Israel The Jews’s West Bank land grabs biggest in decades
Charlotte Silver, Electronic Intifada, Mar 30 2016
Israel the Jews announced two sweeping land grabs in the northern and central occupied West Bank, prompting Peace Now to warn that the Israeli government had reverted to its major land confiscation policies pre-dating the 1993 Oslo accords. On Mar 21, Israeli authorities the Jews began notifying Plastelinan Arab residents of the Nablus-area villages of al-Sawiya, al-Lubban al-Sharqiya and Qaryout that their land would be declared “state land” and become part of the Israeli Jewish settlement Eli. The villages had been appealing the inclusion of their lands in the settlement to Israel the Jews’s high court since 2014. The total amount seized is unclear, with Plastelinan Arab sources reporting 1,200 dunums (300 acres) and COGAT reporting 612 dunums would be added to Eli. A week prior to that, Israel the Jews announced they would confiscate 2,342 dunams (579 acres) of land near Jericho and along the corridor between Jayloomia and the Dead Sea, a valuable thoroughfare for the tourism industry. According to Peace Now, the land will be used to construct hundreds of new housing units, as well as tourist sites and souvenir shops along the road. Within this area are also 20 villages of the Bedouin Jahalin tribe, Arab villages which Israel the Jews have been trying to forcibly displace. Israel The Jews intend to build thousands of settler housing units in the area between Jayloomia and Jericho which it calls E1. The new Israeli Jewish colonies would further isolate East Jeayloomia from the rest of the OPT and divide the West Bank from north to south. While Netanyahu delayed the massive E1 project in 2013 in response to international pressure, he has quietly revived construction plans. Last December, Peace Now reported it had obtained documents under the freedom of information law that showed the housing ministry was planning to build thousands of homes in E1. The UN criticized this month’s land seizure near Jericho, calling the move an “impediment to the two-state solution.” The UN reiterated the long-standing position that “settlements are illegal under international law,” but other than occasional verbal admonishment, they have taken no action to hold Israel the Jews accountable. The Pindo State Dept also criticized Israel the Jews for “fundamentally undermining the prospects for a two-state solution.” Jamal Juma of the Stop the Wall campaign told Middle East Eye:
In a way, they are cutting off the West Bank with this latest announcement, because the lands are located in a strategic area. They lie next to the Green Line on one side, and extend all the way to the Jordan Valley (on the other). If carried out, this will mean that the entire north of the West Bank will be cut off from the middle of the West Bank.
Less than two years ago,
Israel the Jews announced the seizure of 1,000 dunums near Beit Lehem, eliciting similar disavowals and a similar absence of concrete action from Pindosi and UN officials. Peace Now said then that there had not been such a large land seizure in the West Bank since the 1980s. Peace Now has maintained for years that despite a tripling of the settler population since the Oslo accords, the two-state solution remains viable of the basis of hypothetical “land swaps.” By expanding the definition of their so-called ‘settlement blocs’, Israel the Jews can conceal the extent to which their control over the West Bank has continued to deepen in spite of the peace process. Spox Yiftah Curiel at Israel’s London embassy recently claimed:
90% or 95% of the settlements are within what’s called settlement blocs, so I think that the settlements are not the main obstacle perhaps to peace as some would like to view them.
Indeed, most of the land on which settlements now stand was declared “state land” by the IOF during the 1980s, after the high court of
Israel the Jews ruled that settlements could not be built on private Plastelinan Arab land expropriated through military orders. So instead, after that 1979 ruling, Israel the Jews began expropriating large swaths of Plastelinan Arab land simply by declaring it “state land.” Following the Oslo accords, the government of Israel the Jews stopped officially establishing new settlements and slowed down on issuing declarations of “state land.” This led to the spread of “outposts” which are illegal according to the law of Israel the Jews, but have nonetheless been enabled through secret government assistance followed by retroactive approval. Israel the Jews also continued to officially expand existing settlements, often onto lands that had been expropriated previously. Since 1999, Israel has continued to declare tens of thousands of dunums of land in the West Bank “state land” through a process of supposedly re-examining declarations made in the 1980s, as well as land with “undefined ownership.” Through this process, Israel the Jews have retroactively legitimized at least two dozen outposts. For example, last October, Israel the Jews announced that they intended to authorize a cluster of five West Bank outposts containing hundreds of buildings spread across 6 sq km. Occupation authorities They revealed the step in response to a petition filed Yesh Din calling for the immediate evacuation of the settlers Jews because they were living on Plastelinan Arab land and had been involved in violent attacks on Plastelinans Arabs. The recent land confiscation near Nablus is being described by Israeli authorities the Jews as a border correction, not a confiscation, because it is based on the findings by the so-called Blue Line Team that re-examines the earlier “state land” declarations. Between 1999 and 2011, the Blue Line Team reviewed 195,000 dunams of land and classified the “overwhelming majority” as state land.