A new report from Peace Now covering the first half of 2016 notes that Israel is in the process of legalizing another 14 illegally constructed settlements in the occupied West Bank, covering some 314 homes. This is in addition to such outposts already approved in recent years.
While all West Bank settlements are illegal under international law, Israel’s government supporters most of the ventures. This is less true of the illegal outposts, which are built on land not even nominally purchased from its original owners. Such outposts tend to be even more right-wing than most settler movements, and in many cases are built with an eye toward hassling nearby Palestinian towns and villages.
Though such outposts are illegal even in the eyes of the Israeli government and most have been repeatedly ordered evacuated and demolished by the Israeli High Court, in practice they are still supported by the military and other government ministries, which heavily subsidize all settler endeavors.
Israel’s far-right government, heavily dependent on political support from the settlers, also has a history of repeatedly ignoring court orders to evacuate, and ultimately finding some pretext to retroactively legalize any such construction.
Peace Now, an Israeli NGO which sees the settlements as a major obstacle to a two-state agreement, has warned that the government’s policy of retroactive legalization encourages such illegal outposts, with many of the settlers believing they can throw up an outpost more or less wherever they want, secure in the knowledge that no matter how illegal it is, the government will eventually sign off on it.
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