Israel continues to illegally push settlement expansion, despite continued international condemnation. More Palestinian land in the West Bank has been seized for extremist Israeli settlers with the backing of the Israeli Prime Minister. Amona is an Israeli colony in the West Bank that was, as with most settlements, built illegally on private Palestinian land. With the support of the Israeli government, this outpost will be moved to a new site, gaining unlawful control of prime Palestinian land.
The Israeli government has provided US $34 million to cover the costs, US $18.1 million of which will fund the building of a new settlement on land in the West Bank town of Silwad. In a meeting on Monday Netanyahu stated that, “Amona is just the beginning. We will continue to strengthen and develop settlements.”
Further to this strategy of illegal outpost manoeuvring, another method used to displace Palestinians is the use of military training exercises. Fifteen Palestinian families in the Jordan Valley were evacuated yesterday for military training exercises. These evacuations make Palestinians leave by force, with the looming threat of destruction of their homes and property if they do not. Military training exercises in the Jordan Valley have increased dramatically since 2012 also and are a tool for expulsion of Palestinians.
The EU has voiced concerns about Israel’s attempts at annexation of the West Bank, and the aggressive expansion of illegal settlements. Others in the international community have echoed these concerns, which are particularly serious as officials are attempting to legitimise illegal settlements through Israeli legislature. Despite these concerns from the international community, attempts to annexe the West Bank continue. Settlements contribute to the system of illegal and immoral occupation under which Palestinians live. The entire international community, and in particular those who have spoken out about the lawlessness of settlements, must take action to ensure settlement building stops. Not only is it unethical, it is a clear obstruction to any remaining chances for peace.
22nd December 2016