Settlement & Annexation Report: August 23, 2023


August 23, 2023

Israeli Government Leaders & Settlers Prep Plans to “Intensify” Settlement Construction in Wake of Deadly Shootings

  • Smotrich to present Judea and Samaria expansion plan” (Ynet). Excerpt: “Smotrich, who oversees civilian issues in Judea and Samaria as a minister in the Defense Ministry, sent a letter to government ministers notifying them of his intention to present the plan at the next meeting of the full Cabinet. The two-year program to expand development in Judea and Samaria is projected to cost around 700 million shekels ($185 million), and according to estimates that figure could rise to 1 billion shekels ($265 million).”
  • Settlers present plan to increase West Bank population to 1 million by 2050” (Ynet). Excerpt: “An ambitious plan to reach a population of 1 million Jewish settlers on the West Bank, was presented to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday and includes the establishment of new cities, industrial parks, a hospital and an airport. The plan was devised by Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan that now serves 170,000 Jewish residents…Train lines will connect the West Bank to central and northern Israel and an airport would be built. The authors of the plan said a new hospital would be built, to serve the growing population of settlers as well as new industrial zones to provide employment.”
  • IDF, defense heads meet settlers to smooth over terror wave tensions” (Ynet). Excerpt: “Gallant said he was committed to strengthening the settlement enterprise and presented the ministry’s latest efforts to the local officials in terms of widening roads to reduce traffic in dangerous areas as well as to increase bullet-proof shielding for student transport vehicles.” Also see: “Gallant thanks settler mayors for ‘complete support’ amid attacks on IDF brass” (The Times of Israel)

Israel Passes 5-Year Plan & $850 Million Budget for East Jerusalem Development

  • Ir Amim statement: “East Jerusalem has been neglected for over 50 years and it is important that the government has decided to continue allocating resources towards reducing the severe economic and social disparities that plague it’s Palestinian communities as a result of its longstanding neglect. Parts of the new decision still include political elements that aggressively advanced Israeli sovereignty, but it is also evident that attention was paid to construction feedback from professionals in drafting the updated plan. Specifically, the addition of a reference to residents’ existential need for “urban planning and residential development’ as well as proper investment in areas such as ‘Community Culture and Leisure’ and ‘Local Initiatives’ is significant. Alongside such sections, it is disturbing to see the government’s concession to Bezalel Smotrich, the Minister of Finance, and subsequent removal of the higher education chapter, as well as the addition of personal security elements pushed by Minister of National Security Ben Gvir, which grants the state more tools to increase the invasive monitoring and surveillance of East Jerusalem’s residents. Jerusalem has long stood between these two conflicting trends; one of which has the potential to intensify the forceful tactics that have torn the city apart, and the other – supporting a city  that longs for a reduction of disparities and a life of dignity for the two peoples for whom Jerusalem is home.”
  • Cabinet okays $843m development plan for East Jerusalem, while other funds withheld” (The Times of Israel)
  • Israel No Longer Ignores East Jerusalem, but It’s Avoiding the Hard Questions” (Haaretz)

Settlement Expansion, Settler Violence

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