2023 / 11 / 19
By: Madeeha Al-A’raj
The national Bureau for Defending the Land and Resisting Settlements stated in its latest weekly report , that at the same time as the Israeli public s attention focus on the brutal war waged by the occupation forces against Gaza, the chances of releasing the so-called hostages there, and the growing tension to the south of Lebanon, the fascist Minister of National Security, Ben-Gvir was and still is arming settlers and preparing them to attack the Palestinians and preventing them from reaching their fields in the West Bank during the olive harvest season. Sources in the Israeli security apparatus surrounded by nets, say that the settlers are doing whatever comes to their mind, and that their activities are openly supported by members of the ruling coalition, while the occupation army not only turns a blind eye but also sponsor there activities.
Since October 7, more than 200 Palestinians have been martyred and 2,800 injured throughout the West Bank through the brutal acts carried out by the occupation army and the settlers. However, estimates indicate that the extent of harm to Palestinians is much greater. Data circulated by Israeli political, media, and security circles indicate that since the outbreak of the war on Gaza, more than 150 hate crimes, according to Israeli terminology, were committed by settlers in the West Bank, and no indictment has been filed against any of them yet.
Besides, the settlers work to establish a de facto on the ground through building roads in contradiction to the decisions of the Israeli courts, where a road has been built from ‘Eli Zahav’ in Salfeet Governorate towards a hill on which a settlement outpost is planned to be established, and another road has been built in ‘Emmanuel’ in Wadi Qana near the same area. Moreover, the settlers are planning to build a 20 km long road between the ‘Kernei Shomron’ settlement and ‘Kiryat Netvim’ in the Qalqilia Governorate, although these actions were not coordinated with the army but were protected by soldiers.
But, who stands behind and -dir-ect these activities is head of the Shomron Regional Council, Yossi Dagan, and other heads of councils, who work without freely. According to Israeli media, there is no law´-or-judge in the West Bank ‘Judea and Samaria’. It is an area where chaos prevails since the outbreak of war, and the master in the area are the heads of the settlements that control the army, and no one to stop them.
In such circumstances, the Jewish terrorism spreads, emanating from settlements and outposts. There are many examples on this, as reported even by Israeli security circles, as was the case with Bilal Salah, who was killed in the Al-Sawiya village, when he was shot by a soldier, who is living in the ‘Rehalim’ settlement on the lands of the Yatma village, south of the Nablus city, while picking his olive fruits. The soldier ‘settler’ claimed that Salah attacked his family.
The Shomron Regional Council’s head, Dagan quickly arrived at the site with a security officer. He, who appointed himself as an investigator and a judge at the same time, and when the army arrived, Dagan said, “I and some officers in the army investigated here, including people who were at the place. This is a simple incident. The story is about a good, standard family, who lives in the settlement. The father is an academic, and the son is a soldier in the Israeli army. He was on Saturday leave. They went out to their field near the settlement, and they were attacked by scores of Hamas rioters, adding the incident dealt with.” And the file was suspended. And so on.
The case is not-limit-ed to Bilal Saleh, but extends to other martyrs who were killed at the hands of settlers in their farms, as is the case with the martyr Ahmed Nofal in the Ras Karkar village, west of Ramallah, who died as a result of wounds he sustained by settler bullets and 6 other martyrs of the Qusra village. The files of these settlers crimes were closed, approved by the occupation army.
The so-called ‘Shomron Regional Council’ is working in accordance to Israeli narratives under the law and in full coordination with the security forces, and any other statements are tantamount to defamation. In conditions of war, where 80 of the settlers in ‘Judea and Samaria’ were recruited to defend the State, it is not permissible to attempt to distort the pioneer settlement in it, the protective belt of ‘Gush Dan,’ according to what is issued by these settlement councils, particularly, the Northern West Bank Council, headed by Yossi Dagan, an ally of Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir.
Within the context, since the beginning of the aggression on the Gaza Strip, the Israeli Ministry of National Security, headed by the fascist Itamar Ben Gvir, has issued 31,000 weapons licenses, while requests approached 240,000. Israeli security sources indicate that the increasing demand for weapons and this armament process is dangerous for many reasons, but it comes in the wake of facilitations approved by Ben-Gvir in issuing licenses to carry weapons on racist nationalist grounds. Due to the increasing demand for weapons, the Israeli pistol and rifle production company mobilized all its energies to meet the needs of army units and the needs of what became known as armed ‘alert teams’ in settlements and border towns. Yossi Dagan, head of the so-called Northern West Bank Settlements Council ‘Shomron’, is not absent from the scene. He is a visitor to the IWI weapons factory and had bought 200 automatic rifles from it 2 weeks ago.
At the same time, the occupation army is considering fortifying the settlements with heavy weapons, shoulder-fired missiles, and other heavy combat means in preparation for what the ‘Israel Today’ Newspaper called the possibility of an escalation of the situation in the West Bank and the storming of the settlements. Indeed, since the beginning of the aggression on the Gaza Strip, the settlements have been fortified with many defensive measures, such as, bombs and machine guns.
In addition to other measures to prevent infiltration similar to what happened in the Gaza Strip. Last week, settlement leaders asked PM Netanyahu to deploy tanks in the West Bank. According to assessments of the security situation in the West Bank, there is a fear that the situation will deteriorate, given the worsening economic conditions due to the closures and the prevention of the entry of Palestinian workers into Israel.
On the other hand, a United Nations organization revealed the escalation of mass displacement of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs ‘OCHA’ said in its latest report: Armed settlers threatened the residents of Khirbet Zanuta, 20 km south of the city of Hebron, to kill them if they did not leave, forcing 140 Palestinians - half of them children - to leave the area.
According to the aforementioned office, nearly 2,000 Palestinians have been displaced since 2022 due to settler violence, indicating that 43% of them have been displaced since October 7, 2023. After the people were forced to dismantle about 50 buildings and evacuate the area, where several settlers attacked this community throughout last October, and about 2/3 of the families that make up the herding community became displaced.
The settlers are also destroying homes, water tanks, solar panels, and other simple necessities of life. The matter is not-limit-ed to this, but extended to other gatherings. At least 98 families comprising 828 people, including 313 children, have been displaced from 15 Palestinian herding communities in different parts of the West Bank due to settler violence´-or-increased restrictions. Since Oct. 7, the rate of settler violence rose unprecedentedly, as the number of settler attacks reached 7 cases per day that is more than double the already high rate in the first 9 months of 2023, which were 3.
The occupation authorities are also tightening restrictions on the movement of Palestinian citizens, such that they have become particularly severe since Oct. 7 in areas near settlements and in areas of contact with the apartheid wall, which the occupying State built deep in the West Bank, this wall that writhes like a snake in the West Bank, as described by former US President George W. Bush.
However, the displacement operations carried out by the settlers did not begin on 7th of October. According to consistent data from a number of reports issued by international, Israeli and Palestinian organizations, including the National Bureau over this year, before the aggression on the Gaza Strip, 1,105 Palestinians were displaced from 28 communities from their areas of residence due to settler violence and preventing them from accessing their pastures to the point that 4 Palestinian communities, south of the Hebron Governorate, became completely empty of Palestinian citizens ‘Khirbet al-Radim, Khirbet Zanuta, Anizan, and Atiriyah’, as well as 6 other communities.
More than 50 communities were displaced. The Israeli courts and the Israeli legal system support all of these various practices and mechanisms adopted by the occupying State. In any case, it is not a random phenomenon that affects an individual community without the eyes of the occupation authorities. Rather, it is ‘according to the Bezalel Smotrich’s project’ part of a project based on ethnic cleansing and coercing Palestinians to abandon area C, by following all available governmental mechanisms to achieve this goal.
The circle of suffering is expanding due to the policy of barriers and closures imposed by the occupation army on various governorates in the West Bank and the policy of apartheid on external roads that are closed to Palestinian vehicles to provide security for settlers and their vehicles, as is the case in the Hawara area, south of the city of Nablus. The settlers are not satisfied with the bypass roads, which provide them with security according to the Israeli security services and the extremists in the neo-Nazi government in Israel, such as, Miri Regev, the Minister of Transportation. Rather, they insist on continuing to provoke the Palestinians and attack them and their property.
For them, these racist discriminatory arrangements are insufficient, so they are escalating their pressure and demanding that the town be wiped out of existence and that shops not be allowed to open their doors, as their army does in the Gaza Strip, despite the opening of a section of the Hawara bypass road last week to settler movement, who continue their orgy operations with provocative marches in the place and confirm that they will continue to pass through the same main street, despite opening that section of the alternative bypass road to the movement of their vehicles
According to ‘B Tselem’, the case is the same in the northern West Bank, around the city of Nablus, and in the southern West Bank. Since Oct. 7th, the Occupation Authorities have imposed a curfew and apartheid on 11 neighborhoods in the Old City of Hebron, where businesses are being disrupted, shops are being closed, and about 750 families are being imprisoned in their homes, Only on October 21, after 2 weeks of complete curfew.
The occupation army announced in accordance to the aforementioned center, that residents could leave their homes, on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, for one hour in the morning, and one hour in the evening each time, in order to provide security, safety, and comfort to the settlers in the area known as the ‘H2’ area, which is inhabited by hundreds of the most extremist Israeli settlers, who enjoy complete freedom of movement and exploit this to harm the Palestinian population and attack them and their properties.
List of Israeli Assaults over the Last Week Documented by the National Bureau:
• Attacking farmers from the Al-Rajabi family in the Birin area while they were picking olives, and forced them to leave their lands, prevented others from reaching their lands in the village of Al-Tuwanah in Masafer Yatta.
• Breaking into the home of citizen Abd. Al-Rahman Al-Jabbarin in the Sha’b Al-Butm area in Musafer Yatta, for the third time, and they smashed one of its doors, windows, furniture, and some fruit trees in its courtyard.
• Destroying a power generation and the Internet network that serves Wadi Jahish’s area in Al-Musafer, and cut holes in it.
• Building a road on land belonging to a citizen of the Marqa family, for the benefit of the settlement. Settlers from the “Karmiel” settlement also destroyed water lines in Khirbet Al-Tha’la.
• Destroying a fence and barbed wire surrounding the citizens’ lands, broke more than 20 almond trees, and began building a settlement road on the citizens’ lands in Masafer Yatta, starting from the “Avigal” settlement and ending with the ‘Ma’on’ settlement, it is about 12 km, to connect the 2 settlements together, which means controlling more than 13,000 dunams of citizens’ lands.
• Forcing citizen Mahmoud Hammad Jibril, 60 and his family at gunpoint to leave their land in the “Al-Tabq” area, east of the Tuqu’ Wilderness, and seized solar cells and water tanks there.
• Demolishing houses belonging to Fares Amin Manasra, which are under construction, and a stone and marble factory belonging to the citizen Youssef Al-Hroub, under the pretext of not having a license in the “Sariyala” area, west of the village of Wadi Fukin.
• Forcing a number of citizens to leave their land in the “Wadi Al-Mu’allaq” area, east of Tuqo’a at gunpoint, they seized 3 barracks for raising livestock, 3 mobile homes ‘caravans’ and solar cells.
• Attacking citizens’ vehicles on the Ramallah-Nablus road, near the town of Turmus-Ayya, causing material damage to a number of them.
• Preventing the people of Khirbet Jabait east of the town of Al-Mughayir from returning to it, and seized tents and barracks for citizens there, and destroyed solar panels. They also forced families of Khirbet Jabeit”, numbering 30 citizens to leave the Khirbet on the 8th of last October.
• Demolishing the home of Ahmed Fathi Nakhla s family, under the pretext of building without a license in the village of Shuqba, west of Ramallah.
• Bulldozing 10s of dunums of citizens’ land adjacent to the “Al-Hamra” settlement, in the village of Faroush Beit Dajan. The occupation authorities had decided years ago to seize these lands.
• Injuring 4 citizens as a result of settlers attacking them while picking olives in the town of Jama’in, south of Nablus. The injuries were transferred to the “Balsam” Medical Center to receive treatment.
• Preventing citizens in the town of Madama. South of Nablus from picking their olives and seized their equipment.
• Smashing the windows of the vehicle of citizen Hosni Assaf from the town of Jama’in, on the main road near the “Shilo” settlement, others attacked citizens’ vehicles near the Al-Taneeb Junction, west of the village of Deir Sharaf, and closed the main road leading to the city of Tulkarm.
• Firing live bullets towards citizens homes in the eastern village of Luban, some bullets smashed windows of one of these homes.
• Uprooting about 70 long-lived olive trees from the land of citizen Anwar al-Dik in the village of Kafr al-Dik, which has an area of 20 dunums, located in the “Khallet Abu Mazhar” area, adjacent to the “Ali Zahav and Leshem” settlements. Meanwhile, the settlers of the ‘Ariel settlement’ incited the closure of the northern entrance to Salfeet in a manner permanently led by Daniela Weiss, a settlement advocate, leader of a settlement movement, and head of the Kedumim Settlement Council.
• Closing the Shofa – Kafr Al-Labad villages’ soil road, southeast of Tulkarm. It is the only road that the people use, after closing all its entrances more than 2 weeks ago. Closing this road led to the isolation of the village from its external surroundings and restricting residents movement, noting that the western entrance to the village is closed with cement cubes and the Shufa military checkpoint Gate has been closed since the last October 8th.
• Firing live bullets at farmers in the village of Zabuba, west of Jenin, while they were picking olives on their lands located behind the Separation Wall, preventing them from continuing their work and harvesting their fruits.