Settlement & Annexation Report: May 5, 2022


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

To subscribe to this report, please click here.

**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**

May 5, 2022

  1. Green Light for Ethnic Cleansing in South Hebron Hills
  2. SA/DD – Same Apartheid/Different Day
  3. Settlement Developments – West Bank (general)
  4. Targeting Settlers
  5. Legalizing Violence Outposts
  6. Bonus Reads

Green Light for Ethnic Cleansing in South Hebron Hills


Selected immediate analysis/commentary on Twitter

Basel Adra 5/4/22: “The occupation court just decided: My community will be destroyed. I live in Massafer Yatta, Palestine. An unjust 23 year long trial ended today with a verdict of mass eviction. The army can now place us on trucks, 2,400 people, and expel us from our ancient villages, one by one.

Thread from B’tselem 5/5/22: “After 20 years of legal proceedings, Israel’s High Court of Justice ruled that the forcible transfer of hundreds of Palestinians from their homes – for the clear purpose of taking over their lands in the service of Jewish interests – is legal. Proving once again that the occupied cannot expect justice from the occupier’s court, the decision, weaving baseless legal interpretation with decontextualized facts, makes it clear that there is no crime which the HCJ justices won’t find a way to legitimize. [emphasis added] Employing sugarcoated language, hypocrisy, and lies, the justices once again fulfilled their role in Israel’s regime of Jewish supremacy and paved the way for the crime of forcible transfer to be committed. Reversing reality: the ruling cast Palestinian victims as the “unlawful” offenders, while portraying the apartheid regime as the victim. The international community must prevent the forcible transfer of Masafer Yatta communities and make sure, should this crime be committed, that those responsible – including government members, military top echelons and the supreme court justices – will be held accountable.”

Thread from Michael Sfard, renowned Israeli lawyer, 5/5/22:  “Yesterday, on the eve of Memorial Day and almost secretly, the Israeli Supreme Court published its ruling regarding the legality of the eviction orders of thousands of Palestinians living in the south Hebron Hills in an area declared as a firing zone (No. 918). The court rejected the residents’ petition thus ending proceedings Lasting more than 20 years in which the danger of deportation hovers over thousands of Palestinians living in the declared “firing zone”. The ruling rejected the claim that the prohibition of forcible transfer set forth in international law is customary and binding. Judge Mintz ruled that this was a treaty norm, that is, one that expresses agreements between states but is not enforceable in a domestic court. Beyond the fact that this is a cruel decision that could lead to a humanitarian catastrophe, this rationale denying that the prohibition on forced transfer is customary law is nothing less than an embarrassing legal error. So basic that it can be said that its equivalent in political science is to deny the claim that freedom of expression is a principle and characteristic of a democratic regime. The prohibition on forced transfer is perhaps one of the oldest in the prohibitions of modern war laws. In 1863, in the midst of the American Civil War, Professor Francis Lieber formulated at the request of President Lincoln a draft code codifying the principles of the laws of war of the period. Lincoln published it as a legally binding proclamation, known as the “Lieber Code .” Article 23 of the Code established the most basic prohibitions on the occupation army, alongside the prohibition of murder and enslavement of the citizens of the Occupied Territories, is the prohibition on “removal of civilians to remote areas.” This principle developed into an explicit and clear prohibition of international law on both deportations (i.e. across the border) and forced transfer (i.e. within the country) and this prohibition was enshrined in the 1949 Geneva Convention and its violation was defined as a war crime the Nuremberg Military Court and a crime against humanity the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The Red Cross also stated in a comprehensive study that the prohibition on forced transfer is a binding custom. And it makes so much sense. The world we live in is a world where slavery is forbidden, the murder of civilians is forbidden and deportation is forbidden. It seems to me that this is an intuitive moral principle.So beyond the fact that the Israeli High Court yesterday put thousands of Palestinians in danger of forced transfer and this is, of course, the most serious thing, it also failed in my opinion to apply relevant law and made a serious legal error.

Thread from ACRI 5/5/22: “Without warning in the middle of the night, the Israeli High Court of Justice published a verdict with unprecedented consequences. The ruling allows the expulsion of approximately one thousand women, men, children and elderly Palestinians from Masfer Yatta. This follows 22 years of local residents waging a legal battle in the High Court against the evacuation orders issued by the army. In the early 1980s, the army declared the homes and private lands of these civilians as a fire training zone. In the early 2000s the evacuation orders were issued, and now the High Court has officially authorized leaving entire families, with their children and their elderly, without a roof over their heads.

Thread from Breaking the Silence 5/5/22: “After 20+ yrs of legal battles, Israel’s Supreme Ct has published its decision regarding a petition by residents of Masafer Yatta against their impending eviction from their land. The petition was rejected. The forced removal of >1000 Palestinians from their land is now imminent. This will be one of the biggest forced evictions of Palestinians since 1967, on the pretext that the land is needed as a military training area, even though archival documents show it was designated that way specifically to curtail Palestinian growth there. This deplorable decision was handed down at 11pm on the eve of Israeli Independence Day,when public attention to the news is at perhaps its lowest. The Supreme Court has given the go-ahead to this cruel landgrab while cynically using IDF soldiers & national security as an excuse…

Thread from +972’s Haggai Matar 5/5/22: “…There is one more thing to say about the timing: This ruling was published on the eve of the Israeli Independent Day. It seems the judges of the High Court wanted to reaffirm that Jewish supremacy is the only law of the land. It’s also worth mentioning that Israeli officials have made it clear that the “military training grounds” declared on top of Palestinian villages were INTENDED to push Palestinians out. This is not a side effect of the army’s declaration and the court approval – it is the goal.

Thread from Yair Wallach 5/5/22: “The Israeli Supreme Court rejected yesterday the appeal by #MasaferYatta population against their forced removal by the military. The ruling, written by a judge who lives in a West Bank settlement, claims that forced removal is not against international law. David Mintz, who ruled that forced removal of occupied population is legal under international law, was born in the UK, immigrated to Israel as a child, and lives in the settlement Dolev in the West Bank. This is a very serious development – it charts the road ahead towards mass forced removal of population within the occupied territories. I don’t expect to see change immediately but the direction of travel is clear.”

Thread from Chris Doyle (CAABU) 5/5/22: “The judge who issues this ruling, enabling forcible transfer, a war crime, is a settler born in England, David Mintz. Judge Mintz is himself party to a war crime.  Mintz lives in the illegal settlement of Dolev, not far from Ramallah, on land confiscated from Palestinian villages. It is also a settlement that as ever is expanding. Netanyahu promised a new neighbourhood there in 2019.”

More legal analysis from Itay Ephstein (Norwegian Refugee Council) 5/5/22, concluding “Adding insult to injury, the Court charged the petitioners – impoverished #Palestinians from #MasaferYatta – with fees of 40K ILS (12K USD), payable to the coffers of #Israel, the occupying power.”

Em Hilton 5/5/22: “On this Independence Day, Israel reminds us that the Nakba is ongoing. #SaveMasaferYatta

Lara Friedman (FMEP) 5/5/22: (commenting on article about Russia formalizing occupation of Ukraine) “Reminder as you read the article below: the Israeli High Court – the court of last appeal in an allegedly liberal, Western democracy allied closely with the US – just delivered a ruling legitimizing the mass forcible transfer of civilians from occupied territories.”

Targeting this same area, even before the Court ruling

SA/DD – Same Apartheid/Different Day

Israel tightens grip on West Bank with planned restrictions (ABC News 5/5/22)

ICG’s Mairav Zonszein on Twitter 5/3/22: “Defense Minister Benny Gantz expected to authorize thousands of new settlement units in occupied West Bank, as part of what Bennett’s party is posing as a demand to keep coalition intact. He reportedly has been waiting till end of Ramadan to do so, according to @GLZRadio

New Israeli Border Policies Track, Trace, and Restrict Palestinian Visitors to the West Bank  [“if you’re a Jewish American traveling to visit your family in an Israeli settlement, you don’t have a problem.”] (Jewish Currents 5/3/22)

Americans Are Flying to Israel to Displace Palestinians (Al Jazeera+ 5/3/22)

Israel approves new 31-unit settlement construction in Hebron (Middle East Monitor 4/29/22)

The Israeli army is making millions by seizing Palestinian tractors [“Data shows the military, with settler backing, is intensifying its confiscation of Palestinian agricultural equipment while profiting from release fees.”] (+972 Magazine 5/1/22)

Settlement Developments – West Bank (general)

Israeli settlers seize large tract of Palestinian land south of Bethlehem (WAFA 5/5/22)

Settlers close major West Bank traffic artery to Palestinian traffic (WAFA 5/5/22)

Dror Etkes/Naboth’s Vineyard on Twitter 5/4/22: thread opening with — “The Civil Administration is not willing to pass on to us the results of a land “survey” that was conducted in Jabal Sabih, a place where in recent years one of the records of settlement madness was broken when an outpost was established there that settlers call ‘Eviatar’.”…

Israeli settlers graze their cattle on Palestinians groves south of Bethlehem (WAFA 5/5/22)

Israeli settlers continue to level Palestinian land in northern Jordan Valley (WAFA 5/4/22)

Israeli forces deliver two demolition notices in East Jerusalem area (WAFA 5/3/22)

Israeli Settlers destroy agricultural rooms west of Salfit (WAFA 5/3/22)

West Bank: Israeli settlement guard killed in drive-by shooting – A 27-year-old Palestinian was later killed by soldiers in unrelated army raid near Qalqilya (Middle East Eye 4/29/22)

Targeting Settlers

Right slams gov’t for IDF removal of three West Bank settler caravans (Jerusalem Post 3/2/22)

Hamas claims Ariel terror shooting, vows it ‘won’t be the last’ (Times of Israel 5/2/22)

Israeli forces arrest suspected killers of Jewish settlement guard (The Guardian 4/30/22)

Deadly West Bank attacks follow Israeli raid on Al-Aqsa (Al Jazeera 4/30/22)

Settlers raze Palestinian land in Nablus (Middle East Monitor 4/29/22)


Legalizing Violence Outposts

Excerpt from Yesh Din email update dated 5/4/22 (subscribe for Yesh Din’s email updates here):

The MOD [Ministry of Defense] is advancing the authorization of Tapuach Ma’arav [Tapuach West], located on the lands of the village Yasuf, and Adei Ad, located on the lands of Turmusayya, Jalud and Qaryut. Adei Ad and Tapuach West, two of the most violent outposts in the West Bank, are both being fast-tracked for retroactive ‘legalization’, rewarding the acts of violent settlers and nullifying the rights of Palestinian landowners.

On Monday, May 9, a hearing will be held in the Planning Committee of the Civil Administration in Beit El in objections to the proposed plan to ‘regularize’ the illegal outpost Tapuach West. The objections were filed by Yesh Din and Bimkom on behalf of residents of the village of Yasuf. Implementation of this plan will result in the de facto establishment of a new settlement in violation of international law and at the expense of the rights to property and freedom of movement of the residents of Yasuf.

“This hearing comes mere weeks after the Civil Administration rejected an objection to the expansion of the jurisdiction of the new settlement Amichai to include the illegal outpost Adei Ad. The objection was filed by Yesh Din on behalf of residents from the villages Turmusaya, Qaryut and Jalud…

“…For two decades the outpost Tapuach West has been infamous as one of the most violent outposts in the West Bank. The outposts’ residents are comprised mainly of Kahanist hilltop youth, who commit frequent and severe attacks against Palestinian residents of Yasuf and other nearby villages. Yesh Din has documented dozens of incidents in which settlers from Tapuach West violently attacked residents of Yasuf, destroyed trees and other crops, burned a mosque in Yasuf, and regularly trespass on the villagers’ private lands.

“Now, rather than enforcing the law on the illegal outpost, the settlers from Tapuach West are being rewarded for their violent tactics, as Israeli authorities actively promote the retroactive ‘regularization’ of the outpost as a new settlement.

“…Another clear example of the GOI rewarding violent settlers is the MOD’s decision to expand the jurisdiction of the new settlement Amihai, established in 2017 as ‘compensation’ for the evacuation of Amona. The expanded jurisdiction will include hundreds of dunams east of Amihai, including the location of the illegal and violent outpost of Adei Ad…In The Road to Dispossession – a Case Study of the Outpost of Adei Ad, a comprehensive report published by Yesh Din, we demonstrate how violence is used as a tool to take over Palestinian land leading to dispossession and violation of their right to property, and how lack of law enforcement on illegal construction as well as on violent and property offences is in fact indirect support of the Israeli authorities to such acts.”

Bonus Reads

Institute for Curriculum Services: How an Israel Lobby Group Infiltrated US Education (Mintpress News 5/4/22) [“Requested ICS changes to public school textbooks included: — Replace ‘settlers’ with ‘communities,’ ‘occupation’ with ‘control of,’ ‘wall’ with ‘security fence,’ ‘occupied territories’ with ‘captured areas,’ and ‘militant’ with ‘terrorist.’ — Discourage students from conducting open internet research, and instead recommend the Anti-Defamation League’s website and the — Delete all references to ‘Palestinian Territories.’ — Change maps to recognize Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, instead of classifying these areas as occupied.”

A European Citizens Initiative to ban settlement products (EuroMed Rights 5/3/22)

West Bank settlers are an existential liability to Israel (Arab News 5/3/22)