Israel is witnessing a judicial coup, economic instability, a state of security and military lawlessness that has reached the stage of exhausting thousands of soldiers, pilots and intelligence cadres from performing military service, the decline of credit halving, the flight of high-tech companies and other manifestations and economic repercussions،
But in light of this chaos and unprecedented internal movement, the occupation government and settler groups in the West Bank and Jerusalem are exploiting the state of concern to practice a policy of fierce Judaisation that buries the rest of Palestine and makes any solution to the confrontation between the Israeli occupation and the Palestinians, no matter what form, a solution that includes the recognition of any Palestinian rights, including survival on ancestral soil and the establishment of a state, even if it is the size of the Vatican, impossible.
Since the announcement of its establishment after the Nakba in 1948, Israel has adopted a policy of demographic change through settlement, displacement, demolition, constriction and murder to change the status quo and demographic composition and impose a fait accompli, whether in Occupied Jerusalem, the West Bank or even the occupied interior, but the current government, which is described as the most extreme in the history of Israel and includes the most violent criminals and terrorists of the settler gangs who are heavily armed, took this policy to unprecedented levels, placing settlement at the forefront of its files in order to literally achieve the Zionist slogan “a land without a people for a people without a land”, by imposing Israeli control not as a temporary and illegal occupation force, but by making it an integral part of what is called the state of Israel.
According to data from the Palestinian Civil Resistance Against Israel’s Apartheid Wall, the number of settlers in the occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem, reached 726,427, distributed over 176 settlements and 186 outposts, in addition to thousands of settlement units that are constantly approved by the occupation government, and large and continuous confiscations of land under various pretexts, such as nature reserves.
The leaders of the occupation government, settler groups and extremists in the occupying state consider the West Bank part of the state of Israel from a religious point of view, and it is the holiest thing in the state. As a result, they are concerned with controlling the entire area and Al-Aqsa Mosque in particular and besieging Palestinians in overcrowded geographical Bantustan forbidden from expansion, unconnected and lacking essentials for a decent life.
The occupation government also allowed settlers to steal land in the occupied West Bank without borders, through the radical Israeli Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir, who issued a call to the settlers to establish more illegal outposts in the West Bank and kill Palestinians, where he explicitly declared “I give you full and absolute support for the construction of outposts and launch a large-scale military operation during which thousands of Palestinians will be eliminated.”
In order to escalate settlements and implement these plans, the Israeli government delegated powers to the extremist settler, the Minister of Finance, Bezalel Smotrich, to facilitate and accelerate settlement procedures and to issue initial approval for planning and building in settlements without the approval of the political level, contrary to the situation that has existed for a quarter of a century, in addition to shortening settlement expansion measures, and other plans aimed at ethnic cleansing, increasing the number of settlers in the West Bank, oppression of the Palestinians in conjunction with committing massacres against them, increasing incursions into Palestinian cities, raising the pace of killing and violence, and eliminating any attempt to find a political solution.
Over the years, settler attacks escalated from small group attacks on a limited area to large-scale attacks that included entire villages, such as the village of Huwara south of Nablus, and the village of Turmus Ayya north of Ramallah, which extended to the burning of houses and vehicles and the imposition of a blockade that prevents Palestinians from entering and leaving and threatens their lives in an effort to force them out.
In addition to supporting the government and the army, settler groups receive the patronage and support of the Knesset, the judiciary, the police and rabbis, and carry out their attacks in an organised and thoughtful manner that serves the government’s goals of demographic and settlement change in the West Bank, the most prominent of these terrorist groups are the so-called ‘Hilltop Youth’, most of whose members live in illegal outposts in the West Bank and believe in what they call the “Greater Land of Israel”, refuse to evacuate any settlement, and carry out attacks against Palestinians.
There is also the Ir David Foundation, one of the richest Israeli non-governmental associations, and is working to seize Palestinian real estate in Jerusalem and housing settlers there, and is also striving to control archaeological historical sites.
Settlements currently control the vast area of the occupied West Bank. In Ramallah and Al-Bireh, the supposed epicentre of Palestinian sovereignty, where the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority are located, there are 26 settlements, and the largest in terms of the number of settlers. For every 100 Palestinians in the Ramallah and Al-Bireh governorate there are 40 illegal settlers, and their numbers are on the rise.
According to the Oslo Agreement, the areas under the security and administrative control of the occupation, known as areas “C”, constitute about 60 per cent of the area of the West Bank, while areas “A” and “B” constitute about 40 per cent of the area of the West Bank, and it is officially assumed that they are under the rule of the PA, but the reality on the ground is different and the settlements are increasingly controlling the rest of the West Bank.
If the plans of the occupation government are successful, the Palestinian people will have two options, either to become part of the state of Israel, an option rejected by Israel as it would mean Palestinians will outnumber Jewish Israelis. The second option, which is more likely, is to push the isolated and crowded Palestinians in besieged, narrow and deprived geographical spots to emigrate through an ethnic cleansing campaign and thus turn all of historic Palestine into a state of Jewish ethnic, national or religious purity.
All this is happening under the shadow of international complicity, led by the US and the former colonial countries, which aims to enable Israel to change the status quo forever.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.