In a rare move, the Biden administration criticized Israel’s recent decision to let Jews establish a settlement in an area near the West Bank Hamesh outpost. The U.S. had previously encouraged Israel not to legitimize the outpost.
The decision was made last week when Yehuda Fuchs, the head of the Israeli military’s Central Command, signed a directive that permits Israelis to enter the HOmesh area. The directive could eventually lead to the construction of another settlement in the occupied West Bank. Israel’s expansion of established settlements into Palestinian territory is illegal under international law, according to Zerohedge.
The move will almost certainly lead to additional conflicts between the Israeli military and Palestinian resistance, something the U.S. State Department has been urging Israel to avoid by insisting that it not take such actions.
According to State Department Spokesperson, Matthew Miller, Washington is unnerved by Tel Aviv’s decision to legitimize the outpost with the illegal construction of a settlement in the region.
We are deeply troubled by teh Israeli government’s order that allows its citizens to establish a permanent presence in the Homesh outpost in the northern West Bank, which according to Israeli law was illegally built on private Palestinian land. This order is inconsistent with both former Prime Minister Sharon’s written commitment to the Bush Administration in 2004 adn the current Israeli government’s commitments to the Biden Administration. Advancing Israeli settlements in the West Bank is an obstacle to the achievement of a two-state solution.
We are also concerned by today’s provocative visit to the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif in Jerusalem and the accompanying inflammatory rhetoric. This holy space should not be used for political purposes, and we call on all parties to respect its sanctity…U.S. State Department
According to Hebrew media last month, the Israeli Knesset passed its third reading of a bill that would lift a ban that has prevented settlers from returning to four settlements in the occupied West Bank. The settlements include Homesh, Ganim, Kadim, and Sa-Nur.
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The former settlements were evacuated in 2005 due to the ‘disengagement’ law which removed Israeli forces from the Gaza strip and saw the evacuation of several Gaza settlements as well as others in the northern occupied West Bank. Last December, Israeli lawmakers introduced legislation to lift the ban and reestablish four of the former settlements.
Back in January, Israel’s High Court gave Netanyahu’s government 90 days to justify its reason for having not dismantled the Homesh settlement and complied with the Disengagement Law. Netanyahu’s government was already planning to lift segments of the law as part of a long-term plan to legalize settlements affected by the law, including the one at the Homesh outpost.
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