A report prepared by the PLO’s National Bureau for Defending Lands and Resisting Settlement has revealed that Israel is implementing policies that aim at the Judaisation of the most prominent Palestinian areas with strategic importance in any future peace negotiations. Such policies include the “transfer” of the Palestinian population. The report accuses the international community of not doing anything to compel the Israeli government to halt its illegal settlement activities and what the report describes as “the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians”.
Details included in the report a series of decisions taken by the Israeli government, including that of Minister of Defence Ehud Barak to demolish eight Palestinian villages in order to create space for a training area for the Israeli army. Despite the fact that these villages have existed at least since the early 19th century, Israel has recorded that the residents are “invaders in fire zone number 918”.
One particular violation noted by the report is the decision of the Israeli government and Jerusalem municipality to hand areas in Jerusalem behind the apartheid wall, including the refugee camps of Shu’fat, Ras Khamis, Ras Shehadeh, Semiramis, Al-Salam suburb, Qalandiya, Kafr A’keb, and the Endowments suburb, to the so-called Civil Administration; in reality, this means military control. Such a move is designed to isolate the towns and villages surrounding Jerusalem from each other and the city. Altogether, it is estimated that 90-120,000 Jerusalemites will be isolated from their home city and deprived of the most basic civic amenities.
Contrary to international laws and conventions, especially the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, Israel’s police and illegal Jewish settlers continue to break into Al-Aqsa Mosque and perform Talmudic rituals. The army, meanwhile, prevents Palestinians from reaching their places of worship and performing their religious duties. At the same time, Israel has adopted measures to guarantee the freedom of Jews to reach the Wailing Wall for their religious rituals.
There have also been calls for the construction of the Jewish temple on the ruins of Al Aqsa Mosque, most notably on the eve of the anniversary of the second temple’s destruction centuries ago. Tens of thousands of leaflets have been circulated calling for this matter to be expedited. The leaflets include pictures of models of the proposed temple.
The Israeli government is implementing plans to provide students with opportunities to “learn the value of settlements” in Jerusalem and Hebron. The Minister of Education has approved a programme of school trips to the occupied city of Hebron under the heading of “going back to our roots”. More than 4,000 Jewish students have visited Hebron under the scheme during the current academic year.
Palestinian land, the PLO report notes, continues to be seized and confiscated; residents and their homes face daily attacks and abuse by illegal settlers and the Israeli security forces. Settlers have attempted to install security gates in Silwan district of Jerusalem and soldiers, with settlers’ assistance, have succeeded in closing Wadi El-Helwa Street. Settlers have also set up a number of mobile homes in Bethlehem and damaged dozens of trees. There is a very real threat that land between settler outposts will also be confiscated.
In the Jordan Valley, settlers have seized dozens of acres of land for cultivation, which was used previously by the military for tank exercises. Located to the east of Sahl Al Bake’ya, the agricultural settlements were established on Palestinian-owned land.
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