By Mohammad Shaaban, Palestinian Journalist and Editor in Days of Palestine
The Israeli occupation continues its systematic policy of plundering the Palestinian lands and consolidating its control over Palestine through large settlement expansion and high protection of Israeli settlers, especially in occupied Jerusalem. It does not miss a chance without exploiting it for illegal settlement purposes, especially in the racial Israeli elections.
The Israeli settlements are the fuel for electoral propaganda and the preoccupation of most of the competing Israeli political parties to not establish a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders. By the way, the Israeli occupation sends a message to the international community that the Israeli leadership will continue to throw away international law and its most basic principles.
In the context of winning the most significant number of votes for the Israeli parties, especially the right-wing ones, the Israeli arena witnesses during the electoral campaigns the opening of public auctions on Israeli settlements, implementing the Judaization and settlement schemes that they adopt, and support.
While the issues of racism and settlement became the main value of the electoral competition, the discourse and vision of peace were absent. During the electoral campaign period, the Israeli occupation government agreed to build thousands of settlement units in the cities of the West Bank, especially the occupied city of Jerusalem, and confiscated thousands of dunams for Palestinian landowners by military decisions.
About the upcoming Israeli elections
40 lists are running for the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) elections on November 1, but it is expected that only a quarter of them will be able to pass the 3.25% electoral threshold and enter parliament.
It is expected that 11 lists will succeed in entering the Knesset, which are the right-wing Likud, led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the centrist “There is a Future” led by current Prime Minister Yair Lapid, the “official camp” headed by Israeli War Minister Benny Gantz, and “Religious Zionism.” Right-wing leader Bezalel Smotrich.
The right-wing Shas party, the right-wing United Torah Judaism, the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu, the Joint List, the Centrist Labor, the left-wing Meretz, and the United Arab List are also expected to win.
The upcoming Israeli elections are the fifth within 4 years, without excluding a sixth election in light of the impossibility of having an Israeli candidate capable of recruiting at least 61 members of the 120 Knesset members to form a new government for this occupation.
The results of a public opinion poll, published by the Israeli newspaper, Maariv, previously indicated that former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bloc won 57 seats, compared to a similar number of seats in favor of the current government bloc headed by Yair Lapid.
Knesset elections in the Israeli occupation are held according to the proportional representation system, which considers the state as one electoral district, and parties and lists compete for the 120 Knesset seats. The seats are distributed according to the number of votes each list wins.
Settlement is a flagrant violation of international laws
The construction of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, is a flagrant violation of the principles of international law and all covenants, treaties, and resolutions of international institutions, foremost of which are the United Nations Charter, the Hague Conventions, the Geneva Conventions, and the resolutions of the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly.
The Charter of the United Nations provided a number of laws related to occupation, the essence of which is that the occupying power is banned from settling its people in the territories it occupies.
Israeli settlement policies and practices also violate the Fourth Geneva Convention. “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” It also prohibits the “individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory.” However, the number of Israeli settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, has reached about 600,000.
Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states: “Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.”
On the other hand, the Israeli occupation authorities are working to confiscate Palestinian lands in favor of building Israeli settlements, camps, bypass roads, and building the apartheid wall, based on the so-called Deal of the Century that violates international law and international agreements and agreements signed between the Palestinian people and the Israeli occupation within the framework of the peace process.
Israeli Settlements are part of the deal of the century
With the announcement of the US-Israeli understandings called the “Deal of the Century”, the US administration practically showed its full approval of all the policies, steps, and systems imposed by the Israeli occupation on the ground in the West Bank from 1967 until the day the deal was announced.
The deal practically grants the Israeli occupation four issues that were and still constitute its main concern, which are complete control of the eastern border with Jordan, the legitimacy of the settlement project in the West Bank, complete security control over the West Bank, ensuring the work of the Israeli army in it, and the legitimacy of the Jewish religion in the West Bank.
The expansion and annexation of Israeli settlements and the achievement of Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank are among the basics of the Deal of the Century, which was formulated by the US administration in full cooperation with its Zionist partner.
The deal included announcing the Israeli occupation to annex some Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the vicinity of the city of Jerusalem, as well as the small settlement blocs, which are considered strategic for the occupation on the security and political levels.
The issue of annexation and expansion of Israeli settlements is adopted in the Israeli occupation elections, which works to attract the largest number of votes in favor of the party that presents plans that support Israeli settlement in the Palestinian territories, which is more welcomed by the Israeli settlers.
Pledges to build more settlements upon winning
As I mentioned earlier, the Israeli settlement project is the main engine of the Israeli elections process. It guarantees that the candidate for the Israeli elections will get a higher percentage of the votes because he meets the aspirations of the Israeli settlers and serves the Zionist project based on racism and arrogance and the plundering of the Palestinian lands and properties.
The head of the Israeli opposition party, Benjamin Netanyahu, recently announced his pledge to build large Israeli settlement units and expand Israeli settlements if he wins the upcoming Israeli elections at the beginning of November.
On Saturday, April 6, 2019, while serving as Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu announced that he intends to annex Israeli settlements on the Palestinians’ lands throughout the occupied West Bank if he retains his position in the 2019 Israeli elections.
In turn, Israeli War Minister Benny Gantz, head of the Israeli “official camp” party, announced his approval of building hundreds of settlement units inside illegal Israeli settlements built on Palestinian lands across the West Bank under the pretext of solving the problem of overcrowding in Israeli settlements.
Netanyahu and his rival Benny Gantz and other Israeli parties are relying on the illegal settlement project in their electoral race as they seek to win the votes of Israeli settlers residing in the settlements across the West Bank, who make up about 5% of the Israeli settlers who are eligible to vote.
In their electoral battle, the Israeli parties are targeting the major settlement blocs in the West Bank along with the small outposts and isolated settlements that have received approval for plans to build new settlement units inside them to expand and connect them to the major settlement blocs, which will practically lead to the robbery of 60% of the West Bank area.
Israeli settlements are not only a colonial policy but the basis of this inhumane Israeli occupation. In a time the Israeli occupation expands its illegal settlements on Palestinian lands, millions of Palestinian landowners has lost and lose their home. Through this illegal policy, the occupation continues its war on international human rights laws and norms, amid a shameful silence from the International community towards these crimes against the Palestinian people.