US plans to build diplomatic compound on Palestinian land in East Jerusalem: Rights group

A partial view taken on April 30, 2018 shows the US consulate in Jerusalem

The US is planning to build a diplomatic complex on private property confiscated from Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem, a rights organisation said Sunday, Anadolu News Agency reports.

In a statement, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Adalah) said they have found new evidence that the land on which the diplomatic compound is to be built under a joint US-Israeli plan is located on private property taken from Palestinians.

“The land on which the US Diplomatic Compound is to be built is registered in the name of the State of Israel, but it was confiscated illegally from Palestinian refugees and internally displaced Palestinians using the 1950 Israeli Absentees’ Property Law,” it noted.

Recalling an upcoming visit by US President Joe Biden to Israel, Adalah said the descendants of the original owners of the property, including US citizens and Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, demand the “immediate cancellation of the plan”.

“If built, the US embassy compound will be located on land that was seized from Palestinians in violation of international law,” the statement added.

Biden is scheduled to arrive in Israel on 13 July, as part of a tour that will also include the West Bank city of Ramallah and Saudi Arabia.

READ: The Nakba of Sheikh Jarrah: How Israel uses ’the law’ to ethnically cleanse East Jerusalem

(Source / 12.07.2022)

Growing Israel West Bank settlements test US position ahead of Biden visit

A general view shows an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank city Nablus on 18 October 2020

Steps away from a cluster of Palestinian tents and shacks in the northern Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank, trucks were working in full force to prepare for the construction of a school for Israeli settlers, Reuters reports.

The settlement of Mehola is trying to expand, as demand has become very high, Zohar Zror, 32, a resident, told Reuters.

Largely out of the public eye, Israeli settlements are expanding across the occupied West Bank, raising Palestinian fears of displacement and posing a test for US opposition to such building ahead of President Joe Biden’s visit this week.

In a Washington Post op-ed published on Saturday, Biden said the United States has rebuilt ties with the Palestinians and is working with Congress to restore about $500 million in funding for the Palestinians. His administration has also pledged to re-open a consulate in Jerusalem, closed by his predecessor, Donald Trump.

But that has done little to satisfy Palestinian demands for US support for an end to Israel’s decades-long occupation.

While the administration has expressed strong opposition to Israeli settlement expansion, which it said “deeply damages the prospect for a two-state solution”, settlement construction has gone ahead apace.

Meanwhile, the search for a solution involving an independent Palestinian State alongside the State of Israel, which the United States and other countries see as the best basis for a lasting peace, has stalled.

“They don’t want to leave any Palestinians here,” said Salah Jameel, 53, a Palestinian farmer in the Jordan Valley. “They want to take the land.”

READ: Israel settlers rebuild illegal outpost in occupied West Bank

Most countries regard settlements Israel has built on territory it captured in a 1967 Middle East war as illegal. Israel disputes this and has settled some 440,000 Israelis in the West Bank, citing biblical, historical and political ties to the area, where 3 million Palestinians live under military rule.

In May, the Israeli government approved 4,400 new homes for Jewish settlers. Plans for a further expansion of settlements, that will effectively cut through the area Palestinians hope will form the basis of a future State, are set to be discussed after Biden’s visit.

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment about the expansion of West Bank settlements.

The US Embassy’s Palestinians Affairs unit referred questions to the White House.

David Elhayani, outgoing head of the Yesha Council, the settlers’ main umbrella organisation, said it is time the Palestinians accept that there will be no Palestinian State.

“The settlement enterprise has taken off, it cannot be stopped now,” he told Reuters.

Noise

As Israel deepens its normalisation with Arab countries in the region, it remains unclear what steps the United States is willing to take to discourage its ally from further entrenching the occupation.

Biden’s upcoming visit “can impact the amount of noise Israel is making about settlement expansion but not on the construction itself,” said Dror Etkes of Kerem Navot, an organisation that monitors Israeli policy in the West Bank. “The entire political system (in Israel) is mobilised to protect the settlement enterprise,” he said.

The first settlements in the Jordan Valley date from the immediate aftermath of the 1967 war. A fertile area of orchards and date plantations on the border with Jordan, it was seen by Israeli planners as key to creating a defensive buffer well to the east of Jerusalem.

Mehola, which was built in the late 1960s on Palestinian-owned land with Israeli government approval, is one example.

The military protection and the roads, water and power infrastructure underpinning settlements stand in stark contrast to conditions in nearby Palestinian villages.

But Israel strongly rejects accusations from international and local rights groups that the settlement enterprise has created a system of apartheid.

Data collected by Israeli authorities shows a trend of expanding Israeli presence.

In the area of the West Bank where Israel has full control and where most Jewish settlements are located – a zone referred to as Area C under the Oslo Peace Accords agreed in the 1990s – only 33 building permits for Palestinians have been approved in the last five years, Israeli Deputy Defence Minister, Alon Schuster, told the Knesset plenum in February.

During that time, more than 9,600 housing units were started for Israeli settlers in the West Bank, according to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics.

Palestinian Mahmoud Bisharat, 40, has no expectations from Biden’s visit. Still, he told Reuters he hopes the US administration will take stronger action to stop Israeli settlements and “the dispossession of Palestinians.”

“We have been on this land before 1967, the least they can do is protect our rights,” he said.

(Source / 12.07.2022)

Israeli Soldiers Abduct A Palestinian At The Al-Karama Border Terminal

On Tuesday, Israeli soldiers abducted a Palestinian while trying to cross the Al-Karama Border terminal on his way to Jordan.

Eyewitnesses said the soldiers abducted Hasan Abdul-Salam al-Oweiwi, 39, from Hebron city in the southern part of the occupied West Bank.

The soldiers interrogated the young man at the terminal and detained him before moving him to an interrogation facility.

Late on Monday night, Israeli soldiers abducted five young Palestinian men north of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank.

(Source / 12.07.2022)

Soldiers Abduct Five Palestinians Near Jerusalem

Late on Monday night, Israeli soldiers abducted five young Palestinian men north of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank.

Media sources said the soldiers abducted the five young men while crossing the Qalandia terminal north of occupied Jerusalem while returning home from Jerusalem.

The five Palestinians are from the al-Jalazoun refugee camp north of Ramallah, in the central West Bank.

They have been identified as Jamal Miqdadi, Amir al-Amouri, Mohammad Husam Zeid, Ahmad Kamel Makhlouf, and Malek Abu Khalifa.

(Source / 12.07.2022)

Soldiers Abduct Two Palestinians In Jerusalem

On Monday evening, Israeli soldiers abducted two young Palestinian men in occupied Jerusalem, in the West Bank.

Eyewitnesses said the soldiers abducted a young man, Qussai Natsha, while walking near Bab Hutta, one of the oldest gates of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The soldiers also abducted a young man, Hamza Zghayyar, from the Old City and took him to a detention and interrogation facility.

In related news, the soldiers placed sand mounds at the main entrance of Ramin village, east of the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem.

Locals said the closure is not the first, especially since the army closed the entrance several times before, in addition to streets leading to several nearby villages and towns.

(Source / 12.07.2022)

Israeli Colonizers Cut 450 Trees Near Ramallah

On Monday, illegal Israeli colonizers cut at least 450 Palestinian trees in orchards near Turmus Ayya and al-Mughayyir, northeast of Ramallah, in the central West bank.

Mohammad Alwan, the coordinator of the nonprofit “Palestinian Farmers Charity Association,” said the colonizers came from the illegal Adi Ad colony, built on stolen Palestinian lands in Turmus Atta and the al-Mughayyir, and invaded orchards and farmlands in the as-Sahel area.

Alwan added that the colonizers cut 200 olive trees and saplings owned by Talal Jabara from Turmus Ayya, and 250 plum, peach, and almond trees in addition to grapevines owned by Mohammad Sweiki.

The colonizers invaded the land after cutting fences surrounding them and destroying several water tanks.

A few days earlier, the colonizers burnt a Palestinian car in Turmus Ayya, and attacked an elderly woman and her family in front of Israeli soldiers who failed to intervene.

(Source / 12.07.2022)

WAFA: “Israeli military forces suppress protests against Israel’s seizure of Palestinian land east of Hebron”

HEBRON, Monday, July 11, 2022 (WAFA) – Israeli occupation forces today suppressed a demonstration against Israel’s seizure of Palestinian lands in the town of Bani Naim, east of Hebron city, in the southern occupied West Bank, according to WAFA correspondent.

Israeli forces beat up and assaulted the protesters, including anti-settlement activists, attacked them with stun grenades and tear gas canisters, and forced them out of the area.

Forces also attacked journalists at the scene and prevented them from doing their job under the pretext that the area is a closed military zone.

The ownership of the land targeted with seizure covers an area of ​​more than 40 dunums and belongs to the al-Manasra family.

Settlers from Bni Hefer settlement, built illegally on Palestinian lands to the east of Hebron, have recently fenced a plot of land and placed a caravan on the lands threatened with seizure as a prelude to taking over the land.

(Source / 12.07.2022)