Israel announces 3,000 more settlement units

Israeli government officials announced plans Nov. 30 to build 3,000 settlement units in the so-called E-1 area of the occupied West Bank—a day after Palestine was admitted to the UN as an observer state in a vote opposed by the US and Israel. E1, lying between Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim settlement bloc, is a particularly contentious area, as Palestinian leaders say settlements there will divide the West Bank and prevent the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said he plans to “promote planning and construction” in the E-1 area.

The US State Department issued requisite protest of the announcement. The Palestinian Authority maintains it will not resume peace talks unless Israel freezes all settlement building. Israel agreed to freeze settlement building as part of the 2003 “roadmap for peace.” Yet Israel accused the Palestinians of violating peace agreements by seeking their new UN status, and warned after the vote that it would respond accordingly. (Ma’an News AgencyGlobal Post, BBC News, Al Jazeera, Nov. 30)

  1. Hundreds attend Hebron funeral of killed teenager
    Hundreds of people flocked to the funeral of a Palestinian teenager killed in the southern West Bank on Dec. 13. Muhammad al-Salaymeh was shot dead by an Israeli border guard in Hebron’s Old Citythe day before, his 17th birthday. Hebron governor Kamel Hmaid and Palestinian parliamentary speaker Aziz Dweik also participated in the funeral.

    Al-Salaymeh’s family said Israeli forces prevented them from burying Muahmmad in the al-Raas cemetery next to their home as it is close to an Israeli settlement, Kiryat Arba. The funeral procession instead headed from al-Ansar mosque before laying him to rest in a cemetery in Limboa in the north of the city.

    Earlier Dec. 13, five people, including four teenagers, were hospitalized after clashes with Israeli forces in Hebron after Muhammad’s death. (Ma’an News Agency, Dec. 13)

    The female Border Patrol officer who fatally shot a Palestinian teen in Hebron the night before said she is content with how she performed her duty, even as it emerged that Mohammed Al-Salaymeh was armed only with a toy pistol.

    “It didn’t change it for me, because in those same moments you don’t have time to think or be confused. For me it was a real pistol in every sense of the word pointed at my soldier and it’s my responsibility to act, because if I don’t  kill him my friend will be killed, and I won’t let this happen,” said the woman known only as “N.”  (JP, Dec. 13)

    Thousands of Hamas supporters rallied in Nablus Dec. 13—the first Hamas rally on the West Bank since the movement’s violent split from Fatah in 2007. (Ma’an, Dec. 13)