OCCUPIED-AL-QUDS: Israel’s settler movement celebrated Tuesday after parliament annulled part of a law banning them from living in areas of the occupied West Bank the government evacuated in...
OCCUPIED-AL-QUDS: Israel’s settler movement celebrated Tuesday after parliament annulled part of a law banning them from living in areas of the occupied West Bank the government evacuated in 2005.
That year the government of Ariel Sharon oversaw a unilateral withdrawal by Israel from the Gaza Strip, and the removal of Jewish settlers from the Palestinian enclave and four settlements in the northern West Bank.
Legislation passed at the time barred Israelis from staying in those areas, but an amendment approved by lawmakers overnight permits Israelis to return to the West Bank settlement sites near the city of Nablus.
The parliamentary vote notably paves the way for Israeli authorities to formally allow settlers to return to Homesh, the only one of the four sites whose residents were forcibly removed before their homes were demolished.
The United Nations asserts that all Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, a charge the government disputes. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power in December, at the helm of one of the most right-wing administrations in the country’s history. Amid a surge in violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the UN Security Council last month called on all parties to “refrain from provocative actions”.
The council in a February 20 statement expressed its “strong opposition to all unilateral measures that impede peace -- including Israeli construction and expansion of settlements, confiscation of Palestinians´ land and the ´legalisation´ of settlement outposts.”