The Israeli government says it is postponing the dismantlement of illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank, directly contradicting earlier promises to destroy the outposts.
The settlement of Givat Assaf is an illegal settlement, but the Israeli government will postpone dealing with calls for its demolition by about six months. The settlers occupying the property lobbied for the decision and will continue discussions with Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser and representatives of the State Prosecutor’s Office on the justification for the postponement.
Givat Assaf is one of six illegal settlements that the activist group Peace Now petitioned the High Court to order demolished. At first, the Israeli government said it would negotiate with the residents of the settlers for a voluntary evacuation, which never happened. Then the High Court ruled against the legality of the outposts and demolition seemed inevitable.
But political pressure on the Netanyahu administration and protests by pro-settler activists prevented the move. This also occurred in tandem with a rise in settler violence and harassment towards Palestinians – so called “price-tag” attacks – which also started to target Peace Now activists.
At this point, the issue has merely been kicked down the road. Meanwhile, the Israeli government termed its expansion of almost 2,000 new homes in East Jerusalem and the West Bank as retribution for Palestine’s UNESCO victory. This indicates the serious crime of collective punishment and is not helped by the ongoing presence of radical Jewish settlers in outposts like Givat Assaf.
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