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Right-wing Parties Race to Acquire Settlers’ votes for Knesset at Expense of Jerusalemites

Madeeha Araj
2021 / 3 / 7

By: Madeeha Al-A’raj
The National Bureau for defending land and resisting settlements ( nbprs ) stated in its latest weekly report , that on the eve of the Knesset elections on the 23rd this March, the right-wing parties in Israel are competing to win the votes of the settlers, as Israeli PM Netanyahu clearly said that settlements constitute a lever for the Likud party, while head of the New Hope Party, Gideon Saar vowed to consolidate settlement activity in the West Bank in the coming years, claiming that the Likud leader missed the opportunity to do so during the former US President Donald Trump. It is known that as the elections draw nearer, votes of the right-wing and extreme-right parties and the settler parties are rising, which view settlements as a lever to win the elections as the number of settlers in the West Bank including Jerusalem exceeds 750,000 settlers, and that Palestinian Jerusalemites often pay the price.
Within this context, the occupation government steps up settlement plans, as the Israeli Ministry of Interior approved amendments and additions to the project presented by the Moshe Leon Municipality in Jerusalem three weeks ago, to build 930 new settlement units as part of a comprehensive plan to expand the Pisgat Zeev settlement on the land of Palestinian villages northeast of Jerusalem, including Beit Hanina, Hazmah, and Anata, with investments of approximately NIS 400 million. Since the beginning of this year, the occupation municipality in Jerusalem has started working on two parallel lines, the first is to accelerate the demolition of Palestinian homes, and the second is to encourage to expand settlements in the areas north and south of the city, and the promotion of a new strategic plan to reinforce the settlements of Pisgat Zeev and Ramat Shlomo in the north of the city, and Gilo and Givat Hamatos in the south, claiming that this came within a project to expand the public space, community life, education, sports, culture, and entertainment, along with implementing advanced transportation and reform road solutions to boost local business.
The cost of implementing the plan is estimated at NIS 400 million in the settlement of Pisgat Zeev, where the red line of the light railway will be extended to connect the north of Pisgat Zeev with the central station on Jaffa Street in West Jerusalem. Work on the project will begin in the coming months to extend the railways north of Pisgat Zeev, and build about 930 additional housing units in the settlement, as part of the plan, and to market plots of land to build about 680 housing units, and about 250 luxury housing units protected. The transportation system will also be developed at a cost of more than NIS 277 million to reduce traffic between Binyamin Settlement behind the Apartheid Wall and Pisgat Zeev.
In Jerusalem, the occupation government also continues the policy of systematic expulsion and ethnic cleansing in parallel with settlement projects, as the Central Occupation Court in Jerusalem issued a resolution rejecting the appeal of three families from the Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood in Jerusalem against the Reconciliation Court’s decision to evict them. The court gave them a timeout to evict their houses by the end of coming April. Moreover, the Central Court in the middle of last month issued a similar decision against 4 other Palestinian families in the same neighborhood and gave them a timeout for the beginning of May to vacate their homes, and also the decision to evacuate the Sabbagh family in Nov. 2020. These decisions put them at risk of forced displacement at any time. It was learned that the families intend to petition the Israeli Supreme Court against the eviction decisions, as settler groups are planning to establish a settlement of 250 settlement units on the rubble of Palestinian homes.
List of Israeli Assaults over the Last Week Documented by the National Bureau:
Jerusalem:
• Demolishing a two-story residential building near in the Sho’fat Refugee Camp and Brixa and a store in the Ras Khamis Neighborhood. Demolishing for the second time, the Eilayan family tent in the Al-Issawiya town, that was demolished about two weeks ago.
• Forcing the citizen Nidal Muhammad al-Salaymeh to demolish his home in the Wadi Qaddum Neighborhood of Silwan town, and self-commercial establishments in the Industrial Zone north of Jerusalem under the pretext of building without a permit, and forcing Jerusalemite citizens to demolish their commercial facilities located in the in the same area north of occupied Jerusalem, to avoid paying the demolition costs in case the demolishing is made by the occupation under the same pretext, it also demolished a two-storey house in the eastern region of the town of Al-Issawiya for the fourth time under the pretext of not having a permit.
• Attacking the Monastery of the Romanian Church in the occupied city of Jerusalem for the fourth time in less than a month, set fire to the entrance of it, and fled, before the priest of the church managed to put the fire off.
• Attacking the Jerusalemite photojournalists Mustafa Kharouf and Fayez Abu Rumaila, working for Anadolu Agency, while they were preparing a report in the Ma’ah Shaarim Neighborhood in West Jerusalem, and smashing the windows of their vehicle.
• Wounding the boy, Mohamad Hassan Abu al-Hummus, a resident of Issawiya, 17, was in the face, due to an attack by settlers near the French Hill.
Hebron:
• Demolishing 3 houses in the “Khallet al-Dabaa” area in Masafer Yatta under the pretext of not having a permit, which led to the displacement of 10 people, and the demolition of a tent located near the settlement bypass road near the Ziv area in Yatta, and a residential room in the Hamra area near the village of Latwani, east of Yatta, under the same pretext.
• Notifying owners of tens of dunams in the village of Bireen, east of Yatta to confiscate their land, and prevented them from reclaiming and cultivating it under the pretext that it is affiliated with the ‘State of Israel’ despite the fact that citizens in that area have official papers of ownership of the land.
• Bulldozing cultivated land in the Jinba area, east of Musafir under the pretext that it is ‘state land’, and seized a bulldozer while reclaiming lands for citizens in the Birin area, on which the "Bani Hafer" settlement is built.
• Attacking citizens and their properties in the area of Tel Rumeida, the Old City, Haret Jaber, Wadi Al-Nasara and a number of neighborhoods, which led to several injuries and material damage to citizens property.
Ramallah:
• Attacking farmers working on their lands in the village of Deir Nizam, northwest of Ramallah, and preventing them from cultivating their lands in the Wadi Raya and Al-Ayouni area. They also prevented them from using springs water.

Salfeet:
• Demolishing an agricultural room and the breaking of "blocks" belonged to Shadi Saeed, from the town of Kafr al-Deek, west of Salfit.
• Wounding a young man, Anas Saeed Zaidan, from the town of Deir Istia, west of Salfit, after a settler ran over him near the village of Al-Fondq, east of Qalqilya, leaving him on the ground before he was taken to the hospital.
• Preventing farmers Dawood Abdullah Hassan and Raouf Salameh from plowing and reclaiming their lands, and seized their tractors in the Bidya town.
Jordan Valley:
• Intentional running over a herd of sheep belonging to Yahya Khaled, from Ein al-Hilweh in the Jordan Valley, which led to the death of 4 livestock, in addition to many injuries. The occupation army and the Israeli police came to the scene and demanded Khaled to repair the settler’s car.




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