The Issue of 15 May - 15 June 2023
Issue Number 2
Return of settlers to the northern West Bank after amending the disengagement law.
the Editors of the issue
Razi Nabulsi
Ahmad Ezzeddin As'ad
Majdi al-Malki
Sawsan Samara
Rami Rayess


During the reporting period, the Israeli occupation forces executed 12 martyrs in the West Bank. Their average age was 25.7 years. Among them was a child martyr, Muhammad Haitham Al-Tamimi, aged two and a half years, after the occupation forces targeted the vehicle carrying him and his father, who was seriously injured. It is important to note that the Israeli military prosecution did not file any indictment against the soldiers and merely took “disciplinary” steps. In addition, 33 martyrs were martyred during the Israeli aggression on Gaza, including 6 children and 3 women. About 150 Palestinians from Gaza were injured. As for the raids that take place daily in Palestine, punctuated by arrests, the occupation forces arrested 412 Palestinians during the reporting period. Regarding settler attacks, the settlers were able to displace the Bedouin community of Ain Samiya, following five consecutive years of attacks on families and their children. They moved to an unknown location.

In this issue of the report, two basic trends emerge in racist Israeli policies during the reporting period: The first is an operational trend, as the occupation seeks to resume settlements in the northern West Bank, specifically in the area south of Nablus and Jenin. The second is a clear legal approach aiming to put restrictions on the Palestinians in the 1948 territories and restore aspects of military rule. Returning to threats on the ground, the Knesset last month amended the “disengagement” law, - under which Israel withdrew from the northern West Bank and Gaza-, allowing the return of settlers to the northern West Bank. Although their presence there was previously prohibited under the law, settlers stormed the area directly, with the help and under the blessing of the army and rebuilt for the first time the “Homesh” settlement outpost, erected on the lands of the Palestinian village of Burqa. They transferred the buildings that were built on private Palestinian lands to lands called “state lands,” in order to legally institutionalize the outpost before the court. The Israeli Supreme Court usually orders the evacuation of settlements built on private land, as this conflicts with the “right of property” guaranteed by international law, and the Supreme Court is trying to comply with it.

In the legal field, there appears to be a government tendency to narrow the margin of political and legal action for the Palestinians in the 1948 territories, who are citizens of the State of Israel and have legal status. It appears that there is a tendency to grant the Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben Gvir, powers similar, to a very large extent, to the powers of the military governor in the West Bank, including the power to order administrative arrests, as well as confiscate passports from Palestinians in the 1948 territories, something that was only prevailing in Israel in the framework of military rule and upon military orders only. This comes in addition to criminalizing the raising of the Palestinian flag and strengthening the role of the General Security Service “Shin Bet” in monitoring educational curricula, schools, and teachers, which was openly and blatantly widespread during the military rule, and gradually declined in an explicit manner, although the Shin Bet never stopped interfering in the curricula of Arab schools inside Israel. Yet publicly legislating and encouraging this interference represents a clear and direct return to the period of military rule. In addition, the “Judaization of the Galilee” project, which is an old Israeli project that was unearthed by the current government, targets the Palestinian presence in the Galilee in the interest of encouraging, singularizing, and publicly supporting the Jewish presence.

To understand this separation between the operational and the legal fields, one must take into account that Israel is targeting two Palestinian areas through these policies, each of which has its own specificities and different tools of control. Developments on the ground in settlement matters seek to transform the annexation of the West Bank into a fait accompli without a declaration, which is compatible with the circumstances in the West Bank, where there is military rule, settlement expansion, and the trend towards resolution. As for the legal developments, they target the Palestinians in the 1948 territories, who are “citizens” holding Israeli citizenship, and therefore are being targeted through legal and political tools. This shows that in the end, despite the various tools to control the Palestinians, the goal is clear and one: to strengthen Jewish hegemony and target the Palestinian presence and existence on the ground and in the public sphere.

Settlement and Land Control:

  • Following 5 years of successive attacks, the settlers were able, through terrorism, to displace the residents of the village of Ain Samiya, who were about 200 Palestinians. According to the testimony provided to Haaretz newspaper by Khader, a village resident, the inhabitants left their town for fear of successive settler attacks and the intimidation of young children, who asked to move due to their inability to stay and their fear for their lives. He added that settlers had been arriving recently and throwing stones at the homes and tents inhabited by the residents, while children were present at the site. According to Khader, the army moved them to this site, after they had previously lived on the hill on which the “Kochav HaShahar” settlement was built, and from which the settlers were attacking. This shows that the group was pushed from the top of the hill to the bottom, and then again, displaced alongside their families to an unknown place through intimidation.

  • The settlers, accompanied and protected by the army, and with the approval of the minister of defense and the prime minister, moved the “religious school” building in the “Homesh” settlement, evacuated as part of the disengagement plan, to a very nearby plot of land defined as “state land,” and replaced the mobile building with a fixed one. This step represents the start of the establishment of the settlement outpost and the so-called “return” to the areas of the northern West Bank from which Israel withdrew within the framework of the “disengagement” plan in coordination with the United States. This step came after the government coalition amended the “disengagement” law, which prevented settlers from entering the area. The northern West Bank was excluded from the law, allowing settlers to return and settle there. The “religious school” had previously been built on private Palestinian land, and therefore, it was threatened with eviction. Moving it to “state land” makes it more stable before Israeli law, which indicates the government’s intention to support return and settlement in the area and rebuild the evacuated settlements.

In this context, it is important to point out that moving the “religious school” from private land does not liberate the land, but rather increases the risk. These private lands become enclaves within the settlement that is expected to be established around the “religious school”, and large lands are confiscated through security, fencing, expansion, and settler violence.

  • On May 24, settlers attacked the town of Burqa, northwest of Nablus, days after the commander of the central region decided to allow their presence in the northern West Bank, as part of the amended “disengagement” law. Dozens of Palestinians were injured in the attack, including by live bullets, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent. In addition, Palestinian vehicles were burned, and firecrackers were shot at homes. Sources indicated that the attack came as punishment to the inhabitants for receiving a delegation from the European Union and explaining to them what the residents of the region were enduring due to settler attacks. Settlers’ vehicles also bulldozed the lands of Jabal al-Qubaybat in the town of Burqa, northwest of Nablus, on which the “Homesh” settlement, which was evacuated based on the disengagement law in 2005, was built. In addition, an assault targeted headstones in a cemetery in the town of Burqa.

  • The Israeli government informed the US administration of its intention to build thousands of settlement units in the West Bank, according to an article published by journalist Barak Ravid on the “Walla” website, and confirmed by 3 senior officials in the US administration as well as the Israeli government.
  • On May 30, settlers attacked the village of Jalud in the northern West Bank. During the attack, the settlers tried to burn 7 houses, but did not succeed in burning all of them, so they only burned one house, after smashing the windows of the other houses inside the town. This took place after they besieged the village and attacked its residents for two full hours. They later withdrew without being held accountable, leaving the village in a state of panic following this fierce attack.
  • On June 7, settlers from the “Peduel” settlement stole 14 sheep belonging to the Palestinian Adnan Shehadeh al-Deek from the town of Kafr al-Deek, west of Salfit.
  • On June 10, settlers attacked Palestinian citizens in Hebron (Al-Hossein Neighborhood, Jaber Neighborhood, and Al-Shuhada Street). In Yat, settlers unleashed their dogs on the residents, threw stones, and sprayed pepper gas on them. The settlers also assaulted and beat a young man, Ahmed Al-Shawahin, while he was herding sheep in Masafer Yatta. Settlers from the "Kdumim" settlement established on the lands of the town of Kafr Qaddum, gathered near (Jabal Al-Kadan) north of the town and attempted to storm the area under the protection of occupation soldiers.
  • -Settlers set up tents on residents’ lands in Deir Dagla, south of the town of Deir Ballut, west of Salfit, on lands owned by inhabitants of the western town of Lubban. They set up tents and raised occupation flags and banners with racist slogans written on them, in preparation for seizing the lands there.

Politicians and Racism:

  • Israeli Minister of Justice Yariv Levin said during a cabinet meeting that “Arabs are buying houses in Jewish towns in the Galilee, which is pushing Jews to leave these towns as they are not ready to live with Arabs. We must seek to include judges in the Supreme Court who understand this.” This statement contains, firstly, an indication of the widespread racism within Israeli society, and secondly an indication of the government’s intention to give this racism institutional legal dimensions, ensuring its continuation and giving it the necessary cover.
  • The minister of finance and minister in the Israeli defense ministry, Bezalel Smotrich, instructed the various ministries to begin the process of transferring half a million settlers to the West Bank, to be added to the existing numbers of settlers there. Smotrich considered this goal to be one of the "core goals" of the current government. In this context, the Minister instructed to begin expanding the infrastructure in the West Bank to be able to accommodate the new settlers. In addition, Smotrich directed orders to open roads and expand structures in all areas inhabited by Jews in the West Bank, including the settlements that are considered by Israel “illegal” and called settlement outposts, regardless of the legal status of these groupings.

Laws and Legislation:

  • On June 7, the Knesset plenum approved expanding the powers of the so-called “admission committees” in Israel. The “Admission Committees” law was enacted on March 22, 2011, and gives agricultural and public towns the ability to form “admission committees” consisting of five people, who can accept or reject candidates to buy housing or land plots in the town. They have absolute powers and include a representative of the Jewish Agency for Israel, or the Zionist Congress, which are quasi-governmental institutions admitting they exclusively work to serve the Jews. This law is one of the most important laws that allows the exclusion of Palestinians inside Israel. The law previously applied to towns whose population did not exceed 400 households (475 towns). Members of Parliament from the opposition supported the proposed bill.

The bill approves the expansion of the law to include all towns with a population of up to 1,000 households, and also expands it to apply to areas of the West Bank. Although settlements in the West Bank are already surrounded in the form of military barracks that do not even allow Palestinians to enter, the entry into force of the law in the West Bank is considered a step on the path to annexation, which the current government is implementing, without officially announcing it.

  • The Knesset approved in preliminary reading a draft law targeting the Palestinian flag and prohibiting the raising of what is considered, by Israel, to be a flag representing a “hostile party” . It allows actual imprisonment as a punishment. If the bill is approved in third reading, it will be possible to arrest anyone who raises the Palestinian flag. According to the bill, it will be possible to arrest any person who, in a gathering of more than three participants, raises the flag of a country or entity that is not friendly to Israel or does not allow the flag of Israel to be raised in their country. This gathering will be considered illegal and can be legally dispersed. In practice, if this bill is added to another draft-law submitted by Son Har-Melech, a representative of the Jewish Power Party, which stipulates that any university student be removed from college for a period of 30 days for raising the Palestinian flag, and that they may be removed completely if the act is repeated, we witness a process of blatant persecution of Palestinian symbols to completely prevent their presence in the public sphere.
  • On Wednesday, June 8, the Knesset plenum approved in preliminary reading two draft laws granting soldiers discharged from the army preference edge to work in state services corps. The bill is considered racist because it aims to exclude Palestinian citizens of Israel, as the compulsory military service law does not apply to them, and military service in the army conflicts with their Palestinian affiliation. In addition, the bill links military service with the right to work, which is a condition for acquiring rights that are supposed to be natural for any citizen, without preconditions and political or moral concessions.
  • The Knesset National Security Committee chair, Zvika Fogel, from the “Jewish Power” party, submitted a draft law allowing National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir to sign administrative detention orders. According to the bill, Ben Gvir will have the authority to issue administrative detention orders, upon a recommendation from the Police Inspector General: “I believe that there is a probability amounting to almost certainty that the safety of the public will be in danger if the person is not imprisoned.” The bill also grants Ben Gvir broad powers, such as restricting freedom of travel and movement, preventing a person from being present in specific areas, and forcing them to be present in others, without being convicted of any charge. In practice, the bill grants Ben Gvir powers similar to those of the defense minister in the West Bank and can be used against Palestinian citizens of Israel, especially since the minister is known for his hostility towards Palestinians and Arabs. Usually, administrative detention orders are not issued against Palestinians in the 1948 territories, except in very rare cases, and by order of the Home Front Commander. The bill is considered a dangerous precedent that gives the Israeli police and the minister in charge of the police the ability to kidnap and arrest Palestinian “citizens” without any trial.
  • Member of the Knesset from the Yesh Atid party, Elazer Stern, submitted a draft law requiring agricultural towns to take in only those who have completed military or national service, as part of the government’s efforts of what is called in Israel “the Judaization of the Galilee,” a term that describes efforts to strengthen the Jewish presence in the Galilee at the expense of the Palestinian Arab presence. It is important to note that Stern is a prominent figure in the Israeli opposition, which is today led by the Yesh Atid Party, the largest opposition party in the current government.
  • On May 31, the Knesset approved, in preliminary reading, two draft laws strengthening security oversight over schools and teachers in the Palestinian Arab community in the 1948 territories. The aim of the two bills is to deepen the intervention of the Internal Security Service, “Shin Bet”, in screening Arab teachers and facilitating the process of their dismissal in case of “identification with terrorist organizations.” The first draft law submitted by Amit Halevi, a Knesset member from the Likud Party, requires granting permits to schools that adhere to the Israeli educational curriculum. This is in addition to a security check for anyone who applies for a teaching certificate. Obtaining the certificate requires the absence of “security files.” As for the other draft law, it stipulates the formation of a committee that will be authorized to dismiss teachers or educational personnel who have ties to “terrorist organizations” or belong to “terrorist organizations,” according to the text of the bill. It must be noted here that the current Israeli government is moving in the direction of considering Palestinian symbols and raising them, such as the flag, as “terrorism,” which is viewed as targeting the political identity of Palestinians in the 1948 territories and limiting their study of history as Israel views and understands it.

Crimes and Violations:

  • Israeli incursions into Palestinian villages, cities and camps are repeated on a daily basis. During the past four weeks, the raids were concentrated in the governorates of Nablus, Jenin, and Jericho, with a focus on specific areas, such as Balata Camp and the Old City in Nablus, Jenin Camp and the town of Ya'bad in Jenin, and Aqabat Jabr Camp in Jericho. The repeated raids aim at assassinating Palestinian residents, arresting citizens, demolishing Palestinian homes and facilities, or confiscating surveillance camera recordings. The raids may seek to implement a number of procedures and practices mentioned in the report. They come as a punitive Israeli policy for Palestinian society and Palestinian citizens, as well as a permanent attempt to impose Israeli colonial sovereignty and implement the “Israeli security long arm” policy, which is capable of oppressing, torturing, and brutalizing the Palestinian people, their institutions, as well as their social, economic, and cultural structures.

  • Permanent sky invasion or colonial cyber hegemony; The occupation army revealed it began officially using an intelligence system in the West Bank, after an experimental phase that lasted more than two years. This system can monitor stone throwing operations and threats coming from high grounds. This intelligence system is called the “Ronin System”. It relies on a squadron of small drones flying in the skies of the West Bank and operates in a smart way; seconds after entering the coordinates of the target to be tracked, the drone takes off and tracks it, broadcasting video of the target it is monitoring to three tablets in the possession of field forces. It was explained that the operation of this system aimed to provide an operational response to the threat coming from high grounds and the roofs of tall buildings as well as convey information about suspects to the forces carrying out the raids. The occupation army indicated that the Ronin system entered service throughout the West Bank, after it passed the trial period it underwent in the city of Hebron and its surroundings since 2020. It bears the name of the soldier from the “Duvdevan” unit - the Arabists - who was killed in the Al-Am’ari camp five years ago.
  • The Association for Arab Youth “Baladna”, which is active in the field of strengthening Palestinian identity in the 1948 territories, reported successive persecutions by the Internal Security Agency “Shin Bet” of young people active in the association in the Negev region, specifically the “Baladna Negev” group affiliated with the association. The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Adalah) sent a letter to the Attorney General regarding these violations. In this context, the Shin Bet disrupted the holding of various events, through policies of threats, intimidation, and persecution of young men.
  • On June 8, the occupation forces handed the families of prisoner Maher Salah Shaloun a demolition notice for their house located in Aqabat Jabr camp, south of Jericho. They also announced the cessation of work on five residential facilities in the Burj area in the northern Jordan Valley, and the evacuation of the family of citizen Adel Nasr Haroub, consisting of nine individuals, from their homes in Khirbet Ibziq in the northern Jordan Valley. The occupation authorities also notified the municipality of Al-Zawiya, west of Salfit, of the confiscation of 96 dunums of town land located behind the apartheid wall. The occupation forces suppressed a support rally with the Sab Laban family in the Old City of Jerusalem, which was against the decision to forcefully displace the family. The occupation forces seized a bulldozer while it was used to reclaim land near the Ziv area, south of Hebron. The West Bank and Jerusalem witnessed an arrest campaign that targeted 31 citizens, including 16 citizens from the town of Beita near Nablus.

  • The Israeli Military Prosecution decided to close the investigation into the criminal case of Israeli soldiers involved in abusing the 80-year-old Palestinian Omar Asaad, which led to his martyrdom on January 12, 2022, without filing an indictment, and only taking “disciplinary” steps. The soldiers from the "Netzah Yehuda" unit detained Asaad, handcuffed him, beat him, and then left him to bleed to death in the extreme cold.
  • The occupation forces stormed the city of Ramallah on June 9, specifically the Old City, in order to blow up the house of prisoner Islam Al-Faroukh. The Israeli raid resulted in 31 injuries, 20 of which were caused by live bullets. The occupation soldiers targeted the press crews. Palestinian photojournalist, Momen Samreen, was shot in the head, and photojournalist, Rabih Al-Munir, was hit with a rubber-coated metal bullet in the abdomen. The occupation forces blew up Al-Faroukh’s family home, which is located in a residential building in “Ramallah” neighborhood, which is one of the densest neighborhoods in the city of Ramallah. The building consists of four floors and houses his parents and four siblings.
  • On June 11, Israeli occupation forces stormed the archaeological site in the village of Sebastia and conducted surveys at the site. This is viewed as a continuous process targeting the archaeological area in Sebastia, as the occupation intends to confiscate it, close it, and turn it into a commercial complex. It will be closed to the Palestinians due to the settlers’ attacks and their control over the area, which will push the Palestinians out. The previous report indicated that this was the beginning of an ongoing operation targeting the archaeological area, which will be strengthened during the current month.
  • The Israeli occupation forces targeted the town of Ya'bad, near Jenin, and intensified their military raid against the town on June 13. They carried out arrests and raids on homes and set up military checkpoints at the entrances to the town, tightening the siege and preventing the movement of citizens therein. The occupation soldiers seized a vehicle and confiscated surveillance camera recordings.

  • On June 14, the Israeli occupation forces stormed the city of Nablus from several fronts and surrounded the family home of prisoner Osama al-Taweel in the Rafidia area. A number of casualties occurred, and the occupation forces ran over a young man from the city. On the same day, an Israeli special force infiltrated the city of Jenin and kidnapped a young man from the camp. Likewise, an Israeli special force infiltrated the Dheisheh camp on June 13 and arrested a young man in front of the camp entrance.
  • On May 1, the occupation forces stormed the village of Nabi Saleh, northwest of Ramallah, ambushed a car and opened fire. This resulted in a two-year old child being injured by a bullet in the head, and the father being injured in the shoulder, as they were standing in front of their house near the scene of the incident. A few days later, the child died. It is worth mentioning that the military prosecution merely took “disciplinary” steps against the soldiers, without requesting any indictment or trial for any of the soldiers who executed the child and seriously injured his father.
  • 380 settlers stormed the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque on the anniversary of the so-called “Feast of the Revelation of the Torah” (Shavuot), under the protection of the occupation forces. The occupation forces deployed in the courtyards of the mosque to secure the settlers’ provocative incursions and tours, after calling on the so-called “temple groups” to carry out mass incursions into Al-Aqsa. The settlers performed Talmudic rituals, in addition to dances and chants at the doors of the mosque and in the Old City. The occupation forces prevented those under the age of fifty from entering Al-Aqsa to perform the evening and dawn prayers, in a pre-emptive step to secure settler incursions, so inhabitants performed prayers at the gates of Al-Aqsa.

  • The Zionist flag march, organized by settlers, stormed Bab Al-Amud area on May 18, 2023. Ministers and Knesset members from the government coalition participated in this settler march, led by National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, Minister of Transport Miri Regev, Chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign and Defense Committee Yuli Edelstein, Minister for the Negev and Galilee Yitzhak Wasserlauf, in addition to representatives in the Knesset from the Likud, Religious Zionism, and Jewish Power parties.

Martyrs and Wounded:

  • On May 22, the occupation forces stormed Balata camp and opened fire, which led to the martyrdom of 3 citizens: Fathi Jihad Abdul Salam Abu Rizq, 30 years old, Abdullah Yousef Muhammad Abu Hamdan, 24 years old, and Muhammad Bilal Muhammad Zaytoun, 32 years old. Six others were injured.
  • On May 24, a child, Abdullah Al-Dakhil, 15 years old, resident of the city of Nablus, was martyred as a result of serious injuries he sustained during the attack of the occupation forces against Nablus.
  • On June 9, Ismail Ayyad, 60 years old, a resident of Al-Zaytoun neighborhood in Gaza, was martyred. He had been injured during the aggression on Gaza.

Arrests and Detention Cases:

  • As part of the ongoing series of Israeli arrests in Palestine, the occupation forces arrested 412 Palestinian citizens belonging to different age and social groups from different areas of the West Bank and Jerusalem between May 15 and June 15.
  • On June 2, the occupation forces arrested children and foreign activists. They arrested 3 children from the town of Ya'bad, southwest of Jenin as well as foreign activists during their clampdown on a peaceful event demanding the reopening and rehabilitation of the Carmel Road in Masafer Yatta, south of Hebron.
  • In the Gaza Strip, on Wednesday, June 14, the Israeli occupation forces arrested at dawn five Palestinian fishermen at sea. They pursued them and then opened machine-gun fire in their direction. The occupation forces destroyed their fishing equipment, seized the fishermen’s boats, and prevented them from continuing their work. They also seized the boats of fishermen detained at sea in North Gaza Governorate.

Sources of Rased issue
WAFA - Palestinian News Agency, Daily Violations and Arrests Monitor
Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel
Madar Center - Legal Monitor
Institute for Palestine Studies
Israeli newspapers and magazines
Palestinian newspapers and magazines