To legitimize what is Illegitimate
“New Master Plans for Five Israeli Settlements in the OPT”

To legitimize what is Illegitimate  <br> “New Master Plans for Five Israeli Settlements in the OPT”
On April 3, 2011, the Israeli daily newspaper “Haaretz” revealed that the Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and his Defense Minister Ehud Barak adopted a new master plan  for the Illegal Israeli settlement of Nofim northwest of Salfit Governorate. This Israeli step means that there are additional lands to be allocated for the interest of expanding the settlement in the future on the expense of the surrounding Palestinian lands. The newspaper added that the Israeli Defense Minister intends to approve another four master plans for 4 illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank: (1) Rotem settlement in Tubas Governorate (2) Eshkelot- Sensana settlements in Hebron Governrate (3) Halamish settlement in Ramallah Governorate and (4) Qiryat Netafim settlement in Salfit Governorate. Table 1 gives details of the targeted settlements to be expanded and their location.
Table 1: the Israeli Settlements targeted for expansion 
Settlement Name
Qiryat Netafim
Source: ARIJ Settlements Database – 2011

Map 1:  Israeli Settlements targeted for expansion
To legitimize what is Illegitimate
The Israeli decision to adopt new master plans for the five Illegal Israeli settlements is no more than a desperate attempt to manipulate the world by the use of formal tools in order to give the settlements null and void legitimacy.  Since the Israeli military Occupation of the Palestinian Territory in 1967, the consecutive Israeli governments have invested its resources in establishing and expanding the Illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territory and their outposts, where today there are 199 israeli settlements in the West Bank and 232 israeli settlements’ outposts, spread – like cancer- in the OPT. As a result of this policy, more than 560,000 Israeli settlers now live in these settlements, of which 238,000 settlers live in Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem. 
It is worth mentioning that in the year 1991, the Israeli Civil Administration related to the Israeli Occupation Army, designated master plans for Israeli settlements in the OPT, which is on the ground exceed the existing settlements built-up area in order to guarantee the developing of the settlements for the coming 30 years.
Discrimination Regime by the Last Occupation in History
Throughout the prolonged Israel military occupation of the Palestinian Territory, Israel has systematically created in the Occupied Territory a regime of separation, based on discrimination, where two separate systems of law in the same area are being applied one is for the Palestinian people , and the other is for the Israeli settlers.
According to this regime hundreds of thousands of the Palestinian-owned lands had been seized and confiscated solely for building and expanding the  Illegal Israeli settlements, and populate them with hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers while depriving the Palestinians from building and using their own lands. More than that, the Israeli settlements and their outposts became a tool to justify the methodological violations of the Palestinians’ human rights, such as the rights of housing, livelihood, and freedom of movement.
Furthermore, the unilateral Israeli actions on the ground constitute deliberately Israeli steps toward reshaping the map of the West Bank to prevent any real possibility for the establishment of an independent, sovereign, viable, Palestinian State as part of the Palestinians’ legitimate right to “self-determination”.
Legal & International Status
Instead of expanding the Illegal settlements in the OPT, and Imposing facts on the ground, Israel must comply to the International law rules and International legitimacy decisions and to recognize the Palestinian right to live and exist on their homeland. Moreover Israel must to adopt “justice and peace” approach instead of   “occupation and expansion” approach in order to seize the opportunity to reach a just and lasting peace agreement with the Palestinians based on “Land for Peace” not “Settlement for peace” because peace and settlements never meet together.
The Israeli settlements and outposts in all over the OPT are Illegal and must be dismantled, where the Israel government decision to expand the five aforementioned settlements clearly contradicts with the International law rules and conventions:-
  • United Nation Security Council Resolution No. 446 of 1979 calls on Israel to rescind its previous measures and to desist from taking any action which would result in changing the legal status and geographical nature and materially affecting the demographic composition of the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem and, in particular, not to transfer parts of its own civilian population into the occupied Arab territories’
  • Also UNSCR No. 452 of 1979calls upon the Government and people of Israel to cease, on an urgent basis, the establishment, construction and planning of settlements in the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem.”
  • Moreover ,UNSCR No. 465 of 1980 ‘called upon Israel to stop building in the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories and to dismantle all of the Israeli settlements built in the aforementioned territories since the year 1967, and demanding all of the state parties of the UN not to help Israel in building these Illegal settlements’.
  • Furthermore the Forth Geneva Convention of 1949 also states in Article 49 that “The occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own population into the territories it occupies.” and Article 174 of the same convention “prohibits the ‘extensive destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.”
  • Article XXXI of the 1995 Oslo agreement Israelis forbidden from building or planning to any project or settlements or any colonial expansion or any plan that lead to change the status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.The article provides “Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations”.
  • In May 2001, the head of the International Red Cross delegation to Israel and the Occupied Territories said that settlements are ‘equal in principle to war crimes’. (Note: ‘The transfer, the installation of population of the occupying power into the occupied territories is considered as an illegal move and qualified as a ‘grave breach.’ It’s a grave breach, formally speaking, but grave breaches are equal in principle to war crimes’, Rene Kosirnik, head of the ICRC delegation to Israel and the OPT, press conference 17 May 2001). 
  • the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights reads: Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence
[1] The Master Plan includes all the lands for every Israeli settlements set to be developed over the next 20-30 years in the future.
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Categories: Settlement Expansion