Alwaght- While the world is very closely following the controversial US presidential elections, Washington’s ally Tel Aviv is busy pushing with its occupation in the Palestinian territories.
In a related move, the Al-Quds (Jerusalem) municipality said it he has approved a plan to destroy small businesses in the Wadi al-Joz district of the Eastern Al-Quds to establish a massive high-tech project dubbed “High Silicon.”
According to the statement, the project is aimed at developing the Eastern Al-Quds and all of the businesses in this part of the city will be transferred to Isawiya and Um Toba neighborhoods. The project will be started in three months and is scheduled to complete in two years and will lead to the seizure of more lands from the Palestinians in the West Bank.
Occupation intensified after Arab compromises to Tel Aviv
Although aggressive measures and occupation by the Israeli regime across the Palestinian territories are nothing new, settlement projects in the West Bank lands, which are even labeled by the UN as Palestinian, have always been a point of controversy. The settlement is so important in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that the UAE officials in formalizing their normalization with the Israelis said that they have agreed to a thaw with Tel Aviv under the condition that the Israelis will end settlement projects and West Bank annexation. But now an official announcement about a new project in West Bank by the Israelis shows that despite the normalization with the Emiratis, Tel Aviv has no plan to halt settlement construction in the Palestinian region that would be a prelude to annex West Bank to the already-occupied territories.
The new settlements and tech points will be constructed in Wadi al-Joz as the beating heart of the Eastern Al-Quds. The district is highly important as it is close to Old City where the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque is located.
The Israeli leaders look to be confidently pushing ahead with their ambitions of the annexation of what remains of Al-Quds and West Bank without fear of legal consequences as the world community and the Arab countries declined to take serious actions to check the occupational moves by Tel Aviv in the past. They are making these moves despite the fact that the UN and even the Western countries recognize the annexation-endanger neighborhoods in Palestinian areas.
Settlement projects started immediately after the Six-Day Arab-Israeli war of 1967. Since then, every Israeli Prime Minister pursued part of the overall strategy of the annexation of the West Bank to other occupied lands. But none was materialized due to legal consequences for Tel Aviv on the world arena. To avoid the legal actions, they continued point-to-point settlement projects across West Bank, however. Currently, between 500,000 and 600,000 Jews from around the world are settled in over 50 settlements. The controversial Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu is eying to annex more of the West Bank in order to build more settlements or officialize the already-constructed settlement projects.
Although Netanyahu has been pursuing the annexation since he assumed power in 1997, he has not been able to implement it. He, however, massively advertised his plan during the election campaign in 2019. That continued until Arab countries, the UAE and Bahrain, normalized ties with the Israeli regime under the pressure of the US President Donald Trump. But sources familiar with the thaw said that the normalization comes with a precondition of cessation of the Netanyahu annexation plan. No Israeli sources confirmed the news that was mainly published by Arab sources close to the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The Israelis remained silent until recently that they announced a plan to build new settlement and development projects in areas the UN recognizes as for the Palestinians.
While less than two months have gone since the UAE and Bahrain normalized with the Israelis, launching new construction projects in the Eastern Al-Quds heralds annexation of a large part of the West Bank and stands as massive ridicule of the normalizing Arab regimes that cited halt of West Bank annexation as their driver for thaw with Tel Aviv. The Israelis made it clear to the world that the compromises made to them by some Arab rulers are not going to stop them from their greed for more aggression against the Palestinians.
Settlement projects, a cover on the home Israeli problems
There is no doubt that settlement and occupation are part of the Israeli leaders’ political efforts to conceal the marked problems and crises with which the regime is grappling.
The regime is still at risk despite a coalition, which is largely shaky, reached by Netanyahu and his right-wing partners. The regime could collapse any moment as Netanyahu has yet to reach an understanding with his key political partners. Insider sources say that fighting between the ruling Likud party and the Blue and White rival coalition has heated up again. Blue and White’s leader Benny Gantz, who at the same time serves as defense minister and rotating PM, threatened that if Netanyahu fails to facilitate approval of the budget for the fiscal year in the remaining two months of 2020, the parliament will be dissolved and the early election would ensue. If this takes place, the regime would have the fourth snap election in less than two years.
A majority of the political factions have warned that going to snap election for the fourth time while coronavirus crisis continues and the economy is badly weak would be grave.
Netanyahu opponents accuse him of intentionally withholding the budget bill to pave the way for parliament dissolution and end of the Likud-Blue and White coalition agreement so that he can serve longer as PM. They suggest that he is doing so because his corruption trial will start in less than three months and if he at the time of the due trail is not a PM, he has to quit any state post and prepare for trial.
According to the “rotation deal” between the two key parties, Netanyahu should hand over the post of PM to Gantz. In this case, he may have to resign as an ordinary minister. But dissolving the parliament and holding early elections will take at least six months, and to that time, he will hold the post and hence will enjoy judicial immunity.
In such conditions, new projects in the West Bank are a fresh trick by Netanyahu to distract the attention from political infighting and other challenges for the final goal of easing the pressures on the government and continuing his, though for a short time, political life.