On December 23, Haaretz writer Barak Ravid headlined, "EU voices protest over Israeli policies in East Jerusalem, West Bank," saying:
"A day after four European Union members of the UN Security Council strongly criticized Israel's decision to speed up construction of settlements."
"EU ambassador to Israel Andrew Standley on Thursday submitted a formal protest to the Foreign Ministry over evacuating Bedouins and tearing down Palestinians' houses in the E1 area near" Ma'aleh Adumim settlement.
Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) Director Jeff Halper called it a major development, saying:
"The significance of this development is not only the creation of a greater Jerusalem that controls the center of the West Bank, but the emergence of Israeli Occupation territorial contiguity, that effectively eliminates the two state solution."
ICAHD's Co-Director Itay Epshtain added:
"ICAHD has long cautioned about the emergence of a greater Jerusalem linking the Judaization of East Jerusalem and displacement of Bedouins in E1, with the development of Ma'aleh Adumim, all the way to the Jordan Valley."
On December 20, Washington vetoed a Security Council resolution condemning Israel's latest settlement expansion plans. In response, all 14 other SC members rebuked America's decision.
Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin called the move "historic." Dismissing a 14 - 1 vote, Washington called the SC divided. In fact, nearly the entire world's on one side, America and Israel on the other. The same's held earlier for decades. Palestinians are denied justice.
Israel denounced EU members' criticism. A Foreign Ministry statement said they should refrain from "interfering" in Israel's "internal" affairs, and focus solely on restarting peace talks.
UK, French, German and Portugese officials said Israel's settlement expansions undermine efforts to do it. In a joint statement, they explained:
"Israel's continuing announcements to accelerate the construction of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem, send a devastating message."
They called for halting them immediately. They also want settlers responsible for violence prosecuted. Without explicitly naming Washington, Russia's Churkin suggested America dismisses efforts to restart peace talks, saying:
"There is one delegation which would not want to hear anything about it, any kind of statement, which believes that somehow things will sort of settle themselves somehow miraculously out on their own."
Standley expressed profound concern over deteriorating conditions in Israeli controlled Area C. He cited increasing numbers of home demolitions to make way for settlement expansions.
E1 is located between Ma'aleh Adumim and Jerusalem. Israel plans developing Mevasseret Adumim neighborhood. At issue is establishing territorial contiguity and creating a greater Jerusalem by Judaizing Palestinian neighborhoods.
All 27 EU foreign ministers protested after learning about deteriorating conditions on the ground, including growing Palestinian distress and Israel's intention to relocate 2,500 Jahalin tribe Bedouins near Ma'aleh Adumin to an Abu Dis village garbage removal site.
Two weeks ago, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva, expressed deep concern in a letter to Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Six months ago, she visited Israel, met Barak and General Eitan Dangot. At the time, he said:
"We're dealing with preliminary work. No one is being evacuated at this stage and there is no Israeli conspiracy or plot. Israel is a state of proper conduct, and when we have plans we will not conceal them from anyone and update the international bodies."
He lied like Israeli officials always do. Plans include Judaizing East Jerusalem entirely. Palestinians will be displaced even though they're citizens and hold city IDs. However, they're revokable for anyone living outside city boundaries long enough or assuming another citizenship, even temporarily.
Preventing a Two State Solution
In mid-December, a new border crossing opened in East Jerusalem's Shoafat neighborhood. Days later, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said Palestinians with Israeli ID cards should relinquish their residency rights.
In addition, work is underway on separate Israeli and Palestinian roads between Jerusalem and Ma'aleh Adumin. At issue is separating Palestinians from Israelis to facilitate building Mevasseret Adumim. The new road system will connect Ma'aleh Adumim to Jerusalem.
Shoafat and other Jerusalem area crossings serve 70,000 Palestinians with Israeli IDs. Israel's Separation Wall cuts them off from the city. Barkat wants them displaced, saying:
"The municipal boundary of Jerusalem and the route of the separation fence must be identical to allow for proper administration of the city." In other words, doing it involves total Judaization because changing the boundary means canceling Palestinians' residency.
Migration into Jerusalem will follow to retain what Palestinians don't wish to lose. According to an East Jerusalem hospital director:
"We are Jerusalemites. We're used to Jerusalem. If something like that happens, everyone will want to move to within the city. People will live on the street if they have to."
Given Israel's plans, staying may involve that and more. Israel's spending enormous sums building elaborate infrastructure, including roads, electricity lines, traffic circles and E1 development lots in place. Everything needed for construction is there, but completing it will prevent a two state solution by preventing territorial continuity.
According to Council for Peace and Security/Geneva Initiative leader Col. (res.) Shaul Arieli, Israel's road "complex is burning through a sea of money and a sea of people to serve a plan based on a delusional working assumption: that (East) Jerusalem will remain under our sovereignty, and greater Ma'aleh Adumim, including E1, will as well."
Ir Amim's Ahmad Sub Laban said Israel wants to divide the West Bank in two parts, explaining it wants territorial contiguity between Ma'ale Adumim and Jerusalem to give settlers city access without checkpoints. However, doing so divides the West Bank in two, destroying a two state solution.
Hebron is also affected. According to settlement expert Abdul Hadi Hantash, plans are to displace thousands of Palestinians from 20 nearby towns and villages.
Large land areas east and south of Hebron were stolen to enable Ammon, Susiya and Carmel settlement construction and satellite links established.
Palestinians are getting demolition orders to vacate and leave. Israel wants seized areas entirely emptied for Jews only development. Expect other neighborhoods to face similar threats.
A Final Comment
Israel wants all valued West Bank land and East Jerusalem Judaized. Palestinians will be left isolated in scrub land cantons without rights and few resources.
For decades, they've resisted Israeli repression valiantly. Growing millions worldwide support them. Washington and Israel face growing isolation.
One day Palestinians will prevail. What can't go on forever, won't. Long denied justice will be achieved, but not without years more pain and suffering.
Liberation requires struggle. Getting it's worth the price.
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|Liaquat Ali Khan|