Settlement & Annexation Report: June 1, 2023


Welcome to FMEP’s Weekly Settlement Report, covering everything you need to know about Israeli settlement activity this week.

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June 1, 2023

    1. Ghaith-Sub Laban Family Face June 11th Eviction from Old City Home
    2. Construction of Homesh Settlement Continues
    3. A New Look at Israel’s Annexation & Slow Erasure of Palestinians in Nabi Samwil
    4. 7amleh Analyzes Israeli Social Media Hate Speech on Huwara, Leading to Pogrom
    5. New, Comprehensive Report on Children in the Israeli Military Court System
    6. New Report Details Big Tech Companies’ Facilitation of Occupation
    7. Bonus Reads

Ghaith-Sub Laban Family Face June 11th Eviction from Old City Home

Ir Amim reports that the Palestinian Ghaith-Sub Laban family have been issued a new eviction notice ordering them to vacate their decades-long home in the Old City of Jerusalem by June 11, 2023, or else be forcibly evicted. The elderly Ghaith-Sub Laban couple – who have steadfastly remained in their home despite unimaginable challenges and harassment by settlers – report that they expect the eviction to be forcibly carried out as soon as June 11. 

The Ghaith-Sub Laban family has spent the past 40-years in a legal battle against settlers (and the State) over their home in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. This family’s story is not unique, and the broader, systemic processes behind the forcible dispossession of Palestinians in Jerusalem is also discussed. In March 2023, FMEP hosted Rafat Sub Laban and Ir Amim’s Amy Cohen on a podcast – “‘We Are Determined to Stay”: One Palestinian Family’s Story of Dispossession in Jerusalem” – to discuss the Sub Laban case and how it relates to broader State-back settler efforts to dispossess Palestinians across Jerusalem.

Ir Amim explains:

“The family of veteran Ir Amim staff member, Ahmad Sub Laban, has been embroiled in a 45-year legal battle against persistent attempts by the state and settler groups to displace them and takeover their home for Jewish settlement. The family rented the house in 1953 from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and as such was afforded protected tenancy rights. After 45 years of recurring lawsuits and harassment by the Israeli authorities and settler organizations, the Supreme Court recently ruled to terminate the family’s protected tenancy status and evict them from their home.”

For a comprehensive overview of the Sub Laban family’s legal battle, as well as other East Jerusalem eviction cases, please see Ir Amim’s report.

Construction of Homesh Settlement Continues

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights reports that non May 29th settlers brought caravans and heavy equipment to the site where they are building permanent infrastructure for the Homesh settlement. Though the Israeli government has not issued building permits or completed planning for the reestablishment of the Homesh settlement, the IDF continues to obey orders to allow the settlers to proceed with construction. 

As a reminder, On May 18th the IDF Commander signed a military order that finalized the Knesset’s recent repeal of key sections of the 2005 Disengagement Law, allowing Israelis to enter the area in the northern West Bank where the Homesh settlement stood before it was dismantled by the Israeli government in 2005 as part of Disengagement. In parallel, the Israeli Defense Minister announced that the government plans to relocate the Homesh outpost – a yeshiva (that is, a Jewish religious school) established illegally by settlers as part of their drive to re-establish the Homesh settlement – from its current location, which is on land that Israeli courts have recognized as private Palestinian property, to a small plot of nearby “state land” a few hundred of meters away.  The Times of Israel further reports that the IDF Commander signed additional orders on May 15th that temporarily bar Israelis from entering the existing Homesh outpost until the outpost’s yeshiva is relocated to the “state land” plot, and that add the Homesh outpost as an official community under the umbrella of the Shomron Regional Council (a settlement municipal body), which allows the planning of the settlement to begin.

Yesh Din – an Israeli NGO which has led petitions to return the land on which Homesh was built to its Palestinian owners – told Haaretz: 

“Moving the yeshiva is adding sin to crime. Its new location still doesn’t allow Palestinians to reach their land and continues their dispossession. Instead of evacuating the outpost immediately, Israel is rewarding serious criminals.”

PCHR further reports that on 30 May 2023, settlers known to be working on the Homesh settlement attacked a home in the Burqa village, and smashed the rear window of the house owner’s vehicle.

Haaretz columnist Amos Harel explained why the government’s actions vis a vis Homesh reveal the true nature of the coalition, saying

The Homesh affair reiterates the true balance of power within the government, which is controlled by the far-right and ultra-Orthodox parties. The Homesh yeshiva’s relocation was essentially orchestrated by the head of the Samaria Regional Council, Yossi Dagan, who was provided cover from the government by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich.”

A New Look at Israel’s Annexation & Slow Erasure of Palestinians in Nabi Samwil

A new Haaretz piece looks at the history of the Palestinian village of Nabu Samwil, located on a strategic hilltop between Jerusalem and Ramallah. This location places the village’s residents — who remain in the eyes of the Israeli government residents of the West Bank, for whom access to Jerusalem is forbidden without a special permit — in a Kafka-esque situation: they are cut off from the West Bank by the separation barrier but barred entry to Jerusalem. They are legally forbidden from taking the one road out of the village because it passes through Jerusalem, and the West Bank is accessible to them only via a circuitous route that passes through an Israeli checkpoint (for background see: The Palestinian village where Israel forbids everything, and this Twitter thread of resources curated by Lara Friedman). The suffocation of Nabi Samwil is in line with Israel’s long-time ambitions to completely de-populate the village and take control of the land.

Palestinian refugees of Nabi Samwil, in conjunction with activists, have held protests to demand recognition from the Israeli government, in order to be able to build legal structures and be granted permits to enter Jerusalem. Refugees have petitioned the Israeli government for over 20 years to accept a formal building plan for the village, in order to allow the buildings to be deemed legal, but the government has refused. Instead, in 2021 the Israeli government greenlit a major project to renovate an archeological and holy site in Nabi Samwil. The plan will see the construction of a new access road, a visitors area, a restaurant, a learning center for tour groups, a shop, and a conference room. 

7amleh Analyzes Israeli Social Media Hate Speech on Huwara, Leading to Pogrom

The Palestinian NGO 7amleh: The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media has issued a new report – “An Analysis of the Israeli Inciteful speech against the Village of ‘Huwara’ on Twitter” – documenting the social media frenzy that preceded settler-perpetrated pogrom on Huwara on February 27, 2023. The report identified a total of 15,250 Hebrew tweets containing hashtags related to Huwara, of which 80.2% of these tweets contained negative content against the village and its residents. The intensity of incitement and hate speech peaked before and after the attack. During this time, an average of 188 negative tweets per day targeting Huwara were published by approximately 158 accounts on Twitter.

The report recommends that social media companies take decisive measures to prevent the spread of incitement, racism, and violence against Arabs and Palestinians on their platforms. It suggests the development of a lexicon of hate speech in Hebrew for monitoring purposes, the implementation of content management policies for Israeli content in Hebrew, and an end to discriminatory double standards between Palestinian and Israeli content.

New, Comprehensive Report on Children in the Israeli Military Court System

Defense for Children International – Palestinian has released a new report – “Arbitrary by Default: Palestinian children in the Israeli military court system” – comprehensively examining the systemic denial of fair trial rights inherent in Israeli forces’ practice of arrest, detention, interrogation, and prosecution of Palestinian children in the Israeli military courts. 

Building on years of documentation, the report’s main findings based on hard evidence are:

  1. Israeli military courts do not meet the standards of independence and impartiality when dealing with civilians, including children.
  2. Palestinian children detained and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system are denied the right to a fair hearing by a competent, independent, and impartial tribunal.
  3. Israeli authorities frequently arrest Palestinian children without issuing arrest warrants, failing to establish a legal basis for detention.
  4. Israeli authorities rarely provide explanations or information to the child or their family regarding the reasons for arrest.
  5. Palestinian children are denied prompt access to legal assistance and the presence of a family member during interrogation.
  6. Israeli forces’ systematic non-compliance with the prohibition of torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment constitutes arbitrary detention.

New Report Details Big Tech Companies’ Facilitation of Occupation

Who Profits has issued updated company profiles for Microsoft, Cisco Systems, IBM, and Dell Technologies – all of which are Multinational Companies (MCs) which support the Israeli occupation economy through the provision of infrastructure, technology, knowledge, and products to both civil and military institutions. The report highlights the extensive and diverse involvement of these companies in bolstering the capacity of the Israeli occupation economy and its ability to exert control and surveillance over Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line. 

Please use the following links to read more on the role and activities of each company:

Bonus Reads

  1. “Israel Is on a Mission to Supersize Its West Bank Settlements” (Hagit Ofran, Haaretz)
  2. “Is Judicial Reform a Trojan Horse for West Bank Annexation?” (Yaakov Or, Haaretz)
  3. “Jewish residents hold morning prayers at entrance to Arab village to protest attacks” (Arutz Sheva)
  4. “After backlash, conference drops Israeli archeologist for settlement university ties” (+972 Magazine)