Settlement & Annexation Report: June 23, 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 23, 2022

1. Settlements/Annexation/Apartheid at the Center of Domestic Israeli Politics

2. Settler/IDF Violence

3. Expanding/Consolidating De Facto Annexation & Apartheid

4. Masafer Yatta Ethnic Cleansing

5. Jerusalem & Its Environs

6. Bonus reads

Settlements/Annexation/Apartheid at the Center of Domestic Israeli Politics

The Settlement Enterprise and the Demise of Israel’s Post-Netanyahu Government (J Street/Dr. Debra Shushan)

Knesset defeats two bills to apply sovereignty to West Bank settlements (Jerusalem Post 6/22/22) [“Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton (New Hope), who spoke on behalf of the government, chastised Smotrich and Karhi for bringing forward the bills. She reminded them that Likud party head Benjamin Netanyahu had agreed to suspend sovereignty plans when he was prime minister in exchange for the Abraham Accords, under whose rubric Israel normalized ties with four Arab states. These sovereignty bills, she said, are an example of ‘national irresponsibility.’ This is an attempt to undermine the upcoming visit of US President Joe Biden, Biton said. She accused Smotrich and Karhi of pushing forward the sovereignty issue to salvage their conscience for voting against a directive that extended residency rights of settlers for five years, thereby allowing them to operate as though they lived within Israel’s sovereign borders.”]

How Netanyahu and apartheid brought down Israel’s government (+972 Magazine 6/22/22) [“At the end of the month, Israel’s ‘emergency regulations,’ ”a set of temporary laws that establish legal segregation between Jewish settlers and Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, which has been renewed every five years by every government for 55 years, were set to expire. The opposition decided to vote against renewing what have been dubbed by some the “apartheid regulations,” which they fully support in principle, in order to spite the government and try to bring it down. At a press conference on Monday evening, Bennett stated that the threat of these regulations expiring is what prompted his decision to go to elections, since a breakdown in Israel’s regime of segregation and occupation would have caused ‘severe security damages and legal chaos.’ Now that the Knesset will be disbanded, the emergency regulations will be automatically renewed, leaving it up to the next Knesset to re-authorize them once again.”]

Explainer: Israel on course for another election (Reuters 6/21/22) [“The decisive deadlock was over the renewal of regulations that enable the legal administration of settlers in the occupied West Bank. They will be automatically extended if the decision to dissolve the Knesset passes before they expire at the end of June, according to the Israel Democracy Institute. Bennett said he did not want the settlers, because of political feuding, to find themselves under the same military rule as millions of Palestinians.]

Lapid, Gantz now control the fate of settlers in Israel’s West Bank (Jerusalem Post 6/20/22)

Settler/IDF Violence

Eyewitnesses: Settler stabbed Palestinian to death as Israeli forces looked on [“Ali Hasan Harb was stabbed while settlers tried to erect a tent on his family’s land in the occupied West Bank, eyewitnesses say.”] (+972 Magazine 6/22/22) Also see:

Israeli Settler Indicted for Throwing Stones at Left-wing Activists (Haaretz 6/20/22)

‘I Got a Rock in the Face’: No Arrests After Series of Attacks on Palestinians in Jerusalem (Haaretz 6/20/22)

Israel settlers attack elderly West Bank Palestinian (Middle East Monitor 6/18/22)

Expanding/Consolidating De Facto Annexation & Apartheid

Bad Faith – The illegal outpost of Mitzpe Kramim and efforts to retroactively approve it (Yesh Din, 6/22/22) [“The unauthorized outpost of Mitzpe Kramim and the dubious process by which it was established did not appear out of thin air. Like other settlements built in the OPT, an entire system driven by the ideology of the settlement movement and involving a plethora of state agencies led to the installation of the outpost on privately owned Palestinian land and the subsequent concerted efforts to have it retroactively approved. This report takes a close look at how the Israeli authorities and the individuals who settled in the area worked together, using a pincer movement that combined legal efforts with practical steps on the ground to legitimize the landgrab.”]

No One Claims Responsibility Over Construction of Illegal Road in West Bank (Haaretz 6/22/22) Also see tweet from Kerem Navot’s Dror Etkes: “A settler wakes up one morning and decides that he wants to open 3 km road in land that belongs to hundreds of Palestinians who live nearby. So he does it. Welcome to the West Bank.”

Israel Begins Building Multi-million Shekel Wall in Northern West Bank (Haaretz 6/22/22) [“…The route of the wall will protrude deep into the West Bank, reaching Kfar Salem, and continue until the central Israel community of Bat Hefer.”] Also see: Israel building new stretch of concrete wall in West Bank (Middle East Monitor 6/22/22) [“

Palestine’s Tourism and Archeology Under Israel’s Colonial Occupation (PLO/Negotiations Affairs Department 6/20/22)

Masafer Yatta Ethnic Cleansing

Masafer Yatta Palestinians at increased risk since court ruling (UN/Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 6/23/22)

Expert Q&A: Israel’s Expulsion of Palestinians from Masafer Yatta (IMEU 6/22/22)

Masafer Yatta: An Israeli firing zone and the ancient Palestinian village fighting for survival (Middle East Eye 6/22/22)

Israeli army to proceed with Masafer Yatta drills despite Palestinian outrage (The New Arab 6/21/22)

Tweet (with video) from Youth of Sumud 6/21/22: “Right now Israeli tanks are between the villages in Masafer Yatta , Israeli occupation forces have commenced their military exercises in between villages of Masafer Yatta , as first steps in the demolition and mass forced eviction of the communities.”

Twitter thread (with photos) from Ori Givati (of Breaking the Silence) 6/21/22: “Yesterday the Israeli Supreme Court Chief Justice, Esther Chayut, approved a military exercise in Masafer Yatta, saying: ‘With regards to the safety measures detailed in order to prevent harm to people or property […] the instruction [is] not to pass through agricultural land….and to completely avoid passage through residential areas. Earlier today the IDF placed these shooting targets on private Palestinian property in the village of Majaz [includes photos]. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court may as well drive one of the tanks.

Tweet (with photos) from B’tselem 6/21/22: “Today the military launched its training in Masafer Yatta, which is planned to last a whole month, by positioning targets, pictured here, on the vehicles and property of Palestinians from the community of al-Majaz.” 

Tweet (with photos) from Breaking the Silence 6/21/22: Happening *right now* in Masafer Yatta: Major IDF training exercise, including the use of tanks, 100 meters from the village of Majaz. The 1,000+ residents of Majaz and seven other villages are in imminent danger of being evicted.”

UPDATE: Growing Fear that Israel Intends for the Mass Forced Transfer of the Masafer Yatta residents (ACRI 6/19/22)


Jerusalem & Its Environs

Demolitions in Jerusalem area, May 2022: Israeli authorities demolish 29 structures; 59 people, including 30 minors, lose homes (B’Tselem 6/23/22)

Sheikh Jarrah: Ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem (Mada Masr/Tareq Baconi 6/20/22)

A plan to build a settlement park east of Jerusalem is the last bullet into the two-state solution – Premier (WAFA 6/20/22)

Bonus reads

The Wild West – Grazing, seizing and looting by Israeli settlers in the West Bank (Kerem Navot May 2022 — pdf of full report; interactive map)

“This report describes and analyzes the development of Israeli sheep and cattle grazing in the West Bank, which has gradually become Israel’s most significant mechanism for dispossessing Palestinian communities. At issue are tens of thousands of acres of open areas expropriated by the Israeli authorities and settlers through dozens of shepherd outposts and farms, the great majority of which have been established over the past decade. As noted above, the use of grazing to seize land began in the early 1970s and it continued intermittently in the 1980s and 90s. In recent years, however, the phenomenon mushroomed in terms of area size, resources invested and destructive repercussions for the Palestinian communities.”

WhatsApp’s reclusive founder has quietly become a megadonor to Jewish causes – (Times of Israel 6/18/22)

“At least a few of his donations reflect his right-wing political views on Israel. Donations of $600,000 went to the Maccabee Task Force Foundation, an organization founded by the late Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson to support Israel advocacy on college campuses. The foundation has also given $6 million to Friends of Ir David, the American fundraising arm of Elad, a group trying to expand Jewish settlement in parts of largely Arab East Jerusalem, and $175,000 to the Central Fund of Israel, which has been accused of supporting violent extremists in Israel.”