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The report: Smotrich exploits the war and imposes his settlement agenda on the occupation government

The report: Smotrich exploits the war and imposes his settlement agenda on the occupation government

Nablus – Ma’an – The National Office for the Defense of Land and Resistance against Settlements said in its periodic report that Smotrich exploits the conditions of war and imposes his settlement agenda on the agenda of the occupation government.”

The office stated in its report today, Saturday, “In his latest provocative and aggressive stances, Smotrich embodies the personality of Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Finance and Settlement Minister in the Ministry of the Army, and summarizes the policy of the 37th Israeli government, the most right-wing and extremist in the history of the occupation state, with the following headlines: ‘The Palestinian Authority will not remain as it is, so we will change it,’ adding, immersed in a sea of delusions in the face of broad international recognition of the State of Palestine: ‘We threw the concept of a Palestinian state into the trash bin of history… Since the beginning of the war, we have frozen 2 billion shekels of Authority funds and managed to secure American s
upport for the matter… We changed the Israeli oversight system on Authority banks… We built 15 new settlements in the Safa area and approved the construction of 21 thousand new units… We changed the settlement-related infrastructure concerning laws, property rights, and legal situations… We changed the entire occupation system in the West Bank and announced 26 thousand new dunams of state lands and decided to allocate 7 billion shekels for settler roads… We turned every Area B in the Jerusalem desert into Israeli authorities for demolition operations… We will demolish buildings in Area B and declared Israeli control over the West Bank without officially annexing it. We convinced Netanyahu of a plan to enhance government control over the West Bank and were forced into tough conflicts with the army and judiciary, getting very close to a model for legitimizing settlement outposts in the West Bank. Within a few months, we will be able to create a model that allows for the legal settlement of the major
ity of settlements in the West Bank and formed a separate civilian apparatus within the Ministry of Defense to give the impression that government control over the West Bank will not be for the government. We are on our way to increasing settlements, and our plan aims to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state that threatens Israel’s existence.'”

The report continued, “During the previous days, the leader of religious Zionism starred in the news of the plundering of Palestinian lands, properties, and funds, boasting the legalization of a number of settlement outposts and praising what he called pioneering work, undertaken by settlers in what is known as pastoral settlement and expanding pastoral farm settlements as the best means of seizing Palestinian lands. Since the formation of the current Israeli government, the period has witnessed the establishment of 29 settlement outposts, including 14 outposts and pastoral farms since the outbreak of the war on Gaza on October 8, the latest being four sett
lement outposts on Palestinian lands in the town of Sinjil in the Ramallah and Al-Bireh Governorate, in Ein al-Sakut in the northern Jordan Valley, and in Al-Mu’arrajat north of Jericho, and in the Khirbet Nahla area near Wadi Rahhal south of Bethlehem. The “Times of Israel” website had revealed last August details of a plan adopted by the leader of religious Zionism to legitimize 155 random settlement outposts, including a large number of pastoral farms inhabited by extremist terrorists on the outskirts of Palestinian urban and Bedouin communities, whose function is to work on the displacement of residents of these communities.”

The report continued, “What are these pastoral farms, who manages them, funds them, and directs their activity? This is not a new phenomenon; it is an old phenomenon adopted by the Zionist movement even during the British mandate over Palestine. The farm or pastoral settlement arises through the control of an individual settler or a group of hilltop youth thugs (the operational name
for terrorist price-tag organizations) over an area or mountain or mountains to raise livestock. According to Ze’ev Hever, general director of the Amana settlement association, this model can quickly control thousands of dunams compared to traditional methods that require bureaucratic procedures. Thus, pastoral settlement is based on a strategy of ‘laying hands’ on vast lands, converting them into ‘used space’ by Jews, and then connecting them to settlement infrastructure (roads, water, electricity, lighting, internet).”

The report said, “In this way, these ‘shepherds,’ organizers in most of their settlement associations, have so far seized 350-380 thousand dunams, about 10% of the West Bank area, exceeding in size (as a structural plan) the total controlled by existing settlements currently. The ‘Judea and Samaria Guardians’ organization alone adopts about 30 of these farms, and many of these pastoral farms are controlled and managed by 4-8 individuals. The Amana settlement organization provides support for
these settlement farms. The Ministries of Agriculture and Finance also provide generous funding and legal protection to these settlement farms. This phenomenon is expanding and attracting, and some of these pastoral farms are being worked on for their legalization as official settlements these days, in clear exploitation of the world’s preoccupation with the monstrous war on Gaza.”

The report continued, “These pastoral farms (settlement outposts) are under the sponsorship of a complex involving the state, several ministries, and settlement councils such as the Shomron Regional Council (northern West Bank), the Benjamin Regional Council (Jerusalem and Ramallah Governorates), the Bika’ot Hardein Regional Council in the northern Jordan Valley, the Migilot Regional Council in the southern Jordan Valley, the Gush Etzion Regional Council on lands of the Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and northern Hebron governorates, and the Mount Hebron Regional Council, in addition to the sponsorship of settlement organizations and assoc
iations, the most prominent being ‘Judea and Samaria Guardians,’ Amana Movement, Nahala Movement, Ateret Cohanim Association, Kedem Association, and all are registered as civil society organizations in Israel.”

The occupation state is considered the main sponsor of these pastoral farms, sponsoring them through several ministries, providing them with funding and protection. The main ministries that directly fund pastoral settlement are the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Education through the preparation of what it calls rehabilitation programs for religious youth, and the Ministry of Defense through the Civil Administration led by Israel Yehuda, co-founder of the Regavim organization and the right-hand man of Smotrich, and through the Civil Administration, with its deputy head, settler Hillel Rot, who is also close to Minister Smotrich.

In a notable development, the occupation state completed last week the procedures for seizing 24 thousand dunams in the Jordan Valley area of the occupied West Bank
by classifying them as “state lands” in preparation for establishing settlement projects in them. This came in three stages. The first stage was during the previous government led by Naftali Bennett, during which 3,500 dunams were seized. Four months ago, 8,500 dunams, and last week another 12,000 dunams, according to the “Wynet” website. The Israeli plan includes the construction of settlement residential units, industrial and commercial areas in these lands. It is expected that the Higher Planning Council for Settlements, affiliated with the Civil Administration of the occupation, will build 5,300 settlement residential units in this area, and approximately 600 other residential units for marketing in other areas in the West Bank, after the approval of 152 residential units in the Nigohot settlement in the Hebron area, and 260 residential units in the Jordan Valley settlements, and 140 residential units in the Kiryat Arba settlement, and 186 residential units in the Alon Moreh settlement near Nablus. The go
al is to prevent Palestinian geographic continuity on one hand and to establish Jewish settlement continuity on the other.”

On the agenda of the Higher Settlement Planning Council are plans to build 6,016 settlement units in dozens of settlements in the West Bank. According to leaks in the Israeli media (Yedioth Ahronoth), it is expected that the size of settlements will increase by 10 percent. For example, “Alon Shvut,” located southwest of Jerusalem, which currently has only about 60 housing units, will approve more than 1,000 new housing units. The council’s plans also include building a new neighborhood in the Yakir settlement, northwest of Salfit, across the road leading to the settlement. At the same time, approval was granted to establish 152 residential units in the Nigohot settlement in the Hebron Mountains, and another 260 in the Jordan Valley settlements, and 140 in Kiryat Arba in Hebron, and 186 in Alon Moreh east of Nablus. Hundreds of units were also announced in settlements such as Ma’aleh Adu
mim, Bustan in Nigohot south of the West Bank, Hugla, and Halutz in Gush Etzion.”

At the same time, Smotrich is seeking to announce lands with private Palestinian ownership that settlers seized and established the ‘Evitar’ settlement outpost on, transforming them into ‘state lands’ after confiscating them from their Palestinian owners. This is in addition to seizing lands with private Palestinian ownership on which other settlement outposts were established, namely ‘Sde Ephraim’ and ‘Giv’at Asaf’ in the Ramallah area, ‘Halamish’ between Hebron and Bethlehem, and ‘Adorim’ in the Hebron area. The approval of settlement construction plans is part of Smotrich’s plan for full Israeli control over the West Bank. Last week, the powers of the Legal Advisor of the ‘Civil Administration’ were transferred to another legal advisor in the Ministry of Security under Smotrich’s command, who is working to expedite the legitimization of more settlement outposts and pastoral farms, and to implement a plan to expand roads thro
ughout the West Bank to serve settlements and settlement activity.

Minister Smotrich is pressing hard to activate the Higher Planning Council to approve thousands of housing units throughout ‘Judea and Samaria’ (the West Bank) and others for marketing. Overall, since Minister Smotrich took office as Minister of Defense, approximately 21,700 housing units have been approved in West Bank settlements, and around 2,600 housing units have been approved for marketing. In total, more than 24,000 housing units have been approved since the beginning of his tenure, compared to less than 20,000 housing units approved in the three years from 2020 to the end of 2022. As part of the urgent agenda items for the Higher Planning Council, Smotrich is pushing for approval of plans to organize what he calls ‘youth settlements’ (pastoral farms) and convert them into settlement nuclei like ‘Jidi Camp’, ‘Beit Haglah (Kidum Arba)’, ‘Geva’ot’, and ‘Havat Maon’ in Nokhot. Among other matters, he is pushing for approval of constructio
n plans in Elon Moreh (186 housing units) in Nablus Governorate, Kiryat Arba (over 240 housing units) in Hebron Governorate, in addition to adding 435 new housing units to Neria settlement (Talmon B) and doubling the existing settlement in Ramallah and Al-Bireh Governorate.

In the weekly violations documented by the National Office for the Defense of Land, the incidents were as follows during the report preparation period:

Jerusalem: The occupation municipality in Jerusalem forced the Jerusalemite citizen Abdullah Abu Sabitan to demolish his house on his own, which is 85 square meters in size, in the village of Mount of Olives, after a court decision to demolish it within two days, to avoid demolition costs if carried out by its crews on the pretext of lack of a permit. The occupation municipality also demolished another house belonging to the citizen Hamdan Siyam in the Wadi al-Joz neighborhood, on the pretext of lack of a permit.

Hebron: Settlers from the ‘Karmiel’ settlement and the settlement outpost ‘
Shimon’ attacked residents in the village of Um Al-Khair, spraying them with pepper gas, causing burns to several residents’ eyes and cases of suffocation. The attack came hours after a diplomatic delegation from Belgium, Canada, Denmark, the European Union, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom visited Um Al-Khair to assess the situation after the demolition of a large number of its homes. Occupation bulldozers also demolished nine brick and sheet metal homes belonging to residents: Yusuf Al-Hanjouri, Ali Al-Qadi, Yusuf Al-Ajlouni, Anas Barqan, Ismail Muhammad Barqan, Fayez Al-Faqir, Asad Yusuf Barqan, Ya’qub Ishaq Barqan, and Saeed Barqan in the village of Bureen, east of Hebron. These homes were located in Area C, where the occupation authorities prohibit construction or land reclamation. Several residents were injured in a wide-ranging settler attack on ‘Khalat Al-Dhaba’ in Masafer Yatta, which lasted for seven hours, beginning with live gunfire towards residents’ homes
after burning extensive areas of productive farmland and trees in that area, preventing civil defense teams from reaching the fire, attacking them, smashing the fire truck, burning two houses, smashing windows and doors of most other houses, as well as smashing several vehicles belonging to residents and destroying all solar cells relied upon by families for generating electricity, and stealing more than 80 heads of residents’ sheep. Others attacked the citizen Adel Nasr’s house in Bari Bani Na’im and aimed their automatic weapons at his children, breaking the internal doors of the house, causing terror among the children. In the Tayyib Al-Ism area near the town of Samu’ the settlers fired live ammunition at the citizen Muhammad Muslim Abu al-Kabash (25 years old) while he was grazing his sheep, causing him to be injured in the shoulder and transferred to Yatta Governmental Hospital.

Bethlehem: Settlers from the settlement ‘Ghathem’ and the outpost ‘El Rish’ on the lands of the citizens in the area of ‘Ain A
l-Qasis’ west of the town of Khader, attacked a grape vineyard in the area of ‘Dahr Al-Zayya’, belonging to the citizen Muhammad Fawzi Al-Zayya, and uprooted more than 200 iron angles from grape arbors. Settlers also pitched a tent and raised the Israeli flag on lands in the area of ‘Jabal Abu Zaid’ south of the village of Artas, in a step aimed at seizing the lands of the citizens in preparation for establishing a settlement outpost. Several areas in the governorate were not spared from demolition operations or demolition notifications. The occupation forces notified the demolition of a 110-square-meter kindergarten and a construction halt in a park in the old town in the village of Al-Jab’a, southwest of Bethlehem, on the pretext of lack of a permit. The citizen Fatima Zareena was also notified of the demolition of her house in the Bir ‘Ona area in Beit Jala and the suspension of construction in two houses, in the Saj area in the village of Al-Walaja, northwest of Bethlehem, one of which is inhabited by the
citizen Shadi Hajajla, and the other under construction belongs to the citizen Sami Abu Al-Tinman for building without a permit. In the village of Al-Minya, southeast of Bethlehem, the occupation forces demolished an agricultural room, bulldozed a piece of land, uprooted dozens of olive saplings in the area of ‘Rabia’ and the homes of the martyr brothers Muhammad Issa Zuahreh and the wounded Kazem in the village of Beit Tammar, east of Bethlehem.

Nablus: Settlers from the settlement ‘Itamar’ set fire to lands in the town of Beit Furik, east of Nablus in the western area of the town, while others from the settlement ‘Yitzhar’ launched a widespread attack on the villages of Madama and Asira al-Qibliya, during which they set fire to large areas of agricultural lands. The occupation forces then closed the area and raided many homes, seized surveillance cameras, detained and field investigated citizens. The Red Crescent Society reported that its teams treated injuries in Asira al-Qibliya, stating that one of the
injured was subjected to brutal beating at the hands of settlers while two other young men were injured by settler stones, and in Majdal Bani Fadl, settlers cut down dozens of trees owned by citizen Mqbulah Nasrallah Othman. In the village of Yatma, south of Nablus, the occupation forces demolished two houses under construction on the pretext of building without a permit after they raided the village accompanied by bulldozers on the pretext of lack of a permit, owned by citizens Muhammad Shahada Najjar and Bara’a Shahada Najjar. In Khirbet Al-Tayr near the town of Samu’ the settlers fired live ammunition at the citizen Muhammad Muslim Abu Al-Kabash (25 years old) while he was grazing his sheep, causing him to be injured in the shoulder and transferred to Yatta Governmental Hospital

Salfit: The occupation forces notified the citizens to evacuate the “Bir Abu Ammar” area in the town of Qarawat Bani Hassan, which is considered a park for the town’s residents and a place for horse racing and youth sports activit
ies, and has a spring of water used for livestock watering. The occupation forces also raided the home of the citizen Rizq Mar’i in the Tall area north of the town and tampered with its contents, and detained him for more than an hour with a number of workers who were working in the garden of the house, and then vandalized the garden and seized the equipment and tools they were working on, and withdrew from the place

Jenin: Settlers attacked the homes of citizens in the Fandaqumiya and Sileh al-Dhahr areas south of Jenin, set fire to extensive areas of land planted with olive and fruit trees, and a house and vehicle belonging to the citizen Mueid Hussein Qar’ia, as they also attacked the homes of citizens and fired live ammunition and stoned them, at the same time, the occupation forces fired toxic gas bombs at the citizens who rushed to defend their homes. Settlers also attacked the homes of citizens in the town of Sileh al-Dhahr adjacent to the “Humsh” settlement, with live bullets including a house belong
ing to the citizen Firas Usman Musa and Mukhtar Abu

Source: Maan News Agency