While the Israeli government authorizes, and often heavily subsidizes, the construction of settler houses in the occupied West Bank, there are still thousands of homes built by settlers on other people’s land that are, even by Israeli reckoning, totally unauthorized and illegal.
But there are soon to be less of those, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that thousands of these unauthorized homes are about to be retroactively legalized, including some built decades ago. The Justice Ministry estimated this around 2,000 homes.
It is unclear what the Israeli government intends to do for the property owners who have found themselves with a suddenly authorized home belonging to someone else built on it. In general, the government has preferred to just dispossess the landowner, especially to the extent that they are Palestinians, and rule that the fact that someone else illegally built a house there is proof the land was “abandoned.” This is a particularly favored tactic when the land in question is on the wrong side of some Israeli wall, which physically prevents the owner accessing their own land.
This is mostly just the regular effort by the far-right government to keep the far-right settlers placated, something they’re always trying, but usually failing. Netanyahu says along with this effort will be some attempts to advance new construction and zone new industrial areas in settlements.
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