Two Obstacles to Peace……Netanyahu & Settlements

Two Obstacles to Peace……Netanyahu & Settlements
Since the right wing Israeli government headed by Netanyahu took office in March 31, 2009, and until the date of this report, it did nothing more than setting and executing its expansionist and colonial plans in all over the Occupied Palestinian Territory, aiming to unilaterally tightening its control over the Palestinian lands, residents and the geopolitical reality, by building and expanding the Illegal settlements and their outposts, seizing and confiscating the Palestinian lands, demolishing the Palestinian houses and properties , tearing and interrupting the geographical contiguity of the Territory by building the Apartheid Segregation Wall which transformed the Palestinian Territory into islands and enclaves.
All what accomplished by Netanyahu’s Government since March 2009 until now are:-
  • Approved/ passed tenders, and plans to build 68,403 housing units in Israeli settlement in oPt, including East Jerusalem.
  • Demolished 466 Palestinian houses in the oPt.
  • Handed over 2,691 military demolition orders for Palestinian houses in the oPt.
  • Uprooted more than 22,393 trees owned by the Palestinian residents in the oPt. 
  • Confiscated more than 315,164.183 dunums of Palestinian-owned lands in the oPt.
  • Threatened to confiscate 13,206 dunums of Palestinian-owned lands in the oPt.
1550 Housing Units in Har Homa & Pisgat Ze’ev Settlements
On May 19, 2011, at the eve of the Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu departure to the United States, and while the President of the United States Barak Obama was delivering his speech at the Congress, the “Israeli Ministry of Interior and the Planning and Construction Committee” approved a new colonial plan to build 1550 housing units in two Illegal settlements in the eastern occupied part of the city of Jerusalem. According to the aforementioned Committee, 930 housing units will be built in the settlement of Pisgat Ze’ev and 620 housing units in Har Homa  Settlement.
294 Housing Units in Bitar ‘Illit
On May 20, 2011, the Israeli Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak approved new colonial plan No. 405/10/4 for the construction of 294 housing units in the Illegal settlement of Beitar ‘Illit.  At the Illegal settlement of Efrat the Minister has approved the construction of housing compound and a commercial center in Giv’at Hazayit area in the settlement (according to plan No. 410/5/4 that was approved in the past). The approval of the Defense Minister is the last approval required from the government before the construction in the settlements can start. Following this approval, the Ministry of Housing will publish tenders offering the project for bidding.
50 Housing Units in Ma’aleh David “Har Hazeteim”
On May 25, 2011, hundreds of Israelis attended a dedication ceremony of the second stage of the Ma’aleh David settlement, which celebrated 60 new apartments in the Palestinian Jerusalemite neighborhood of Ras el-‘Amud. The event was attended by The Mayor of the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem Nir Barakat, The Israeli Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, Interior Minister Eli Yishai, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, Environmental Protection Minister Gil’ad Erdan, Science and Technology Minister Daniel Herschkowitz and former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel Eliahu Bakshi-Doron.
It is worth mentioning that on March 1, 2011, the “Licensing Committee” at the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem issued building permits for the construction of 14 Illegal housing units in the former location of the Israeli police headquarters in Ras Al-‘Amoud neighborhood in the Eastern part of Jerusalem city. The new housing units are the first step to build the so called “Maaleh David Illegal settlement” or ‘Ma’alot David’ in Ras Al Amoud neighborhood.
The story of the aforementioned settlement goes back to April 2008, when a group of Jewish settlers from ‘Redeeming Jerusalem’ Committee” coercively took residency in the former building of the Police Station in Ras Al ‘Amoud neighborhood after the Israeli police vacated the building and moved into the new Police headquarter in the E1 area opposite to Ma’aleh Adumim settlement bloc. The neighborhood includes the building of 110 housing units over 10 dunums of vacated land in addition to 6 Israeli societies and public organizations. The site of the old police station will be the nucleus of Ma’aleh David settlement where the 14 housing units will be built soon. See the map below:

Map 1: Ma’aleh David Settlement on Ras Al-‘Amoud Neighborhood
Furthermore and on May 20, 2011, an Israeli newspaper “Haaretz” revealed that the Israeli settlers are planning to establish erect three new outposts in the West Bank on the eve of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech at the US Congress, where hundreds of members of the Jewish “Hilltop Youth” have completed preparations for constructing the new outposts. One of the outposts is to be built between the Illegal Israeli settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim and the E1 area, in preparation to execute the Israeli plan to annex Ma’aleh Adumim with what Israel plans the “Greater Jerusalem” area, which connects the settlement with East Jerusalem.
Three days later, and on May 23, 2011, the “Hilltop Youth” accompanied with the Israeli Knesset member Michael Ben Ari, set up an Illegal outpost on the E1 area near Ma’aleh Adumim settlement. It is worth to point out that the Israeli PM Netanyahu had covertly promised the United States, as with his predecessors Ehud Olmert and Ariel Sharon, that Israel would not build in this controversial area because if they did so Jerusalem will be completely cut- off from the West Bank; hence, eliminating any chance for any need for negotiation over the city as the future capital of the Palestinian State.
1600 Housing Units in Ramat Rahel South of Jerusalem
The Israeli Minister of Interior Eli Yeshai and the Mayor Of the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem Nir Barakat announced that Jerusalem’s municipal territory will expand by 250 dunums (25 hectares), incorporating part of the fields of Ramat Rahel settlement south of the city of Jerusalem to build 1,600 housing units. The plan still needs to be approved by the Jerusalem District Building and Planning Committee, which is part of the Ministry of Interior; it is expected to be approved.
According to the plan, 56 dunums from the lands allocated to expand Ramat Rahel settlements is classified “No Man’s Land” as concluded in the 1949 Armistice Line agreement between Israel and Jordan from 1949 to 1967, where Israel don’t have the right to use this lands for any purpose, because it didn’t  belong to either Israel or to Jordan. See the map below:
Map for Ramat Rahel and land allocated for its expansion
It is worth mentioning that since the end of the ten months settlement freeze on September 26, 2010 to the date of this report, more than 21,000 housing units (21,382) had been approved by the various Israeli related authorities to be built in the illegal Israeli settlements in the oPt. Furthermore, during the year 2010, 32,055 housing units had been approved by the Israeli authorities to be built in the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, of which, 15453 units (48%) were issued for Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem.
Legal & International Status
Netanyahu did his best to thwart the International attempts to resume the peace negotiations especially the efforts of the US Administration and President Barak Obama, calling on the Palestinians to comply to his will to recognize “Israel as a Jewish State” as a precondition for launching the peace negotiations, while refusing to accept the 1967 lines as the future borders of the Palestinian State.
In his speech to the US Congress on May 24, 2011, Netanyahu and repeated his taboos in any peace negotiations with the Palestinians starting from the Israeli rejection to return to the 1967 lines, while Jerusalem is the eternal undivided capital of Israel and for the Jewish people in all over the world in their Jewish State of Israel, in addition to his absolute rejection to dismantle the Illegal settlements in West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the Israeli Occupation Army will keep his forces in the Jordan Valley.
These Illegitimate preconditions professed by Netanyahu actually reflects his scope of ideology and shows to which extent he and Israel for that matter willing to concede of the occupied territory to the Palestinians. 
Accordingly, the Israeli denial of the International legitimacy represented by the United Nation Security Council Resolutions mainly 338 & 242, and it’s deliberately foiling any International-led efforts for the interest of reaching just and durable peace agreement with the Palestinians, shows the real face for the longest Israeli Occupation.
  • UNSCR 242, adopted in November 22, 1967: Calls on Israel to withdraw from the all of the Territory it occupied in its aggression on June 5, 1967.
  •  Also 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).
[1] Pisgat Ze’ev: Established in 1985, north of the city of Jerusalem, over 41,882 dunums of lands. The settlement has a population of 20,000 settlers.
[2] Har Homa: Established in 1997, north of the city of Jerusalem, over 1546 dunums of lands. The settlement has a population of 20,000 settlers
[3] A Jewish group dedicated to buying or confiscating property from Palestinians in Jerusalem’s Old City in order to establish a Jewish presence there.

Categories: Reports