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Settlement Epidemic is Crawling While World Busy Fighting Covid-19 Pandemic

The National Bureau for defending land and resisting settlements stated in its latest weekly report , that Israeli Government’s violations against Jerusalem and its holy places step up, as it allows the settlers to storm the Al Aqsa Mosque, but prevents the Palestinian from performing their prayers at the Mosques and churches there, under the pretext of the Corona virus. Although the world is doing its utmost to combat the Corona virus, Israel is carrying out projects aiming at separating East Jerusalem from the rest of the Palestinian territories occupied by the 1967 aggression and linking “Maale Adomim” settlement in particular with the rest of the other settlements south of Jerusalem. It is clear that Israel is about to settle the fate of Jerusalem by isolating it from the surrounding Palestinian towns and villages, especially south of Jerusalem, as it started to establish a cement wall instead of the barbed wire to separate Sheikh Sa’d from the village of Sur Baher, south of the Jerusalem.

Knowing that the largest part of Sur Baher village is located within the borders of the area annexed by Israel, and it has about 4,000 dunums of land in areas A, B and C under the Oslo agreements signed between the Palestinian and Israeli sides. Considering that the Palestinian Authority does not have the ability to reach or service areas A and B in Sor Bahr, which means drawing new borders based on the deal of the century, within the process of Judaizing Jerusalem and making it the capital of Israel. The aim of replacing the barbed wire with a cement wall is to separate Palestinian citizens living south of Jerusalem from the city, and then to establish hotels, trade centers, a train station, an industrial area, public facilities and roads that merely serve the settlers on the private Palestinian land.

On the other hand, settlers under strict Israeli protection are preparing the new Za’atra-Hawara Street to link the settlements around Nablus and Salfit, including Ariel, Brakha, Itamar and Alon Moreh, within the framework of the Israeli plan to encourage and reinforce settlement in northern West Bank areas. The street is about 7 kilometers long from the eastern entrance of Zatra to the above-mentioned settlements, and is only for settlers. Moreover, a settlement expansion is taking place in about 102 dunums in an area located between Akraba and Banny Fadel village, while the Israeli courts refuse to receive complaints from Palestinian citizens under the pretext of not receiving any hand mail because of Corona virus.

In Bethlehem, settlers cut down trees and vandalized 50 orchards in the area of Beit Ascaria. Over the last three weeks, 1,200 olive trees have been cut downin the town of Khader and the village of Fokin Valley, and 35 olive trees have been cut off in the town of Burqin, west of Salfit, as well.

In a meaningful development, 64 members in the US Congress signed a letter addressed to the Secretary of State, Mike Bembio, calling on Trump administration to work on stopping the destruction of Palestinian houses in the West Bank and in the eastern half of Jerusalem, and related to stopping the Palestinians’ expelling as well as rejecting any funding from the United States used for demolition, referring to the massive demolition of Wade al-Hams east of occupied Jerusalem. They also called on the US administration to oppose Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank, specifically in East Jerusalem, as the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – OCHA recorded a 45% increase in house demolitions and other civilian buildings in 2019 compared with that of 2018.

Within the context, the Israeli Civil Rights Association called for stopping the destruction of Palestinian houses in the West Bank, clarifying that it addressed the Israeli army commander in the West Bank calling  for freezing all demolition orders and confiscating Palestinian houses and lands in the West Bank for ever, but not only because of the spreading of Corona pandemic. The policy of demolishing the homes of Palestinian by the Israeli Authorities has become, especially in recent years, one of the most prominent non-humanitarian practices, being one of the forms of internationally prohibited collective punishment practiced by Israel in accordance with article 119 of the British Emergency Law of 1945.

On its part, the Consultative Committee in the American University of Proan called for withdrawing its investments from companies working in the Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories. On the 12th March, it recommended in an official report handed to the university president that (112) companies are involved in activities that raised human rights’ fears, and shall be boycotted. The Committee was guided by the report of the United Nations Human Rights Council issued on the 12th of Feb. 2020, concerning the database of companies operating in Israeli settlements located in the Palestinian territories under the title “blacklist”.

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