Israel’s Illegal Settlement Approvals: A Testament that Annexation is an Ongoing Process
Within the last 48 hours, Israel, the occupying power, has advanced almost 5,000 illegal colonial-settlement units in the occupied West Bank. This number includes various projects that aim to secure the annexation of occupied Palestinian territory to Israel, perpetuate Israel’s control over the land and the people of Palestine, and deny the inalienable Palestinian right to self-determination. Such projects, in addition to previous announcements in the area between Bethlehem and Jerusalem (Giv’at Yael) and at the eastern gateway to Jerusalem (E-1), have been encouraged by the current US Administration through their annexation plan; what they call “Vision of Peace.”
Annexation as an Ongoing Process: The new approvals include the expansion of the illegal colonial settlement of Har Gilo that strangles the village of Al Wallajah and its agricultural lands and blocks its historical ties with Battir and Al Makhrour valley. In practice, these approvals are about the construction of a whole new illegal colonial-settlement, by which Israel attempts at effectively seizing western Bethlehem for the expansion of its so-called “Greater Jerusalem” colonial project.
All Over the Occupied West Bank: The new approvals allow construction to continue in the illegal colonial settlements of Maale Adumin (Jerusalem Governorate), Alfei Menashe (Qalqilia Governorate), Karnei Shomron (Qalqilia Governorate), Efrat (Bethlehem Governorate), Shimaa (Hebron Governorate), Maale Efrayim (Jordan Valley), Beit El (Ramallah Governorate), Har Gilo (Bethlehem Governorate), Nokdim (Bethlehem Governorate), Kfar Eldad (Bethlehem Governorate), Asfar (Bethlehem Governorate), Kfar Adumin (Jerusalem Governorate), Kerem Reim (Ramallah Governorate), New Givon (Jerusalem Governorate), Kochav Yaacov (Ramallah Governorate), Telem (Hebron Governorate), Einav (Tulkarem Governorate), Barkan (Salfit Governorate), Pduel (Nablus Governorate), Yakir (Salfit Governorate), Maale Shomron (Qalqilia Governorate), Yizhar (Nablus Governorate), Eli (Nablus Governorate), Geva Binyamin (Jerusalem Governorate), Shilo (Ramallah Governorate), Nili (Ramallah Governorate) and Psagot (Ramallah Governorate).
Supporting Settlement-Businesses: Approvals were also made for the illegal industrial colonial-settlement of Mishor Adumin (Jerusalem Governorate) as well as for the construction of a motor park and 120 hotel rooms in the illegal colonial-settlement of Petzael (Jordan Valley). In Kochav Yaakob illegal colonial-settlement (Ramallah Governorate), approvals were made for services and businesses.
Other Projects Being Advanced: During 2020, the Israeli government, the Israeli Jerusalem municipality, and settler organizations have advanced other dangerous projects, including through the construction of bypass roads for settlers, the cable car project over occupied East Jerusalem, and the ratification of the settlers’ control over two church-owned properties in Jaffa Gate.
Impunity Encourages Israeli Crimes and Violations: After the signing of the normalization agreements between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain, Israel is advancing thousands of illegal colonial-settlement units. Israeli officials are conditioning the non-announcement of a formal declaration of annexation to the continuation of normalization deals and advancing relations with European countries. At the same time, though, we have seen an extraordinary rise in settlement construction, home demolitions, and settlers’ terror attacks against Palestinians. For peace to prevail, Israel shouldn’t be rewarded for its systematic and well-documented violations; instead, it should be held accountable.