Netanyahu tells first graders he’ll annex West Bank settlements

Man in suit looks over a child as he writes on a whiteboard

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu marks the start of the academic year at the Kramim State Religious School in the Israeli settlement of Elkana. (via Twitter)

Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Sunday to Israeli first graders that he will annex settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Accompanied by Israeli education minister Rafi Peretz, the Israeli prime minister inaugurated the school year at the Kramim State Religious School in Elkana, a settlement built on land seized from the occupied West Bank village of Mas’ha.

“We will not uproot anyone here,” Netanyahu told the children.

“We will apply Jewish sovereignty over all communities as part of the land of Israel and the State of Israel.”

Israel’s transfer of its civilian population into colonial settlements built on occupied land is a war crime that falls under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.

The Israeli leader visited two more schools in the same settlement, the Ort Samaria High School for Girls and the Yoni Netanyahu School for Excellence, named after the prime minister’s brother.

Netanyahu promoted Israeli hostility towards Iran and its allies.

“Today we know that most of the terrorism comes from one source, is cultivated from one source, feeds off one source, is launched from one source and is organized from one source – and that is Iran,” he told schoolchildren.

Netanyahu was speaking on the same day an Israeli drone entered southern Lebanese airspace and dropped incendiary material.

Following this, the Lebanese resistance organization Hizballah opened fire on an Israeli military base across the border.

The resistance group said it damaged an Israeli army base and destroyed a military vehicle killing and injuring its occupants.

Netanyahu denied those claims, stating that “there are no Israeli injuries, not even a scratch.”

On Monday, Hizballah released a video it said shows its fighters firing two Kornet anti-tank missiles at the Israeli military vehicle:

Hizballah suggested its attack was in retaliation for Israel’s killing of two of the group’s members, Hasan Zabib and Yasser Daher, in an attack against a house used by its fighters in Syria last week.

The resistance group said Israeli military medics evacuated the wounded soldiers right under its nose, but it refrained from attacking in order to avoid an escalation.

A video of the alleged evacuation circulated on social media:

An RT correspondent entered the military base one day after it was struck by Hizballah to find it completely abandoned:

The broadcast shows military vehicles, clothes and bullet magazines left behind, with no guards or personnel.

Speaking to the pupils, Netanyahu asserted that “the US supports our efforts in Syria and in the region to confront those who champion our destruction.”

Both Israel and the US supported and even armed al-Qaida-linked militias in Syria.

Accepting apartheid

Netanyahu also told the children that Palestinians must accept Israel’s racist state ideology Zionism as a condition for peace.

“The Palestinians, in their refusal to recognize Zionism, are the root of the conflict, as is their refusal to recognize the rights of the Jews to settle in any part of the land of Israel and their repeated rejection of every possible solution,” he said.

Zionism is racist because it holds that Palestinians expelled from their cities and villages when Israel was established in 1948 should not be allowed to return to their homeland just because they are not Jews.

Settlements and demolitions

This was not the first time Netanyahu has vowed to annex Israeli settlements.

During Israel’s election campaign in April, Netanyahu promised voters that if re-elected he would annex more Israeli settlements in occupied territory.

Meanwhile, Israeli occupation forces continue to forcibly displace Palestinians from land they have lived on for decades.

Last week, Israeli forces demolished a home and a restaurant belonging to the Palestinian family of Kisiya near the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem.

The family was in a 15-year battle with a subsidiary of the Jewish National Fund, an official body that helps ethnically cleanse Palestinians from their land for Jewish-only settlements.

Israel’s high court ruled in favor of JNF in July, giving it the green light to take over the family’s land.

Israeli-operated LiuGong bulldozer demolishing the Palestinian property belong to the Qaisiya family between the occupied West Bank towns of Beit Jala and Battir. 

Abedalrahman Hassan APA images

The property is located in Area C, 60 percent of the West Bank that remains under full Israeli military control under the terms of the Oslo accords of the early 1990s.

The family possesses tax documents from when the West Bank was under Jordanian control before 1967, but that wasn’t enough evidence of ownership for Israel’s defense ministry.

The ministry denied the family building permits, forcing them to build on their land without one in 2005 and live in constant fear of demolition.

Himanuta, a subsidiary of JNF, claimed in 2017 that it had purchased the land 50 years ago.

The Israeli group Peace Now denied those claims, saying land registrations and transactions in that period tend to be inaccurate in their listings and exact locations.

Moreover, most land transactions involving Israel’s illegal efforts to colonize the occupied West Bank involve forgery and fraud.

The Kisiya family insists it never sold the land to anyone.

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It is disgraceful that our prime minister shares the bed of the war criminal, Netanyahu . It is a disgrace to Canada that we are indirectly supporting the genocide of the Palestinian people. It would be comparable to our country at the time of WWII supporting Hitler and being afraid to criticize the activities of the Nazi government. If anyone has any doubts about the comparison, examine the facts.

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Tamara Nassar

Tamara Nassar is an assistant editor at The Electronic Intifada.