Israel plans settlement in heart of occupied Jerusalem

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Israeli troops oversee the demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem – now Israel is planning a new settlement in the city centre

ISRAEL plans to build a new settlement in the central area of the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds, despite international condemnation, a new report says.

Israeli newspaper Calcalist reported on Thursday that the new settlement, to be built near Malha Mall in central Jerusalem al-Quds, will include hundreds of settler units and offices as well as other facilities.
According to the report, the plan will be referred for approval to the so-called district planning and building committee in Jerusalem al-Quds soon.
Earlier this week, reports said Israeli authorities planned to expand the settlement of Pisgat Ze’ev in Jerusalem al-Quds, and to build 900 new settler units.
More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.
All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law.
The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.
Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.
On Thursday, the Israeli army threatened to demolish three Palestinian homes, a water tank and other structures in Ain Shibli village, east of Nablus City, in the occupied West Bank.
According to local official Ghassan Daghlas, Israeli forces stormed the village and delivered the demolition orders to local residents.
The orders come a few days after the European Union called for an end to demolitions and settlement expansion.
The call was made by EU spokesman Peter Stano on Tuesday after Israel demolished 46 structures belonging to Palestinian families in Hamsa al-Foqa in the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank earlier this week.
‘The EU recalls its firm opposition to Israel’s settlement policy and actions taken in that context, such as forced transfers, evictions, demolitions and confiscations of homes, which it sees as illegal under international law and as an impediment to a viable two-state solution,’ said Stano.
Israeli authorities usually demolish Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank, claiming that the structures have been built without permits, which are nearly impossible to obtain.
They also sometimes order Palestinian owners to demolish their own homes or pay the demolition costs to the municipality if they do not.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) on Thursday appealed for $1.5 billion to fund its essential services, emergency appeals and priority projects for registered Palestine refugees in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
Of the required $1.5 billion, $806 million are needed for core services, such as education, health, relief and social services, protection and infrastructure and camp improvement, according to a UNRWA press release.
Emergency humanitarian assistance that UNRWA provides in response to the devastating effects of the blockade and occupation in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) requires $231 million. To respond to the hardship caused by the Syria conflict to Palestine refugees in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, UNRWA is seeking $318 million.
Both emergency appeals include adjustments that UNRWA made to its services to prevent the spread of Covid-19 among Palestine refugees and address its impact.
Approximately $170 million are needed for priority projects to repair or build UNRWA facilities and strengthen or improve core services.
In 2021, UNRWA will continue to provide quality primary education, based on the principles of human rights and tolerance, to over half a million girls and boys, said the press release.
It will support the access of young Palestine refugees, particularly women, to training at the Agency’s renowned Technical and Vocational Training (TEVT) centres, whose students are usually employed within a year of their graduation.
UNRWA health centres across the region will receive over five million patient visits, continue to provide telemedicine, ensure basic immunisation coverage of all Palestine refugee children, as well as access to maternal, reproductive and mental health.
Over 250,000 of the poorest refugees will receive cash assistance.
The humanitarian situation in the oPt drastically deteriorated as a result of the pandemic. UNRWA will support approximately 1.25 million food-insecure Palestine refugees through emergency food aid or cash assistance.
Cash-for-work opportunities will help mitigate substantial loss of livelihoods, specifically in Gaza, and emergency education support will benefit more than 330,000 UNRWA students across the oPt.
In addition, UNRWA will ensure continued access to primary, secondary and tertiary health care for Palestine refugees in Gaza and the West Bank, maintain Covid-19 prevention measures, respond to Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and child protection concerns, and monitor occupation-related protection incidents, especially in the West Bank.
In response to the Syria regional crisis, with its multiple layers of conflict, displacement, hardship and most recently, the pandemic, UNRWA will provide emergency cash assistance and food aid to 418,000 vulnerable Palestine refugees in Syria, and to 257,000 Palestine refugees in Lebanon, approximately 45,500 Palestinian refugees from Syria displaced to Lebanon and Jordan, and 138,000 most vulnerable in Jordan.
In addition to the provision of basic relief items and shelter rehabilitation support for the most vulnerable refugees in Syria, UNRWA will seek to ensure refugees’ access to basic health care and support to secondary and tertiary health care in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, as well as education in emergencies for students and protection services, especially related to GBV and child protection concerns, according to the press release.
Meeting the human development, humanitarian and protection needs of Palestine refugees until there is a just and durable solution to their plight is an investment in stability in the Middle East region, stressed UNRWA.
Following an unprecedented financial crisis in 2020, increased despair and a sense of abandonment among Palestine refugees, UNRWA appealed to its donors to provide the necessary funding to allow the Agency to fulfil its mandate, avert recurrent financial crises, which put the Agency’s core and life-saving humanitarian services at risk, and join efforts to collectively develop a forward-looking and sustainable vision for UNRWA.

  • Governor of Jenin, Akram Rjoub, on Thursday inspected the Kabaha family house demolished yesterday by the Israeli army and described the act as another Israeli crime against the Palestinian people while pledging to help the stricken family recover from this calamity.

After inspecting the site and the damage done to four nearby houses after blowing up the Kabaha house, Rjoub strongly condemned the collective Israeli punishment policy against the Palestinian people in general and the Kabaha family in particular that left the mother and her four children homeless.
‘This is another crime by the Israeli occupation against our people,’ said Rjoub.
‘It will not break our determination and will.’
The Governor said President Mahmoud Abbas gave instruction to provide the family with whatever assistance it needs to help it recover and live a decent life, including providing it with a place to live.
The army blew up the two-story Kabaha house after accusing the family’s breadwinner, Mohammad, of killing an Israeli settler last year.
The demolition caused serious damage to several area homes, all of them belonging to the extended Kabaha clan.

  • Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh and Health Minister Mai Alkaila today honoured Gerald Rockenschaub, Head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Office for the occupied Palestinian territory, on the occasion of ending his official duties in Palestine and praised his and the WHO contribution to the Palestinian health sector.

The Prime Minister said in a ceremony in Ramallah, attended by representatives of international organisations and Health Ministry staff, that he considers the WHO a key partner in the preventative measures to confront the coronavirus pandemic since it was first discovered in Palestine.
‘We are following up all work between the Ministry of Health and the WHO,’ said Shtayyeh.
‘We have benefited from their experiences in the world and will continue to cooperate with them.’
Shtayyeh went on to say that ‘Rockenschaub and the WHO in general and what they represent were not only our partners, but they worked with us in a highly professional manner.
‘We were happy and are still pleased with the testimony by the World Health Organisation about Palestine’s performance in facing the virus and bearing the highest levels of responsibility, whether in the prevention or in everything related to this matter.
‘Palestine was a success story from the first day until today in facing the virus.’
The Prime Minister said he was pleased with the vaccination of the health staff, stressing that vaccinating the population in Palestine will be launched in the coming weeks ‘as we are coming up to a very important occasion, which is the elections, and we are ready for that.’