The change could mean Israelis resettling four outposts in the northern occupied West Bank that were vacated in 2005.
The Israeli government has given the green light to an amendment that would allow Israelis to resettle four illegal settlements in the northern occupied West Bank that were vacated in 2005.
The second and third readings of the legislation were passed late Monday evening in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, by a majority of 31 votes to 18.
The development will allow Israelis to resettle in the evacuated settlements of Homesh, Sa-Nur, Kadim and Ganim, all of which are located around the Palestinian towns of Jenin and Nablus.
Although the government passed the amendment, the Israeli military has yet to issue a military order allowing Israelis to resettle in these areas.
Between 650,000 and 700,000 Israeli settlers live in hundreds of illegal Jewish settlements and outposts, the majority built in whole or in part on privately owned Palestinian land, scattered throughout occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
In August 2005, then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s disengagement plan saw Israel remove more than 9,000 settlers from 21 illegal settlements in the besieged Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank.
The new far-right Israeli government, sworn in late last year, has moved full steam ahead with legislation to legalize nine outposts and expand existing settlements.
Several top figures in the government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are themselves hardline settlers pursuing a more right-wing agenda, including Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who lives in Kedumim near Nablus, and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who lives in Kiryat Arba near Nablus. Hebron.
The evacuated settlement of Homesh in particular has been at the center of tensions between Palestinians and Israeli settlers, who have consistently sought to permanently restore the site.
While all Israeli settlements are considered illegal under international law, Homesh is also considered illegal under Israeli law, as the Supreme Court ruled that the land belonged to private Palestinian owners from the nearby village of Burqa.
Despite the evacuation of the outpost, the Israeli military maintains a military base on the site, and settlers are allowed to enter and operate a school there, while Palestinian landowners are prohibited from doing so.
A day before being sworn in, the new Israeli government declared that advancing and developing settlements “in all parts of the land of Israel,” including the West Bank, is a national priority, in a veiled admission that it had no intention of establishment of a Palestinian state.
On Monday, Smotrich, who oversees the Israeli army in the West Bank responsible for settlement construction, denied that Palestinians even exist.
On March 1, he said the Palestinian town of Huwara near Nablus “should be wiped out”, days after Israeli settlers carried out what was described as a “pogrom”, burning dozens of Palestinian homes and hundreds of cars, while one Palestinian man was killed and hundreds more injured.