Middle East Monitor / January 7, 2020
Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett yesterday vowed to demolish all Palestinian structures build without an impossible-to-obtain permit in “Area C” of the occupied West Bank, reported the Jerusalem Post.
Touring the Jordan Valley region of the occupied West Bank, Bennett joked: “I am not at the United Nations”, an apparent reference to the international legal consensus that settlements are illegal.
“I have a policy of fully supporting the settlements,” Bennett also said, while accompanied on his visit by senior settler leaders.
On Sunday, the report added, the interdepartmental Sovereignty Committee “held its first formal meeting”, having been established by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “to begin planning for the application of sovereignty” – i.e. annexation “over settlements in the Jordan Valley”.
“Such an application cannot be done by an interim government and must wait until a new government is formed,” the Jerusalem Post noted.
Israeli NGO Peace Now reported yesterday that authorities had advanced construction for 1,936 new homes in illegal settlements across the occupied West Bank, including more than 400 in two “illegal outposts” which are en route to being retroactively “authorised”.
The United Nations, meanwhile, published data showing a 45 per cent increase in the demolition and confiscation of Palestinian structures in the West Bank during 2019, compared to 2018.