Settlement & Annexation Report: June 16, 2022


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**

June 16, 2022

1. Biden Admin–Israel

2. Expanding/Consolidating De Facto Annexation & Apartheid

3. Settler/IDF Violence

4. Masafer Yatta Ethnic Cleansing

5. Settlements at the Center of Domestic Israeli Politics

6. Norway & the Accurate Labeling of Settlement Goods

7. Differentiation for We (Israeli Govt) but Not for Thee (everyone else)

8. Bonus Reads

Biden Admin–Israel

US Asks Israel to Dial Back Oppression of Palestinians—But Just During Biden’s Visit (Common Dreams 6/15/22) [“One critic wryly observed that Israel ‘can resume killing, dispossessing, and persecuting’ Palestinians ‘without restrictions once Biden leaves.’”]

US pushing Israel to avoid unilateral steps in lead-up to Biden visit (Times of Israel 6/15/22)

Scoop: U.S. asks Israel to avoid actions that could create tensions ahead of Biden visit (Axios 6/15/22) Also see Tweet from Terrestrial Jerusalem’s Daniel Seidemann: “Great news for Israel!! The final statutory hearing on E-1 – a move vetoed by every POTUS since 1996 and a move no Israeli govt dared make  – is scheduled for July 18, 3 days AFTER the Biden visit, so it’s cool! So Israel can go ahead w/ E-1.”

An unsettled matter in Biden’s Middle East (Politico 6/14/22) [“The lack of clarity about the Biden team’s views on the legality of settlements underscores, first, that Trump aides were savvy in making many of their moves toward the Israelis and Palestinians hard to switch back.]

Expanding/Consolidating De Facto Annexation & Apartheid

B’tselem Twitter thread 6/16/22: “Throughout May 22, on orders of the Jerusalem Municipality and the Civil Administration, 29 structures were demolished in the parts of the West Bank annexed to Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries and in adjacent areas lying within the al-Quds District of the Palestinian Authority. The demolished structures included 20 homes, six of which were demolished by their owners. Twelve were occupied, and their demolition left 59 people, including 30 minors, homeless. Eight additional homes were under construction and slated to house a family of seven, including one minor, and for the future residence of five newly-wed young men. A part of another demolished home under construction was slated to house a young couple. The nine remaining structures were non-residential, and five were used for businesses that supported at least 45 people.

Israeli authorities order four Palestinian siblings to evict [abandon] their land in a Bethlehem-area village of Wadi Fukin (WAFA 6/14/22)

Judea-Samaria leaders planning quarter-million acre national park (Israel Hayom 6/13/22) [“An ambitious new plan from leaders in Judea and Samaria calls for the establishment of a new national park on nearly 1 million dunams (247,000 acres) of land between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, which would transform the area into a tourist attraction. The area in question begins in the west of Kochav Hashahar and extends to the Herodian site in eastern Gush Etzion. According to the plan, the park will include approximately half the land bordering the Dead Sea, from Qasr al-Yahud – the traditional site of Jesus’ baptism – to the Darga and Hazazon ravines. The territory is considered the only open land separating Judea and Samaria, and the political ramifications of implementing the new plan are still unclear.]

Israel’s E1 Building Plan: The Most Strategic, Consensual – and Frozen – Project (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs 6/13/22)

Settler/IDF Violence

Israeli settlers assault Palestinian in Nablus-district town & Two Palestinians sustain wounds in settler attack near Nablus (WAFA 6/16/22)

West Bank: How Nablus became the main hub for Israeli settler violence (Middle East Eye 6/16/22)

Under the Israeli Commander’s Nose: Nablus Has Become Settlers’ Violent Playground (Haaretz 6/15/22) [“Israeli defense officials are seeing a sharp rise in attacks on Palestinians, and settlers previously thought to be ‘mainstream’ are joining the ultra-radicals”]

Israeli settlers attack Palestinian commuters on a northern West Bank road (WAFA 6/14/22)

B’Tselem on Twitter 6/14/22: “This morning Mahmoud Rateb Hussein discovered that settlers had cut down eight ancient olive trees in his grove in Qaryut. Photo credit: the local council. For more updates on recent settler and military attacks in Qaryut: Settler Violence = State Violence

The Settlers’ Brigade Commander (Haaretz 6/13/22)

Army stands by as settlers attack activists in Masafer Yatta (+972 Magazine 6/14/22) [“A settler smashed an activist’s car and returned safely to his outpost, after soldiers violently dispersed a protest against Palestinian expulsion.”]

Two Left-wing Activists Wounded as Settler Hurls Stones in the West Bank (Haaretz 6/10/22)

Twitter thread 6/10/22 with video of settler attack on activists

Masafer Yatta Ethnic Cleansing

IDF to Carry Out Live-fire War Games Around Several Palestinian Villages Under Threat of Eviction (Haaretz 6/16/22) Also see Tweet from Btselem:Alternative headline: Israel continues efforts to expel Palestinians in Masafer Yatta”

The Israeli government is trying to destroy my village – we need your help (The Independent/Basel Adra, 6/15/22)

Israeli Army Raids Palestinian Villages for ‘Intel Mapping’ (After Cutting Practice of ‘Intel Mapping’) (Haaretz 6/14/22) [“During the raid, soldiers logged and photographed residents of Masafer Yatta, where 1,000 Palestinians face eviction. Residents worry the intel gathered will be used to expel them”]

Good Shepherd Collective thread on Twitter 6/14/22: Last night, hours after delivering four new demolition orders to the people of Masafer Yatta who are facing the existential threat of forced displacement, Israeli forces raided the village of Atuwani after midnight. They woke sleeping children and parents with sound bombs. This is the most recent in a series of targeted raids on the village of Atuwani, a village known internationally for its resistance against settler-colonialism. The raids happen randomly, provoking fear and insecurity and creating lasting anxiety for community members. When we talk about systematic oppression, we cannot limit our analysis to physical violence, baseless and prolonged incarceration, and mass displacement. We must also consider the long term health impacts—the daily wear—of the violence and intimidation, the lack of security. These raids are an attempt to weaken the steadfastness of Palestinian communities that continue to demonstrate their refusal to be intimidated. We must #StandwithMasaferYatta to stand in solidarity as Palestinians #SaveMasaferYatta

Twitter thread from B’Tselem (with video) 6/12/22: “This is not a drill: Over the weekend, the Israeli military began what appears to have been preparations for the expulsion of some 1,000 Palestinian residents of Masafer Yatta. Starting Friday evening and throughout Saturday, soldiers arrived at the communities of Khirbet a-Taban, Khirbet al-Fakhit, Khirbet Khilet a-Dabe’, Khirbet a-Safai a-Tatha, Khirbet a-Safai al-Foqa, Khirbet al-Majaz and Khirbet Jenbah patrolling among the residents’ homes, photographing ID cards and demanding to know who lived in each house. For years, Israel has been implementing a policy designed to make the residents leave their homes in order to take over their land.Recently, Israel’s High Court of Justice ruled – in a judgment replete with lies, misrepresentation and errors – that there was no legal barrier to the expulsion. With this ruling in the background, the “census” conducted in Masafer Yatta over the weekend is a worrying development. Read more about the ruling allowing the State to commit a war crime: Supreme Court rules: Israel above the law

Largest Palestinian Displacement in Decades Looms After Israeli Court Ruling (US News 6/12/22)

Settlements at the Center of Domestic Israeli Politics

Orbach will not vote with coalition until Judea and Samaria law passed (Arutz Sheva 6/13/22) [“Yamina faction chairman says he will not vote for coalition bills until Judea and Samaria Regulations law is passed.”]

Settlement councils demand Yesha leader quit over backing coalition West Bank bill (i24 News 6/13/22)

Yesha leader faces rebellion for backing coalition bill crucial to settlers (Times of Israel 6/13/22)

Infighting in Israel imperils legal safeguards from West Bank settlers (Washington Post 6/12/22)

Norway & the Accurate Labeling of Settlement Goods

A Reminder From Norway (Haaretz/Akiva Eldar 6/13/22)

Israel threatens Norway with ‘adverse’ impact following change in settlement labels (Middle East Monitor 6/13/22)

[Accurately] Labeling of Judea and Samaria goods is about discrimination, not law, say experts (Jewish News Syndicate 6/13/22)

Norway to label products from Israeli settlements (AFP 6/12/22)

Norway mandates labelling of products from Israeli settlements (Middle East Eye 6/12/22)

Arab League welcomes Norway’s decision to label products from Israeli settlements (Arab News 6/12/22)

Israel slams Norway’s move to label products from settlements (YNet/AFP 6/12/22)

Differentiation for We (Israeli Govt) but Not for Thee (everyone else)

Settlements excluded from EU cultural program joined by Israel (Israel Hayom 6/13/22)

Israel enters EU culture program which excludes West Bank settlements (Jerusalem Post 6/12/22)

Settlement Cultural Institutions Left Out of EU Deal May Get Israel’s Help (Haaretz 6/12/22)

Israel bristles as Norway mandates labels for produce from West Bank, Golan (Times of Israel 6/11/22)

Bonus Reads

Hidden In Plain Sight: US Nonprofits As Drivers of Illegal Israeli Settlements (Just Security/Elana Hodges 6/10/22)

“…So far, U.S. nonprofits that are responsible for funneling hundreds of millions of dollars to sustain and expand illegal Israeli settlements have largely escaped scrutiny. Indeed, these organizations maintain 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, providing them access to substantial tax breaks. While these nonprofits have so far evaded legal or other material consequences, their activity has been a source of longstanding efforts to seek redress against them. U.S. tax law is a promising and largely untapped source of accountability…”

Booklet #261: An Example of Israel’s Legal System in the West Bank (Arab Center Washington/Jonathan Kuttab 6/13/22)

“The maintenance of separate legal and administrative structures for Israeli settlements and Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank is well documented in the booklets that Israel uses to “legislate” in the occupied territories. Importantly, this practice meets the very definition of apartheid as detailed in international law, while the settlements themselves are also illegal. An examination of Booklet #261 and other Israeli “legislation” in the occupied territories therefore not only offers a detailed look at a crucial aspect of the occupation, but it also provides the opportunity to witness apartheid in action. Moreover, the booklets themselves could provide crucial evidence of Israel’s crime, should the country ever be brought before the International Criminal Court.”