new settlements, legalizing do-zens of terrorist settlement outposts, and expanding so-called pastoral farms throughout the length and breadth of the West Bank.
What is new about the plan to resolve the Smotrich project, which is fully supported by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is what was stated in the recordings of the conference, which he held on June 9, in which about a hundred supporters of his party participated in the pastoral settlement “Havat Sheharit,” which is one of eight pastoral farms he established. settlers over recent years in Salfit Governorate, and his recordings were revealed by the New York Times on the twenty-first of the same month. At that conference, he announced a major plan with his political partner, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to change what he called the DNA of the State of Israel. The most dangerous thing about it is recognition It is clear that the Israeli government is on its way to annexing the West Bank behind the world s back, and that it is using the army to cover up its actions.

In that conference, Smotrich revealed the tricks that the occupation government uses in the plan to annex the West Bank. He boastfully explained that he had established a separate civilian system in the Civil Administration, affiliated with the occupation army, to divert attention from the widespread international opposition to settlement, not to mention the annexation plans, and that the government allowed the Ministry of Defense to remain involved in the process, so that it appears that the army is still present at the heart of governance in the West Bank. The West is sovereign. Thus, Smotrich believes that swallowing the West Bank will be easier in the international and legal context, so that no one will say that the occupying state is annexing it. Smotrich revealed the method: “We did not invent the wheel.
This has been the situation in the State of Israel since forever. You take a farmer and a thousand heads of cows for a penny and a half, and he protects 40 thousand dunams for you.” He estimates that “within a few months, there will be a model that allows the vast majority of farms to be arranged, which will open the door for investment to arrange infrastructure.” Here we should not fall into the illusion that Smotrich is working behind Netanyahu’s back, since the moment Likud signed the coalition agreement with the Religious Zionism Party in general and the moment the Prime Minister understood, especially in the circumstances of the brutal war on the Gaza Strip, that the fate of his government and his political future depended on the survival of his right-wing coalition. The extremist and fascist "is now completely with us. Netanyahu and the settlers have become one body," as Smotrich put it.

This enabled Smotrich to work from his position in the Ministry of the Army to lift the fragile legal barriers to change the civil reality in the West Bank. He added staff to his ministry and appointed a deputy head of the Civil Admin-istration with full powers, in addition to, among other things, starting with planning and ending with enforcing the law. The only one who might interfere in the work of this deputy is the Chief of Staff, according to Smotrich, after he transferred authority from the army to a civilian administration and appointed a civilian deputy head of the Civil Administration with the powers of the head of the administration, after dismantling the Civil Administration with its military nature and transferring its powers to the Settlement Administration in the Ministry of the Army and transferring issues. Settlement and lands: From the military legal advisor affiliated with the Military Prosecutor’s Office to the legal advisor affiliated with the Settlement Administration, under the supervision of Smotrich himself, there are departments, each of which includes four lawyers in land, law enforcement, planning, and construction issues. Thus, Smotrich transformed the Set-tlement Administration into an administration more like a government ministry, with a civilian head. An employee in the Ministry of Defense, but he does not report to the head of the Civil Administration´-or-to the commander of the Central Region.

Not only that, but Smotrich is working to settle the situation of the illegal settlement outposts, even according to the occupation’s standards, by establishing a “detour path” not only to legitimize them, but also to finance and provide services to 63 settlement outposts, and allocating an amount of 85 million shekels to build security elements in the settle-ment outposts. This is in addition to what he called the legalization of agricultural settlement outposts and the declaration of about 15 thousand dunams as state land. In preparation for placing, it at the disposal of these agricultural settlement outposts and other settlement activities and allocating additional budgets to his project by adding one billion shekels to the security needs in the settlements for the years 2024-2025, and 7 billion shekels for new settlement and bypass roads
Smotrich recently succeeded in his endeavor. In an atmosphere dominated by tension and political bargaining between Netanyahu and his ally in the government coalition, Smotrich, the Israeli Ministerial Council for Political and Security Affairs (the Cabinet) approved the legalization of 5 settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank, and advanced plans to build thousands of new settlement units in various parts of the West Bank. In response to the Palestinian side’s approach to the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice at the United Nations, and the arrest warrants against senior Israeli officials and the pressure it is exercising for unilateral recognition of the Palestinian state, the five settlement outposts that were approved to legitimize the occupation occupy strategic locations in the West Bank, which are "Avitar" in the Nablus Governorate, "Sadi Ephraim" and "Givat Assaf" in the Ramallah and Al-Bireh Governorate, and "Haletz" in the Gush Etzion area between Hebron and Bethlehem, in addition to the "Adorim" settlement outpost in the Hebron Governorate.
The Council also agreed to issue tenders for the construction of thousands of housing units in several settlements and to invite the Senior Planning -dir-ectorate in the Civil Administration to meet and approve the construction plans. Smotrich was calling for the legalization of dozens of settlement outposts, but in that tense atmosphere he resorted to temporarily-limit-ing himself to five, explaining this in populist and childish political language as saying that for every country that has recognized the State of Palestine since October 7th, they are Slovenia, Spain, Norway, Ireland and Armenia. Settler leaders were quick to welcome the decision of the mini-ministerial council. Yisrael Gantz, after thanking both Netanyahu and Smotrich, said that the decision is a step that will strengthen Israel’s presence, while the head of the settlement council in the northern West Bank, Yossi Dagan, confirmed that recognizing the settlement outposts is a decision. A Zionist par excellence and a strong message of victory.
Smotrich has pledged at the end of last February to continue expanding settlements in the occupied West Bank, defying international pressure on Israel to stop construction on the occupied Palestinian territories. He announced approval for the construction of a new settlement called “Mishmar Yehuda” in “Gush Etzion,” a group of Jewish settlements located south of Jerusalem on the lands of the Bethlehem and Hebron governorates. He stressed on more than one occasion that Israel will continue to allow the construction of more settlements.
It should be noted here that the settlers, with the encouragement of Smotrich and Ben Gvir and clear cover from Netanyahu and the Likud Party, established in 2023 a record number of random settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank, and that many of them were established after the outbreak of the war on Gaza last October. That year witnessed the establishment of 26 Settlement outposts, including about 10 outposts since the outbreak of the Gaza war on October 7, compared to five outposts in the year 2022. The government allocated about 75 million shekels to secure these settlement outposts.
On the other hand, the policy of demolishing Palestinian homes and facilities in the West Bank, includ-ing Jerusalem, continues without stopping. Rather, it has begun to take an upward trend under an extremist right-wing government in which Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir assume responsibilities that allow them to con-trol the so-called law enforcement authorities, persecute Palestinians, and impose restrictions. them in all aspects of life. For decades, the occupying state has adopted a policy of demolishing Palestinian homes as a tool for dis-placement and silent ethnic cleansing, sometimes under the pretext of not obtaining permits and other times un-der the pretext of building in areas classified as C.
This demolition policy is old, but it has accelerated since the victory of the Israeli fascist right in the last elections and has increased hysterically since the seventh of October in an extension of the criminal war waged by the occupation forces on the Gaza Strip and in the cities, villages and camps of the West Bank as well, including occupied Jerusalem, as office data indicate. The United Nations Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that the Israeli authorities have demolished 92 buildings in East Jerusalem since the beginning of the current year 2024, including 35 inhabited homes during the past month under the pretext of building without a permit, and they are the ones who deliberately intend to restrict Jerusalemites and turn obtaining a building permit into suffering for years. . Dozens of demolitions spread across various governorates of the West Bank last week.
According to data from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the occupation authorities demolished 1,004 Palestinian homes and other buildings in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, in 2023 until December 11, resulting in the displacement of 1,870 people. Most of the buildings were demolished under the pretext of their lack of building permits, which the authorities make ob-taining them almost impossible for Palestinians in these areas. As for the “Sherine Abu Aqleh Observatory,” it indicated in its latest data that the occupation authorities demolished about 990 homes and facilities from the seventh of October until the first half of the year 2024, meaning that they demolished in half a year a number of homes and facilities equal to those they demolished throughout the year 2023.

List of Israeli Assaults over the Last Week Documented by the National Bureau:
• Demolishing a house belonging to the Abu Subeih family in the Wadi Qaddum neighborhood in the town of Sil-wan manually. They demolish the house due to the narrowness of the roads and the inability of the bulldozers to demolish it.
• Setting up additional tents in the Jabal Al-Alam area in the town of Ni lin, west of Ramallah, in preparation for seizing it.
• Attacking a house in the town of Turmusaya with stones, causing material damage to the windows, glass, and external cameras. They attacked the citizen, Muhammad Rabie Jabara, on the outskirts of the town with batons, before leaving.
• Intending to seize the old central vegetable market complex, "Al-Hisbah", and the "Garage" parking lot in the Old City of Hebron, which includes the "Al-Atq Market" located in the heart of the Old City, and their intention to add new floors to the existing buildings in the market. In conjunction with this step, which violates the powers of the Hebron Municipality, the occupation authorities intend to build in the Osama School and its surroundings, opposite the “Ain Askar” area known as the “Garage” parking lot.
• Demolishing the home of citizen Tamer Abd. Al-Jawad Abu Aisha, consists of 3 floors, a water well, and exter-nal walls In the Farsh al-Hawa area, west of Hebron, note that the building in question is licensed by the Hebron Municipality and its owners have all the identification documents for ownership of the land.
• Notifying 8 houses of the demolition in Khallet al-Dabaa in Masafer Yatta and their owners were handed demolition notices, and the citizen Youssef Musa Muhammad was exposed Al-Ashqar was attacked by settlers in the “Fafoura” area of Masafer Yatta, where they beat him and tried to kill him, but he managed to evade them, stealing 5 sheep, and in the Bani Na’im wilderness.
• Threatening families of Azazma, Hamdan, and Manasra, with death and forced them to leave their lands.
• Beating the elderly Ahmed Barghash Al-Shawahin in Khallet Al-Adra, Wadi Al-Jawaya, in Masafer Yatta, caus-ing him to suffer injuries and bruises, after which he was transferred by Red Crescent crews to Yatta Govern-mental Hospital.
• Attacking young man, Salem Dhifallah Azazneh, in the village of Al-Buwaib, east of Yatta.
• Demolishing 11 houses, residences, and other facilities belonging to the Al-Hathalin family in the Um Al-Khair community in Masafer Yatta.
• Demolishing a house under construction in the village of Marah Mualla, south of Bethlehem, belonging to the citizen Samir Muhammad Abu Shakra, and leveled a building under construction in the village of Jourat Al-Shamaa, south of Bethlehem, belonging to the citizen Zuhair Faisal Muhammad Hussein.
• Attacking farmers while they were on their land located in the middle of the Beitar Illit settlement, which is lo-cated on citizens’ lands in the village of Husan.
• Bulldozing house of citizen Muhammad Wajih Bazar in the village of Bitello, west of Ramallah, which consisted of 3 floors, and the area of each floor was about 200 m2.
• Attacking a number of citizens’ homes in the village of Yatma, south of Nablus, and smashed their windows, be-longing to Ayed Sanubar and Hatem Qassem Aqra’.
• Smashing windows of a number of vehicles in the village, and others from the “Yesh Kodesh” outpost set fire to lands in Qosra village, while dozens of settlers stormed the archaeological site in the town of Sebastia, the occu-pation army, and settlers also opened fire towards citizens’ homes in the town of Madama, south of the city of Nablus.
• Attacking citizens’ lands in the town of Qarawat Bani Hassan, west of Salfeet, on the western side of the town, and uprooted olive seedlings and a fence surrounding land belonging to citizen Hisham Ra-yan.
• Demolishing parts of an agricultural room in the village of Dhahr al-Abd in the Ya`bad area, west of Jenin.
• Uprooting 60 olive trees from lands near Ya bad inside the Apartheid Wall and bulldozed large areas of their lands without warning in the area C, belonging to citizen Rawhi Kamel Zaid, and its area is 3 dunums and planted with olive trees and fruit trees.
Jordan Valley:
• Destroying a house in the village of Al-Duyuk Al-Tahta, northwest of the city of Jericho, belonging to the citizen Ma’an Tannous, despite having official licensing papers, and a Jordanian “Kushan” taboo, and demolished houses belonging to citizens, Faisal Abu Al-Saud and Alaa Abu Al-Saeed, in Al-Duyouk Al-Tahta, and in the city of Jericho.
• Demolishing 4 houses east of the city, belonging to: Firas Abu Al-Zeit, Kamal Mahmoud Baraka, and Samer Hassasna, two of which had an area of 130 square meters in the “airport” area, and were built without a permit.
• Storming the Dra’ Awad area in the northern Jordan Valley and prevented the citizen Muhammad Suleiman Abu Al-Kabash from building a tent for livestock, and seized his agricultural tractor and a towed water tank to pressure him to remove the tent and remove it from the gathering permanently.
• Storming the Ras Ein al-Auja Bedouin community, searched 5 barns, and chased its residents after they beat them and seized more than 10 heads belonging to the Rashaida family.

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