Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Settlers clash with police over demolitions as new settlements approved

By Zuzana Brezinová - July 29, 2015
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [settlement construction] [Beit il] [Israeli border police]

On Tuesday, violent clashes erupted between the Israeli Border Police and right-wing Jewish settlers in the Israeli settlement of Beit El in the West Bank, north of Ramallah, after the settlers refused to evacuate two apartment buildings that the Israeli High Court ruled illegal and ordered to be demolished.


"It is very unfortunate that the High Court has sanctified a war against these homes and ignored basic logic," a member of the Beit El local council told the Jerusalem Post.


Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett labelled the court’s decision “reckless, radical, and redundant,” saying, “it does not fit the spirit of the government that we [The Jewish Home Party] are a part of. The answer to terror is to build settlements, and not to be cowards,” the Times of Israel reported.


The High Court sealed the demolition order early Wednesday morning and instructed the Israeli authorities to raze the buildings known as “the Draynoff House” by July 30.


Members of the High Court said, “[the] issue was not whether or not the buildings could be approved [retrospectively], but rather that they were constructed illegally,” without the necessary authorisation from the Civil Administration Authorities and local council, reported the Jerusalem Post.


In an attempt to prevent the implementation of the court order, around 50 youth from Beit El barricaded themselves in the buildings and had to be evacuated by the Border Police by force.


Following their eviction, protests erupted in the Beit El area with settlers reportedly chanting slogans against the Israeli security forces warning them that “Jews don’t expel Jews,” the Times of Israel reported.


According to the Jerusalem Post, the Israeli Prime Minister vowed to prevent the demolition, stressing that the government has received all the necessary authorisations by the Civil Administration and the Beit El Council and will urge the court to consider this new evidence.


“Our stance with regard to the Beit El homes is clear. We oppose their demolition and are working through legal means to prevent this,” said Netanyahu in a statement this morning, Jerusalem Post reported.


Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories are considered illegal under international law for their construction violates the principles set out in the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention and several UN resolutions.


The UN Security Council’s resolution 446 (1979) states that “the policy and practice of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”


The continuous settlement expansion supported by the right-wing Israeli government has earned sharp criticism from the international community stressing the unlawful nature of Israeli actions in the Occupied Territories.


Yet, last week, the Israeli government approved new plans for building another 1,065 housing units across eight settlements in the occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank.


These plans include retrospective legalisation of 228 already existing housing units, construction of 541 new ones and infrastructure projects connecting 296 housing complexes, informed Ma’an News Agency.


The UK’s minister for the Middle East Tobias Ellwood, said in a statement issued on Tuesday that, “The UK is deeply concerned by reports that planning for 1,065 settlement units is being advanced, including possible retrospective approval of buildings built without permits or on private Palestinian land.”


“The UK’s position on Israeli settlement is clear: they are illegal under international law and undermine the prospects of a two-state solution.


“We call on the Israeli government to discard these plans and refrain from such steps,” Ellwood added.


Equally, Germany sees the settlements as a major impediment to the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and urges the Israeli government to retreat from further expansion.


“The construction of settlements in occupied territories violates international law. This also hinders efforts to revive the peace process and threatens the basis of a two-state solution,” said the German Foreign Ministry in a statement yesterday, Iranian government media Press TV reported.


Israeli right wing political factions represented by the Jewish Home Party have called on the Israeli government to confront the international pressure and continue the construction of settlement blocks in the Occupied Territories.


“Someone forgot that this time, ten years after the Disengagement, the national camp is powerful, both politically and publicly. The time has come for the nationalistic government to execute the ideology for which it was elected, rather than go the way of the Left,” the Israeli right-wing Education Minister Naftali Bennett, told the Jerusalem Post.



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