A green light for occupation – and annexation of the West Bank?

Trump’s support emboldened the Government of Israel which according to Amnesty International authorised 6,219 settler homes in the year up to Feb 1. On Feb 7 it secured the approval of its controversial Regularisation Law, which retroactively legalized homes built on privately owned Palestinian land. In effect, this Bill legalises theft, and it could prove to be a step towards annexation of most of the West Bank. Three Israeli NGOs (Peace Now, Yesh Din and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel) said they intended to petition the Supreme Court to cancel this Law.

UNOCHA figures for January 2017 also show a sharp upturn in the numbers of Palestinian buildings demolished or seized, vis-à-vis previous Januaries, and over 50% higher than the monthly average in 2016.


The ongoing expulsion of Bedouins remains a major story in both the West Bank and the State of Israel.

On 19th Feb, Israel issued 42 stop work orders for an entire Bedouin village, Khan al-Ahmar, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, declaring it a closed military zone. Ironically, no works were currently underway, but they were upgraded on 5th March to 42 demolition orders affecting 140 structures. The community was given seven days to execute the orders, i.e. to self-demolish all their homes and the school. An injunction has been filed to stop the demolition, but the Judge is a right-wing settler, so prospects are not good.

Home demolition

Home demolition, Palestine

Khan al-Ahmar is one of the 46 Bedouin communities that Israeli occupation forces are seeking to forcibly transfer in order to implement its E1 plan, which refers to a twelve-kilometre stretch of Area C land [1] situated between the illegal settlement of Ma’ale Adumim and Jerusalem. The E1 plan would see the erection of a contiguous bloc of illegal settlements, which would divide the northern and southern West Bank and smother any hopes of the creation of a viable Palestinian state. The events in Khan al-Ahmar are not unique, given that last year the Israeli army demolished 872 structures in Area C, leaving 6,088 Palestinians homeless.

[1] Area C is the part of the West Bank where the Israeli military has enjoyed undisputed control since the Oslo Accords of 1993. Area C constitutes 60% of total area of the West Bank and is the part most prone to annexation by Israel.