Israeli punitive measures in response to the Palestinian UN Bid

Israeli punitive measures in response to the Palestinian UN Bid



Soon after the General Assembly of the United Nations (UNGA) voted in favor of awarding Palestine as ‘a non-member observer status state’, Israel rushed to impose sanctions on the Palestinians in a step that undermines all attempts to restart peace negotiations with the Palestinians and jeopardizes the path to a viable and peaceful Two-State Solution.


Israel succeeded in the last couple of years in mobilizing a strategy of sanctions, the orientation of which was, to hinder the Palestinians from heading to the different UN bodies and always sought to keep the status quo politically comfortable than the alternative as it doesn’t see any negative impact for maintaining the status quo as is, which is ‘The Gaza Strip under Siege and the West Bank is geographically disconnected’ while it [Israel] is increasingly knocking on the door of power and prosperity in the world. 


However, the overwhelming vote for Palestine at the UNGA, and the fact that Palestinians are given an independent state of their own, and the world’s recognition of the lives of Palestinians under occupation are controlled by Israel that denies them their rights, Israel becomes under threat that the status quo it worked hard to maintain as is, is about to change and therefore it is raising the concept of isolation and sanctions on Palestinians.  


Israel to build 3000 new settlers’ units


On the 30th of November 2012, one day after the announcement of the Palestinian Bid results at the UNGA, Israel declared that it would move forward with the building of 300 new settlers’ units in Israeli Settlements in the West Bank including those in East Jerusalem. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that the new building will occur in Israeli settlements located in major settlement blocs in the West Bank, those blocs which Israel intends to keep under its control under any future peace agreement with the Palestinians. Among Israeli settlements that are expected to receive building, the settlement of Gilo south of Jerusalem city where 800 new units will be approved in addition to 187 units in the settlement of Pisgat Ze’ev northwest of Jerusalem city.


Israel revives the E1 plan in East Jerusalem  


The Israeli Government gave the Green Light to commence land zoning process in the E1 area, between Ma’ale Adumim settlement bloc (east of Jerusalem) and the city of Jerusalem, in preparation for building in the area, thus; imposing a geographical de facto on the ground for the sake of Israeli settlements, that is to link the Ma’ale Adumim settlement bloc east Jerusalem and the Israeli settlements in the eastern part of the West Bank (Israeli settlements in the eastern Segregation Zone) with those inside Jerusalem and inside Israel (within the 1949 border). At the same time, this plan will cut off the geographical contiguity between Palestinian communities in the area and surround the city with a belt of settlements that will lead to the complete isolation of the city of Jerusalem city from its surroundings.


The E1 plan includes the building of 3910 housing units west of Ma’ale Adumim settlement in addition to the building of 2152 hotel rooms, an industrial zone and a Police Station (the Police station has already been built in the Ma’ale Adumim area in 2008). It is worth mentioning that the implementation of the E1 plan comes on 13214 dunums of previously confiscated Palestinian lands in East Jerusalem which belong to Al ‘Issawiya, At Tur, Al ‘Ezariyeh, Abu Dis and ‘Anata communities. See Table 1


Table 1: Palestinian communities in East Jerusalem affected by the Israeli E1 plan

Percent from Total community Boundary

Area of land expected to be expropriated

Palestinian Community




Al ‘Izariyeh




Abu Dis








Al Isawiya




At Tur




Total Land Area


Source: The geo-informatics Department, The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ), 2012






Despite the International Community strong condemnation of Israel’s decision to revive the E1 plan, a source in the Israeli Prime Minister’s office expressed the Israeli determination of building in E1 and that Israel will not back on its plan; he said, ‘We will continue to stand by our vital interests against international pressure and there will be no change in the decision that was made.’ [1]… The source also added that the Palestinian move at the UN violated all agreements signed with Israel by saying ‘it is no wonder that Israel did not sit idly by.’ … ‘If the (Palestinians) will continue taking unilateral steps, Israel will act accordingly.


The US administration, the European countries and the UN council expressed their resentment over Israel’s announcements of the Israeli building plans in Israeli settlements in the West Bank since these plans are considered ‘obstacles’ in the way of achieving a just and lasting peace with the Palestinians.


Furthermore, on the third of December 2012, the Israeli Daily Newspaper, Haaretz, quoted the former U.S. ambassador to Israel ‘Dan Kurtzer’ saying that the US Administration intensified its criticism of Israel’s Prime Minister, for his decision to go ahead with settlement plans in the occupied Palestinian territory, in response to comments made by an Israeli official in the Israeli government, who said that the Israeli Prime Minister has decided to revive these settlement plans ‘to avenge‘ [2][2] the U.S. President Barack Obama for refusing to endorse the letter addressed to the former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon by the former U.S. President George W. Bush back in 2004 which states ‘In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities.‘ The former ambassador also added that Israel was waiting for the right opportunity to do this, that it was designed to provoke anger in the Administration, and that they picked what they thought was a convenient moment.”


The E1 plan limits the expansion of the Palestinian communities in East Jerusalem


The E1 plan; originally conceived by the late Israeli labor party leader Yitzhak Rabin back in 1994 as a precautionary step and erudite ahead step of future fallout regarding Ma’ale Adumim settlement which was established 1975;


Construction at the E1 area has never been implemented due to the International opposition to the plan and most specifically, the US administration which considers Ma’ale Adumim settlement bloc as the most dangerous among other settlement blocs in the West Bank due to its location in Jerusalem Governorate first, in addition to the fact that it poses a major threat to the contiguity of the northern and southern parts of the West Bank and isolates East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank Governorates which in turn, constitutes an obstacle to the aspirations of the Palestinian people to establish an independent state with territorial contiguity and Jerusalem as its capital.


Since Israel sanctioned its isolation plan in the Palestinian territory back in 2002 through the construction of the Segregation Wall, the Ma’ale Adumim area got the attention of the committee working on drawing the path of the wall in the West Bank due to its location, close to the eastern part of Jerusalem. The wall was designed to annex the settlement bloc of Ma’ale Adumim along with two other settlement blocs surrounding the city of Jerusalem from the north and the south, Giv’at Ze’ev and Gush Etzion respectively, at the same time, to exclude the highly dense Palestinian communities outside the municipal borders of Jerusalem city. 


It is worth mentioning that on the fifth of December 2012, the planning and building council at the Israeli Civil Administration agreed to deposit a plan to construct 3426 settlers units in E1 area west of Ma’ale Adumim settlement bloc. The plan has been submitted for Public Review for 60 days. This step is considered the last before approving the plan, after which, building permits and tenders may be issued at any time.


Israeli gives the Green Light to build in Giv’at Hamatos settlement


On 2nd of December 2012, the Israeli daily newspaper ‘JPOST’ published on its website that the Municipality of Jerusalem is about to give its final approval over building in Giv’at Hamatos settlement south of Jerusalem city, on lands of Beit Safafa town. The building in Giv’at Hamatos settlement comes in four stages and includes the construction of 4000 settlers’ units in the area, 800 of which, claims Israel that they would be built for Palestinians of Beit Safafa town.


 The first stage of the plan, Giv’at Hamatos phase 1, was slated to receive approval two weeks ago, during the biweekly meeting of the Israeli local committee for building and planning affiliated to the Municipality of Jerusalem but the meeting took place on the last day of the Israeli War on Gaza Strip and the plan was taken off the agenda of the committee as the US secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, was visiting the area in an attempt to end the Israel war on Gaza and negotiate cease fire between the Israelis and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The committee is due to hold its next meeting on the 19th of December and is back with its old-new agenda, that is to give final approval to the Giv’at Hamatos plan as stated by Deputy Mayor and head of committee, Kobi Kahlon.


Jerusalem City Councilor Elisha Peleg, a member of the building and planning committee at the municipality of Jerusalem and a Likud party member commented on the ongoing situations by saying “No time will be a suitable time [for building in east Jerusalem] because there will always be the Western world getting involved with internal issues in the State of Israel, and they’ll never let us build,[3]” he also added that “We need to show we’re an independent sovereign state, and we’re doing what we need to do, which is build on all parts of Israel. We need to stop playing the game when Clinton travels here or travels there and we rush to cancel the project.” Pledge also criticized the International community criticism over the latest Israeli colonial plans in the West Bank and Jerusalem by saying “I don’t think any European country or the US would like it if we got involved with their internal matters,” … “They don’t have a right to do this. These places are in full Israeli sovereignty.” … “We have to be strong and to continue to build in Jerusalem as much as possible, in order to create facts on the ground that we’re not giving up on Jerusalem‘.





Taking Over a Palestinian Building in Jabal Al Mukkabir Town


On the 3rd of December 2012, a group of Israeli settlers from El ‘Ad settlement organization took over a five storey Palestinian building (10 apartments) in Al Farouq neighborhood in Jabal Al Mukabbir town east of Jerusalem allegedly for purchasing the building from its original Palestinian owner. The building is owned by Citizen Suleiman Abu Diab who lives in one of the apartments, two other apartments were bought by citizen Muhammad Athamnah, a resident of the area, and is about to reside in the apartments along with his family; while the remaining apartments are inhabited (empty of dwellers). Settlers’ actions threaten of establishing a new settlement in the area. The building was constructed 10 years ago and each apartment is 120 square meters area.  


It is not the first time that settlers take over Palestinian buildings [properties] in east Jerusalem. Many Palestinian communities, in East Jerusalem in particular, witnessed such incidents in the past and under the same pretext, such as taking over two Palestinian houses belonging to Al Ghawi and Al Hanoun families in Ash Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood; taking over a seven storey building in the heart of Silwan city and naming it Beit Yonthan. Additionally, the house of Citizen Rifqa Al Kurd in Ash Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem was also taken over by settlers. Another house owned by Abu Al Hawa building in the Mount of Olives in At Tur neighborhood in East Jerusalem was also taken over by a group of Israeli settlers affiliated to El ‘Ad settlement organization. .


Reviving the Ramat Shlomo settlement plan


On the 4th of December 2012, the Israeli Government announced that it would revive an old plan to build of 1700 new settlers’ units in the Settlement of Ramat Shlomo (Reches Shu’fat) north of Jerusalem city on 580 dunums of lands. The original plan was first disclosed by the Israeli Interior minister, Eli Yishai, back in March 2010, during the US Vice President [Joe Biden] visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territory to demand for settlement freeze, even if temporarily, to facilitate the resumption of negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Eli Yishai’s office later justified the announcement of the plan upon Biden’s visit that ‘the timing of the approval was coincidental and unrelated to the US vice president’s visit,’ adding that the housing units to be built in Ramat Shlomo are located beyond the Green Line and therefore, neither the Palestinians nor the International community has something to do with Israel’s announcement of the plan, and this was clearly obvious in Yishai’s Office statement: ‘This means nothing to us, since the area is in Jerusalem’s municipal territory.


The plan includes the expanding of Ramat Shlomo settlement from the east and south in addition to rehabilitating an existing road that leads to the new neighborhood and constructing a new road from the west.


Israel’s decision to built in the settlement of Ramat Shlomo has raised the anger of the international community and the U.S. administration in particular as Israel deliberately meant to embarrass the U.S. administration in this regard which touched off a low period in relations with the White House.


Israel always tries to prove the power of its position and disposes any attempt that might force it to comply with peace requirements with the Palestinians, including the resumption of negotiations with the Palestinians and stop settlement construction in the Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian State, including Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem. As a result, construction was suspended in the settlement indefinitely until it was revived again this month following the overwhelming vote for Palestine by UNGA to grant Palestine a non-member observer State status.





Ramat Shlomo settlement was established back in 1990 on lands originally confiscated from Beit Hanina, Al Issawiya (including Shu’fat and Shu’fat refugee camp) and Lifta communities. Today, the settlement occupies a total land area of 1624 dunums and is inhabited by 14230 Israeli settlers.


The area where the settlement of Ramat Shlomo sets today was marked by the Municipality of Jerusalem, following its confiscation, as ‘Green Area’ (an open area which cannot be used for building and construction), but unfortunately, the term green areas was used by Israel to undermine the Palestinian urban expansion in east Jerusalem so that it easily confiscates the land and change it to areas for the exclusive Israeli use such as building of settlements and other colonial structures. In addition, the settlement of Ramat Shlomo is considered a link between Ramat Eshkol settlement north of Jerusalem city and Ramot settlement in the northwest of Jerusalem; thus tightening the closure of the northwestern entrance to Jerusalem with a belt of settlements and segregate the city from the Palestinian natural expansion.  Table 2 gives details of the Palestinian lands that were confiscated for the establishment of Ramat Shlomo settlement. 


Table 2: lands confiscated from Palestinian communities in East Jerusalem for the establishment of Ramat Shlomo settlement

Area (Dunum)

Community Name


Beit Hanina


Al Isawiya including Shu’fat and Shu’fat Refugee camp


Lifta Village


Total land area



Source: The geo-informatics department, ARIJ 2012



Israel seizes Palestinian Tax revenues



The Israeli Government also announced that it would withhold Palestinian Tax revenues[4] for the month of November 2012, estimated at NIS 460 Million (USD 120 million) in response to the vote at the UNGA that granted Palestine ‘a non-member observer status’ state. It is worth mentioning that Israel’s Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz had earlier [in November] warned the Palestinian Authority [while they were still mulling over heading to the UN], on behalf of the Israeli Government from heading to the UN general assembly by saying ‘If the Palestinians continue to advance their unilateral move they should not expect bilateral cooperation. We will not collect their taxes for them and we will not transfer their tax revenues.”[5]


If Israel continues to withhold the Tax Revenues from the Palestinians, the Palestinian State will face a financial crisis which will prevent it from fulfilling its financial obligations towards its people and governmental institutions including paying tens of thousands of workers in the Governmental sector and will become unable to cover the expanses of the various Palestinian official institutions operating in the West Bank Governorates. Israel justified the move by saying that it would pay off the Palestinian State’s debt to Israel’s Electric Corporation.  


The Demolition of 32 Palestinian houses in Al Bustan Neighborhood


On the 4th of December 2012, the Municipality of Jerusalem declared its rejection to the Israeli court’s request to postpone the demolition of 32 (out of 88 slated for demolition) Palestinian houses in Al Bustan Neighborhood in Silwan city south of Jerusalem under the pretext of lacking building permits. The Israeli court had earlier asked the Municipality of Jerusalem to postpone the demolition of the Palestinian houses in Al Bustan neighborhood until June 2012, but the Municipality rejected the court’s request and instructed the immediate demolition of the houses.


It is worth mentioning that on July 1, 2008 the Jerusalem Municipality announced its willingness to revive plan number (E/M/9), a plan which was designed by the Jerusalem Municipality Engineer during the 1970’s and called for the demolition of 88 Palestinian houses in Al Bustan neighborhood in Silwan city south of Jerusalem city to establish a national park called ‘the King’s Valley’.


The demolition of Al Bustan Neighborhood……… another step towards the Judaization of the “Holy Basin’ 


During the 90s, the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem submitted a plan which aimed at Judiazing the area which is called by Israel “the Holy Basin’. The targeted area includes the entire area of the Old City of Jerusalem as well as vast areas from the adjacent neighborhoods and Palestinian communities, starting from Al Sheikh Jarrah and Wadi Al Juz Neighborhoods in the north, At Tur neighborhood in the east and Silwan city in the south. The plan includes the construction of an archaeological city in conformity to the biblical description of ‘Holy Jerusalem’ under Al-Aqsa Mosque, Silwan neighborhood and parts of the Muslim Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem in addition to evacuating Palestinian inhabitants from their living places and replacing them with Jewish residents starting from Silwan city, and moving towards At Tur neighborhood, Wadi Al Juz, and Ras Al ‘Amud[6].





To conclude


Israel considers the Palestinians move to the United Nations General Assembly to win the recognition of Palestine as ‘a non-member observer status state’, is a violation to the agreements [Oslo Accords] signed with Israel and a unilateral step that will move Palestinians away from peace. While in fact, the Israeli colonization activities in the occupied State of Palestine from settlement building and seizing Palestinian lands for the construction of new outposts and various Israeli military installations, the demolition of Palestinian houses and evacuation of entire Palestinian communities for military trainings, the construction of the Israeli Segregation Wall and tightening the grip on the eastern part of the West Bank, are all unilateral steps adopted by the successive Israeli Governments since the 1967  occupation of the Palestinian territory and violate all International laws, Human conventions  and many UN resolutions. If Israel considers itself as a partner in peace, it has to comply with the resolutions of the international legitimacy and commits itself to the agreements it signed with the Palestinians and take real steps towards the peace process.


[3]  Israel to approve new Jewish community in e. J’lem

[4]  which it collects on behalf of the Palestinians







Categories: Israeli Violations