2023 / 5 / 14
By: Madeeha Al-A’raj
The National Bureau for Defending the Land and Resisting Settlements stated in its latest weekly report that , in a new maneuver to steal the Palestinian Cultural Heritage, as due to the continuous political pressure from settlers, who now have important and influential positions at the Knesset and the government, the Netanyahu-Smotrich and Ben Gvir government approved a proposal to invest NIS 32 million to develop a settlement site adjacent to the Palestinian town of Sebastia, targeting an archaeological site and turning it into a tourist site under the responsibility and management of the so-called Israeli Nature and Parks Authority on an area estimated at about 714 dunums, surrounded by the villages of Barqa, Bazariya, Naqoura and Deir Sharaf to the north of the city of Nablus, an area that constantly witnesses attacks of settlers of ‘Shavei Shomron’ adjacent to Sebastia and the ‘Homesh’ settlement, from which settlers carry out repeated attacks against the Palestinians in the neighboring towns and villages, including the destruction of their property and the uprooting of fruit trees, especially olive trees, as was the case on the lands of the Deir Sharaf village.
This is at a time when the committee concerned with supervising settlement plans has agreed last February to promote more than 7.000 settlement units, most of them inside the West Bank, after the Knesset assisted some settlers to return to 4 settlements in the West Bank after amending a law that ordering them to evacuate the settlements in 2005. Later, the Israel Lands Authority published on its website tenders for the construction of about 1,248 new settlement units in the West Bank in addition to 89 units in the ‘Gilo’ settlement in East Jerusalem. The Israelii Ministry of Construction and Housing said, “All the published tenders are in compliance with the regulations and have obtained the required permits including those of the Minister of Defense.”
It is clear from the deliberations on the final formulation of the draft budget for 2023 - 2024, which is scheduled to be approved in two´-or-three weeks, that Israeli PM Netanyahu has surrendered to the demands of his allies in the government coalition, as it includes the distribution of coalition funds, which he revealed about the drainage of an unprecedented amount of billions of shekels on ultra-Orthodox “Haredi” and national religious institutions and settlements, where the “Religious Zionism” is financed mainly through the Ministry of National Missions headed by Orit Strok, which will receive NIS 750 million for the implementation of various projects.
In addition to NIS 400 million for the settlement department i.e. “NIS 200 in 2023, and another 200 in 2024, allocating NIS 225 million annually for random settlement sites, NIS 250 million annually for the Ministry of Jewish Heritage, NIS 40 million annually for maintaining Area C, NIS 10 million annually for settlement councils as compensation for the shortfall in income from the property tax ‘Arnona’, NIS 80 million annually for religious official education, NIS 20 million annually for Jewish study conferences, and NIS 10 million annually to preserve the legacy of Rabbi Druckmann, as well as NIS billions for Jewish religious schools.
With such settlement projects and plans, the pace of building new bypass roads is accelerating to further link settlements and outposts in the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem. In its session last week, the Israeli government decided to expedite the construction of the bypass road ‘fabric of life’, to connect Al-Eizariya and Abu Dis with Al-Zaim and Anata areas, to advance the ‘Eastern Gate’ settlement project, which paves the way for the seizure of more Palestinian lands, and connects the south and north of the West Bank in the E1 area adjacent to the ‘Ma ale Adumim’ settlement, east of occupied Jerusalem.
The gov’t confirmed that settlement construction has not and will not stop under the right-wing government, and in racist language confirmed that the declared goal of the new road is to turn Road n. 1 into a ‘clean’ road from the Palestinians. In other words, the Israeli government is concerned to uproot the Palestinians from these areas, and to construct in them for Jews only, where an additional NIS 30 million have been allocated for the development of the road network linking the settlements in the Jordan Valley with the settlements in the middle of Jerusalem within a project that costs NIS 279 million.
List of Israeli Assaults over the Last Week Documented by the National Bureau:
• Allowing the yearly provocative ‘flags march’ of settlers and the extreme right to pass through the Damascus Gate, in the Old City on May 18, 2023, permeated by the "flag dance" and the launching of racist slogans and attacks on Jerusalemites.
• Planning to control the Mercy Gate prayer, the eastern entrance to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, where extremist Talmudic Jewish groups organized biblical lessons and vigils near it, which consider a prelude to changing the features of Al-Aqsa Mosque and its Islamic identity in favor of a false narrative.
• Assaulting citizens while they were on their land located in Masafer Yatta, south of Hebron, which resulted in the injury of 4 citizens.
• Handing demolition notices for a house in the Ma’in area in the town of Carmel, east of Yatta, and order to stop work at Ma’in Secondary School for Girls, and another to stop work on a 150 square meters house of, in the same village, in favor of the expansion of the “Avigal” settlement adjacent to the village, which is built on citizens’ lands in the south Hebron.
• Preventing sheepherders from grazing their sheep in the Shomra area, and destroyed winter agricultural crops, under the protection of the occupation soldiers.
• Uprooting 600 olive trees were, 20 water tanks were damaged, and several tents were demolished in Jabal Al-Hardash in Al-Taybeh area in the of Tarqumiya town to expand the ‘Adora’ and Tilem’ settlement.
• Demolishing of Al-Tahadi 5 School in the village of Jub Al-Dhib, east of Bethlehem. The school is located on an area of 8 dunums and serves students from the neighboring areas, knowing that the occupation authorities have demolished 11 schools since 2016 under the pretext of being in Area C.
• Smashing a car in the village of Al-Fardis, and a land was cleared in the ‘Al-Khallah’ area at the main entrance to the Wadi Fukin village, west of Bethlehem.
• Attacking the Qaryut and Jalud towns, preventing residents from working on their lands, assaulting them, and damaging the tires of an agricultural tractor.
• Bulldozing areas of citizens lands between the towns of Asira al-Qibliya and Urif, and others in Burin, south of Nablus, planted with olive trees.
• Uprooting and breaking 258 olive saplings west of the Kafr al-Dik town. The owner of the land said that he has been working on reclaiming his land, which has an estimated area of 17 dunums for 4 years now, and planted it with about 450 saplings.
• Constructing a 700-meter settlement road leading to the Al-Nuwaitif Spring area, north of the Qarawat Bani Hassan, town which has an area of more than 150 dunums. It is an area that the Israeli occupation declared a natural reserve that the townspeople are forbidden to access. The agricultural ponds and the stone chains surrounding them were removed.
• Demolishing two houses for citizens under construction in the western region of Al-Auja, with an area of 200 and 250 m2, besides demolishing a 100m2 fodder barracks in Fasayel al-Wusta village, and 3 houses in al-Dyouk al-Tahta village, west of Jericho.
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