ARIJ Institute: 35% of the West Bank, mostly on the hills

In a specialized and lengthy report, the Applied Research Institute "ARIJ" shed light on the settlement outposts that appeared as if they were random to become legal and devoured about 35% of the lands of the West Bank, and became an integral part of the Large settlements that Israel considers it legal and part of its territories.

The report said: "The spread of the phenomenon of unauthorized settlement outposts began in the 1990s, after the then Rabin administration reduced the rate of building approval in settlements established in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1993, due to the acceleration of negotiations with the Palestinians that preceded the signing of the Oslo Accords.”

A settlement outpost is a settlement block that was built in the West Bank without an official decision or approval from the Israeli government. No land has been allocated for these communities, no municipal borders have been defined for them, and their residents have not been granted any permission to use the land, whether for construction or agriculture, where outposts usually originate. In the form of a new building or a number of facilities (mobile homes) with a limited area and separated from the urban area of ​​the parent settlement, linked to the parent settlement by a dirt road, and constructed with the aim of the future expansion of an existing settlement or as a preparation for the establishment of a new one.

 This activity usually begins with one or more Israeli settlers appropriating Palestinian lands concentrated on the mountain peaks adjacent to the mother settlement, and proceeding to erect tents or placing mobile homes and settling in them for a period of time, after which the Israeli government and its Settlement arms provide support and services to them, and despite the illegal nature of the outposts under international law and Israeli law as well, the Israeli government implicitly supported their preservation and attempts to legitimize them or integrate them into the existing settlements. Support through various government ministries, West Bank regional councils, and the Settlement Brigade, which supported financial endeavors in outposts, including agricultural facilities, provided support for new farmers and livestock grazing,

the organization that plays the greatest role in controlling the Palestinian lands and establishing settlement outposts. They are the owners of the idea of ​​pastoral settlement and the establishment of pastoral outposts in particular.

Establishment and financing. In his report, Areej indicated that the process of establishing most of the settlement outposts goes through several steps, all of which aim primarily at controlling the Palestinian lands. Below:

The first step: Establishing a new bora, as this is done by creating facts on the ground by Israeli settlers or organizing the hilltop youth by constructing a new road and erecting a number of tents or placing mobile homes (caravans), followed by a protocol process represented in the issuance of demolition orders by The Inspection Unit of the Civil Administration, however, is being confronted through a process of pressure by Amana leaders, Yesha Council officials, rabbis, and extremist Knesset members to pressure the government and the Civil Administration to refrain from carrying out the eviction.

As for the second step, it includes acquiring rights on the land, and the Settlement Brigade, being the body responsible for developing Jewish settlements in what is known as Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), and its powers to manage the lands devolving to it through the World Zionist Organization, to which the Civil Administration has allocated more than 450,000 dunams. (35%) of the lands of the West Bank classified as state lands (registered and declared) in areas, where the Settlement Brigade signs contracts with settlers for construction or use of the lands allocated to it. These contracts are called Bar Rishot or Authorization Certificate, and this is done without government supervision or approval. Competent authorities such as the Land Authority,

The third step: Preparing and approving the plans. The cost of preparing and reviewing the plans throughout the approval process may reach hundreds of thousands of shekels. Most of the construction plans in the Occupied Palestinian Territory were initiated by the regional councils, Amana or the settlement brigade, and it is not always possible to know the source of funding for these plans. However, there are documented cases in which the funding came from the regional councils. In the list of non-recurring expenditures (NRE) for the Benjamin Regional Council, which was made public following a petition by Peace Now, the council approved approximately NIS 33 million for various planning projects between 2000 and 2014. 

Also among these projects are illegal planning projects for residential or public buildings in outposts and illegal settlements, for example, under the settlement urban planning provision, which appears to be a code name for illegal outposts. In November 2014, it approved The council approved a budget of NIS 150,000 to plan day-care centers in five illegal outposts.

In other funding cases and following a Freedom of Information Act Peace Now petition, the Housing Ministry provided a list of all its investments in settlements, among other things, it emerged that the ministry had agreed to fund schemes in illegal outposts where illegal construction had already taken place, Such as: Zayt Raanan, Nahali Tal (Karm Riem), Brosh (Petronot), Givat Salit, Mitzpe Dany, Bani Adam and Ibi Hanhal.

It also appeared in the settlement brigade's exemption from the tender document as of July 2, 2012, that the brigade seeks to pay the salaries of an architect to prepare a plan for the Givat Salit outpost (62,000 shekels in addition to the 52,000 shekels already paid to him).

It should be noted that designing a city planning scheme in itself is not an illegal act, which is a prerequisite for legal construction, but these plans are often used for construction without their legal approval.

It should be noted that construction often continues even in the absence of valid certificates or documents.

The fourth step: Issuing building permits The regional councils issue fake building permits under different names or justifications, according to which the infrastructure of the outpost is connected and real estate loans are obtained, in the complete absence of law enforcement agencies to hold those responsible accountable for Any illegal activity related to this stage.

Step 5: Create InfrastructureThe regional councils refer to the illegal outposts as normal settlements in every sense of the word, as evidenced by the list of settlements on their websites, and the councils illegally fund the outposts and transfer money to build and run them, while trying to conceal the real objectives for this money. In addition to the regional councils, the Settlement Brigade and the Al-Amana Movement are also partners in this funding, which is used, in whole or in part, to finance the construction of roads, water and sewage networks for the outposts, and connections them to the electricity grid.

The sixth step: building houses and selling them to settlers. The Amana website contains information about the projects and the accommodation it provides. A list of Amana settlements contains the following outposts: Avigail, Ahiya, El Matan, Esh Kodesh, Givat Harel, Harisha, Mevo'ot Yericho, Mitzpe Danny Mitzpe Hagit, Mitzpe Yair, Mitzpe Asayel, Neveh Erez, Adi Ad, Enot Kedem, Amona, Bnei Kedem, Kedah, Shvut Rachel.

 However, tracing the financing of home construction in the outposts is more difficult than in the settlements, however, one of the emails Peace Now received from the Amana Information Center showed that these settlements contained projects by Amana including the Rehelim outpost and the outpost illegal settlement activity, which indicates the role played by the Amana movement in financing construction in the outposts, as well as the role it plays in marketing the apartments built in the outposts through various means, including advertising on websites.

Step Seven: Daily maintenance and development of the OutpostThe regional councils, the amana, and the settlement brigade maintain and develop the illegal outposts, and continue to fund and run them daily after construction is completed. The regional councils build and operate kindergartens, maintain electrical systems and infrastructure, as well as handle transportation and collection services, waste and sanitation services. The councils, together with Amana and the Settlement Brigade, fund the construction of public buildings and the development of public spaces in the outposts.

Step 8: Retroactive legalization of the outpostSince the beginning of the emergence of the outposts during the first Netanyahu government in 1996, all Israeli governments have officially claimed to abandon the outposts, claiming that they are illegal and declaring their intention to evacuate them, but in Reality all governments allow them to continue to grow, and provide them with the necessary financing through their arms The various settlement settlements that also provide the necessary legal support to face the demolition and eviction orders issued against these outposts. The Israeli governments also turn a blind eye to the daily attacks by settlers who live in these outposts against Palestinian citizens, and enact the necessary laws to legitimize these outposts. On February 6, 2017, it approved The Israeli Knesset Settlement Law, in which about 4,000 housing units have been legalized in 55 outposts built on private Palestinian land. As of the beginning of 2019, 15 outposts have been legalized retroactively, while at least another 35 are currently undergoing the ratification process. Four of outposts Legitimacy received an official government decision to designate it as a new settlement, in addition to an entirely new settlement, Amichai, which the government established for the settlers of the evacuated Amona outpost.

Despite the illegal status of the outposts, they played a role in repelling any international criticism of Israel's illegal settlement policy in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, where the call for the removal of these outposts or the removal of one of them sometimes had a great impact in stopping any international criticism of Israel's settlement policy. Although, at the same time that Israel is demolishing some of the outposts, there is an ongoing process to establish a settlement outpost in another location.

 As for the internal Israeli level, the settlement outposts have become a very important bargaining chip for the formation of government coalitions, the latest of which was the joining of the extremist Knesset member of the Otzma Yehudit party, Itamar Ben Gvir, to the government of Benjamin in November 2022 after agreeing on several items, including a plan presented by Ben. Ghafir, according to which more Palestinian lands in the West Bank will be confiscated for the development of settlement outposts, which were referred to in the plan as the young settlements. All outposts and settlements in the West Bank within 18 months of the formation of the government, as the government will allocate more than 200 million shekels annually to develop infrastructure in these outposts and settlements in order to implement this plan.

An example of the establishment and development of settlement outposts in the West Bank is the Nahali Tal outpost, also known as Kerem Riyim, which was established on the lands of the town of Al-Mazra'a Al-Qibliyeh in the Ramallah and Al- Bireh Governorate, where a high hilltop was taken over, a vineyard was established, and the first mobile home and caravan were installed. In 2009, with time, many mobile homes were added, bringing their number in 2015 to approximately 50 caravans. This was followed by the start of the construction of houses and permanent homes. In 2016, construction work was started in the outpost, which was accompanied by the announcement of the sale of homes to settlers. Through the websites, and the construction and expansion process in the outpost continues to this day.
number and classificationSince the beginning of the spread of settlement outposts in the West Bank, many sources have reported different statistics on the number of outposts, either because the definition of outpost differs from one source to another, or because of the Israeli restrictions on access to information on the Israeli side, or the restrictions imposed on some scientific research tools such as photographs. High-resolution satellites that are used to track the emergence and development of urban areas. In this report, we will adopt a methodology based on defining the settlement outpost, which we mentioned in the introduction to this report, and then analyzing aerial photographs over the different years according to the available sources from 1997 until In 2021,

Analysis of available maps and satellite images showed 243 settlement outposts spread across the West Bank, established over the years from the mid-1990s to 2021.

The peak of the spread of the settlement outposts was in the period from 1998 to 2007, when Israeli settlers established during this period approximately 50% of the existing outposts, which is the period in which Ariel Sharon held high positions in the Israeli government, beginning with From 1998, the year in which he held the position of Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, during which the Israeli settlers called for intensifying operations to control the Palestinian lands, then he assumed the prime ministership from 2001 until 2006.
These outposts spread throughout the West Bank governorates without exception, where the largest number was in the governorates of Ramallah, Al-Bireh, Nablus, and Hebron, where about 64% of the settlement outposts spread in the West Bank are spread on their lands, As it showed that the Jenin governorate built five outposts and tubas. Nine wells were built on its lands, Tulkarm had three wells built on its lands, 48 ​​wells were built on its lands, Qalqilya built ten wells, Salfit 17 wells, Ramallah and Al-Bireh 58 wells were built on its lands, 12 wells were built on its lands, Arikha 12 wells, Jerusalem 18 wells, Bethlehem 14 wells, and Hebron 49 pips.
The same saviorAll settlement outposts are established with the same settlement methodology based on creating a fait accompli by erecting tents or placing at least one mobile home, which aims to control the largest possible area of ​​Palestinian land, whereby Palestinian citizens are prevented from reaching their lands on which the outpost was built. In addition to the lands controlled by the settlers who live in these outposts, as there are 202 inhabited outposts, constituting approximately 83% of the outposts, including 81 outposts that contain, partially or completely, permanent buildings (residential homes or industrial facilities). That is, these 81 outposts have been transformed or are in the process of being transformed into neighborhoods belonging to existing settlements or independent settlements, in addition to 41 uninhabited outposts, including 6 outposts that were evacuated at regular intervals, such as the two outposts of Amona, which were evacuated in 2017, and the outpost of Migron. which were removed in 2012.

Other forms of settlementControl of lands in the West Bank is not limited to military sites, settlements, and outposts, but rather expands to include control of lands for the purposes of establishing everything these settlement blocks need for development and sustainability, in terms of established water Tanks, water pumping stations, and wastewater treatment plants. , mobile phone network reinforcement towers, and solar energy production fields, where the land was controlled in more than 47 separate locations from the urban areas of the settlements and outposts scattered in the West Bank, making these settlements and outposts centers for investment and production, especially in the field of agriculture and energy.
The report concluded: “The settlement process in the West Bank is an interdependent and integrated process, in which official and unofficial parties share roles to create a new fait accompli in which Israeli settlements devour Palestinian lands in full view of the international community, and in which Palestinians are denied exploitation of their lands and natural resources in the designated areas and destroy the two-state solution.” , in clear violation of the laws that affirm the illegality of settlement in all its aspects, as recommendations were contained in the Sasson Report, which is an official Israeli government report prepared in 2005 commissioned by then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and headed by the former head of the Criminal Division of the State Prosecution, Talia Sasson, It is recommended that all land allotments on which the unauthorized outposts had been built be rescinded and returned to the Commissioner; And enacting legislation and taking the necessary legal, security and financial measures to control the establishment and removal of settlement outposts, and the settlement process in the West Bank is in violation of all international laws and decisions of international legitimacy that affirmed the illegality of settlement in the occupied territories.

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