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From the field

On The Way To Annexation: Human Rights Violations Resulting from the Establishment and Expansion of the Ma'aleh Adumim Settlement

Summary, June 1999

This report presents the human rights violations resulting from the establishment of settlements in the Occupied Territories and its consequences for the area's Palestinian residents. The founding and expansion of Ma'aleh Adumim. the largest of the settlements, are used to portray these violations and consequences. 

Ma'aleh Adumim, founded in 1975 and currently having some 25,000 residents, continues to grow Classified as a high priority development area, governmental benefits, like tax breaks and favorable mortgage terms, flow into the settlement. The settlement has a large industrial zone Its residents enjoy a high standard of living, modern infrastructure, green areas, advanced educational and cultural institutions, and numerous other services and institutions, all of which were established to benefit its residents and nearby Israeli settlers. 

But this is only part of the story. The area on which Ma'aleh Adumim was established and expanded is not under Israeli sovereignty, but lies on the West Bank, in occupied territory. Ma'aleh Adumim's residents are not from the locale: they are citizens of Israel, the occupant. The territory comprising the settlement was taken from the villages Abu Dis, al-'lzariyyeh, al-'lssawiyyeh, a-Tur, and 'Anata. Other expropriated lands are property on which the Jahalin and Sawahareh Bedouin tribes once lived. 

Ma'aleh Adumim's establishment did not lead to a wave of development, a high standard of living, comfortable living conditions, and tax breaks for these Palestinian villages and their residents Rather, the settlement meant loss of grazing and farming land and. in effect, loss of the agricultural way of life. Establishment of Ma'aleh Adumim also denied these villages the land reserves they needed for housing, industry, and public institutions. The settlement - with all the "regional services" that it offers - is closed to Palestinian residents of the area, except for those holding a special permit to enter the settlement for work only The Bedouin who lived in the area also lost their homes and the land on which they were constructed, and were expelled from the area by threats and physical force. 

This report examines the various components of Israel's policy within the context of international law. It also describes the condition of the Palestinian villages in the area prior to and after the land expropriation, as well as the expropriation procedure itself The report also discusses the Israeli legislation - civil and military - that enabled establishment of the settlements and their gradual annexation into Israel A separate section deals with the fate of the Jahalin Bedouin tribe, for whom expansion of Ma'aleh Adumim meant expulsion from the territory that provided their subsistence. The report then examines the plan to expand Ma'aleh Adumim, and ends with conclusions.