Thu 18 Apr 2024 9:58 am - Jerusalem Time

Lacroix: Frantic acceleration of settlement in the West Bank

The French newspaper "La Croix" said that the residents of the villages of Jalud and Qaryut in the occupied West Bank, which are surrounded by Israeli settlements, have been suffering from continuous settler attacks on their lands since October 7, 2023, in addition to the Israeli Civil Administration continuing to legitimize the settlements, amid escalating violence during which he was martyred. Two Palestinians were shot dead the day before yesterday, Monday.

Raed Haj Muhammad, a member of the Qaryatayn Council, revealed - to Lacroix's special envoy Julie Conan - on a large map of his village of Jalud, located 30 kilometers south of Nablus, how the colonies and settlement outposts consumed 20 thousand dunams (20 square kilometers) of the town, in which most of the adult population took refuge. Their number is one thousand people from the conflicts of 1948 and 1967.

The council member explained that Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich is doing everything in his power to confiscate their lands according to a specific plan aimed at separating the north of the West Bank from its south, before the correspondent commented that Smotrich - an extremist settler - whose name appears in all talks, because of his influence on the Planning Committee. In the Civil Administration (which is the committee responsible for deciding on draft settlement legislation) it is steadily increasing.

We will kill you like in Gaza

Since October 7, 14 settlement outposts have been legalized, with Smotrich (who is also Deputy Defense Minister) seizing many powers and using all his influence to legitimize more settlements, says Yonatan Mizrahi, of The settlement monitoring team of the Israeli non-governmental organization Peace Now.

At the end of March, the Civil Administration announced its intention to legalize the Aley settlement outpost, which is hundreds of meters away from Jalud, by annexing it as a neighborhood to the Shilo settlement area, even though the two areas are not adjacent. “But legalizing a settlement outpost as a neighborhood from an existing settlement does not It requires government approval, which helps avoid international criticism,” according to Mizrahi.

The settlers' strategy in general - according to the correspondence - is to establish temporary housing on the highest point of the hill, then expand into agricultural lands, and finally connect the areas with each other, as happens in 99% of cases.

From the roof of his office, Raed Haj Muhammad - who was shot in the ear when he was trying to remove a child from a place where a settler attack had taken place - points to the roads under construction between the settlements, the huge military watchtower, and the sites of recent attacks, explaining that “the gunmen are masked and sometimes use loudspeakers.” The voice insults our women and they shout, saying: We will kill you or expel you, as in Gaza.”

The settlers' strategy was successful

The correspondent reviewed some of the problems that Palestinians suffer from, such as burning their crops and destroying their crops by settlers, and sometimes even killing them with bullets, noting that every Palestinian attack in the West Bank turns into revenge against the villages of Jalud and Qaryut.

To resist the attacks, about 20 men gather to monitor the entrances to the village and the homes near the settlements. Municipal council member Adham Musa says, “But we have not set a date for the rotation yet. It is complicated. We have sticks and stones, while the others have M-16 rifles and Kalashnikovs.”

According to residents, the settlers and soldiers act in a coordinated manner, and it is difficult to distinguish between them, especially since “many of the settlers were called up during the war to be reserve soldiers, and they kept their military uniforms afterward,” says Saher Musa, another elected official, “when they suffer losses in Gaza, they come for revenge here."

The correspondence concluded by talking about many young people from Jalud and Qaryut leaving their villages, and Raed Haj Muhammad says regretfully, “Those who have families went to the United States, Jordan, and other Arab countries, because between unemployment, land theft, and attacks, they no longer have reasons to stay; the settlers’ strategy is successful.”

Source: Lacroix + Aljazeera


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Lacroix: Frantic acceleration of settlement in the West Bank