2023 / 11 / 13
By: Madeeha Al-A’raj
The national Bureau for Defending the Land and Resisting Settlements stated in its latest weekly report , that in a letter sent by Israeli Minister of Finance and the Minister in the Ministry of Army, Bezalel Smotrich, to the PM Netanyahu, and the Minister of the Army, Yoav Galant, he called for the establishment of ‘sterile security zones’ that is completely devoid of Palestinians around the settlements and the roads leading to them, and to prevent the Palestinians from entering their fields to harvest their olive fruits, exploiting the war of extermination, which the occupation forces are waging against the Gaza Strip.
In his letter, Smotrich claimed that the Central Command of the Israeli Army is committed to allow citizens to harvest the their olive trees, and he considered that as an insanity which he couldn’t accept. According to his false claim, he confirmed in his letter that he would not agree to more blood under his watch due to insistence on maintaining distorted perceptions,and the non-absorbing the events of Joy of the Torah ‘Hamas attack in the Gaza Strip on October 7’and in Judea and Samaria as well.
He also demanded last week the inner Ministerial Committee for Political and Security Affairs to discuss in detail the occupation forces’ preparations in the West Bank, especially ‘the scenario of toppling the situation by the Palestinian Authority’ as he said, knowing very well that the occupation army control the behavior of settlers, and the level of their violence and terrorism is reduced based on a pressure by the American Administration, which feels embarrassed by their practices.
Netanyahu didn’t respond to his demand, nor did he include his message on the government’s agenda, which is burdened with concerns about its brutal aggression on Gaza. He and his army minister know that the vicinity of 160 settlements and double of them, and the so-called pastoral farms are security zones that prevent Palestinians, in wartime from approaching them. He realizes that his aforementioned minister’s demand is nothing more than the demarcation of the ones actually in charge on the ground with a government decision that he does not need, so as not to embarrass himself in front of the American Administration and theworld public opinion, whose area of sympathy with the occupying State has shrunk in a way that has become a source of concern for many circles in the American Administration and among other governance in the occupying State.
What motivates Smotrich to demand the consecration of a real security zones around settlement? Through his letter, it seems clear that he wants to take advantage of the war on Gaza to move forward with the project to sterile areas ‘C’ from Palestinians, and begin implementing his plan to expand existing settlements and legitimize all settlement outposts and so-called pastoral farms without government decisions as well as the enactment of urgent laws that enable the settlers and their alliesin the settlement councils, especially,ShlomoNeeman, head of the so-called settlement council ‘Yesha’ and Yossi Dagan, head of the so-called settlement council in the northern West Bank, to steal more lands from Palestinian citizens.
This is his message to Netanyahu andGalants, it comes as an extension of his intention to legitimize the occupation of 155 settlement areas all at once, and not in installments as the government does, and to cancel all the arrangements that were in place regarding prior coordination, which allows the Palestinians access to their fields, whether these located behind the Apartheid Wall´-or-those located in the vicinity of more than a hundred settlements in the West Bank, knowing that access them requires prior coordination for a few days, ranging between 3 and 5 days at best during the seasons of war and harvesting fruits.
Smotrich is not alone in such tendencies-;- his camp is broadin the government, the Knesset,´-or-among the leaders of settlement blocs, such as Itamar Ben Gvir, SimhaRotman, Orit Struck, AviMaoz, Zvi Sukkot, Limor Son Harmelech, TaliGotlev, and Shlomo Neman. , Yossi Dagan, BentsiGoffstein, who are all admirers terrorist symbols, such as,‘Rabbi Meir Kahana’ and ‘Baruch Goldstein’.
Furthermore, lastweek, an extremist right-wing settlers’member at the Knesset, Zvi Sukkot was appointed Chairman of the Subcommittee on Judea and Samaria Affairs, that is, settlement affairs in the West Bank, affiliated to the Permanent Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense at the Knesset.
This right-wing fascist from the “Religious Zionism” party, led by BezalelSmotrich, has a long history of extremism. He has become concerned with reviewing and supervising the government’s activities in areas under his jurisdiction. This is a committee that generally deals with security issues in the West Bank and the way the occupation army operates in everything related to Security and the occupation army’s treatment of settlers.
According to the Israeli Haaretznewspaper ‘Sukhot’, who is 32 years old, was the leader of the first Jewish terrorist cell that set fire to a mosque in the Yasufvillage, Salfeet in Dec. 2009, and wrote on its walls the slogan ‘Collection of the price’, he was a thug of the “Hilltop Youth” terrorist group, and he is suspected of being involved in 2011 in setting fire to the car of the commander of an Israeli police station, in connection with the demolition of buildings in the “Amona” settlement outpost, the above 2 cases were closed.
Although he claims that he has changed his attitudes, he is still involved in many illegal activities, according to Shin Bet and police reports. In 2021, he was one of the founders of the “Avitar” settlement outpost and also lived there. He participated in drafting the ‘settlement’ that stipulated settlers would evacuate the outpost while the “Civil Administration” and the Israeli government would later investigate thepossibility of establishing a settlement in the place.
According to ‘Haaretz’ a videotape recorded in April 2021 showed that Sukhot pushing Head of the Palestinian village council in Sebastia and kicking him in the headin the presence of the occupation soldiers, and he was one of the inciters of the acts of violence and terrorism in the Hawaratownin March this year, and was seen last May lowering the Palestinian flag from the main street in the town.
Moreover, Sukhot adopts the plan published by Smotrich before the recent Knesset elections, which calls for pushing the Palestinians in the West Bank towards despair, encouraging their immigration´-or-displacement, and enabling the Jews to live in the place. He participates in terrorist activities, as he was one of the founders of the ‘Avitar’ settlement outpost established on Mount Sabih in the Beitatown, south of Nablus. Sukhot edits a weekly magazine distributed among supporters of the fascist right. He organizes tours for settlers to Palestinian springs and streams, and considers these tours “emancipation” of those rivers and “emancipation of the land.”
Within a settlement security vision, the occupation seeks to tighten control over the communications space in the West Bank, and extend the influence of the occupying state over it. Occupation Army Radio revealed an order issued by the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Settlement at the Ministry of the Army, BezalelSmotrich, to immediately transfer an amount of NIS 50 million from the Civil Administration budget for the purpose of providing full coverage of Israeli cell phone companies throughout the West Bank.
This decision achieves the goal of the Israeli telecommunications companies, which have been exerting pressure for years to seize the Palestinian telecommunications market, as they believe that they offer very low prices compared to the Palestinian telecommunications companies, and thus will inflict major losses on the income of the Palestinian telecommunications companies.
The radio said last year, two cell phone transmission booster towers were placed in the Ramallah area and the northern West Bank, which greatly improved cell reception on external roads, but there are still many places suffering from the problem. Smotrich is taking advantage of the circumstances of the aggression against the Gaza Strip and the escalation of tensions in the West Bank in order to allocate tens of millions of shekels and quickly prepare and install antennas, which would solve the gaps in cellular coverage.
On the other hand, the Hebrew newspaper ‘MikorRishon’ published a lengthy report titled: ‘Meet the American cowboys,’ who came to volunteer in West Bank settlements and carry out guard and agricultural work, in the circumstances of the ongoing Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, and the transfer of occupation army soldiers to the fighting front, as it said the ‘Jubilee Organization’ brings Christians, who love Israel to volunteer during the war and support the settlements on the front line. Groups of American cowboys arrived wearing wide leather belts and wide-brimmed hats, looking as if they had stepped out of a classic Hollywood movie, with a strong desire in their hearts to support the settlements in the areas of the northern West Bank.
In accordance to the newspaper, those are not Jews, but Zionists, who join the “Jubilee” organization known for its extremism to work in the settlements, where there is a shortage of manpower. One of the cowboys who work as a construction worker and take care of livestock including cowstold the newspaper: “I heard about the project organized by the Christian Association to come and help agriculture in Israel, and I had to take advantage of the opportunity and felt that this was the least I could do to show support. Anothernamed,Yehoshua Waller indicated that he arrived at the HarBracha settlement, on Mount Gerizim, Nablus to build warehouses and stores for the grains that were collected as well as the supplies and equipment the settlers needed, as well as for their protection.
List of Israeli Assaults over the Last Week Documented by the National Bureau:
• Organizing a provocative march in the Old City of Hebron, stormed the Al-Ibrahimi Mosque, and raised Israeli flags in it.
• Attacking citizens’ homes in the villages of Al-Rakiz and Al-Faqara in MasaferYatta, destroyed drinking water tanks, destroyed a mobile home, cut off water networks, and destroyed solar cells. They also punctured vehicle tires, while others assaulted a number of farmers in Khirbet Qwaiwis in Masafer. Yatta and seized their agricultural tractors and their olives, severely beat the elderly, Moh’d Gabriel al-Najar‘55’, and seized his identity card.
• Forcing 5 families to forcibly leave their homes and lands due to continuous settler attacks in the ‘Al-Qanoub’ area, east of the town of Sa ir that affected their property and stole large numbers of their sheep.
• Storming neighborhoods of the Old City in Hebron, with a provocative vehicle march, and roamed the Jaber, Wadi al-Nasara, and Wadi al-Husayn neighborhoods, chanting racist slogans demanding the killing of Palestinians.
• Organizing a provocative march in the village of Kaysan, east of Bethlehem, and headed towards citizens’ homes and chanted the well-known racist slogans “to kill the Arabs.” Others set up a “caravan” in the Taqu’ in the “Danyan” area, bringing the total number of caravans to 5, aiming to establish a settlement outpost. Within the contents, settlers shortly before closing the road in front of the citizens, they assaulted them and seized their tents. They also prevented them from reaching their land in the “Wadi Al-Ghuwait” area to pick olives, in the village of Husan, and threatened them not to come again. Moreover, they prevented citizens from the city of BeitJala, west of Bethlehem from reaching their land in the Al-Makhrour area to pick olives-;- they also stole olives in there.
• Seizing olives in the Nahalin town after the occupation soldiers stormed the land of “Wadi al-Jamala” in the Ein Fares area, west of the town adjacent to the “BeitarIllit” settlement, they fired bullets to intimidate citizens and seized olives.
• Attacking citizens Nassar Musa Ghazal ‘22’, and Azzam Ghazal ‘13’while they were herding sheep near the Kaisanvillage and beat them with sticks, they sustaining head injuries and then admitted to a hospital in Bethlehem.
• Attacking farmers and olive pickers in the ‘Ibn Park’ area, north of the village of Barqa, and forced them to leave their lands.
• Attacking a family in Sinjil village while picking olives and set fires to various areas of citizens’ lands in areas close to the occupation camp that cannot be reached by farmers. They also released their cows onto citizens’ private lands in the Ras al-Aqaba area, Sinjil, at the time the army prevented the citizens of the town from reaching their lands.
• Forcing about 20 families from Khirbet Tana, BeitFurik, to leave it after they stormed it, and began to demolish citizens’ homes and tents and a number of caves, in addition to destroying a number of beehives in the area, while settlers from the “ElonMoreh” settlement attacked farmers in the villages of Salem and Deir al-Hatab, forced them to leave their lands in the areas adjacent to the bypass road leading to the settlement, without being able to pick olive fruits despite having prior coordination for 2 days. Uprooting hundreds of olive trees in the Qusra town adjacent to the ‘Magdolim’ settlement north of the town, where more than 700 old olive trees were uprooted and stolen.
• Raisingflagsin a provocative march near the Qabalan town, under the protection of the occupying army, while settlers smashed the windows of the vehicle of the young man, Iyad Atta near the Al-Lubban Al-Sharqeiatown.
• Uprooting 70 long-lived olive trees from the lands of the village of Haris, west of Salfeet, planted on an area of 20 dunams in the “Al-Safra” area adjacent to the “Rafava” settlement. Settlers also opened fire on farmers on the eastern side of the village and forced them to leave their lands.
• Preventing farmers in the Kafr al-Diktown from picking olives, forced them to leave their lands, and threatened to seize their agricultural equipment in the “Al-Khalla” area, west of the town, adjacent to the “Beduel” settlement. The 2 brothers, Moh’d and HamzaRafiqAbd al-Rahman were injured and bruised as a result of the settlers’ assault. They were attacked while picking olives on their land in the northern side of the town, and they sustained bruises, fractures, and wounds. They were subsequently transferred to the Martyr Yasser Arafat Hospital in Salfeet.
• Opening fire at farmers while picking olives on their lands adjacent to the “Neve Nehemiah” and “Neve Nehemiah” settlements. “Taffuah” built on the lands of Yasuf village and neighboring towns. They chased the farmers on their lands, arrested a number of them, and took them to the “Neve Nehemiah” settlement after they were severely beaten.
• Forcing farmers at gunpoint to leave their lands in the Western Plain area, in the Shweika village, Tulkarm, and threatened to shoot them if they returned.
• Cutting water line supplying the Beit Lid town, depriving 8,000 citizens of water, closed the main entrance to the town, while settlers attacked private and public facilities and property in the area and burned a number of olive trees.
• Storming the Khirbet Ibziq, northeast of Tubas, in the northern Jordan Valley, assaulted citizens, and stole scores of heads of livestock. Furthermore, they invaded the Khirbet al-Himma and began scrutinizing citizens’ Id cards and searching their mobile phones, in addition to photographing their facilities. They also stormed the Ghazal spring area in Al-Farsiyya andscrutinized citizens’ Ids and phones.
• Settlers attacked shepherds east of Ein-Hilweh, protected by occupation soldiers who detained the shepherds, while settlers placed an iron gate at the eastern entrance, others fenced lands estimated at about 2,000 dunums belonging to citizens south of the Ein-Hilweh community, and next to ‘road 60’.