Welcome to FMEP’s Weekly Settlement Report, covering everything you need to know about Israeli settlement activity this week.
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**The regular FMEP Settlement & Annexation report is on break, and is planned to return around the first week of August. In the meantime, we are pleased to offer you links to the main settlement-related stories of the past week**
July 28, 2022
4. Grab Bag
5. Bonus Read
“This ruling overtly indicates Israel’s intentions to continue to pursue retroactive legalization of illegal Israeli construction in blatant disregard of the rights of the local Palestinian population of the West Bank. The State of Israel continues to ignore the duties bestowed upon it by IHL, as the occupying power, to protect the occupied population. Additionally, as the occupying power, Israel is prohibited from transferring the occupier’s population into occupied territory.
“The interpretation of the Supreme Court’s majority opinion will, in practice, undoubtedly serve to fulfill the intentions of the repealed Regularization Bill from 2017. It will enable settlers, backed by the Civil Administration and other State authorities, to take over thousands of dunams of Palestinian land, leading to human rights violations on a massive scale all over the West Bank and serving as the basis for future negligent and illegal policies, which are now more likely to be given the go-ahead by the Supreme Court. This ruling symbolizes a turning point of Israel’s Supreme Court, which, for the first time, has endorsed the forced confiscation of privately owned land, which is not required for military needs, for the sole purpose of use by Israeli civilians for the establishment of a new settlement.”
Israel’s Top Court Reverses Ruling on West Bank Outpost, Allowing Settlers to Stay [“Two years ago the court ruled that the Mitzpeh Kramim outpost could not be recognized because the sale of its lands to settlers was not made in ‘good faith,’ but an expanded panel now reversed that ruling”] (Haaretz 7/27/22)
- The scars that don’t heal in Masafer Yatta (+972 Magazine 7/27/22) [“Palestinians share the stories behind the physical scars inflicted by Israeli settlers and soldiers, of their struggles with survival and grief, and of relearning their bodies in the face of unending violence.”]
- ‘It’s 2022 and we live in caves’: herders besieged by settlers on West Bank but still clinging to hope (The Guardian 7/27/22)
- Israeli military drills in Masafer Yatta turn Palestinian villages into a shooting range (Mondoweiss 7/27/22)
- B’tselem Twitter thread, 7/27/22: “Last week, the Civil Administration demolished a home, two livestock enclosures and a rest tent, and confiscated three water containers in the community of al-Jawaya in the South Hebron Hills [includes video]. Israel’s apartheid regime uses water deprivation as a weapon against the most vulnerable communities under its control. This is only one, particularly cruel measure to make their lives unbearable and force them to leave in order to facilitate the takeover of their land.”
- Israeli settlers assault farmers, herders in Masafer Yatta (WAFA 7/26/22)
- Ten people displaced as the Israel military demolishes their residence in Masafer Yatta (WAFA 7/25/22)
- Israeli occupation authorities tear down house, structures in southern West Bank village (WAFA 7/25/22)
- Shaked Defies Lapid, Authorizes Committee Hearing on Building 2,000 Housing Units in Eastern Jerusalem (Jewish Press 7/27/22)
- Israel advances 700 Jerusalem Jewish housing plans delayed [briefly] by Biden visit (Jerusalem Post 7/26/22)
- Jerusalem panel advances new Jewish neighborhood that would bisect Palestinian areas (Times of Israel 7/26/22) [“District Planning and Building Committee approves project in Lower Aqueduct that breaks up contiguity between Sur Baher and Beit Safafa, complicating prospects for 2-state solution”]
- Tweet from Peace Now’s Hagit Ofran 7/25/22: “The District Planning Committee discussed the Givat Hashaked plan today. Plan that will take over the last piece of land left for the development of Beit Safafa. 750 units. Later today the Lower Aqueduct plan will be discussed. [map]”
- Israeli settlers seize house in the Old City of Hebron (WAFA 7/28/22) Also see: Twitter thread from Peace Now’s Hagit Ofran 7/28/22: [translated from Hebrew] “Settlers are entering a Palestinian house in Hebron south of the Cave of the Patriarchs at this time. The building is located outside the settlement’s security boundaries, and for the purpose of entering it, they placed metal stairs to pass the roadblock that the IDF placed there years ago. IDF soldiers are with them in the building and have even seized nearby roofs, apparently to secure them [includes video]. It doesn’t matter if they bought the house or not, it’s an illegal settlement for all intents and purposes. A handful of settlers must not set the foreign and security policy for an entire country and establish a settlement in the heart of a Palestinian city. If the government does not evacuate them immediately, the settlement will be named after Prime Minister Lapid (who once said something about two states).”
- In the West Bank, Israeli settler violence explodes (Le Monde 7/27/22)
- Five people sustain injuries in a settlers’ attack southwest of Nablus (WAFA 7/27/22)
- Israel Elections: Using settlement activity as a campaign tactic [“The Nahala Movement campaign is an effort to focus the attention on the settlements, and to bring the spotlight back on the issue of a Palestinian state.”] (Jerusalem Post 7/22/22)
- [collective punishment] Israeli army demolishes family homes of settler killing suspects (Middle East Eye 7/26/22) [“Yusef Aasi and Yehya Miri are currently in Israeli custody and have yet to face trial for the charges”]
- Archaeological Excavation in the West Bank Sponsored by an Israeli University (Emek Shaveh 7/26/22) [“Any attempt to ‘govern’ archaeological sites that are not within the sovereign borders of Israel is a political act and not a scientific one.”]
- Israeli Shepherd Settlements-Ecological Colonialism in the Jordan Valley (StopTheWall 7/25/22)
“Mister President, Settler-related violence continued during the reporting period, with particularly concerning incidents in the West Bank community of Ras al-Tin. On the night of 6 July, individuals believed to be Israeli settlers set fire to four points around the community, damaging several structures, including tents. The attack comes on the heels of additional settler attacks against the community in recent weeks, during which two residents were injured. I reiterate that perpetrators of all acts of violence must be held accountable and brought swiftly to justice. I also reiterate that security forces must exercise maximum restraint and use lethal force only when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life. Mister President, On 20 and 21 July, thousands of Israelis participated in a widely publicized campaign by a settler organization to establish settlement outposts across the West Bank. In advance of the campaign, Israeli Defense Minister Gantz issued a statement that such efforts “are illegal activities that the security services are preparing to thwart.” The Israel Defense Forces and Israeli police also issued similar statements. On 21 July, ISF removed the seven makeshift encampments that had been set up and evacuated the Israeli civilians from the area. I welcome the statements and actions by the Government of Israel to prevent the establishment of new outposts. I reiterate that all settlements are illegal under international law and remain a substantial obstacle to peace.
“Mister President, During the reporting period, Israeli authorities demolished, seized or forced owners to demolish 77 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C and five in East Jerusalem, displacing 61 Palestinians, including 31 children. The demolitions were carried out due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits, which are nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain. In the wake of the 4 May ruling by the Israeli High Court of Justice allowing the eviction of the communities in Masafer Yatta in the southern West Bank to proceed due to their presence in an Israeli-declared “firing zone”, Israeli forces continued to adopt restrictive measures negatively affecting Palestinian communities and humanitarian actors providing support. Such measures include ongoing military training, related movement restrictions, arrests, including those involving use of force, as well as restrictions on the access of staff of international organizations and Palestinian NGOs to the area. I remain deeply concerned by the potential implications of the High Court’s ruling and the humanitarian toll on the communities in question if the eviction orders are carried out.”