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Israel: Four New Settlements To Be Created

Four New Settlements To Be Created - Protest Campaign Started


GUSH SHALOM - pob 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033 - http://www.gush-shalom.org/

Press Release

Oct.7: Four new settlements to be created in occupied territories

Four new settlements are about to be created on Sunday, October 7, at various points in the occupied territories. The pirate radio station "Channel 7", which operates illegally but unimpeded from studios at the settlement of Beit El, right next to the main Israeli Army Headquarters on the West Bank, is broadcasting continuous calls for settlers and their supporters to take part in mass ceremonies to be held, with the participation of rabbis and Knesset Members as the new settlers "take possession" on Sunday 7/10/01 at 1.00 PM.

Of the four new settlements, two - under the names "Har Ephraim" and "Har Hemed" are to be located near the existing settlement Kdumim, west of Nablus on the West Bank. ("Har Hemed" is the name given by the settlers to a plot of Palestinian-owned land at Jebl Muhammad, which they seized illegally some time ago.) A third settlement is due to be established near Beit Hagai in the Hebron region. A fourth new settlement is planned in the Gaza Strip, on the Mediterranean shore a short distance north of the Palestinian city of Rafah, which has been a major focus of recent unrest and confrontations between the Palestinian population and Israeli forces. The Channel-7 messages gave the phone number of the "action headquarters" where settler supporters can get further information, the Israeli toll-free number 1-800-24-36-36.

According to the settler communique, the creation of all four new settlements has been approved by the Sharon Government, which also guaranteed military protection to the new settlers and to convoys of supporters who are expected to come from different parts of the country and take part in the ceremonies of next Sunday. The government so far declined to comment, and a Gush Shalom inquiry sent on Sunday to Defence Minister Ben Eliezer got no response. Gush Shalom believes the settlers' assertion of government approval to be well- founded, given the record of the present government on settlement issues. For example, a few months ago Defence Minister Ben Eliezer gave his approval to the seizing of Palestinian land at El Khader Village near Bethlehem, and the creation on it of a new settlement named Giv'at Ha'atamar, with protests by the Palestinian land owners and Israeli peace activists being violently dispersed.

Just yesterday (Oct. 1), settlers from Ma'on settlement near Yata on the southern edge of the West Bank seized a plot of land belonging to Palestinian villagers of Umm al Shuhan and erected on it with military support a mobile home, a big water canister and an electricity box.

The Gush Shalom letter warned Defence Minister Ben Eliezer and the entire government that "implementation of the plan to create four new settlements on Sunday, Oct. 7, will be a major provocation at a most delicate and dangerous moment. It might irrevocably doom all efforts to stabilize a cease-fire and open the way to a major new escalation and bloodshed. It would also be a clear and unmistakable statement that the government of Israel has no real intention of adhering to the Mitchell Report which it verbally accepted; a fundamental element of that report's recommendations was a complete of freeze of Israeli settlement construction, judged an indispensable condition for resuming peace negotiations."

Should the government go ahead in allowing the Oct. 7 settlement plans and affording them military protection, Gush Shalom will join with other groups such as Peace Now in holding protest actions at the various settlement sites (details will follow in further messages).

Info: Adam Keller, Gush Shalom Spokesperson, 972-3-5565804 / 972-56-709603


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