Israeli authorities yesterday approved plans to seize Palestinian agricultural lands belonging to the villages of Qaryut and Al-Sawiya, south of Nablus in northern West Bank, to expand the illegal settlement of El, Anadolu reported.
Ghassan Daghlas, the Palestinian official in charge of the settlements file in the northern West Bank, told the agency that the Israeli authorities will use the land to build more housing units, public facilities, and roads to serve illegal settlers.
Meanwhile, a Palestinian resident of the village of Qaryut, Bashar Al-Qaryouti, said the Palestinian coordination body has informed him of the Israeli occupation authorities’ plans to expand the settlement onto private Palestinian agricultural lands planted with olive trees.
He explained that the Israeli plan was approved without prior announcement and that the villages will submit legal objections.
According to the Israeli human rights movement, Peace Now, there are about 666,000 settlers, 145 large settlements and 140 outposts in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. All are illegal under international law.
Israeli occupation soldiers this morning raided Khirbet Al Ras Al Ahmar in the northern occupied Jordan Valley and seized Palestinian vehicles, Wafa news agency reported.
Speaking to the Palestinian news site, Mutaz Bisharat, an official with the Tubas governorate, said that the soldiers raided the village and seized several vehicles, farming tractors, and water tankers.
According to Bisharat, the Israeli occupation forces also raided, searched, and ransacked several homes in the area.
The Palestinian community in the Jordan Valley is subject to daily harassment by occupation forces and settlers in an effort to force them to leave the area in order to annex it and expand illegal settlements.
Wafa also reported that Israeli occupation authorities today approved the takeover of Palestinian-owned land in the villages of Qaryut and Al-Sawiyeh, south of the West Bank city of Nablus.
Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors Israeli settlement activities in the north of the occupied Palestinian territories, said that the targeted Palestinian land consists of several farms owned by Palestinian families in the area.
He told Wafa that the Israeli occupation intends to build a residential area, public utilities and settler-only roads.
The Palestinian Authority, yesterday, called on ambassadors and representatives of Western countries to rapidly intervene to stop “Israel’s escalation in demolishing Palestinian homes in occupied East Jerusalem.”
The call came in a message sent by the PA’s Jerusalem Affairs Minister, Fadi al-Hadami, to the ambassadors, consuls-general and representatives of Western countries to Palestine.
“I am writing to draw your attention to the dangerous escalation of house demolition decisions in parallel with the noticeable increase in the number of demolished houses since the beginning of this year,” al-Hadami said.
He pointed out that an Israeli court had given the “green light to demolish dozens of homes in the neighborhoods of Wadi Yasoul and Al-Bashir in Silwan,” warning that the decisions would “displace hundreds of Palestinians, most of whom are children.”
Israel continues to take over villages belonging to Palestinians in Jerusalem, displacing many from their homes – Cartoon
The court decision, al-Hadami explained, came after a Palestinian family was handed over a decision to demolish a residential building in Silwan’s Wadi Hilweh area, where four apartments and a medical centre are located.
He went on, adding that the 10 families in the Al-Tur town were also threatened with displacement after a decision by the occupation municipality to demolish their 5-storey residential building. “Hundreds of Palestinian homes in Silwan’s Al-Bustan neighborhood, as well as others, are at risk of demolition by Israeli forces,” the official reiterated.
Hidmi noted that more than 139 buildings had been demolished since the beginning of the current year, stressing that demolition decisions were “significantly increasing”. “The danger of evicting Palestinians from their homes and the process of ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem includes the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood,” he added.
On Tuesday, the Israeli authorities demolished a Palestinian-owned home in Silwan, under the pretext of “unauthorised construction”.
Palestinians, Israeli, and international human rights organisations say that the Israeli municipality is deliberately reducing building permits granted to Palestinians in East Jerusalem.
Israeli police have repeatedly raided the apartment of left-wing activists in Jerusalem for allegedly spraying graffiti supporting the Palestinian cause, according to a report by the Israeli news outlet, Haaretz.
On Wednesday night the week before last, police in the city of Jerusalem were sent to the apartment after receiving reports that Haley Firkser – one of the tenants – had sprayed signs and symbols of protest in the centre of the city in support of Palestinians from the South Hebron Hills in the occupied West Bank.
The paper reported that Firkser said, “they [the police] scared us, banged on the windows and when we opened the door, they asked for IDs.” They then “photographed us with their phones and asked us questions.”
Another tenant confirmed this report, saying that “I heard people pushing at the door and saw flashlights. They said to wake everyone up, took us outside, and took pictures of us with phones.”
Then, for a second time, six detectives in plain civilian clothing conducted another raid on the apartment last Tuesday, in which they produced a warrant signed by a magistrate’s court judge, who ruled that the raid was necessary in order to investigate “suspected property damage/defacement.”
Again, they demanded to see Firsker. When they learned that she was not there, they ordered that she come in for questioning as soon as possible, threatening that, if she did not, then there would be more night-time raids on the apartment.
Firkser, who went to the police station but was sent back as there was no officer to interrogate her in English, told the paper that “It’s very scary to be at home. We feel targeted by the police.” The appointment for her interrogation is now set to be tomorrow.
Eisner also said the police’s conduct “is out of line with the suspicions. They behave like we killed someone. They just tried to frighten me. It’s unbelievable that the police expend so much energy to intimidate citizens.” He added that it is unnecessary, as “the penalty for graffiti is a fine.”
It raised concerns amongst the activists living in the apartment that they were specifically targeted for their political views and stances, rather than for a genuine reason to tackle any crime committed.
The city’s police force hit back at those complaints, telling the paper that “during an investigation opened over the weekend on suspicion of a crime, the police arrived at the house where the suspects live and searched it, pursuant to a legal warrant.” It insisted that “there is no connection between the political affiliation or opinions of the suspects and the enforcement actions taken in regard to this case.”
Firsker’s attorney, Riham Nassra, also called the police actions unreasonable, confirming that the spraying of graffiti “is an offense that barely justifies detainment, and it certainly doesn’t justify entering a home in the middle of the night and illegally photographing and questioning them. Nothing of what the policemen did is proportional to the suspicions.”
The incident sheds more light on the Israeli authorities’ violence and intimidation tactics against, not only Palestinians, but also Israelis who criticise the occupation and call for Palestinian rights to be respected.
Last month, another left-wing activist called on the Israeli Knesset to allow him to bear arms to protect Palestinians being targeted by Jewish settlers and their violence.
Several Israeli military vehicles invaded, on Wednesday at dawn, the ar-Ras al-Ahmar Palestinian village, in the Northern Plains of the occupied West Bank, before the soldiers confiscated agricultural equipment in addition to cars, tractors, and water tanks.
Mo’taz Bisharat, a Palestinian official who monitors Israel’s violations and colonialist activities in Tubas and the Northern Plains, said the soldiers invaded the village before breaking into and ransacking many homes, barns and structures.
Bisharat added that the soldiers confiscated several cars, tractors, and water tanks owned by the local Palestinian shepherds and farmers.
It is worth mentioning that the village is subject to repeated Israeli violations, including constant invasions, demolitions, abductions, the uprooting and bulldozing of lands, and the abduction of many of its residents.
Israeli soldiers abducted, on Tuesday afternoon, two young Palestinian men near Qalqilia, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank.
Eyewitnesses said the soldiers installed a sudden military roadblock on the main Qalqilia-Nablus Road, before stopping and searching many cars, and interrogated many Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards.
They added that the soldiers abducted two young men, identified as Mo’taz Mara’ba, from Kafr Thulth town, south of Qalqilia, and Motayyam Khadoum Radwan, from Qalqilia city, both in their twenties and took them to an unknown destination.
On Tuesday at night, the soldiers invaded the al-Biereh city in central West Bank, before breaking into and searching several homes, leading to protests.
The so-called “Civil Administration Office”, the administrative branch of Israel’s illegal occupation, issued an order for the illegal confiscation of a privately-owned Palestinian land in Beit Jala city, northwest of Bethlehem, south of occupied Jerusalem in the West Bank.
Hasan Breijiyya, the head of Bethlehem’s office of the Wall & Colonization Resistance Commission, said the soldiers invaded the land near the western entrance of Beit Jala city and delivered the confiscation order.
Breijiyya added that Israel wants to confiscate the Palestinian lands to expand the “Tunnels Road” leading to Gilo illegal colony which was built on illegally confiscated lands in Beit Jala city and al-Walaja town.
All of Israel’s colonies in the occupied West Bank, including those in and around occupied East Jerusalem, are illegal under International Law, the Fourth Geneva Convention in addition to various United Nations and Security Council resolutions. They also constitute war crimes under International Humanitarian Law.