The Israeli Settlers and government maneuver with “Ush Ghurab” for more negotiation points in their favor

The Israeli Settlers and government maneuver with “Ush Ghurab” for more negotiation points in their favor
On the 22 August 2009, the Israeli National News online service, reported that the Israeli national union has declared its plans to open up an active office at the evacuated Shdemah – the Israeli military base located East of Beit Sahour town, known to the Palestinians by its original name ‘Ush Ghurab’.
About ‘Ush-Ghurab’
Ush Ghurab area was the location where the Israeli military base existed and locally known as ‘Ush-Ghurab’ (Shdemah as the Israeli Army calls it). It lies to the east of Beit-Sahour city, on a mountainous area stretching over tens of Dunums of open spaces. See Map 1

The site is bordered from three directions (south, west and north) by Palestinian built-up area, and from the east, it is bordered by Za’tara bypass road. The site was used by several administrations before it was occupied by the Israeli Army in 1967 as headquarter for the British Mandate troops and later on by the Jordanian Forces.
However, the area that defines the Israeli military base today is much larger than it used to be before 1967; as the Israeli forces confiscated more Palestinian lands throughout the years of occupation to increase the area of the military base.
Following the eruption of second Intifada in September 2000, the Shdemah site was the launching point of the repeated Israeli attacks against Palestinians and properties in the city of Beit-Sahour.
On April 27, 2006, and in a surprising move, the Israeli Occupation Forces evacuated the base. Heavy Equipments existed at the site were moved to another Israeli Military base located southeast of Beit-Sahour City called ‘Herodion Base’, in Al Furdeis area. However, the evacuated site was not handed over to the Palestinian site at that same time and yet until today.
Days after the Israeli government declares it’s intent to freeze settlement expansion in the Palestinian West-Bank territories, the extreme-right wing settler’s organization women for Eretz Israel known as the ‘Women in Green‘ lunched a call to all its supporters to join them in a daily effort to resettle the evacuated Military base of Ush-Ghurab.
As mentioned above the land was evacuated unilaterally by the Israeli forces in 2006, since then the ‘Women in Green‘ movement has repeatedly attacked the site under the supervision and the protection of the Israeli forces which has declared it a closed military area to Palestinians and international solidarity groups.
The ‘Women in Green‘ movement is supported by many members of Israeli Kennest and has been leading weekly demonstrations at the evacuated site calling for the re-occupation of the land, considering it a part of there home land, at the same time denying the right of Palestinians to live in an independent state.  
Developing Ush-Ghurab Area
Soon after the Israeli withdrawal from Ush-Ghurab area in 2006, the Municipality of Beit-Sahour presented a plan to the Israeli Civil Administration to reclaim the land to develop it. The area where the camp existed is located within area ‘C’, which under Oslo II agreements requires the Municipality to acquire authorization from the Israeli Civil Administration.
Months later, the Israeli civil administration granted the license to Beit-Sahour Municipality to carry on with the projects, which include a hospital, Youth center, Public Park, Environmental Center, recreational center, cultural center in addition to Parking lot. These projects are planned to part of the targeted area of Ush Ghurab (see table 1) as for the remaining area, it is set to remain under the Israeli Army’s control where no Palestinian construction is allowed.
Table 1: Plan presented by Beit Sahour Municipality
Type of Construction
Area in Dunums
Nazereth Village
Youth Center
Public Park
Water Station
Environmental Center
Sport Center
Source: Beit Sahour Municipality 2008
The development plan presented by Beit Sahour is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) who inaugurated the first Stage of the project on the 12 of February 2008 to build the Public Park to benefit people of Beit Sahour city and the surrounding communities.
However, soon enough and with much exerted pressure from the Israeli settlers’ councils, the planned projects were soon suspended for further review, which on the ground means further negotiations with the settlers’ councils who plan to establish an outpost and maybe develop it into a settlement in the future. Such behavior from the Israeli settlers and support from the Israeli Army comes in parallel with the jagged on and off negotiation between Palestinians and Israelis to score points and hold negotiating tools for the future.  
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Categories: Settlers Attacks