By: Nourdine Shnino
With the rise of the current fascist Israeli government headed by Netanyahu and his extremist ministers Ben-Gavir and Smotrich, the latter appears to have a comprehensive plan to drive out all Palestinians and bring one million settlers to the occupied West Bank, especially since he recently started allocating millions of dollars to construct new settlements, even reconstruct existing ones, and even increase their sizes in the occupied West Bank.
Compared with previous Israeli financial ministries, Smotrich has allocated up to hundreds of millions of dollars to expand illegal settlements in the West Bank, making him the extraordinary minister to do so in the Israeli lifetime.
Smotrich comments calling the Palestinian village of Hawara to be wiped out of the earth and saying that there is no such thing as a Palestinian make Smotrich’s schemes clear regarding the future of the Occupied West Bank.
In his recent settlement proposal to the Israeli Knesset, the fanatic minister said that his extremist government will pass legislation that extends the current setup of settlements. Thus, The Israeli government will be able to bring one million new settlers to the occupied West Bank, and the Jordan Valley by 2050 and provide them with places of employment at the expense of the Palestinians.
Illegal settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank has always been the top priority for Israelis since it was established in 1948 because it is what Occupation and colonialism are all about.
Up to 1904, there was a first wave of Zionist immigration. The second wave (1905–14) was distinct because it was primarily made up of disgruntled communists and socialists who now regarded Zionism as a means of advancing both communism and socialism through collective settlement in Palestine, in addition to being a solution to the Jewish problem.
However, in both waves, the majority chose to establish themselves in Palestinian towns, with only a small percentage trying to farm land they had acquired from Palestinians and absentee Arab landowners. These individuals initially relied on Jewish industrialists in Europe to support them before looking for a more self-sufficient means of subsistence.
The Zionists at the time justified their annexation by arguing that these communities were historic Jewish settlements referenced in the Bible and as such, their appropriation was a liberation rather than an occupation.
The newcomers realized that Palestine was an Arab country in its human landscape.
Israeli settlers treated local Palestinians as an impediment, an alien, and an enemy regardless of who they were or what their own goals were when they arrived in Palestine between 1904 and 1948.
One of the settlers wrote, “We have nothing in common with the majority of the people living here. The people here are stranger to us than the Russian or Polish peasants.
They had been informed that Palestine was a desert, and they were shocked to find any inhabitants there.
Another settler reported back to Poland that he was horrified to see many Arab men, women, and children crossing through Rishon LeZion (another early Zionist colony built in 1882). “I was disgusted to find out that in Hadera [an early Zionist colony built in 1882] part of the houses was occupied by Arabs,” reported one settler.
According to an article by +972 Magazine, Israel has practically exterminated all Palestinians from the West Bank. The report also exposes that the Israeli settlers who are supported by the occupation forces and administration have increased violence and taken control of broad regions between Ramallah and Jericho, displacing practically all Palestinian occupants in the process.
In the occupied West Bank, more than ten outposts of illegal settlers have recently been built.
Shepherding is allegedly being used as a cover by violent Israeli settlers to seize Palestinian agricultural property and drive away residents. Only a few of the numerous small Palestinian villages are still standing.
Prominent human rights groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have expressed concerns about Israel’s policies in Palestinian territories, citing issues such as settlement construction, restrictions on Palestinian movement, and home demolitions.
They argue that these actions have a detrimental impact on the human rights and living conditions of Palestinians, calling for an end to what they consider unlawful Israeli practices. These organizations consistently advocate for upholding international law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the acquisition of territory by force and mandates civilian protection in conflict zones.
Nourdine Shnino is the news editor and researcher for the Days of Palestine news agency from the Gaza Strip. A native of Gaza City. He received a BA in English Language and Literature from al-Azhar University in 2013.