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News > Palestine

West Bank Israeli Colonies Expand as Gaza War Continues

  • Israeli settlers wielding rifles and machetes burned Palestinian homes, Dec. 27, 2023.

    Israeli settlers wielding rifles and machetes burned Palestinian homes, Dec. 27, 2023. | Photo: X/ @Megatron_ron

Published 5 January 2024

The war have provided an opportunity for settlers to gain control over extensive areas in Area C.

On Friday, Peace Now, Israel's largest and longest standing pressure movement for a two-state solution and ending the occupation, denounced that Israeli settlements in the West Bank have expanded at an unprecedented rate since October 2023.


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“The three months of war in Gaza are being exploited by settlers to establish facts on the ground and effectively take control of extensive areas in Area C," the Israeli NGO denounced.

"Settlers decide where to build roads and outposts continuously, disregarding the legal status of the land. They persist in constructing outposts on private Palestinian lands, defining open areas, and restricting Palestinian movement in the West Bank.”

“The permissive military and political environment allows the reckless construction and land seizure almost unchecked, with minimal adherence to the law. The result is not only physical harm to Palestinians and their lands but also a significant political shift in the West Bank. The unchecked rampage of the settlers must be stopped now,” it added.

Since 2023, the Israeli government has been implementing an aggressive policy of settler expansion through several of its ministers, who are either settlers or have close connections to settlers.

In February, Israeli authorities regularized nine settlements in the West Bank that were built without state permission. This happened in retaliation for an attack on Jerusalem in which three Israelis were killed.

This decision provoked strong criticism from the United Nations and even the United States because this regularization annulled the possibility of reaching a resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through a two-state solution.

Between 2022 and 2023, the approval rate for settler construction in the West Bank increased by 300 percent as Israeli authorities allowed the construction of over 13,000 dwellings. The United Nations, however, considers all Israeli settlements illegal.

Israel's legalization of new settlements comes amid the worst spike in violence since the 2000-2005 Intifada in the West Bank, a territory that Israel has occupied by force since the 1967 Six-Day War.

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