(Israel National News)
The Knesset Land of Israel Caucus held a hearing focusing on the battle for Judea and Samaria. From 2019-2021, the Palestinian Arabs built 5097 new illegal structures in areas under full Israeli jurisdiction, an average of seven new illegal structures per day.
During the same two-year period the Palestinian Authority used agricultural projects to seize control of 7,125 dunams of Israeli state land, for a total of 93,071 dunams (93,071,000 square meters or 23,268 acres).
By planting hundreds of thousands of trees in the undeveloped open spaces of Area C, creating agricultural roads spanning dozens of kilometers each year, digging wells, cisterns and water delivery and irrigation systems, the PA continues to exploit a loophole in Ottoman Land Law, still in force in Judea and Samaria, to wrest land rights from the State of Israel and establish de facto PA control.
While the newly - released data indicate a slight reduction in the rate of illegal PA construction compared to the previous two-year period, when 7,957 illegal structures were built (an average of 11 per day), the rate of agricultural land-grabs has remained virtually unchanged.
The lower rate of construction is balanced by a steady rate of agricultural annexation as the result of the European Union’s decision to shift its funding away from illegal construction in order to focus on two alternative tracks: “lawfare” to prevent enforcement against new and existing illegal structures, and agricultural projects that achieve much greater territorial gains with far smaller financial investment.
Food for Thought. by Steven Shamrak
Annexation of Judea and Samaria (re-unification of Eretz-Israel) must be done only in conjunction with persuasive encouragement for all non-Jewish residents to leave, providing a limited and temporary residential status while they do so!
Four decades after Israel annexed the plateau, a seeming majority of its Druze residents express loyalty to the Syrian government. The Israeli-controlled Golan are inhabited by some 25,000 Druze, an Arab minority who practice an offshoot of Islam. Many still have relatives on the Syrian side of the fortified frontier. (Why not help them to reunite with their relatives in Syria?)
The loudest Israeli message to the Biden administration was sounded by Defense Minister Benny Gantz during his appearance last week at the Israeli-American National Council Summit in Hollywood, Fla. Gantz said that he had notified his counterparts in the US government that he had ordered the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. The US opposition to Israeli action can be made clear in ways other than diplomatic exchanges, as the Americans are stalling on delivering new refuelling tanker planes that will be needed if Israel is to attack Iran. That won't impact events in the short term. But it is, at the very least, a symbolic gesture intended to warn the Jewish state to defer to Washington, even if it means sacrificing their defense interests.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman - at the Gulf Cooperation Council meeting, which brought together Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar - called for an "effective and serious" approach to Iran's ballistic and nuclear program. Saudi Arabia, which is Iran’s regional foe, has long spoken out against the Islamic Republic’s attempts to acquire nuclear weapons. (It could be a signal to Arab states to co-operate with Israel as allies in dealing with Iran.)
President Joe Biden is reportedly backing down from plans to open a US consulate in Jerusalem dealing specifically with Palestinians, after running into objections from Israel, obstacles in international law, and concerns about Iran nuclear talks. Biden promised a concession to pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel activists in the Democratic Party. Moreover, some Democrats wanted Biden to undo the embassy move, simply because Trump had done it.
Ninety-three percent of the Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem prefer living under Israeli rule. Of the 1,200 Arab residents queried, 1,116 said that they preferred the Israeli rule, while 84 answered that they would prefer the PA, though also said that they would refuse to give up their Israeli identity cards.
Iran condemned Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s visit to the United Arab Emirates, claiming it was “detrimental to the security and interests of the region and world Muslims”. Last week Bennett met with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Bennett’s visit to the UAE took place as the UAE seeks rapprochement with Iran.
Hundreds of historical Jewish sights are set to be restored in Morocco as part of a new initiative introduced by King Mohammed VI. The move comes as Rabat and Jerusalem celebrate one year since the signing of a normalization agreement between the two countries. Earlier this year diplomatic ties were restored as part of the Abraham accords. The initiative will oversee the renovation of hundreds of synagogues, Jewish heritage cites and cemeteries, including a Fes city cemetery home to over 13,000 graves. Many actions have already been taken to strengthen Jewish heritage in Morocco, including opening Jewish museums. Israel and Morocco recently signed a historic defense agreement in November, universities in the respective countries have been collaborating, and trade agreements have been created. In July, direct flights between the two countries were officially launched.
Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the northern branch of the outlawed Islamic Movement in Israel who was imprisoned last year for inciting terrorism, was released last week. A controversial Muslim cleric was greeted by cheering supporters, Israeli Arabs, carrying flags of the Movement greeted him at the entrance to the Arab Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm. Salah was incarcerated for praising a 2017 attack by three Arab Israeli terrorists at the holy Temple Mount site in Jerusalem’s Old City; the assailants gunned down two Druze police officers before being killed by Israeli forces.
Quote of the Week:
"The settlers (Jews) in Judea and Samaria have been suffering from violence and terrorism, every day, for decades. They are the defensive wall of us all and we must strengthen them and support them, in words and deeds." - Prime Minister Naftali Bennett twitted - The best way to honour Jewish 'settlers' is to remove enemies from the Jewish land and reunite Eretz-Israel.
by Tovah Lazaroff
The US President Donald Trump’s peace plan had spoken of a possible eventual application of Israeli sovereignty over 30% of the West Bank. This is essentially half of Area C, which is under IDF military and civilian control.
Trump unveiled a plan to this effect in Washington in January 2020.
Netanyahu’s coalition agreement had allowed him to annex West Bank settlements in Area C as of July 1, 2020 but he lacked the support of the Trump administration.
Netanyahu had put the possibility of annexation on the table in slow stages during a protracted election period that began at the end of December 2018 and ended in March 2020, leading to the formation of a government in May of that year.
Netanyahu and many on the Israeli right had believed that Trump would allow Israel to move forward on that annexation immediately.
Even prior to the plan’s unveiling, former US ambassador David Friedman told Israel that Trump would support annexation, Walla journalist Ravid explained. “But Friedman didn’t let the White House know that is what he told the Israelis.”
At the time, Netanyahu announced that “Israel will apply its laws to the Jordan Valley, to all the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and to all other areas that your plan designated as part of Israel.”
After the event, “Trump turned to his advisers and shouted what the hell was that,” Ravid described. Unaware of disconnect, Netanyahu told reporters later at the Blair House that he would bring the issue of annexation to a cabinet vote.
The next day, under pressure from the US, Netanyahu had to walk the matter back.
But the issue did not go away and Netanyahu publicly only spoke of its delay. His coalition agreement with the Blue and White Party headed by Defense Minister Benny Gantz allowed him to do so as of July 1, 2020 if he had US consent.
Friedman also pushed the issue, flying to the US one week prior to the July 1 date to sway Trump to support Netanyahu’s sovereignty plan.
At a meeting on June 30, 2020 Avi Berkowitz, the assistant to president Trump and a special representative for international negotiations, suggested trading suspension of annexation for normalized relations with the United Arab Emirates. Netanyahu said he would think about it.
Berkowitz said, “it was a godsend. It was one of the best phone calls I ever had in my life. He brought up the possibility of Israel not going forward with annexation in exchange for the UAE normalizing relations with Israel. I said, ‘you might not believe this, but I had a very similar thought the other day.’” (Due to his indecisiveness and self-interests Bibi was outplayed by smarter Jews working for the US administration. Must Israel always look for approval from other countries for its national security issues and the future of the Jewish people? Hopefully, it will not be the case when the time comes to deal with the Iranian nuclear program!)
Former Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu turned down IDF Chief of Staff Kohavi's request for funds to prepare a military attack against Iran in 2019. Kohavi asked Netanyahu to fund military action against Iran several times throughout Israel's political crisis from 2019 to 2021 and was continuously denied funds by Netanyahu. The two defense ministers during this period, Naftali Bennett and Benny Gantz, both attempted to convince Netanyahu alongside Kohavi but were unsuccessful.