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The American Administration has not demanded Israel to freeze construction in settlements yet By: Madeeha Al-A’raj

Madeeha Araj
2021 / 7 / 26

The National Bureau for defending land and resisting settlements ( nbprs ) stated in its latest weekly report , it seems the Palestinian public opinion has been misled by the new US administration, as it has not announced yet a clear position on Jewish settlement in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. This coincided with the recent visit of the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Palestinian and Israeli Affairs, Hadi Amr and his meetings with officials in Ramallah and others in Tel Aviv, during which he conveyed the Biden administration s concern about the situation of the Palestinian Authority and that he did not see the authority in a worse situation than that, describing it as a dry forest waiting to erupt, calling on the Israeli government to take steps for the so-called confidence-building between the two sides.

Disinformation maneuvers by the Israeli media reported that PM Naftali Bennett is preventing the convening of the Higher Council for Planning and Building in the Civil Administration of the occupation army in response to a request made by the Administration. The Israel Hayom Newspaper, which is close to Benjamin Netanyahu in particular, exaggerated the deception to the extent of claiming that Bennett’s decision means “a complete freeze on future (settlement) construction” in the West Bank, explaining that “as long as the council does not meet, new (settlement) plans cannot be approved.” It was considered as a capitulation to American dictates. According to the procedures followed by the occupation government, the Supreme Council for Planning and Building in the West Bank holds a regular meeting every three months, to approve new settlement plans, including the development of infrastructure in the settlements and the expansion of public space there. The council is considered the supreme authority that grants approvals for any plans for settlement construction in the West Bank. In fact, it is considered the parallel council to the Qatar Planning and Building Committee, but its authority is-limit-ed to the West Bank and is administratively affiliated with the Ministry of the Army.

The Israeli government’s response on that was not delayed as the PM, Naftali Bennett, made it clear that there was no American pressure at any level, and that the Council did not meet even during the era of the former PM Netanyahu. Knowing that he is in completely in line with the settlement policy that his government is following in accordance with the agreements reached in the consultations before forming the government, which confirmed that the new government will continue building in the settlements without restrictions, and the already approved plans in the settlements, including the so-called isolated settlements, during the Netanyahu government, which will be implemented soon.

Within the context, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that the current government will preserve and strengthen the settlement blocs in the occupied West Bank. Gantz s statement came during a meeting with members of the Meretz party in the Israeli government to discuss security and political issues. He added about the settlement in the "Evitar" settlement that it will only be in accordance with the law, and a decision will not be taken until after the completion of the survey of the land.

In an unprecedented and dangerous public escalation, Israeli PM Naftali Bennett equated what he claimed as the right of Jews to worship on the Temple Mount, which is the Zionist name for the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the right of Muslims to Al-Aqsa Mosque. This came during consultations he held, with Minister of Internal Security Omer Bar-Lev and Inspector General of Police Kobi Shabtai. Bennett thanked the Minister of Internal Security and the Israeli police for managing the incursions, while preserving freedom of worship for Jews on the Temple Mount. Bennett added that freedom of worship would be guaranteed to Muslims who celebrate Eid al-Adha. This statement sets a dangerous precedent, especially as the reports added that Bennett instructed, during the security consultations, to continue allowing the Jews to storm Al-Aqsa. Naftali Bennett instructed the settlers to continue storming Al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied Jerusalem. Bennett s recommendation came in the wake of a situation assessment session in which the Israeli Minister of Internal Security and the Police Commissioner participated. Ofir Gendelman, a spokesman for the Israeli Prime Minister, said that Bennett receives reports on the situation on the ground, and will hold other sessions to assess the situation soon.

On the other hand, the Israeli High Court gave the so-called “representative of the state” 6 weeks to finish the issue of Khan al-Ahmar in East Jerusalem. The judges of the court made it clear that they did not intend to give the “state” another deadline, according to the Arabic-speaking Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation, a proposal will be presented to the Israeli government regarding the possibility of reaching an agreement on the voluntary evacuation of the residents in agreement with them


List of Israeli Assaults over the Last Week Documented by the National Bureau:
Jerusalem:
• Bulldozing work on the land of the Yusufiya Cemetery in the Old City of Jerusalem in order to turn it into a public garden, and deleted the landmarks of the corridors and authentic historical sites surrounding the cemetery with the aim of preventing Muslims from renovating new graves. Knowing that the Israeli forces demolished the wall and the stairs of the cemetery at the beginning of Dec. 2020.
Hebron:
• Closing the Bab Al-Zawiya area and the Beer AlSabe’ Street which leads to the center of Hebron, and forcing the shop owners to close their stores, evacuated the area as well to provide protection for dozens of Israeli settlers at the archaeological site called the tomb of “Otnael Ibn Qanz” in order to perform Talmudic rituals.
Ramallah:
• Bulldozing the lands of citizens in the Jabal Al-Alam in the town of Ni’lin, west of Ramallah and expelling the farmers, torching hundreds of olive trees, uprooting the seedlings and demolishing the irrigation water lines with the aim of building a new settlement road in the area.
Nablus:
• Torching a commercial facility in Jama in, south of Nablus.
• Bulldozing works in the settlement outpost established on citizens’ lands in the town of Beit Dajan, east of Nablus and photographing the outpost, more than one caravan had been installed, in addition to building roads network with the aim of seizing more lands. It should be mentioned that the area had witnessed the uprooting of more than 200 olive trees, and the burning of hundreds of grazing areas.
Jenin:
• Seizing the Abu Al-Shawareb Mountain with an area of about 100 dunams near the village of Kafr Ra i, southwest of Jenin, claiming that it is state property, build a road leading to it as well.
The Jordan valley:
• Preventing farmers from watering their livestock in the Ein Al-Hilweh Spring in the northern Jordan Valley.
• Paving a 2 km long road leading to the settlement outpost established since 2016 in the Khilet Hamad area connects the main road with the settlement, which means closing additional areas of land on both sides of the road.




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