Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to legalise West Bank settler outposts if he is re-elected in the upcoming elections slated for 23 March, reported the Jerusalem Post.
He made the announcement during a visit to the illegal Givat Harel outpost in the occupied West Bank, pointing to 160 illegal West Bank outposts, of which 65 were constructed in the last eight years during his tenure.
He said: “I swear to you: If I create a strong right-wing government without a rotation, I will take care of the settlements and the authorisation of the young settlements [outposts].”
According to the left-wing group Peace Now, about 15 West Bank outposts have been legalised as new neighbourhoods of existing settlements while Netanyahu has been in office, while another ten are in the process of legalisation.
The Biden administration in the US has voiced opposition to Israel’s settlement expansion.
The Young Settlement Forum responded: “The Prime Minister’s statement to work to legitimise young settlements is an important step in correcting the great injustice done to the thousands of residents of the settlements who the state encouraged to settle the land but did not support properly once they had.”
“Now that all the right-wing parties expected to form the Israeli leadership in the coming years see the importance of legitimising the young settlements, we can see the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ and hope to see that action soon. We hope that soon, our children can live in safety and comfort like the rest of the country.”
The forum added: “We will judge politicians not by what they promise, but by what they deliver.”
Israeli authorities make a distinction between authorised settlements and unauthorised, or illegal outposts. Under international law, all such endeavours in the occupied Palestinian territory are illegal.