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Report: Israel Continues With Ethnic Cleansing Policies in Occupied Jerusalem

World  (tags: Refugees, Absentee Property Law, Occupied West Bank/Palestine-East Jerusa, landthefts-expropriation, Palestinian properties, palestinian human rights violations, Ethnic Cleansing Policies-Occupied Jerus, settlements, Sheikh Jarrah, Israel War Crimes )

- 17 days ago -
Israeli High Court has approved the largest settlement projects in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied Jerusalem, using the Absentee Property Law, which stipulates that Palestinian properties before 1948 were extracted away forever, unlike Jewish


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fly bird (26)
Friday November 30, 2018, 7:21 pm
Report: Israel Continues with Ethnic Cleansing Policies in Occupied Jerusalem.

In its latest report about Israeli settlements activities in the occupied West Bank, the National Bureau for Defending Land and Resisting Settlements stated that, within the Israeli plans to complete the settlement belt around Jerusalem in general, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque in particular, the Israeli High Court has approved the largest settlement projects in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied Jerusalem, using the Absentee Property Law, which stipulates that Palestinian properties before 1948 were extracted away forever, unlike Jewish property, and there is no right of return according to Israeli law.

The project paves the way for the construction of an 8-storey settlement, each of which consists of 12 stories. This is the largest displacement that the city has witnessed since 1948. Moreover, the Israeli High Court has rejected a petition filed by the residents of the Baten El-Hawa neighborhood, in Silwan town, and have allowed the Ateret Cohnim Settlement Association to grant the necessary legal cover to expel 700 Palestinians, claiming that their homes were built on land owned by Jews before the Nakba of 1948.

The Association, which is active in Judaizing occupied Jerusalem, has called for the expulsion of entire Palestinian families, assisted by the Director-General of the Israeli Ministry of Justice, in order to seize the area and the buildings erected there, under the pretext of being owned by the Jews more than 120 years ago.

In 2001, the association had the right to administer the property of the Jewish Association, which claims to have owned the land before 1948 yet was formed in September of 2015, to hand over notifications to the residents of the neighborhood. More than one judicial decision was issued by the occupation courts, claiming the right of Ateret Cohnim to own an area of land amounting to 5 dunams and 200 m2, and in which hundreds of Palestinians live. Occupation bulldozers carried out a massive demolition of 16 shops in the neighborhood of Ras Khamis, just adjacent to Shu’fat Refugee Camp, to the north of Jerusalem, in addition to the demolition of three fuel stations, which were in place since 2007, all under the pretext that they exist without a license.

At the same time, the Knesset approved a law, in the second and third readings, allowing the construction of houses and residential units in public and national parks, which means allowing the expansion of the “Ier-David” settlement, in Silwan. According to the initiators of the draft law, it is currently impossible to establish and develop residential neighborhoods in areas defined as public and national parks. The bill, which was supported by 63 Knesset Members (with 41 against), is intended to protect the population in the “national parks” and to promote the development and expansion of the population.

In the Jordan Valley, within the context of plans to Judaize the region, the Israeli government has approved the transfer of NIS 4 million for a settlement project which includes the construction of track near the village of Fasayel, in the Ras-Ayn and the Al-Makhrouq areas of the central Jordan Valley. Until the beginning of 2017, about NIS 284,000 were spent for the construction of the track, although permission to build was approved by the Ministry of the Interior.

On the other hand, a political blow has been directed to the occupation government and its expansionist settlement system, by the RBNP, to stop offering properties for rent in West Bank settlements. The company has access to information and services from a very large number of people in all parts of the world, especially young people who love to travel, making it a step of definition and awareness available to interested customers.

Human Rights Watch called on to follow the steps of RBNP and withdraw from Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. Human Rights Watch, based in the United States, issued its report, “Bed and Breakfast on Stolen Land,” co-published by Israeli NGO Kerem Navot, and called on to do so, as well. The report said that the RPNB listing included at least 139 properties in West Bank settlements between March and July. Based in the Netherlands, RPNB had listed 26 properties in those settlements as of July, according to the report.

As for the Quaker Association of Religious Friends in Britain, the organization said it would no longer invest in companies that “benefit from the occupation” in the West Bank. The Quaker Association said, in a statement, that the decision was made by the church’s secretaries, in consultation with a meeting of representatives of the association. “We have a long history of working for peace,” said Representative Paul Parker. “Just in Palestine and Israel opened our eyes to the of many injustices and violations of international law arising from the military occupation of Palestine, by the Israeli Government ,and concluded that we must withdraw from our lists housing in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, which is disputed by Palestinians and Israelis.”

In the latest report issued by Israeli human rights organization “Yesh Din”, the organization said that settler violence is a tool to control Palestinian land, under the protection of the government and the Israeli army. The report talked about 6 Palestinian villages as a model of systematic policy followed by the settlers. The villages are Burin, Hawara, Madama, Aruf, Einabus and Aseera al-Qibliya, located at the slopes south of Nablus. They are inhabited for hundreds of years, some thousands of years ago. The report noted 43 incidents documented by Yesh Din between January 2017 and March 2018, in which settlers from Yitzhar and surrounding settlement outposts, including Giv’at Roni, hurled damage upon residents of the six villages, or upon their property.

In related news, PNN further reports that the Israeli government, on Sunday, approved a map of “national priority” areas, including a number of settlements in the heart of the occupied West Bank.

The map aims to promote Israeli migration to the towns on the map, as well as to grant larger budgets for building. The National Law will increase budgets to “strengthen the Jewish character of Israel.”

The settlements referred to are: Magron, Shvut Rahal and Kerem Re’em, and are usually referred to as “isolated settlements” because they are built outside major settlement blocs in the West Bank.

Ha’aretz newspaper reported, today, that the economic and living conditions in these settlements are not within the criteria of the Israeli Ministry of Housing which proposes that “neighborhoods away from their mother towns are not dependent on the infrastructure of the mother town”.

The item is designed to support settlements that are technically only part of larger towns, but are in fact independent towns. The three settlements referred to above are part of larger settlements, but are on their own.

The Israeli Ministry of Housing has also decided to return the settlement of Ariel to the map, after it was removed from it, in the past.

Last year, The Marker revealed that 30 percent of tax-free Israeli towns, because of their status as “national priority” areas, are settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The number of towns that have acquired the status of “national preference” amounts to 407, including more than 130 settlements which are all tax exempted. This roughly amounts to NIS 350 million.

fly bird (26)
Friday November 30, 2018, 10:09 pm
Israel tightens noose around East Jerusalem.

Israel took various steps this month to entrench its occupation of East Jerusalem.

From demolishing Palestinian structures to approving further expansion of settlements, Israel continues to threaten Palestinian existence in the heart of the city.

On 21 November, Israel’s high court gave the green light to evict 700 Palestinian residents of the Silwan neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem from land they’ve lived on for decades.

The court denied an appeal filed by 104 Silwan residents in the Batan al-Hawa area against a 2002 government decision to transfer ownership of the homes of some 70 Palestinian families to three individuals closely associated with Ateret Cohanim, a right-wing Israeli settler organization focused on taking Palestinian land in Jerusalem.

The transfer of ownership is made possible by the 1950 Absentee Property Law, which allows Israel to seize land owned by displaced Palestinian refugees, who fled or were expelled from their homes during and after the Nakba, the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestinians carried out by Zionist forces to make room for an Israeli state.

Government collusion

Israel’s high court judges rejected the appeal despite knowing “that the procedure concerning the Silwan village homes was flawed and raised questions about land transfers to [Ateret Cohanim],” Israel’s i24 News reported.

Israeli human rights group B’Tselem condemned the court’s decision, stating that it “gives its seal of approval to almost any infringement of Palestinians’ rights by the Israeli authorities,” adding that various government ministries have assisted Ateret Cohanim in encroaching on Palestinian land in Batan al-Hawa and handing over their homes to Jewish settlers.

Apart from the blatant theft of Palestinian land, the increased presence of illegal settlers also necessitates a greater “security” presence for them, creating an even more violent atmosphere for Palestinian residents.

“The stronger the hold settlers have in the neighborhood of Batan al-Hawa, the greater the number of Palestinians directly impacted by the settler security apparatus, even without being expelled from their homes,” B’Tselem added.

Demolishing storefronts

On 21 November, Israeli occupation forces demolished some 20 commercial buildings on a busy street in Jerusalem’s Shuafat refugee camp.

The Israeli press called it the “most significant” demolition since the construction of Israel’s apartheid wall in the occupied West Bank during the second intifada.

The demolition order came from the Jerusalem municipality, which rarely grants Palestinians building licenses, forcing them to build “illegally” and live in constant fear of demolition.

Local media circulated pictures of the operation on social media, dubbing it the “demolition massacre.”

This video shows Israeli forces conducting the demolition:

Israeli forces also detained Palestinians during the operation, including three children:

Demolition warnings were given 12 hours prior to the act. Israeli forces blocked off entrances into the camp and restricted movement in the area on 21 November, and arrived again the day after to continue the demolition.

EU concern

Maja Kocijancic, spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, condemned Israel’s actions as jeopardizing a two-state solution.

“The European Union is strongly opposed to Israel’s settlement policy, illegal under international law, and actions taken in that context, such as forced transfers, evictions and demolitions,” she said in a statement on 24 November.

“The EU expects the Israeli authorities to reconsider and reverse these decisions.”

She did not spell out clear consequences for Israel if it defies these calls. In the past, the EU has done nothing to hold Israel accountable for demolishing structures, including ones funded from EU coffers.

Twice displaced

Meanwhile, Israel’s high court has denied the appeal of a Palestinian family who is being evicted from their East Jerusalem home.

The court refused to hear the Sabbagh family’s case on the building’s ownership in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

The family of 40 – 30 of which are children – will be thrown out within months and has nowhere else to live.

The Sabbagh family is originally from Jaffa and owns two homes there. They fled following the Nakba and settled in Sheikh Jarrah in 1956.

After the Nakba, Israel took over the homes and properties Palestinians fled under its Absentee Property Law, including those of the Sabbagh family.

“Their two former houses in Jaffa still exist, and they keep pictures of them in their living room,” according to Israeli daily Haaretz.

The house that the Sabbagh family lives on in Sheikh Jarrah was owned by Jewish individuals before the Nakba, but was abandoned during it.

The Jordanian government and the United Nations built housing on the land for Palestinian refugees six years after the Nakba, and the Sabbagh family moved into one of those buildings.

“We have two houses in Jaffa, on Hasneh Street and Hagidam Street, and we have 250 dunams [62.5 acres] in Yavneh and also in Ashdod,” Muhammad Sabbagh, 71, told Haaretz.

“Why can’t I ask for my property from before 1948?”

In 2003, a company registered in the United States, called Nahalat Shimon International, bought the land from the Jewish groups that claim to have owned it before 1948, and has been fighting to forcibly displace Palestinians from there since then.

“The ruling will also make it very difficult for dozens of other Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah to avoid eviction,” Haaretz reported.

Settlement ring

Meanwhile, Israel’s parliament passed a law last week permitting the building of residential settlements atop public parks, according to Haaretz. This would enable the construction of housing units in the City of David archeological site near the al-Aqsa mosque in occupied Jerusalem.

The law’s bill was backed by Elad, a private organization that settles Jews in occupied East Jerusalem in violation of international law.

The Palestine Liberation Organization’s National Bureau for Defending Land said the new law was part of an Israeli plan to establish a settlement ring around the city of Jerusalem, in order to increase the number of settlers there at the expense of Palestinian residents.

Earlier this month, the Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee approved the building of 640 new Israeli settlement homes in Ramat Shlomo, a Jewish-only colony in East Jerusalem.

Some of the new homes will be built on privately owned Palestinian land, according to Haaretz.

Some 3,000 Israeli settlers live in Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem’s Old City and the surrounding area, amid some 100,000 Palestinians, according to B’Tselem.

fly bird (26)
Saturday December 1, 2018, 10:42 pm
The European Union condemned on Saturday the Israeli demolition ‎of some 20 commercial structures in Shuafat Refugee Camp in occupied East Jerusalem, stressing its part of “illegal expansion of Israeli settlement.”

On Wednesday, the Israeli occupation demolished buildings as part of the Jerusalem ‎municipality's policy of expanding enforcement with ‎respect to illegally-built structures.

The Israeli occupation destroyed 18 stores ‎and three gas stations Shuafat Refugee Camp ‎under the pretext of lacking building licenses.

In a statement, the Israeli occupation municipality said “it will continue to carry out activities with ‎the support of the police against illegal businesses in the different ‎areas.”‎

The EU, however, linked the operation to a recent decision by ‎the Jerusalem Planning and Building Committee, which earlier this month approved ‎the construction of hundreds of new settlement units in the illegal settlements of Gilo and ‎Ramat Shlomo.‎

‎"Last week, Israeli authorities demolished some 20 Palestinian ‎commercial structures in the Shuafat Palestinian refugee camp in ‎east Jerusalem,” a spokesperson at the Office of Foreign Affairs and Security ‎Policy at the EU‎ said.‎

He added: “The demolition started several weeks after the ‎Jerusalem Municipality decided to promote a plan to build 800 ‎housing units in the Israeli settlements of Gilo and Ramat Shlomo in occupied east ‎Jerusalem.

“The European Union strongly opposes the policy of Israeli ‎settlements, which is illegal under international law, and the actions ‎taken in this regard. The European Union expects the Israeli ‎authorities to reconsider and revoke these decisions. ‎

‎"The policy of settlement construction and expansion in east ‎Jerusalem continues to undermine the possibility of a viable two-‎state solution, with Jerusalem as the future capital of both states, ‎which is the only realistic way to achieve a just and lasting peace.”

Despite the fact that the demolition took place against the will of the Palestinian residents and was carried out as part of the Jerusalem Municipality's ‎ongoing attempts to judaise the holy city.
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