New Israeli settlement founded on the West Bank

Settler activities over Passover: New outpost founded in an abandoned West Bank Palestinian village; settler tour of settlements in East Jerusalem

Thursday, 1 April, 2010 - 19:36
London, UK
Israel News Channel 10

A group of hard-line settlers has marked the Passover festival by taking over an abandoned Palestinian village in the occupied West Bank, with the aim of founding a new settlement there, Israeli Channel 10 News has revealed.

Despite Israeli government undertakings to the US, the takeover was witnessed by Israeli police and security forces who did not intervene.

The planned settlement, located in Wadi Haramiyya 5km from Ramallah, and already named ‘Be’er Zayyit’ (a Hebraised version of the adjacent Palestinian town of Bir Zeit), is the settlers’ response to the planned construction of the new Palestinian town of Rawabi nearby, which, if built, will house up to 40,000 Palestinians.

The location of the new outpost is a half-built village in the Wadi, earmarked for Palestinian officers in the 1990s but never completed, and now under Israeli military control, Israeli media reported. Israeli security forces currently use the abandoned buildings for training purposes.

The settlers spoke openly to the camera and identified themselves by name. One of them, David Liebman, was previously accused of connections to the ‘Bat Ayin Underground’, a settler group whose members were convicted in 2003 for planning a bomb attack against a Palestinian girls’ school in East Jerusalem, and other terrorist activities.

Other participants in yesterday’s activities, which included prayers with a torah scroll and the allocation of abandoned houses to each settler, included Rabbi Yigal Shandorfi from a religious seminar in the Nachli’el settlement, El’ad Meir from the Haresha settlement and Itzik Shadmi, the chair of the region’s ‘Binyamin Settlement Committee.’

Palestinian analysts critical of the policies of the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority on the occupied West Bank, have been sceptical regarding prospects for the new city of Rawabi, not least because access roads to it have not been approved by the Israeli government.

Some also criticise the founding of such a town while the occupation continues, claiming that it will merely assuage affluent Palestinians while ignoring the plight of those directly affected by Israeli policies, including those living in Gaza, in the Jordan Valley and in areas affected by the Separation Wall.

Settler activities in East Jerusalem

On the same day Israeli police and border-guards protected another settlement activity in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Silwan outside the Old City of East Jerusalem.

Hundreds of settlers and their supporters held a tour of the Palestinian neighbourhood and of Jewish settler communities founded in its heart.

The tour included a visit to two settler houses: Beit Yehonatan, a 7-storey house built illegally in 2004, against which a court order is pending, and the settlement building Beit Ha-Dvash (House of Honey). A resident of the latter, when asked about his Palestinian neighbours, answered that they were ‘too many, which is not so sweet’.

Israel’s Channel 10 journalist offered glimpses of the interiors of the settlement apartments, on whose walls plans of the ancient Jewish Temple could be seen.

Organised by settler group Ateret Cohanim, the tour was offered free of charge but participants were asked to donate to the efforts of the settlers.

This article may be reproduced on condition that JNews is cited as its source.

Photo of Atara/Bir Zeit checkpoint by Tamar Fleischman, MachsomWatch

Photo of settlement in Silwan by Nir Yahav

For the original video item (in Hebrew) see

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