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 every Israeli Knesset elections, settlement comes at the forefront of the elections. Therefore, the situation remains the same as for the Knesset elections in next November. Knowing that the Palestinians consider the approval of new settlement plans or the legalization of existing ones is nothing, but an attempt to win the votes of settlers and their supporters from right-wing and far-right parties in Israel by expanding the settlement areas in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.
Benny Gantz, Minister of the Army exploits his position in the electoral race to his favor by making promises to settlers through promising to expand settlements, Judaize the occupied territories, and to provide support to settler militias and gangs. Gantz unleashes the occupation authorities and the Civil Administration of the army to implement the largest number of settlement plans to satisfy the settlers and their extremist organizations and associations, including terrorist ones.
Gantz, leader of the ‘Kahol Lavan coalition’ who seeks to qualify himself to head the Israeli government has the same mentality of Netanyahu and Bennett. He also seeks to placate the settlers to win their votes in the upcoming Knesset elections. During his meeting with a delegation of West Bank settlement leaders, he informed them that he intends to approve plans to build hundreds of settlement units.
Gantz met with settler leaders who set up a protest tent in front of his house in Ras al-Ein, east of Tel Aviv to protest against the ‘traffic jams’ on the streets of the West Bank. Gantz also promised the settlers to study building alternative roads to reduce overcrowding on the streets of the West Bank, while the settlers expressed their satisfaction after their meeting with Gantz.
At the same time, and under instructions of Minister of War, Benny Gantz, the Israeli army decided to secure full protection for the settlement outposts, which he describes as ‘illegal’ for fear of Palestinian attacks. Changing the policy regarding providing security for the outposts and for a group of settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley. He indicated that these measures will be implemented on the ground in the coming days, and include the installation of new security and technological components similar to settlements.
On the other hand, the Occupation Authorities and the Moshe Le’on Municipality in Jerusalem continue to obstruct the work of the planning and licensing committees and departments in the municipality, accumulating thousands of permit files for Jerusalemites whose homes are threatened with demolition and forcing them to pay high fines to the municipality, within discriminatory procedures and flimsy pretexts, such as the lack of a sufficient number of employees, even if they are found.
Most of them have half a job or work according to the e-mail system by sending all the plans and waiting for a reply by mail and other arguments that hinder Jerusalemites from obtaining a building permit. This is in addition to the fact that the so-called ‘Properties Committee’ meets once a month in the ‘public councils’ established by the occupation municipality in the villages and neighborhoods of Jerusalem to decide on the authenticity of the papers and proofs of ownership that must be translated into Hebrew and pay fees to examine them to obtain approval to submit the license application to the municipality and open a file.
This committee is headed by a group of municipal employees from the racist Zionist right called ‘Yonathan Yosef’, the son of racist rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who is himself a member of the Jewish terrorist organization that carried out attacks against Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank. For membership in the Municipal Council, which deliberately postpones, procrastinates, creates formal justifications, returns files and demands that it be done according to a new scheme and procedures approved by the occupation municipality 2 months ago.
It also created obstacles to prevent the licensing of existing buildings in licensable areas, and pushes the municipality's crews to demolish them in coordination with the municipality's attorney general and the judges in the latter's court, most of whose judges have become settlers and religious.
For its part, ‘B’Tselem’ confirmed that the occupation municipality in occupied East Jerusalem uses the Israeli planning system in the West Bank as a tool to prevent Palestinian development and the theft of Palestinian lands, as part of a political plan aimed at enabling Israel to harness the maximum possible area of Jerusalem lands for its own needs, and to devote this is a service to its Judaizing settlement project at a time when it is colluding with the occupying state to demolish the homes of Palestinian residents.
In August 2022, the occupation municipality demolished 30 buildings in East Jerusalem and the surrounding areas of the Jerusalem Governorate, including 12 residential buildings, 4 of which are still uninhabited. And 8 inhabited buildings were displaced after their demolition, 60 people, including 35 minors were living in them. Of these, 9 were demolished by their owners, bringing the number of affected people to 73, including 35 minors.
List of Israeli Assaults over the Last Week Documented by the National Bureau:
Storming Al-Aqsa Mosque from the Lions Gate for the first time since the occupation of Jerusalem.
Forcing a citizen to self-demolish his house on the pretext of not having a license to avoid heavy fines.
Torching a house in Silwan town after firing tear gas and sound bombs at citizens' homes.
Demolishing a mobile home in the Farsh al-Hawa area, west of Hebron, despite the fact that the owner has legal and documents ‘Tabu’, which prove ownership of the land.
Demolishing 2 houses under construction in the ‘Handazah area’ southeast of Bethlehem, each with an area of 100m2, and 2 other houses in the Artas village.
Storming the Suleiman Pools area, and demolished 2 houses with an area of 450m2.
Destroying an agricultural room in Artas under the pretext of not having a license. A group of settlers also set up 3 tents in Khallet al-Hamra in the ‘Wadi Abyan area’.
Erecting a caravan and six tents, and 2 water tanks in the ‘Al-Hassa Valley’ area in Al-Rashaida village, east of Bethlehem, and prevented shepherds from accessing the pastures there.
Injuring 21 citizens in an attack by settlers on the homes of citizens in the Madama village, south of Nablus, of them 8 civilians were injured after settlers and the occupation forces attack, while 13 others suffocated as a result of inhaling the tear gas fired by them.
Attacking vehicles of civilians with stones on Jenin Street, Nablus, near the junction of the Bazariya town.
Seizing a transportation bus working on agricultural land in Al-Ras Al-Ahmar, southeast of Tubas, and 80 vehicles, a tractor, and agricultural machinery.
Storming Khallet Makhoul area in the northern Jordan Valley and erecting settlers tents among the citizens’ tents, knowing that the area suffers from settlers’ attacks on cattle herders, expelling them from pastures, and seized 2 agricultural tractors there.