By: Madeeha Araj (National Bureau for Defending Land and Resisting Settlements) for PNN

The National Bureau for Defending Land and Resisting Settlements Stated in its latest weekly report, that under an order by Naftali Bennett, Minister of the Israeli Occupation Army, the Israeli Civil Administration sent a letter last week to the Municipality of Hebron asking it to agree to demolish the wholesale market in the heart of the city to build 70 new settlement units over the market.

The letter stated that if the Hebron municipality failed to comply within 30 days, legal proceedings would be filed to lift its protected status there. The Israeli official in-charge of the government’s properties at the Civil Administration claimed that the occupying power has the right to vacate the municipality from the market and cancel its status, adding that the municipality has an alternative market. The message came within the context of the restrictions imposed by the occupation authorities against the Palestinians in Hebron to forcibly displace them.

Within this context, the brochure “The Machpelah Cave – Roots of the Jewish People,” refers to three areas in 3 different colors, as follows: light blue, which is an area under Israeli security control known as (H2), dark blue, which is a Jewish settlement area, and an orange area under Palestinian security control, which is known as (H1). Names of streets in the light blue color have been Judaized long ago, where Al-Shuhada St. has become King David Street, and in the Tel-Rumeida and Al-Ja’bara Neighborhood, there are streets, such as, Ma’ale Ha’fot and Sa’adiyya Hebroni streets.

The Judaization of the streets spread out of the area and reached the area under the Palestinian control, and Beer Sheva Street remained as it is, but the Grand Shallal Street became Hayim Youssef David Azoulay Street, and the Small Shallal Street became Natan Zvi Finkel Street, who is the founder of the religious school “Knesset Israel”, and King Hussein Street became the Temple Street. The Yasser Arafat’s field has become “Kicker Heuval”, and so on.

Moreover, the occupation authorities closed a third of the apartments in the Old City, and evacuated its residents, in addition to the closure of 1500 commercial stores run by Palestinians, 20 years ago, by military orders.

Besides settlement and Judaization plans in Hebron, the Israeli occupation authorities extended the decision to lay hands on thousands of dunams in Tulkarem, Qalqilia and Salfit Governorates for the next 3 years, in order to maintain a path of the separation wall to spread settlement in the West Bank, noting that the total areas affected by the decisions are about 2975 dunams, which represent the food basket for the 3 governorates, as they are cultivated with citrus fruits, vegetables and fruits, with artesian wells.

In Jerusalem, the Christian-Islamic Commission for the Support of Jerusalem, and the Holy Places issued a report with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation issued in which it said that the number of excavations that have been taking place under Jerusalem since 1967 is 104 excavations, including 4 under and around Al-Aqsa, 5 in Silwan, 5 in the Old City, 8 scattered sites, 57 excavations and tunnels penetrate the Al-Aqsa Mosque. It was reported that there are 105 Jewish synagogues in the Al-Aqsa area now, with 107 mosques in Jerusalem, including 43 in the Old City, and 95 churches.

Noteworthy that the occupation authorities prevented restoration work inside the mosque where the occupation government has been trying since 2003 to apply the Israel Antiquities Law to it, and it has suspended scores of existing projects, among them: preventing Waqf from removing piles of dust from the eastern region, tiling the courtyards of the mosque, and the damaged electricity infrastructure, water, and land communications networks have not been restored since the 1960s.

In Jerusalem also, the Latin Patriarchate presented its objection, last week, to a plan to expand the so-called “Tasahul tunnels” submitted by the Israeli Occupation Municipality in Jerusalem to the District Planning and Building Committee, after approving planning in the Local Organization and Building Committee. The objection of the Latin Patriarchate came with the claim that the expansion of the tunnels would be at the expense of lands owned by the Catholic Church.

On the other hand, the role played by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), was revealed in the international normalization with the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, in light of the continued support from the US administration headed by Donald Trump, and the impact of this on the service of settlement projects, by promoting data that create conditions for the continuation of settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories in 1967.

The report indicates that the process of legitimizing the creeping annexation of settlements is not just a whim for a US government that enables Israel to expand as if Palestine does not exist, and for Palestine to grow economically as if there is no occupation, as is evident in the economic aspect proposed by the US administration, which completely ignored the reality of the Israeli occupation.

Since 1967, the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, which is actually affiliated with the Prime Minister’s Office which works to “collecting and analyzing statistical information about the State of Israel”, has been working to include economic activity of settlers in the occupied territories in official data, and expanding Israel’s statistical borders beyond the Green Line.

In a strange development, the Brazilian Representative, Eduardo Bolsonaro, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee in the House of Representatives, accompanied by Brazilian lawmakers visited the “Psagot” settlement in violation of the rules of international law and international resolutions.

For its part, the Arab League condemned the move, warning that such steps would negatively affect the Arab relationship with the Republic of Brazil, and a clear deviation in the Brazilian historical positions in adhering to international law and international legitimacy and supporting the rights of the Palestinian people, and in violation of Security Council’s resolution 2334 regarding the refusal of settlements that provided for the illegality of establishing settlements in the land occupied after 1967.”

Edited for IMEMC: Ali Salam