Israel to authorize nine ‘wild’ West Bank Jewish settlements

AFP  /  February 13, 2023

Security cabinet announces recognition of areas built without Israeli authorization, after series of attacks in East Jerusalem.

Israel’s security cabinet has announced it will authorize nine Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank after a series of attacks in East Jerusalem, including one that killed three Israelis.

“In response to the murderous terrorist attacks in Jerusalem, the security cabinet decided unanimously to authorize nine communities in Judea and Samaria,” the office of the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said in a statement on Sunday that included the name Israel uses for the West Bank.

“These communities have existed for many years, some have existed for decades,” it said.

The so-called “wild” settlements were built without authorization from the Israeli government.

“The civil administration higher planning committee will be convened in the coming days to approve the construction of new residential units in existing communities in Judea and Samaria [West Bank],” the statement said.

It said the “security cabinet had made a series of additional decisions in the framework of the determined fight against terrorism” including strengthening security forces in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu said earlier on Sunday during a meeting of his government that he wanted to “strengthen settlements”, which are illegal under international law.

More than 475,000 Jewish Israelis live in Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which is home to 2.8 million Palestinians.

Netanyahu also announced that his government wanted to submit legislation to parliament this week to revoke the Israeli nationality of “terrorists”.

The measures apply to Israeli Palestinians and Palestinians with resident status in East Jerusalem, part of the city annexed by Israel.

The announcements come amid an outbreak of Israeli-Palestinian violence.

A Palestinian killed three Israelis, including two children, in an attack on Friday in Ramot, a Jewish settlement neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, and Israeli forces killed a Palestinian teenager in a raid in the northern West Bank on Sunday.

The conflict has claimed the lives of at least 46 Palestinians since the beginning of the year, including combatants and civilians, nine Israeli civilians and one Ukrainian woman, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli and Palestinian sources.