and to Soviet expansion in the Middle East .... In the near
future, 30,000 Jews will live in this region."
Linking Zionist settlement expansion to alleged Soviet expansion in the Middle East was a turn of phrase especially designed to appeal to the Carter Administration, which was preoccupied at the time with formulating plans for a Middle East intervention force. However the Begin government's insistent determination on thwarting any progress on the Palestinian question, despite the autonomy negotiations, seriously undermined the Carter Administration's attempts to push to the fore other regional concerns (i.e. Gulf security, Afghanistan, etc.) as the Zionist settlement drive remained the focus of international attention.
On March 1, the UN Security Council passed Security Council resolution 465 which called "upon the Government and people of Israel to ... dismantle theexisting settlements and in particular to cease, or an urgent basis, the establishment, construction and planning of settlements in the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem."
UN Security Council Resolution 465 came in response to a February 17 Israeli cabinet decision to settle Jews in the Centre of the West Bank city of Hebron.
At this point Israel's settlement policy was still primarily designed to establish a sizeable Jewish presence in heavily populated Palestinian areas and thereby negate Palestinian claims to sovereignty by the creation of "unalterable" demographic realities. Even after the March 1 UN vote, Begin's domestic opposition concurred in the general parameters of the settlement program. A sample "criticism" of the Begin cabinet decision to settle Hebron came from former Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Chaim Herzog, now President of Israel. Establishing a few Jewish homes in the centre of Hebron would be a very serious mistake both from a security and from a political point of view: "However, if the government had quietly set up homes, there would have been a certain logic in the action ..."
In the same vein, Israeli Labour Party leader Shimon Peres found the time opportune on March 17 to pose himself as an improvement over Begin. He held a press conference to dredge up the timeworn Labour Party idea of creating some kind of Zionist confederation with Jordan which would have the purpose of neatly side-stepping the very issue of Palestinian self-determination. Peres held the same annexationist orientation in regards to the West Bank as did Begin. Peres implied that were he to come to power, some unspecified settlements would be disbanded, but he quickly added: "on the other hand we shall insist that our army and our settlements along the Valley of Jordan will remain intact as they are."
In March, government settlement activities still concentrated on attempts to bring about a massive population influx into the West Bank. Immediately following the UN vote, the Begin cabinet ordered the expropriation of 1,000 acres of Palestinian land on the outskirts of East Jerusalem in a final move to achieve the complete encirclement of Arab Jerusalem. On March 5, 1,000 dunums of Palestinian land were seized and closed off in the Beit Sahur area near Bethlehem, allegedly for "military purposes." The Israeli Ministry of Housing decided to confiscate 10,000 dunums near Beit Hanina only two days after seizing 4,400 dunums. Just south of Bethlehem, there were new land confiscations to enlarge Efrat, which was scheduled to become an "urban centre."
While the whole situation in the West Bank was beginning to explode, a subtle shift in settlement strategy was taking place. In the words of the Washington Post: "Apparently convinced that the theme of Israel's biblical right to the West Bank will not fly in Peoria or Paris, Israel's image-makers have begun returning with increasing intensity to the argument that the settlements provide security, which throughout the previous Labour Party government's administration of the occupied territories was an accepted strategic concept."
After a visit to Washington, Begin claimed that he was instructed by Carter administration officials themselves to use the "security" rationale when going ahead with new confiscations of Palestinian land: "Our good friends here tell us that they prefer to stress the security aspect of settlements, because the large majority of the American people will accept and understand it. It is their right, of course, to choose the most effective hasbara instrument, while we for our part continue to emphasize the synthesis of security and historic rights ..." The "security" shift was not only rhetorical, but was also implemented on the ground.
In April, the Begin government began concentrating settlement construction projects in two areas which fitted into the "security" framework. One of these was in the Jericho area of the Jordan Valley and the other was along the 1948 borders dividing the 1948-occupied areas of Palestine from the West Bank. The Jericho project not only had the purpose of closing the defense gaps in the Jordan Valley left over from the Allon Plan which calledfor a line of settlements opposite the border with Jordan. In addition, Begin and Sharon were anxious to create settlements populated with their own supporters in an area which was dominated by Labour Party-affiliated settler groups.
On April 2, earthmoving work began on a settlement site west of the former Palestinian refugee camp of Aqbat-Jabir, near Jericho. The Israeli press disclosed that the site was "part of a complex of six new settlements planned to bolster control of the Jericho-Jerusalem corridor. The settlement was called Mitzpe Jericho B. Building new defense posts did not mean that the land seizures around populous Palestinian towns ceased. At the same time that construction began on Mitzpe Jericho B, the Israeli army closed off 1,000 dunums of Palestinian land near Nablus for a new army camp. In the second week of April, the military government seized 800 dunums of land from the villages of Kafr Malik and Mughair near Ramallah.
The settlement drive still had an energetic nature, but was constantly plagued by problems of lackof governmentfinancing, lack of settlers and, as we shall see, the costs involved in suppressing Palestinian resistance to the whole policy of occupation. Work had begun onMitzpe Jericho B without any government financing being allocated. On May 7, Finance Minister Yigael Hurvitz announced that in the current state budget there was no money left for new settlements whatsoever. A new problem cropped up when housing construction began for another of the Jericho settlements, this one called Vered Jericho. The government planned this new settlement with the intention of pushing out settlers already well-established in Mitzpe Jericho. A minority of religious fanatics in Mitzpe Jericho dominated the running of the settlement and wanted secular members banished to a new site. The government complied with the minority demands, but the secular members were not about to leave. Nevertheless, work on Vered went ahead.
The government meanwhile announced two other settlements - Beit Ha'arawa and Naim Alef - for the Jericho area despite the lack of funds and settlers.
In the middle of May work began on the two settlements of Dotan and Karnei Shomron D in the northern part of the West Bank. These were specifically designed to divide Palestinians living in the two areas from each other. Visiting the new settlement sites, Agriculture Minister Sharon talked about expropriating thousands of dunums of Palestinian land in the area in the near future. He also announced that two more settlements would be added to the block called Rihan Game1 and Karnei Shomron H.
There was a renewed obsession with settlement plans in May as Palestinian resistance to the occupation exploded on an unprecedented scale. Sharon wanted to establish settlements on all the hilltops overlooking West Bank Palestinian towns. In Sharon's new vision "Jewish quarters would be linked by roads or bridges crossing Arab fields. Arabs would not be allowed to build in the valleys." After the Finance Minister's announcement that there was no money for new settlements, a special cabinet committee on settlements set up plans for expanding six existing settlements: Beit Horon, Ofra, El-Kana, Kadumin, Ariel and Govon. Sharon told Israel radio after the meeting: "We need to change the legal status of the settlements so that we can expropriate private land for them." The committee's recommendations for more land seizures to expand settlements was approved on May 25, the day before the deadline for the end of Palestinian autonomy negotiations.
It was at this time that Begin government circles began consistently speaking to the press about establishing a final ten settlements on the West Bank. Throughout the remainder of the year, settlement on the West Bank still went forward on an ad hoc basis determined by the contingencies of lack of financing and lack of settlers, response to continuing renegade land confiscation and political considerations in the face of continuing Palestinian and international resistance to the whole colonization drive.
At the beginning of June, Agriculture Minister Sharon made a proposal for setting up ten new settlements, but with no implication that they would be by any means the last. Begin himself blurred the meaning of the finality of his statement in a conversation with American journalists. He stated that "dozens more could be added as part of a strengthening of existing enclaves."
The supposed limit of "ten" little deterred the Begin government from imagining further grandiose settlement schemes. At the end of June the government disclosed a plan for a massive new road network in the West Bank which would link Israeli army camps with the proliferation of settlements. The road network was also designed to link West Bank hilltops and provide a system for rapid Israeli troop deployment throughout the West Bank. A week later Sharon announced that ten new settlements would be established between Beit Jibrin and Yatir. Sharon stressed several days later that the government should undertake "an immense settlement plan." He again repeated that massive settlement was the only way to prevent the danger of the establishment of a Palestinian state.
In fact, the next settlement moves were taken outside the zone that Sharon had designated for the ten new settlements. On July 9, there was an official announcement of the establishment of Rihan B in the northern part of the West Bank. Sharon's location of the new settlements indicated that they would straddle the border with Jordan. On July 18, settlers from El-Kana seized private Palestinian land for their new settlement of El-Kana B. The action at El-Kana was a direct provocation by fanatical settlers against the government's stated intention of limiting the number of new settlements to only ten.
During the remainder of the year, Israeli government officials announced and reannounced various sites for the last ten settlements. On August 14, Sharon's Ministerial Settlement Committee announced what were supposed to be three of the last ten. Rihan H was to be added to a block of settlements in the northwest of the West Bank. Two military outposts were to be built in the desert south of Hebron. Again, on August 26, there was a flurry of reports that from six to eight new settlements were planned. This time the plans originated in the Ministerial Defense Committee, and the main concentrations for the new sites were along the outermost borders of the West Bank. The decision was reported to have been taken secretly. Aides to Sharon said they could not remember the location of the settlements. According to one report, the new settlements were: Mikhmas (Jordan Valley), Rihan Gimmel (northeast), Kamei Shomron H (southwest of Nablus), Almog B (Jordan Valley), Shavei Shomron B (west of Nablus) and Tekua B (near Hebron). Yediot Aharonot reported that another two of the last ten were Tartze and El-Kana B, but El-Kana B had already been set up the month before after unauthorized land seizures by fanatical settlers.
The settlement campaign finally began to degenerate into erratic confusion, characterized by glowing reports of the Likud accomplishment in colonisation designed to prime the Israeli public for the 1981 Knesset elections. Senior Gush Emunim officials kicked off the propaganda war by stating in September that Begin had promised them more than ten new settlements in the future. Jewish Agency head Mattiyahu Drobles stated at the time that there was no difference between Labour and Likud's settlement policies. He boasted that the total number of settlements in the West Bank would reach seventy-five within five years. A new settlement called Beit Ha'arava was formally established southeast of Jericho on September 28 and Drobles claimed at the inauguration ceremony that he wanted to establish another three settlements in the area, but had not received governmental approval. More new plans for intensifying settlements were again announced in the first weekof October. Again there was a call for ten new settlements and 23 settlement outposts which would dot the inside West Bank borders from the northern tip to Hebron in the south. There was another announcement at the end of October that the government would establish Mikhmas in the Jordan Valley, although this had already been announced in August. Deputy Defense Minister Tzipori announced in November that all the 1967-occupied territories could accommodate 1.5 million Jews and that a land survey showed that there was no reason not to push forward with the construction of massive settlements.
Sharon called for acceleration on construction projects to extend Israeli water lines to West Bank settlements. The establishment of Mikhmas was announced yet another time on December 9; it was to be populated by members of Gush Emunim. Two more settlements for the Jordan Valley were announced on December 30 - Na'ama and Almog B - although both had been previously announced earlier in the year,
Despite the Likud's electioneering announcements in the second half of the year about the multiplication of settlements, serious economic problems in fact delayed the implementation of quite a number of the settlement plans. Likud's settlement policy now focused mainly on the Jordan Valley. Four already existing settlements in the Jordan Valley had run up operating deficits totalling about IL 130 million and pleaded with the government for financing credits. At the end of July the settlers from Netiv Hagdod, Patzael, Gitin and Tomer announced that if the credits weren't immediately forthcoming, the settlers would quit the settlements. The World Zionist Organization then embarked upon a bail-out scheme. The economic performance of the Jordan Valley settlements was so poor that the World Zionist Organization launched a campaign at the end of the year to persuade Israelis living within the 1948 borders to fill up vacated housing in Jordan Valley settlements. Even the most pampered settlements were floundering economically. In the largest so-called "urban settlement" in the West Bank, Kiryat Arba, it was revealed at the end of February that four of its industrial shops had been closed down and seven others were in grave economic straits. Begin himself decided to allocate $10 million from a special government fund to keep the remaining factories running, Despite the economic difficulties, at the end of the year World Zionist Organization head Drobles was intensively lobbying the Finance Ministry for expanded government budgetary allocations for 198 1. so that the current plethora of half-baked settlement starts could be completed before the following year's Knesset elections.
The tax incentives, free housing, low interest loans and other remunerations offered to potential settlers did not entice many Zionists other than the most extremist, to live amongst a militant West Bank Palestinian population. One source of new settlers was an influx of Soviet Jews for whom there was a lack of housing inside the 1948 borders. But Soviet Jews were a declining pool for new settlers. In February for example, the Jewish Agency reported that of the 2,568 Soviet Jews waiting for transit to other countries from Italy, 2168 went to the U.S., 382 went toother western countries and only 18 went to Israel.
Except for the large urban blocks of settlements surrounding East Jerusalem, the other settlements dotting the West Bank and Gaza retained the character of fenced-in militarized ghettos. The settlements destroyed local Palestinian agricultural production by monopolizing the natural resources. Settlement agricultural production only remained viable through heavy government price subsidies and deficit financing. There was the lack of an industrial base to make the settlements productive in other economic sectors. Unemployment was rampant in the settlements, and those who did work often depended on an income from jobs they held in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.
USURPATION OF PALESTINIAN LANDS AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF JEWISH SETTLEMENTS IN 1981
POLICIES AND IMPLEMENTATION
The United Nations Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Areas reported on October 26, 1981 as follows(15):
(a) Confirmation of the existence of a deliberate policy of annexation and settlement
Subsection C 1 (a) contains a selection of reports of official statements which show the policy of the Government of Israel with regard to the occupied territories. The authors of such statements are members of the Government of Israel, such as the Prime Minister and other ministers, and persons considered responsible for Government policy, such as officials of the World Zionist Organization and similar institutions. Among these statements the Special Committee has noted, in particular, that made by the Prime Minister regarding the new Government's policy guidelines to the effect that Israel will "raise its claim to sovereignty" over the West Bank after a period of self-rule. (International Herald Tribune, 6 August 1981).
(b) Official measures adopted to put this policy into effect
The examples in subsection C 1 (b) show the official plans and projects drawn up by the Government of Israel in implementation of the policy enunciated in the preceding paragraph. They refer to a variety of projects for the occupied territories, such as plans for the construction of settlements on both long-term and short-term bases, the transfer of Israeli Jewish settlers to these settlements, also on long-term and short-term bases, and plans for consolidating the infrastructure of the existing Israeli settlements. In this connexion, the Special Committee noted references to the continued existence of the Ministerial Settlement Committee (the Joint Settlement Committee) composed of an equal number of Government Ministers and officials of the Jewish National Fund, headed by the then Minister for Agriculture, Mr. Ariel Sharon, to whom several references were noted in regard to such plans and projects. The Special Committee noted, among such information, that given in paragraph 64 below, referring to a "detailed plan" published by the Jewish Agency Settlement Department to establish some 70 new settlements between 1980 and 1985, giving their location. In addition, several reports were noted concerning intensive construction in and around occupied Jerusalem, as reflected in paragraph 67.
(c) Information on the implementation of these measures
The plans and projects referred to in the preceding paragraph, including those adopted in previous years (and reflected in earlier reports of the Special Committee) continue to be put into effect. The examples in subsection C 1 (c) (i), are presented in four subdivisions which cover:
(i) Construction of new Israeli settlements and expansion of existing ones
The Special Committee noted that there were some 40 settlements that had been either established or inaugurated or whose construction had commenced during the period covered by the present report. Other reports reflect the transfer of Israeli civilians into the settlements, the construction of roads connecting the settlements and similar measures. A report appearing in September 1980 attributes to the Chairman of the Settlement Department of the Jewish Agency, Mr. Mattityahu Drobles, a statement announcing that, since 1977, the Government had established 58 settlements in the occupied territories and that the number of settlers in the occupied territories (not including occupied Jerusalem) had then reached some 26,000. The Special Committee heard the testimony of Mr. Tuma Hazou, information advisor to His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Hassan of Jordan, in the course of which he referred to the Israeli settlers in occupied Jerusalem, quoting 56,000 as the figure given by the Israeli authorities and advancing his view that the number was nearer 86,000 (A/AC. 145fRT.3 19,p.5). The settlements are located in the entire area of the West Bank, the Golan Heights and the Gaza Strip; the following table shows the location of the settlements reported.
|West Bank||Golan Heights||Gaza|
|North:||Reihan B||Moshave Yehonatan||Yaghul|
|Reihan C||Aloney Stabashan||Gadid|
|Reihan E||Ke'la||Gan Or|
|Karney Shomoron||Har Odem|
|Y akir||Ein Simsim|
|Centre (including Jerusalem):|
|South Neve Yaacov|
|Givat Oz B|
(ii) Expropriation of property to carry out construction
and expansion of settlements
The instances cited in subsection C 1 (c) (ii) reflect the information received by the Special Committee on the measures taken by the Israeli authorities to acquire land through expropriation. The reports quoted refer to all areas in the territories occupied in 1967; they refer to the major centres of population such as Jerusalem, Nablus, Hebron, Bethlehem and Jericho and the areas surrounding these centres. The Special Committee noted that the acquisition of land is undertaken by the adoption of a number of methods, as for example, declaring certain lands as "state lands," declaring certain areas closed "for security reasons" and outright confiscation. According to one report, which appeared in March 1981, the Military Government had confiscated some 20 square kilometres since October 1980 by declaring such land as "state land." The report gives details of the areas in which this expropriation took place and the extent of the property involved. In a separate report appearing in April 198 1 entitled "Government reveals real facts on West Bank land," a total of 200 square kilometres had been allocated to Israeli settlements on the West Bank. The Special Committee recalls that, in its last report, it had noted information based on Israeli official sources according to which over 27 per cent of the area of the West Bank had been expropriated by the Israeli authorities; the examples included in subsection C below reflect the expropriation that has continued since then.
(iii) Budgetary allocations to carry out construction and expansion of settlements
The reports quoted in subsection C 1 (c) (iii) give an impression of the financial appropriations necessitated by the implementation of the "settlement programme." The sources of these funds are mainly the Government of Israel and the World Zionist Organization. The reports reproduced in subsection C show that, between October 1980 and June 198 1, approximately 750 million Israel shekels ($US 62.5 million as of August 198 1) was budgeted. This amount was allocated for the construction of new settlements and expansion of existing ones though it did not include allocations for settlements in the occupied Jerusalem area.
(iv) Other measures adopted in implementation of the policy of annexation and settlement
The information contained in the selection of reports, in subsection C 1 (c) (iv) covers a number of measures adopted by the occupation authorities that are said to have been undertaken in the context of the settlement policy. They refer to the construction of roads connecting groups of Israeli settlements with one another, extension of services to Israeli settlements such as the creation of local councils, the establishment of a municipal court, connection with the Israeli electricity supply and various other measures related to the establishment or strengthening of the infrastructure.
In addition, these reports reflect the efforts made by the authorities in "searching for uncontested land," allegedly to avoid a repetition of the "Eilon Moreh case" when the Supreme Court declared the expropriation of land for the establishment of a settlement to be invalid after the owners had contested the expropriation orders. In this connexion, the Special Committee, in its last report, had pointed out the existence of a private company registered in the occupied territories for the purpose of purchasing land from Palestinians. This company, known as HIMANUTA, was reported to be an affiliate of the Jewish National Fund. During the period covered by the present report, the Special Committee noted that other companies were created in the occupied territories for the purpose of purchasing land, such as that referred to as "Yosh Investment and Development Co. Ltd." and another referred to as "Company for Development and Trade in Judea and Samaria."
The military authorities confiscated 2,500 dunums (2.5 sq. km.) of land in the village of Qatana, near Ramallah. The Mukhtar of the village was summoned to the Military Government Headquarters in Ramallah and asked to sign documents, facilitating the seizure of lands. After his refusal, the Military Governor threatened to forcibly expel the inhabitants. A report appearing in November 1980 states that 3,000 dunums (3 sq. km.) were confiscated without prior notification in the same area. (Asha'b, 30 September; Al Fajr Weekly, 23-29 November 1980
Israeli authorities seized 50 dunums of land in Beit Sahur belonging to the Arab Housing Association. (Asha'b, 27 October 1980)
The Military Government confiscated land belonging to the villagers of Ketel Haris, near Nablus, for the expansion of the Ariel settlements. (Al Fajr Weekly, 21-27 December 1980)
The Israel Land Administration, in co-operation with the Jewish National Fund, "appropriated" thousands of dunums of land on the West Bank to establish six new-settlements. 1,000 dunums of land belonging to the villagers of Si'ir (or Said) were seized and allocated to the new industrial zone of the Israeli settlement of Kiryat-Arba. The Military Govemment stated that the lands in question were State-owned, that prior notification had been given and that claims could be lodged with the Military Government "Objections Committee" within 2 1 days. (Ha'aretz, 15 and 17 December; Davar, 17 December; Asha'b, 16 and 22 December; Al Fajr Weekly, 21-27 December 1980)
Some 60 dunums were expropriated in Silwad and an additional 45 dunums in Ein Yabrad; plots were fenced off in preparation for their annexation to the Givon settlement. (Zu Haderekh, 17 December 1980)
7,000 dunums (7 sq. km.) of cultivated land belonging to 120 families from Tarqumiya (Hebron) were confiscated. The Military Governor of Hebron claimed that this was "state land" in accordance with Military Order No. 59 of 1967, even though Palestinian families had title deeds. Holders of such deeds were given 21 days for the submission of objections. This land was to be used to establish a new Israeli settlement, Mitzpe-Govrin, for which an estimated 3,000 dunums (3 sq. km.) were allocated. It may be recalled that the creation of this settlement had been recently approved by the Joint Settlement Committee of the Government and the Jewish Agency after Mr. M. K. Yadin presented an appeal against it. Other confiscated land near Hebron will be used to establish the settlements of Ma'on and Camel. (Yediot Aharonot, 1 February 1981; Asha'b, 2 February 1981; Ha'aretz, 2 February 1981 ; Al Fajr Weekly, 8-14 February 1981)
1,500 dunams (1.5 sq. km.) in the villages of Betunia, Ajaiby, Ajadira and Rafat, in the Ramallah area, were declared "state lands" or seized for security reasons (one source puts the figure at 5,000 dunums, or 5 sq. km. ). (Asha'b, 1 February 1981; Yediot Aharonot, 1 February 198 1; Al Fajr Weekly, 8- 14 February 198 1 )
Land was confiscated in the Jenin area for the establishment of new settlements, among them Jeninite (Reihan bloc) and Tel Dotan and Tsiphon A (north Shomoron bloc). The settlement of Shaveh and Shomoron, in the Sebastia area (between Jenin and Nablus) is also planned. (International Herald Tribune, 12 February; Al Fajr Weekly, 8-14 February 1981)
In the Nablus area, 15,000 dunums (15 sq. km.) were expropriated as "state land." That included 6,000 dunums from Salfit, south-west of Nablus, intended for the expansion of the Ariel settlement and its new industrial zone, and 8,000 dunums in Tubas, north-east of Nablus. Mukhtars in both areas were informed of the seizure and inhabitants in the Salfit area claiming title to the land were given 21 days to register their objections. The establishment of a further Israeli settlement in the Nablus area was reported by a spokesman from the Israeli Housing Ministry. (Al Fajr Weekly, 8- 14 and 15-2 1 February; Asha'b, 9 and 20 February; Ha'aretz, 9 February; Jerusalem Post, 9 February; The Times, 12 February 1981)
The mukhtars in the Abu Dis area were notified by the Military Government that approximately 1 1,000 dunums ( 1 1 sq. km.) near the Israeli settlement of Maaleh Adumin near Jerusalem had been declared "state land." Villagers were given 21 days to appeal. (Ha'aretz, 25 February; Jerusalem Post, 25 February; Asha'b, 26 February, 198 1 )
Since October 1980, the Military Government has confiscated a total of 20,255 dunums (20 sq. km. approximately) of alleged "state land," for the establishment or enlargement of settlements, in addition to 4,300 dunums (4.3 sq. km.) in the Etzion bloc area, registered as "Jewish-owned" land. 250 dunums of alleged "state land" were used for security installations in the Tubas area in "Samaria" (northern West Bank). The report mentioned the following figures for the settlements:
|Ma'on and Camel||
|Elkana B (near Ariel)||
(Ha'aretz, 1 March; Al Fajr Weekly,
8-14 March 1981)
Military authorities seized lands belonging to villagers from Deir Dabwan, located north-east of Ramallah. Another settlement was to be established on 500 dunums of land (0.5 sq. km.) seized from Al Jib village (near Givon). (Asha'b, 16 March; Ha'aretz, 15 and 18 March 198 1.)
Landowners from the villages of Si'ir and Shuyukh maintained that 6,000 dunums of their land (6 sq. km.) had been expropriated for the expansion of Kiryat-Arba. (Ha'aretz, 19, 20 and 22 March; Jerusalem Post, 22 March 198 1)
An article entitled "Government reveals real facts on West Bank land" gave an account of the policy followed by the Government in the acquisition of land for Israeli settlements. Plunder & Usurpation of Palestinian Lands & Establishment of Jewish Settlements in the West Bank & Gaza Strip 1967-1989 Two hundred thousand dunums (2,000 sq. krn.) had been allocated to Jewish settlements on the West Bank, including 36,004 dunums since June 1980. Thirty thousand dunums had been classified as "state land," a figure reportedly contradicted by lawyers handling court cases against the takeover of "state land." Some 20,000 dunums had been allocated to settlements in the Ariel and Shomoron area, and another 20,000 dunums in southern Judea in the area of Mitzpe-Govrin. In addition, some 17,000 dunums east of Abu Dis have been declared "state land." (Jerusalem Post, 6 April 1981)
Villagers from Dir Jerir, north of Ramallah, complained that some 130 dunums of cultivated land had been seized by the army, "ostensibly for military purposes." Several Arab villagers from the Ramallah district, whose lands had been expropriated for security needs and settlement purposes, refused to accept compensation. (Jerusalem Post, 19 May; Ma'ariv, 21 May 198 1)
The Military Government was to authorize an Israeli family from Kiryat-Arba settlement to move into a house located in the Jewish quarter of Hebron. Another house, called the "Jarfaty House" was to be occupied by a family of Israeli settlers. These houses are situated approximately 500 metres from the "Hadassah" building in the centre of Hebron. The Military Government evacuated three Arab families that had been "illegally" occupying one of the houses after pressure by Israeli settlers from Kiryat-Arba. The Military Government was to protect the new Jewish occupants of the two houses. Kiryat-Arba settlers were to accommodate 20 Jewish families in houses seized from Arabs around the Ibrahimi Mosque, in spite of an order by the Prime Minister, Mr. Begin, to freeze the establishment settlements in Hebron. (Asha'b, 25 and 27 May; Jerusalem Post, 24,27 and 29 May; Al Ittihad, 22 May; Ha'aretz, 13,21,24,25 and 27 May 1981)
EXAMPLES OF INFORMATION RECEIVED BY THE COMMITTEE
1. POLICIES AND IMPLEMENTATION
(a) Confirmation of the existence of a deliberate policy of annexation and settlement
The Deputy Minister for Defence, Mr. Mordechai Tzipori, was reported to have stated that Israel will continue to create settlements in "Judea and Samaria" and the Gaza Strip. (Ha'aretz, 5 September 1980)
The Minister of the Interior, Mr. Joseph Burg stated: "Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people in the state of Israel. It is indivisible ...." The Prime Minister, Mr. Begin, also claimed, in a similar view, that Jerusalem would never be divided again. (Ha'aretz, 10 November, Asha'b, 18 November 1980)
The Prime Minister, Mr. Begin, on a visit to four settlements on the northern West Bank ("Samaria"), Karny Shomoron, Kdumim, Eilon Moreh and Ariel, reminded Jewish settlers of the promise he made in 1977, stating: "At the beginning of my term of office I promised that there will be many more 'Eilon Morehs,' and indeed they have been created." (Jerusalem Post, 3 and 25 March; Ha'aretz, 9 March; Al Fajr Weekly, 8-14 March, 1981)
The Minister of the Interior, Mr. Burg, stated at the inauguration of the local council in the Israeli settlement of Maaleh Efraim in the Jordan Valley that there were at present 64 Israeli settlements in "Judea and Samaria" with a population of 16,000, organized in 10 municipal authorities (local and regional councils). (Ha'aretz, 12 March 198 1)
The Minister for Agriculture, Mr. Sharon, stated at an inauguration ceremony near theKarney Shomoron settlement that "so far we have been engaged in creating a settlement framework in the territories and now we are starting to create a sound economic foundation for the Jewish settlements." In addition, the Prime Minister, Mr. Begin, said in Beit El that "the Jewish people will not be displaced from its towns and villages." (Ma'ariv, 3 Apri1; Jerusalem Post 3, 14 April 198 1)
The Prime Minister was reported to have made the following pledge in the course of a visit to an Israeli settlement: "I Menachem, son of Ze'ev and Hassya Begin, hereby pledge my word that as long as I serve the nation ... as Prime Minister, we shall not abandon any area in the territories of Judea, Samaria, the Gaza district and the Golan Heights." He was also quoted as having said that the Likud Government wants to live "in peace and respect with the millions of Arab inhabitants of the territories, but we shall not hand over any part of the land of Israel to a foreign rule." (Ha'aretz, 8 May; Jerusalem Post, 8 May)
In a statement made to the Knesset on 5 August 1981, the Prime Minister referred to the guidelines of his new Government; these included a statement that Israel would "raise its claim to sovereignty" over the West Bank after a period of self-rule. (International Herald Tribune, 6 August 1981)
(b) Official measures adopted to put this policy into effect
The Israeli authorities were to intensify their settlement policy in order to create more "reality" in the Arab territories. The next step according to Mr. Sharon, would be to "thicken" and consolidate the existing settlements. This was to take place by:
(a) The creation of industrial plants in Kamey Shomoron and Shaveh Shomoron;
(b) The improvement of the infrastructure, the settlement of Elkana having been connected to the Israeli electricity grid;
(c) The construction of permanent housing instead of temporary accommodation; the "build your own house" programme was gathering momentum and financial assistance was being provided by the Jewish Agency. Fifty to a hundred housing units in Kdumim and 35 housing units in Shaveh Shomoron were operating under this scheme. (Asha'b, 22 August, Yediot Aharonot, 25 August 1980)
The Ministerial Settlement Committee, headed by the Minister for Agriculture, Mr. Sharon and the Settlement Department of the World Zionist Organization, decided to establish four new settlements in the West Bank: Zif and Camel in the southern Mount Hebron area, Reihan E on the northern West Bank, and Yatir B, close to the 1948 cease-fire line in the Beersheba-Arad region. (Asha'b, Ha'aretz and Jerusalem Post, 15 August; Al Quds, 16 August; Jerusalem Post, 20 August; Yediot Aharonot, 25 August 1980)
The Ministerial Settlement Department secretly decided to examine the possibility of establishing a new bloc of settlements in the Gaza Strip between Rafah and Kerem Shalom. According to the decision, Ministry of Justice experts will examine land ownership and the World Zionist Organization will see whether the soil is suitable for settlement. (Jerusalem Post, 5 September 1980)
The Israeli authorities are planning the construction of a station for agricultural experiments in the Khan Al Ahmar area, between Jerusalem and Jericho, on land confiscated recently from Arab landowners of Al Aissawiya. (Asha'b, 7 September 1980)
The Chairman of the Jewish Agency Settlement Department, Mr. Drobles, stated that the following settlements were to be established shortly: Tekoa B (Etzion bloc region); Elkana B (near Ariel); Shaveh Shomoron B (in Western Samaria, north of Qaddum) and two additional settlements in the Reihan bloc (west of Jenin). (Ha'aretz, 10 September, Asha'b, 11 September 1980)
The Jewish Agency Settlement Department published a detailed plan to establish 70 (according to other sources, 75) new settlements between September 1980 and 1985. The aim was to establish 12 to 15 settlements each year in order to absorb 150,000 settlers by the end of the period. The following settlements are planned:
Gush Yatir (south of Hebron)
Gush (west of Mount Hebron)
Halmish, Modiin and west of Assamirach
Beit El and Shilo
Gush Ariel and Karney Shomoron
Gush Kdumim and Eilon Moreh
North-west of Nablus and Gush Shaveh Shomoron
Jordan Valley and North of Dead Sea 4 settlements near Jericho
(Yediot Aharonot, 18 September; Asha'b and Al Ittihad 19
and 23 September 1980)
The Deputy Minister for Defence, Mr. Tzipori, stated that, according to a land survey undertaken by the Defence Ministry, there was nothing to prevent the establishment of large Jewish settlements on the West Bank, in the Jordan Valley, on the Golan Heights and in Gaza. He added that these areas can accommodate 1.5 million Jewish settlers. According to a memorandum submitted by the Director-General of the Prime Minister's Office, Mr. Mathilyahu Shmuelevitz, there are 3,200 Jews living in 24 West Bank settlements; the total population in 60 settlements stood at 17,400. One report gave a total number of 50 settlements established since 1977. (Ha'aretz, 11 November; Jerusalem Post, 12 November; Asha'b, 11, 12 and 14 November; Al Fajr Weekly, 16-22 November; Le Monde, 15 November 1980)
The Joint Settlement Committee, headed by the Minister for Agriculture, Mr. Sharon, decided to establish the permanent urban settlement of Civon; Givat Zeev built on "300- 400 dunums of recently located State-owned land" was to constitute its suburb. The creation of Mikhmash as a communal settlement between Kfar Adumim and Rimonim, east of Ramalleh, was also approved. Thirty families affiliated with "Gush Emunim" were to settle there. This settlement was reported to be the fourth of what Prime Minister Begin had described as the last 10 settlements to be established by the Government in "Judea and Samaria." (Ha'aretz, 10 December; Jerusalem Post, 10 December 1980)
A plan was announced in December 1980 for the construction of several thousand flats on an area of 4.5 square kilometres expropriated in March 1980, on the immediate outskirts of ~erusalem. The plan included the creation of anew suburb to be called South Neve Yaacov, and the enlargement of the existing four Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem: Ramot, Gilo, east Talpiot and Neve Yaacob. According to one report, the plan also covers an area of some 13 square kilometres of Arab-owned land whose development had been frozen since 1967 because of the absence of any "legal outline plan" for the area. (Ma'ariv, 4 December 1980; Jerusalem Post, 4 December 1980, 8 January and 22 June 1981; Ha'aretz, 4 December 1980, 1 January 1981; Yediot Aharonot, 8 December 1980; Asha'b, 5 and 15 December 1980, 1 January 1981; Al Fajr Weekly, 7-1 3 December 1980, 4-10 January and 1-7 February 1981 ; A/AC. 145/RT.319, pp. 5 and 10)
The Ministerial Settlement Committee planned the construction of 750 housing units, in the settlement of Katzrin on the Golan Heights; 250 units were reported to have been completed by January 1981. (Asha'b, 26 December 1980; Al Fajr Weekly, 4- 10 January 198 1)
The Minister for Agriculture, Mr. Sharon, proposed a plan designed "to accelerate building and development in Judea and Samaria in order to complete the Government's settlement programme before the coming elections." His proposal consisted of giving private building contractors State-owned land in Jerusalem and other cities in lieu of payment, for constructing houses in Judea and Samaria. (Jerusalem Post, 23, 26 and 29 January 1981; Ha'aretz, 23 and 29 January 1981; Asha'b, 23 January 1981)
Mr. Meir Shaham, Deputy Director of the Ministry of the Interior, agreed to allow 4 Jewish settlements on the West Bank to form local councils. (Al Fajr Weekly, 11-17 January 1981)
Mr. Israel Rosenblatt, President of the Regional Council of the Gaza Coast, announced plans to establish four new settlements in Gaza for 1,200 families. There were then four existing settlements accommodating 550 families. (Al Ittihad, 3 February 1981)
A ring of settlements, bordering on Jerusalem, was to be established along the Ramot-Nabi Samwil-Givon road; 500 dunums of land were allocated for a new settlement in the Nabi Samwil area (north-west of Jerusalem; two communal settlements, Tel Hadasha (200 dunums) and Givat Zeev (200 dunums), were to be integrated in this urgan network. Construction was to start in 1981. The areas were located on "State-owned land," in part belonging to the HIMANUTA company, i.e., a company registered in the name of HIMANUTA, an affiliate of the Jewish National Fund; another part is "State-owned land" administered by and registered in the name of the Israel Land Administration. (Ma'ariv, 15 December, Ha'aretz, 15 and 31 December; Asha'b, 15 and 16 December 1980; Al Fajr Weekly, 4-10 January 198 1)
The Minister for Agriculture, Mr. Sharon, announced that seven settlements were being established on both sides of the 1948 cease-fire line in the Mey-Amy area, close to Wadi-Ara (in the north-west area of the West Bank). Three were to be constructed in the area occupied in June 1967. (Ma'ariv, 17 February 1981)
The Joint Settlement Committee of the Government and the Jewish Agency, headed by Mr. Sharon, approved the plan Plunder & Usurpation of Palestinian Lands & Establishment of Jewish Settlements in the West Bank & Gaza Strip 1967-1989 to establish six new settlements on the West Bank. It was reported that work would start in the very near future and that Israel Shekels (13.) 50 million ($5 million) had beenallocated for the construction of these settlements; I.S. 100 million ($10 million) had been allocated for the expansion of 11 existing settlements. The new settlements are:
Mikhmash (on the Allon Road, north-east of Jerusalem, between Kfar, Adumim and Rimonim)
Yakir B (on the "Trans-Samaria9'road, between Ariel and Elkana)
Nili (north-east of Mattityahu in the Modiin area)
Shaveh Shomoron B (west of Shaveh Shomoron on the Tulkarem-Nablus road)
Mitzpe-Govrin (near the village of Tarqumiya, on the western slopes of Mt. Hebron)
Tekoa B (south of Tekoa, bordering on the Judean desert)
(Jerusalem Post, 2 March; Ha'aretz, 2 and 12 March; Asha'b 9 March; Ma'ariv, 5 March; Al Fajr Weekly 8-14 and 15-21 March 1981)
The Ministerial Settlement Committee, headed by the Minister for Agriculture, Mr. Sharon, decided to create two settlements: one in "Judea" and the other in "Samaria." One source reported their names as "Mattityahu B and Shaarey- Tikwa." These were reported to be the last of the settlements the creation of which had been announced by Mr. Begin several months earlier. In addition, the Committee decided to forest and fence off tens of thousands of dunums of "State lands and other lands in Judea" and "Samaria" which were bought by HIMANUTA in order to "prevent the continuation of the take-over by Arab villagers." The Committee also confirmed plans for another 800 housing units to be built in the existing settlements within the following three months, at a cost of I.S. 240 million. These units were to accommodate 3,000 settlers. (Ha'aretz, 17,18, and 24 June; Jerusalem Post, 18 and 25 June; Le Continent, 19 June; Asha'b, 18 June 198 1 )
The Ministerial Settlement Committee decided to create a new settlement, Beit Aryeh B, in the Neve Tzuf Bloc, northwest of Ramallah. It was also decided that two Nahal outposts would be turned into civilian settlements: Ma'on and Carmel in southern Mount Hebron. The two settlements were to be populated by settler groups belonging to the "Amona" movement - the settlement movement of "Gush Emunim." It was further decided that a settlement would be built on the ruins of old Yatir; the settlement known as Yatir is officially called Mahaneh-Yatir. (Ha'aretz, 10 July; Asha'b, 12 July 198 1)
(i) Construction of new Israeli settlements and expansion of existing ones
Two Nahal settlements were established, one in the Gaza Strip and one in the Jordan Valley. The one in the Gaza Strip isGadid, formerly called Katif D, near Khan Yunis. The name of another settlement, originally called Gadid, near Rafah, has been changed to Bedolah. The regional council of the Gaza district now consists of the following civilian settlements: Netzer-Hazany, Ganey-Tal and Katif and the Nahal settlements of Netzarim (Deir El Balah), Bedolah and Gadid. The second Nahal settlement mentioned in the reports is Beit Ha'arava in the Jordan Valley near the Dead Sea. (Asha'b, 15 August; Ma'ariv, 19 August 1980)
Civilian settlers moved into Rimonim, located on the upper ridge of the Jordan Valley, replacing Nahal soldiers. It is the second site the Nahal has handed over recently, the first being Kochav Hashahar, located 3 kilometres north of Rimonim. (Jerusalem Post, 24 September 1980)
Mr. Drobles, Chairman of the Jewish Agency Settlement Department, stated that, since 1977,84 settlements had been created or were under construction by the Government, of which 58 were located in the occupied territories. After he took office in 1978, he had planned to create 57 settlements of which 44 had been established. He estimated that there were 18,000 settlers living on the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley, 7,500 on the Golan Heights and 500 in the Gaza Strip. Another source gave the following figures: 122 settlements had been established since 1967 in the occupied territories; 68 of those had been established on the West Bank, 5 in the Gaza Strip, 20 in the Sinai and Rafah area and 29 on the Golan Heights. About 20,000 settlers were living in those settlements; an additional 80,000 had settled in Arab Jerusalem and the new quarters built around Jerusalem, Eshkol Heights, the French Hill, Neve-Yaacov and Gilo. (Ha'aretz, 10 September; Asha'b, 11 September; Al Ittihad, 19 September 1980)
Families had moved to the settlements of Homesh (located on a mountain top between Nablus and Jenin) and Vered Jericho, south of Jericho in the Jordan Rift. Vered Jericho is, after Na'ama and Beit Ha'arava, the third out of six settlements planned in the region. The settlement of Hinanit (Reihan B) was to be inhabited shortly thereafter. (Asha'b, 3 and 5 November; Jerusalem Post, 3 and 4 November; Ma'ariv, 3 November; Ha'aretz, 3 November; Al Fajr Weekly, 9-15 November 1980)
The Jewish National Fund started the construction of the Trans-Samaria road, linking the Tapuah settlement on the Nablus Jerusalem road with the Jordan Valley. As at 1 September 1981, this road was reported to have been virtually completed. (Ma'ariv, 11 November; Asha'b, 12 November 1980; Jerusalem Post, 2 September 1981)
Construction preparations on 700 dunums of confiscated land started in Beit Iskariya near Bethlehem, under protest by the local population. The High Court of Israel had issued an interim injunction on 22 August 1980 in favour of the landowner, Mr. Ibrahim Jadallah Odeh, preventing settlers from cultivating the land, but on 11 November 1980, in its judgment, the High Court rejected the applicant's claim. (Ha'aretz, 13 and 14 November; Al Fajr Weekly, 16-22 November 1980)
The settlement of Vered Jericho was officially inaugurated. It was the third in a settlement plan of six settlements in the Jericho area and was to accommodate 100 Jewish families. The settlements Na'ama and Beit Ha'arava had already been established; Almog B, Na'ama A and Na'ama B were to be established shortly thereafter. (Jerusalem Post, 31 December; Ha'aretz, 31 December; Asha'b, 31 December 1980)
A group of immigrants from the Soviet Union moved into "north-west Samaria" to establish a new settlement. Forty homes have been prepared for the immigrants settling in Hinanit. (Jerusalem Post, 13 January; Asha'b, 14 January; Al Fajr Weekly, 18-24 January 1981) Two new settlements were set up in "Judea," called Maon and Carmel. These two settlements were to be Nahal outposts at first and were later to be occupied by "Gush Emunim," and ... Go to part 4